Student Looking to switch to a Mac Laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by comradejon, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. comradejon macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2011
    Sup good people. I've been following the macrumours page for the last month or so since I have sorta agreed with myself to switch to Mac after a lifetime of Windows, since my (albeit nice enough) Vista laptop is on its way to death and I'll be buying a new laptop for starting university in October.

    I've been following very carefully the state of the Macbook and any potential updates, but since the Pro now looks like it's in line for an update I should be able to afford a basic Pro 13". However I'm not rolling in money and looking at the £800+ it'll cost me is eyewatering.

    So this thread is yet another one of those "why should I switch to Mac?" threads, here on the student angle so as to justify that hefty price tag. I'm a historian who has been persuaded mainly along the lines of reliability, a laptop that will last me more than two years, that is simple and just 'works', but some anti-Mac fanboy friends of mine have been shouting in my ear that a £600 Windows laptop is equally well-built nice looking and will last me for ages.

    I dunno what else to ask really, I just wanted an up-to-date discussion as to whether the jump really is worth it, and since I WANT to be persuaded I guess this is the perfect place haha
  2. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I am an historian, too, and I switched to Mac in 2008.

    Although I use Windows in my work world (not my choice but the universities, government & international outfits I have worked for are all Windows) and use Word all of the time (everyone in my world uses it), I have no intention of reverting to Windows in my personal computing. I don't hate Windows (and some fine computers use Windows, Sony, Toshiba etc), but I prefer Mac.

    I came to Mac via the iPod; two of them died under warranty, and were immediately replaced without a problem or Apple seeking refuge in contractual small-print, so, Apple's Customer care impressed me. As did the design and form factor of the iPods, and later, computers. Another reason I switched was that I had become extremely fed up with spam, malware, adware, trojans, viruses that I was subjected to on Windows machines - and this, despite having purchased the most robust anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-spam software I could find.

    To be honest, I've been impressed. As I travel a lot, and portability matters, I now have a MBA, although in 2008 I bought a MBP. Both were excellent computers. Since I switched to Mac, spam, viruses etc have been non-existent. OS is a better system than Windows, and the computers are more stylish, the design is a dream, they are easier to use (once you get used to them) and physically, they are a pleasure to work with.

    If finance is an issue, I'd suggest that you look at the refurb route as they offer all of the advantages of a new computer (including warranties) for a bit less.

    Yes, there is a premium price to pay; you are paying for the better build quality, the stylish form factor, and yes, the impressive Apple Customer Service. I went further and bought Office for Mac (it was a deal-breaker for me since I needed Word) and also, Apple Care for each of my Apple laptops. Apple Care offers three years of protection; it is expensive, but, to my way of thinking, well worth it for peace of mind. Bear in mind that you will not need to get it until close to the expiry of the one year warranty - you cannot buy it once a year has elapsed since you bought the computer.

    Best of luck with it.

  3. And1ss macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Switched in 08...this laptop never had any issue aside from battery capacity. The UI grew on me and it just worked. haha
  4. rockyroad55 macrumors 601


    Jul 14, 2010
    Phila, PA
    It CAN be worth it because it really depends on your needs. I was a switcher in 09 but still use Windows machines at home. Just because Mac seems nicer and is "virus-free" doesn't throw Windows out of the question. As long as one is good with an OS, they can maintain that computer it for many years.

    But, I've been hooked ever since because of the fluidity of the Mac ecosystem. I rarely have any crashes and the trackpad was the deal-breaker. Seriously, all Windows laptops have crappy trackpads that makes you want to go to Mac.
  5. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Depends on your won personal usage. I for one consider myself a power user, one that finds a plethora of small, productivity driven applications to increase my efficiency at getting things done. Geektools, keyboard commands, menubar apps, I use them all.

    One of THE best features of having a Macbook is, well, the battery life. They get at least 6 hours of life, depending on what you're doing. The MBP is expensive, and quite frankly, a little out of my budget, however I'm looking at the new airs coming out Thursday with an education discount.
  6. iStudentUK macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2009
    Well regarding the lasting more than two years are you aware that UK university students get a free 3 year warranty when they buy online, on top of the 15% off they usually get? That was a nice plus for me. (See the link in my signature).

    I feel your pain! When I got my Mac at uni it was £650ish, now you are looking at £850. (I know the 11" Air is £750, but you'll need 4GB RAM etc and the £750 White MacBook hasn't been updated in ages). If you are like me and don't come from a rich family then £850 is an awful lot for a student!

