Switcher Story - Long post!...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bertpalmer, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    #1
    Before I bought a mac I enjoyed reading switchers accounts of their own experiences so this post is for people like me! This is a fairly lengthy post about my experiences so far. I bought a MBPro for £800 with two years warranty, so quite a significant saving from the retail £1300. This is a lengthy post so feel free to skim read or not read!

    I am a graphic/web designer and do a lot of photography, including wedding photography so I need a speedy portable machine. I needed a fairly large screen and as such I chose a 15" Macbook Pro. I use it with a 22" screen and the setup works well. I use Adobe Design Premium CS3, Adobe Lightroom 2 along with iWork, iLife, MS Office 2008, CandyBar, Firefox, CoverFlow and a few other free apps.

    I have had no experience of the Mac OS, apart from dabbling with a VERY old version whilst at highschool (12 years ago) and more recently experimenting in the Apple store. As such I have grown up from Windows 3.1, 95, 98, Millennium, 2000, XP and Vista. I consider myself as being pretty adept when it comes to PC's - I built my own and can use the Windows environment without any problems (although I haven't explored Vista that much but I use it most days at work. It's pretty stable but over complicated when it comes to preferences. Has some good advantages over XP though.) My PC was a bit of a noisy beast and in the last few months it didn't play any sound. I had to reinstall the XP about every year to clean out the system and ensure it's smooth running. I found that Photoshop was quite unstable on the PC but have not had these problems in my first month of using a Mac.

    Why did I switch? Well I bought an iPod about 6 years ago (3rd Gen) when no one knew about iPods and bought a 5Gen iPod a few years ago. I almost bought a G4 iBook when they were around but couldn't quite bring myself to buy it. Since then I have kept an eye on Apple, looking at their computers, reading forums and reviews, watching their witty adverts and browsing the Apple store in town thinking how nice everything looked. One day I went in to a John Lewis store and saw a MBP for £800 - whilst it wasn't the newest model it was a bargain and with two years warranty was better than a deal on eBay.

    I think the advertising had a big effect on my decision and whilst my PC was usable it struggled with processor intensive tasks such as rendering.

    Problems with my new Mac? It has frozen on me once after I woke it from sleep having installed two new programs. I simply powered it off and then on and it was fine. But really that's it.

    Installing all software has been easy, and getting used to the mac environment is okay. I don't think it is as intuitive as I have been led to believe but it is not difficult to use and with some tips and training from 'MacTips' I have started exploring some of the more hidden features. The amount of free software for the Mac is great and is a big advantage over the PC where you had to be very aware of bugs, viruses and spyware.

    Hardware wise the only slight problem I have is a yellow tint on the screen at the bottom when viewing from a certain angle. You only notice the tint on the white screen at startup and I have found it to be absolutely fine to work with for my photography and graphics. It really isn't noticeable and is so slight it's a non issue, but worth mentioning I guess. For 99% of the time the screen is backlit and looks stunning. A pleasure to look at.

    Would I recommend a mac to my friends and family? Yes and no. I know my Mum will be buying a new computer soon and whilst I will recommend she buys a mac I will probably point her in other directions due to the high price of Apple products. I have heard the argument many times that it is worth paying a premium for the quality of the hardware, design and most importantly OSX but I think it is hard to justify this for everyone. Certainly I wouldn't have paid the full price (£800 compared to £1300 retail) and I would recommend to anyone that they buy a refurb. Is it really worth paying this premium to someone who needs to word process, watch a DVD and browse BBC News? For some yes, but for a lot of others no.

    So what do I love about the product?
    The design is number one for me. I know a product transition is rumored to be coming up but I compare the MBP to my house mate's Sony and HP laptops it LOOKS so much more attractive. More importantly you can FEEL the difference in quality. The OS is great, it looks great and whilst I am getting used to the different shortcut keys the 'Function' keys as well as the remote control are fantastic ways to control the laptop. Front row is a great feature, being able to watch movie trailers, do an instant slide show, control music and podcasts is great. "Expose" when used with corners is an incredibly attractive feature, and whilst perhaps not as functional as the windows taskbar is certainly more attractive.

    What don't I like?
    I need more USB ports. I have an external HD, mouse, graphics tablet, iPod, memory sticks and a memory card reader so whilst I don't need to use them all at once, 2 just doesn't cut it. I guess a workaround is to buy some firewire cables for the ipod and harddrive.
    The dock does get in the way and I wish there was a way to maximize windows without having to click and drag the corner - why doesn't the red, green and blue circles so this?
    Whilst expose is a great feature when combined with corners I find I can't use the top left corner as it activates when I use the menu sometimes which is quite annoying. I REALLY miss a 'cut' option when moving files. I know I can use the apple key when I have dragged it to a new folder but it ought to be as simple as a right click. However, getting used to these changes is not hard.

    Am I happy I switched? For the most part yes. I wish I could have waited even longer to take advantage of the rumored product design refresh and rumored price cuts but ultimately I got a bargain which I hope will last me about 3-4 years before I sell it on at a good price (for me!) I'm looking forward to snow leopard and will shortly be buying a 320GB HD and 4GB of RAM to install in the Laptop. I know the HD is going to be tricky to install but I can't survive on 120GB.

    Hopefully I won't get any problems in the future. I love using this machine and whilst it seems a bit cliche I feel that I have MORE control over it than the PC. I think I can complete tasks quicker and am generally more efficient.
     
  2. muldul macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Location:
    West Sussex, England, UK
    #2
    Very lengthy, i am a recent switcher too, i love it and have not regretted it once
     
  3. lars666 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    Exactely what I ask myself, too ... (Another Mac newbie) Can't understand that this isn't possible as this is - at least in my opinion - not a "Well, you're just used to how things work in Windows" thing, but instead just annoying. If I want to write a Word document, I want the whole screen fill with it - same with the browser when surfing the net etc.

    Is there a way to do so with one simple click I am missing??
     
  4. thegilly macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #4
    OP: something like a 4-port USB hub might be cheaper and more versatile than firewire cables you'll only use for specific devices? Depends what needs power vs. what just needs a connection for data exchange.

    No, there is no simple one-click maximise in OS X, and that is by design. There have been lots of threads on this. What it comes down to is multitasking: OS X is designed for multitasking. You can't efficiently multitask if you've been trained to have every window fill up the whole screen, any more than you can make efficient use of your desk in an office cubicle if when you're using the telephone the telephone obscures everything else on the desk, and every piece of paper you have is exactly the same size as the desk so that when you're looking at it you can't see or access everything else, and when you're using the calculator that takes up the entire desk space so you can no longer even see the figures you're meant to be manipulating with that calculator...

    A lot of people feel that Apple should give in and accommodate switchers by adding a fourth button to the top left corner of windows to do "real maximise", Windows-style. But why should Apple's OS designers compromise what they believe--after actual research--to be the most efficient and useful arrangement?

    If the content of the window you're using is wide and high enough to take up the entire screen, then the green button will resize that window to take up the whole screen. Otherwise, you're SOL.

    I switched three years ago from Windows and Linux and haven't missed the maximise button, though I'll admit that's chiefly because I never used it. I can't stand having the application window take up the whole screen when the thing I'm working on doesn't--it confuses my eyes, which want to focus in on the important thing. Having the window be no bigger than it needs to be for the content I'm working on helps me focus. Keeping a browser window reasonably small (perhaps 1/3 of the screen width on my 20" iMac, and most of the screen width on my 12" iBook) keeps me safe from those horrible sites where the text takes up all the horizontal room you give it--I simply cannot comfortably read lines that stretch beyond maybe 8". YM, obviously, MV.
     

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