Thinking of Mac over HP, why? Battery life. Important for college?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Ryuukumori, Dec 8, 2008.

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  1. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Is battery life important for college use? If so, I would go for a Mac way over an HP laptop, even if Macs are a bit more expensive. When I tested the customization on HP's site, their High Capacity 6 cell battery is ONLY at 3 hours and 20 min! That's weak. Macs can go, with Wifi on and such, to well over 4!

    So, is battery life vital in college? Or are there usually outlets at desks or tables? Please help me decide whether I should fork out more cash for a MacBook than an HP with close specs for about $300-$400 less?
  2. bluesTank macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    On our campus, I could pretty much find an outlet anywhere I was. I almost never used the battery itself, and I had a 4 year old laptop with a BRICK of a AC adapter. Nowadays, you can find laptops with much smaller AC adapters, so its even easier to bring around. I have a macbook now and I just bring the small charger around with me. I am sure other laptops have similarly sized chargers as well.

    So no, battery life has never been an issue for me. My old laptop I think had about an hours worth of life anyways, so I could never depend on it, but I managed fine.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    My college campus has almost no electrical outlets. At my college, battery life is very important. (or course the last college I was at had more outlets then was necessary...)
  4. PeterQC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2008
    Depending of what I do, using only Word and Airport, I can have around or more than 5 hours with the screen at the lowest brightness. At my college (actually a CEGEP) there are many outlets that you can use, in classes and in the school at workplaces. For all my program-oriented courses, I always have a outlet nearby, while during my general courses does not, but I can't use my macbook anyway.
  5. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Electrical outlets are everywhere in colleges these days. If a college campus DOESN'T have them then its not worth the money you're paying for tuition.

    HP's 3.5 hours of battery life takes real world situations into consideration. Thats generally also with DEDICATED graphics installed as well.

    I have the high capacity six sell in my HP and it does in fact reach 3 and a half hours. It also charges significantly faster than my MacBook. If I run the MacBook down to 10% and the HP down to 10% as well, it takes the HP about 2 hours to fully charge where the Mac can take 3-4 hours to fully charge.

    HP also offers a thicker double capacity battery which, in my experience, will get you around 6.5 hours WITH dedicated graphics and the screen set to 50% and wifi on.

    With HP you'll get a better larger screen, better graphics, better all around hardware and you don't have to worry about dents, corrosion, scratches, etc.
  6. Camoischaos macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Southern California
    Battery life isnt really that important at college the college i currently go to has outlets all over. I dont know how your college is though. Your choice though pc or mac.
  7. QueenZ macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2008
    Well for me battery life isn't that important because i don't move my iBook anywhere but for your case i think it's very important. and Mac would be the right choice in this case ;)
  8. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    Do the world around you a favor and don't buy a shiny, horrid, over-styled HP laptop. They are some of the ugliest things known to man. Their battery also tends to stick out from the bottom of the case by an inch, not exactly lap friendly. As an industrial designer, HP's laptops sicken me.
  9. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Another real reason why I am a tad worried is the upcoming music course. I don't know if there's a Window's only program, and I really don't like dual booting. It is just too much of a pain. Sharing, partitioning, etc. I like it all under one OS.

    But thanks for the replies for battery life. I am still leaning toward one or the other. Both are about the same in specs for the price, and with the iPod promo in summer of 2009, I could sell the iPod and pretty much equal the cost.

    Maybe it's my own research needed to see if my university would allow in my scenario. What do you prefer, and why?

    I'm really leaning toward the Mac, because it will remain relatively clean for my college experience, whereas Windows can bog down. You agree?
  10. FieryFurnace macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Berlin, Germany
    I think most colleges have outlets in every room today - mine has, even in the English Department class rooms. :D

    One more important thing you should consider is weight.

    I tried to bring my Compaq 15.4" laptop to classes but gave up due to the weight. The MacBook is lighter, but still to much in my opinion.
    I then got a netbook (EEE PC 4G) and I don't feel it at all in my backpack.

    I don't know if you want to do some serious work with your laptop in school or not, but if you only plan on note taking, think about a netbook maybe,...
  11. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    If you're tight on money and paying for this machine yourself, you should know that a notebook is not necessary for university/college (save for specialized programs like architecture). Sure, it's convenient and makes life a whole lot easier, but you can still locate a computer in the library and get your work done there. Just wanted to throw that out there (too many people believe otherwise).

    Now, in response to your post, I think you're asking the wrong questions. If I were you, I would be less concerned with finding a power outlet and more concerned with the weight of the notebook. I know this sounds crazy, but 1lb will feel like 10lb once you stuff a few textbooks in your bag. Size and weight should be your primary concern; build quality comes in at a close second. Remember, this thing is going to take some daily bumps no matter how careful you are.