    Windows 7 is a good operating system and will do you fine as a student, presumably writing essays as an historian. However, don't rule out a Mac yet. In my opinion it has a lot going for it. The new glass multitouch trackpads are a joy to use and the Pro has some good features like a backlit keyboard. OS X itself is still more intuitive and simple than W7 in my opinion. However, just because Mac is "better" doesn't necessarily mean it is worth the price, to be honest with you when I look to buy my next computer when I'm no longer a student I'm not entirely sure I'd be able to spend £999 on a laptop, I think I would feel like I was being ripped off. I know I'm arguing both sides here, but that's how I feel!

    When I first went to uni I considered a Mac, but got a PC because of the price. I regretted it (battling with Vista all day) and after a year sold it and got my Mac. So I'm saying be sure, you don't want buyer's remorse later on!
  7. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    As a student, I would recommend AppleCare with no reservations. I bought my MBP in the UK with student discount, and it cost somewhere around £59. Has paid itself back more than 10 times.

    First, I had problems with my graphics card/RAM. They replaced the logic board.

    Second, had problems with the optical disk drive; replaced. Also got a new display and top case.

    Whilst having these problems in the first place sucked, the customer service was great and the turn around times (at the London Regent Street store and the Covent Garden Store) was equally impressive.

    Regarding switching to Mac, I would recommend it. It runs great, doesn't get bogged down with malware etc., and all the system maintenance stuff happens in the background automatically; simply, easy to use.

    I bought my MBP in October/November 2008 I think. It's been feeling a bit slower so I replaced the HDD a few days ago. Feels like a new laptop.
  8. iStudentUK macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2009
    As I stated above UK uni students can get a free warranty without buying AppleCare. Spending that money on AppleCare is probly only worth it if you want software support on the phone or plan to sell the laptop on (AppleCare adds to 2nd hand value).
  9. comradejon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2011
    Thank you all for your replies, gonna try and answer all of them. Firstly though the recently unearthed info that it's a new Macbook is interesting me a lot - I would far better afford one of those than a new Pro and if the Macbook looks good, strong and has a decent CPU in it (4GB RAM minimum please, my two year old average laptop even has that!) so for the mo scratch what I said about the Pro.

    Although one question I was going to ask at the start of the thread but forgot to was about whether the Air was worth it. I don't really need the portability (I'll be honest I think it's a little too thin looks wise but that's about it for the negatives) but since there will be a new Macbook on the cards I'll most likely stump for that, although anyone who wishes to come along and tell me to get an Air is free to do so.

    Thanks for the huge amount of info there. Luckily in my town centre for uni they have an Apple Store which is nice so that makes customer care easier and ofc I've heard it's fantastic (I haven't had to use customer care once for my four year old iPod so I guess that shows build quality haha).

    I had no plans of using iWork and indeed Office would be a necessity (although in the past few years I've been used to gaining Office through nefarious means so I'll have to make sure I do it properly this time...)

    I think a lot of what you said is in line for why I want to change too and as such is more fuel to the fire really. I've been looking into reputable Windows brands like Lenovo but even with the promise of an excellent battery and well-built laptops I can't help but want to reach for that cleaner and easier OS. I used to be a computer nerd but now I just want things to turn on and go, I'm impatient and my laptop's now twenty minute battery and keenness to crash is killing me.

    Perfect :D

    I don't mind my trackpad on my current laptop I'm reasonably quick with it, but when I saw the video on the Mac website about all the little gestures you can make I was sold on that front.

    Saying all this I'm not sure if I was after a desktop that I'd go for a Mac but maybe this laptop will make me change my mind on that one too!

    I'm a poweruser in the sense that I use it SO much, but I don't use it for much. I like the odd game but I know my Steam games will work nicely on my Mac versus slow on this heap of junk, but other than that it's just internet and whatnot so I guess if the small things are a bit quicker on Mac then that'll make things easier.

    I too feel the Pros are a bit out of my budget (well eating into my alcohol budget anyway!) and am interested by the Airs but if it's a new Macbook then I'll probably plump for that in a few weeks time.

    Oh no I probably won't buy a Windows laptop, if I don't buy a Mac I'll probably sit on this rubbish laptop until it bites the dust. Have you properly abused your laptop then? I don't exactly look after my stuff it gets heavily used and whatnot and I'm told a Mac can take it which is what I want.

    Excellent, sounds victorious, although the education warranty will probably keep me happy enough

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