Which Mac laptop for basic internet use?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bgbird, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. bgbird macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    We currently have a Compaq Presario S3100NX that is about 7 years old. We are thinking of making the switch sometime this year. Our computer use consists of emailing and general surfing and downloading photos. We generally don't watch movies/T.V. shows online. I played a DVD about two weeks ago and had no problems.

    Our current computer has given us no problems whatsoever. But it's time for a laptop and our friends who have Macs have said make the switch you'll love it. About the only thing we're looking for is something that will be fast with AT@T DSL. We will not go back to Comcast broadband.

    My wife would like a 17" Macbook Pro. I was looking at Powerbook G4's due to the price difference.

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice.
  2. petemwah macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    if you're just using it for basic internet/photo use then you might find a 17" macbook pro being slight overkill. why not take a look at the entry level macbooks at:


    will do all you want, plus has the advantage of being a darn good computer and something that may encourage you to get more involved with computers, who knows, you might find another hobby which uses your laptop! :)

    edit: and it'll be fine with your internet btw!
  3. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    Just wondering ... where are you thinking about purchasing the PowerBook G4 from?
  4. bgbird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    The only problem is we both like the 17" screens.

    This is where it gets hairy for me. Used Powerbook w/17" screen?

    Just started looking on ebay.
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You can even get a used 17" MacBook Pro.

    To be honest, any laptop from the last 5 years will work for basic internet use, although flash videos and such may be an issue sometimes, and I don't want to recommend something that can't even do that.

    Buy a used or refurbished 17" MBP. Those refurbished machines are as good as new anyway.
  6. bgbird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    Another question....if we go used, do we go with ebay or the Apple refurbs store?

    I was thinking we'd be better off with a used one with Applecare already purchased.

    Sorry for the many questions. Just don't want to make the wrong choice.

    Good point on the flash videos. My daughter was watching a Caillou video from the PBS Sprout website and it was pretty choppy.
  7. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    If you don't have very much experience with Ebay, you really need to be careful if you make a purchase. There are a few scammers on Ebay. Like the saying goes ... if it looks too good to be true ... yada yada yada yada.

    I guess it depends on your budget. The new MacBook Pro 17" is $2800. A new previous verison MacBook Pro 17" is $2500. The cheapest refurb MacBook Pro 17" is around $1800. If you are concerned about the cost, I would probably go with the 17" refurb if you are just using it for email, internet, etc. If you can afford it, go for the new MacBook Pro 17". There are SWEET!!

    That said, you can get a brand new 17" Dell for $800 ;)

  8. bgbird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    So should I forget the Powerbooks? I was only looking at them because of the screensize.
  9. petemwah macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I see your point exactly! Don't apologise for asking questions, it's the best way to work out what you want to get!

    If having a guarantee on the laptop is important to you then it may be a good idea to look at the Apple refurb store. You will pay slightly more compared to eBay, but with this extra cost comes peace of mind knowing that if it does break down it's covered by the Applecare protection plan.

    It's a hard decision to make, but if it was me I would probably go the Apple refurb route with a protection plan. Saying that though, it's very possible you could get one off eBay and it could last you for years to come, it's just if something DID go wrong (like the logic board or something) then there could be a big repair cost.
  10. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    Pretty much any Intel Mac laptop should fit your needs - I would look at Apple's refurbs ant choose whatever is in your desired price range.
  11. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Don't get a powerbook G4, the screens are dim (comparatively) and they don't work so well when watching Flash videos (such as on youtube). The Core Duo model is the cheapest intel model out there, but it tends to get hot. If you're looking to go with a refurb model, the first Core 2 Duo models are the oldest back that I would go.

    Or you could get a Macbook with a 13" screen. Just about any will do...

    or get a PC. Most PC's will have a nicer screen then a macbook, and a 17" PC laptop will be much less then if you get a 17" MBP.
  12. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I personally would stray away from any PowerPC. They, while still pretty good machines, will probably not last as long as any Intel Mac you would buy. (with the possible exception of the Intel Core Solo Mac Mini) They have one processor, whereas any Macbook or Macbook Pro you can find has two cores (almost like having two processors), their one processor is soon to be considered legacy, and they are not compatible with all new software, including parts of iLife 08 and 09. These are significantly slower machines than even a first generation Macbook Pro.

    That being said, if you really want to save some money, why don't you go for a 15" Macbook Pro? I personally think that that is the perfect balance between portability and usability. 13" is too small, and 17" is too big to be used as a portable all the time (but if you want to use it on a desk, it will be OK). I found a refurb Unibody 15" MBP on Apple's refurb site for $2149

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
    Illuminated keyboard

    This computer is a beast, and could easily last you seven years. Just be sure to calibrate the battery to prolong its life.
  13. bgbird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    I do like the idea of the upgraded memory, but I don't like the glossy screen. I've read quite a few reviews from people who said to stick with the matte screen.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the quick and comprehensive responses.