    Next, I would ask yourself what specific things you intend to do with this computer. If your answer includes:
    - word/powerpoint/excel
    - surfing the net
    - music
    - downloading/watching movies (legally, of course ;))
    - Odd photoshop, etc.

    Then I'm sure either computer will do you just fine. From my experience, a 13.3" screen is the perfect fit. It's small enough to carry around with good battery life, yet it's powerful enough to handle various tasks and you don't strain your eyes when typing. Truthfully, I really wish I had one when I was an undergraduate. I would also suggest that you carefully consider how much you want to spend. Remember, you will be dirt poor in a few years time! I think the low-end MB might be a good fit. It's powerful, durable, and not incredibly expensive (but still overpriced, IMO). Don't fall into the trap of thinking that expensive = better; buy according to your needs.

    I agree that OS X will get less bloated, but you still need to maintain it. I also strongly recommend an external HD. Believe me, you will need it for backing up your files and storing the clutter that you're bound to accumulate.

    And finally, if you're going to take any liberal arts courses, for the love of God, do not bring your computer to class! You should always take notes by hand and make your own meaningful connections between the material being discussion. Trust me, it will improve your grades (look up the 'generation effect').

    Best of luck and remember to do your homework!

    P.S. Put the computer away prior to drinking.
  12. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Wow mosx, thats a lot of bs even for you.
  13. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    Quit leaning. Buy a mac. If you need to run windows only software, you can run windows right inside leopard, and new parallels has an incredibly low overhead. When it comes time to that, just ask.

    Bottom line, the HP computers you are looking at are not in the same league as the mac. If you want a loud, hot, ugly, poorly made, plastic, shiny laptop with no support, no one to turn to that knows what they're looking at, and an attitude at the store that its a disposable product, then by all means, buy an HP. Buy two. Buy three. You'll buy three by the time you would have decided its time to replace your mac, anyway.

    In the interest of full disclosure I want you to know that I have an HP fanboy brother. He even has an HP iPod. Remember those? I used to be an HP user myself. Presario 2596US, super secret clearance $250, about five years ago. Its pristine. I never really did much with it, just wrote papers for class and listened to music. I keep it in the kitchen now, to read recipes and watch the food network on hulu. But it struggles, old HP hardware doesn't hold up like old mac hardware. It has hardware issues with alot of flash video sites, all but one of its usb ports are dead, I could go on. But I keep its windows install clean and it serves its purpose well. A like vintage G4 powerbook wouldn't be struggling like this, but its just better quality hardware.

    HP hasn't changed their strategy or improved quality in five years. If you're not an enterprise user, they don't care about you. Their computers are made to work for 39 months, and it shows. And OMFG are they hideous...
  14. gotzaiPhone macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Tinley Park, IL
    Let me tell you about my experience with the **** that HP calls products.

    I owned (notice I said owned and not own) two HP craptastic products. One Compaq notebook (after merger) and one HP pavilion notebook. Lets start with the Compaq, shall we....

    The Compaq was plauged with battery drain issues, graffic issues and charging issues at first. When I called up HP customer service, they basically told me to "f" off. That I had to pay shipping to send the unit back and if they deemed it to be a failure and not my causing, they'ed refund my money, but only up to UPS ground. So if I needed it there faster because it was my only computer, I was SOL. Well, the computer was almost a year old, so I dealt with no battery life, a freezing screen and a power plug connection that only worked half the time because I was going to get this NEW and IMPROVED HP notebook. Well guess what? as a final FU to me, the harddrive crashed and I lost everything....

    So on to the HP, after about the same time frame, it too had issues with bad battery, not wanting to charge, touch pad not working and 3, yes 3 hard drive failures!!!! After the 3rd HD replacement, I took it in to get the charge pin fixed and I was told that they could patch it, but it was an inherant flaw with the HP motherboards and that I'd have to live with it. In all this time, still getting the same **** from HP customer service.

    I had enough of their crap, along with ALLLLLLL of the windows BS too, saved up some $$ and got a new macnook. Couldn't be happier! So BEWARE of anything that HP tries to pawn off as a "product"
  15. VSMacOne macrumors 601


    Oct 18, 2008
    Now it's just a matter of time... I'm sure mosx has got the PERFECT explanation for all your troubles with HP... :eek:
  16. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    My compaq (also post merger, right with ya) always had battery issues too, but I never cared because of the low cost. Well, I never cared, after HP told me I'd have to pay like gotzaiPhone. South asia is a place to go on holiday, not to relocate your tech support too, but HP never quite grasped that. I do remember calling them numerous times, and it was never good for my blood pressure. HP's mantra must be the customer is always at fault.