    Any other feedback is appreciated.
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

    Firstly, refurbished machines have a 1 year warranty from Apple (just like new machines), and you can buy AppleCare for a refurb.

    Secondly, "refurbished" rarely means "used" in the case of Apple's refurbished laptops. These are machines that were returned by customers very early on in their lifetime, or possibly just unsold stock of previous models from before the update. These may be completely brand new.

    Thirdly, refurbished machines are checked over by Apple before being sold. Not even new machines get that treatment.

    All this makes them better than eBay stock, no?
  15. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    I have an old iBook which has done an adequate job over the years of doing internet stuff. While it and other PPC laptops I've had have been functional, I'd really go with something Intel based. The screen on my iBook is quite dim compared to those available on more modern systems. Seriously, I'd take a hard look at a Macbook- much better than an old Powerbook and not the overkill you'd get from a Macbook Pro.
  16. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
  17. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    1. if you like the 17" Macbook pro's screen: Get it

    2. If you don't plan on carrying it out of the house much: Get it

    3. If you are seeing this as a long term investment (to last you 5 years at least): Get it

    4. If having a big screen is important: Then get it, or the 15"

    Since this is your first mac, I'll say go big and get something you'll love.
  18. Trix macrumors member


    Feb 12, 2009
    Step 1: Agree on a suitable price range

    Step 2: Find PC and Mac laptops within price range

    Step 3: Compare/Contrast the differences

    Step 4: Buy the laptop that fits your needs and cost

    Almost any modern computer will do the basic internet browsing you want. Screen size is likely an important factor. All new laptops will have some sort of guarantee/warranty/coverage deal...

  19. zorahk macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2008
    North Korea
    17 inch screen is painful. Try going to the apple store and see if you can picture yourself carrying that anywhere.

    15inch is the best combination for most people
  20. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    Glossy vs. matte is really a personal choice. If I were you, I would go to the local electronics store compare the glossy and matte screens. Personally I love the glossy screens.

    I agree ... the 17" is a BEAST to carry around. However, it looks like a great machine in certain situations. I had a 13" white MacBook and switched to a 15" MacBook Pro. The screen is much larger and it's still quite portable.

    bgbird: .... Have you made a decision yet?


  21. Turmoil macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2008
    I bought a MacBook Air from the refurb store. $1000, looked like brand new. I would always go with Apple Refurb over ebay. But then again, I'm not a gambler.
  22. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    If you are on a budget, get refurb.

    If you can afford it, get whatever in your price range that you like. Refurb are still a good deal.

    I carry 17" daily and it's fine. I often use it while I wait in line as my 17" iPod.

    1 extra pound from 15" is "painful"??? Perhaps you need to work out.;)
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agree completely. Refurb is an excellent way to go and you get all of the benefits of a new machine at a very competitive price.

    To my way of thinking, the 17" MBP is a bit big, and not as portable as the 15" , which is very portable yet comes with an excellent screen. Both computers will last years, as will the MB, which is a beautiful machine - especially the new aluminium unibody model - though the screen is still a lot inferior to that of the MBP. If money is an issue, go for the older previous generation MBs, they offer superb value for money, and will meet your stated needs extremely well.

    Cheers and good luck
  24. desiringGod macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2008
    I would suggest the refurb Macbook Alum - $1099

    It will handle all that you need. You can buy an external monitor if you need a larger screen at home.
  25. bgbird thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    Advice on a Powerbook......

    We were looking for a MBP but someone in my town has this for sale:

    "Powerbook G4 17" 1.67 HR (High-Res)
    1.67Ghz G4 processor
    120GB hard drive
    2GB (2x1GB) PC2-4200 Ram
    Dual-Layer DVD burner (SuperDrive)
    ATI Radeon 9700 Mobility Graphics with 128MB dedicated VRAM
    Lighted keyboard, BlueTooth, Airport Wireless, Ethernet, 56K Modem
    Mac OSX 10.5.6 Leopard

    I purchased this unit personally from the Apple Store in Saint Louis
    during June 2006. At that time, the unit was the "top of the line" and
    retailed for $2,499 plus $100 memory upgrade to 1GB (I later maxed the
    RAM to 2GB at additional expense) along with a $349 genuine Apple Care
    that is transferable. I also have the original box and all packaging,
    all included software, two batteries (extra batteries are over $100),
    and everything essentially looks as new.

    Even more tech details can be found at the attached link:


    There are no significant scratches anywhere on the case and the screen
    has no dead pixels. As most Mac fanatics, I have essentially babied
    this machine since it left the store and it works flawlessly. The
    protective Matrix cover that you see pictured is easily removed (peels
    off) as there is no glue or adhesives holding it on (is contact-like)."

    The pics look great and this person is asking $1275. We are basic internet surfers who are looking to switch over to Mac.

    Is this worth it?

    Thanks in advance.

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