    Why in the world did you buy HP again, gotzaiPhone?
  17. gotzaiPhone macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Tinley Park, IL
    Looking back, I realy don't know.... At the time I was very anti-apple for no other reason than skuttlebutt that apple was smug or what ever it was at the time. I didn't even think to give them a chance and I just got suckered into this wonderful new HP that had all my past issues solved.

    Now fast forward to my issues with that computer and me getting an iPhone. I was so blown away by how easy to use and how well put together the iPhone was, I bought a v1 within 5 minutes of being at the apple store. Actually, I bought 2, one for me and one for my wife. It was from that point where I knew I was going mac for my computer, but the HP was still hanging on by a thread. Now, about a year after I got my iPhone, the HP was like old yeller, needing to be put out to pasture and having the $$ for a mac, I finally bought a computer that works. Hasn't crashed, re-started, froze or died in the 6 weeks i've had it now and thats 5 weeks and 6 days longer than the onset of issues with any of my ms based PCs.
  18. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    I can't say I was ever pleased with a windows pc that came from a manufacturer. The first new pc I bought was a Packard Bell, a year later to the day they went out of business. Hard drive failed, ram failed, motherboard failed. I should have bought an iMac, they were right new then, still before OSX came to be... I think I got the pc because I already had a monitor from a used Tandy. Waste not, want not, right? That Tandy was a fun machine though, a 486, had Hexen and Doom on it when I got it. Oh, and an ISA 56k modem, which I later learned was very desirable for some reason. 56k modems, how far we've come in so little time.
  19. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    If you are thinking of getting a Mac, you should consider the white MB while they still have it. It has a bit better battery life, better wifi reception, and less $, compared to the Al-MB.
  20. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    To a specific point the OP made -- dual booting isn't really a hassle at all. You don't have to choose each time, which would indeed be a big hassle. If you leave the default boot as OSX then you never see anything except that until you hold down Option while booting. Then you choose Windows, and do what you need to. Next time you boot, OSX comes up without any intervention.

    So it's absolutely not a hassle, except that you do have to get your hands on a valid XP or Vista license. It may be that your college has amazing deals on MS products, including operating systems. When I was a professor I could get XP or Vista for $10, full license.
  21. piper28 macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2008
    Actually, FWIW, a fair number of colleges are requiring them these days. I know the one I work at does. Now, that said, I'm not sure how they'd know if you really had one or not.
  22. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    I'm not too sure about the better battery life point. I seem to get about at least a half hour more than my sister's white macbook (purchased about a month before mine) and we do essentially the same things, adium, firefox (I usually have more tabs than her though), itunes. If anything I'm usually running more apps at one time, with transmission usually running. So that point about better battery on the white macbook isn't necessarily true, sure they do have a higher capacity battery, but the components use more power...oh man, imagine what battery life the Aluminum macbooks would get if they had the same capacity as the last gen...:rolleyes:
  23. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    It sounds like these were the low-level products, which are terrible. I've had several Dell and HP laptops, which worked (and still work) great. They are, of course, the middle of the road units though, and I believe the build quality to be better than the low-end units.

    Either way, I like both operating systems, but no longer have a Mac due to prices. For my family's needs the $370 Dell laptop does just fine for it.

    As for the Windows BS, I find automatic updates and antivirus keep the problems at bay. On my gaming machine however, the adding/removing of programs has taken its toll. The registry needs to be eliminated soon.

    For OS X BS, I despise how windows don't maximize. Also, it seems Apple hardware doesn't keep up the pace with the features of the OS. Sure the older machines can run the new versions, but they get painfully slow quickly. Their selection of machines is way too small, in my opinion.
  24. rd261 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2007
    On our campus there are outlets everywhere in the library and classrooms; however, on big auditoriums is very hard to find one since they are only available close to the walls.

    As for the battery issues, I can get about 5 hours with wifi on and MS words running out of my macbook, but could only get 3:30 out of my two years old gateway with an 8-cell battery. Im not sure about the HP, but my macbook seems to last longer than my friend's hp running vista.
  25. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Well, everyone, thank you very much for your opinions on this matter. It seems (intended that this is a Mac forum), that Macs are better. Reading your experiences, on the other hand, with HP laptops, they sure sound cheap. Looks like I will be buying a MacBook in the summer.

    I really hope with at least one more notebook refresh before the summer, the aluminum unibody, backlit keys, and firewire, will be present in all the MacBooks. If not, I'll go with the high end MacBook. Prices are a bit high, but compensating that these notebooks are highly reliable, I probably can't go wrong.

    Thanks again.
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