Which MacBook? New or used? Software?! Accessories?! HELP QUICK!!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Juliusgirl, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. Juliusgirl macrumors newbie


    Apr 26, 2017
    I have never owned a Mac/MacBook before but I am in quick and desperate need of a laptop (like need to make money to eat etc. quick and desperate) and I figured that since my photographs, many of my writings, music, along with apps books blahblah is on my iPad and iPhone that I ought to get a Mac so I can transfer things like photos and my "Notes" (which I write in) from my devices to the laptop. FIRST Q: am I wrong in thinking that only an Apple laptop will be able to do this? If I am, what would I need to do and buy to get other laptops to transfer and work with my files to them?
    I have $1200-$1400 to spend. I DO NOT MIND buying a refurbished product from a reputable source WITH a warranty (at least 90 days, would love a year+). Below is a list of the things I need and the things I want. If the things I need can be found in, say, an accessory that would make my price still in range, that is ok. What I would like is to know which Laptop(S), accessories, and software I should, in your opinion, buy. Another possibly I've thought of is a newer iPad with a keyboard accessory and something to hold it vertical but I'm not sure if that's realistic as far as sitting on a train or in a coffe shop and writing... Please please help, I don't want to end up with something for the next 5 to ten years that I can't work with which I'm afraid is what will happen if I just blindly pick what looks ok to me: someone who hasn't been a "computer person" since the days DOS was the language and Apple was mostly followed by the phrase "IIE"


    • A mouse or touchpad that moves easily
    • A keyboard that will be a joy to type on, as close to a regular everyday PC keyboard as possible.
    • USB and SD ports
    • The ability to print documents from the laptop over wifi or wires to a Workforce 600 printer/fax/scanner combo as well as an HP Lserjet P1606dn and HP Color Laserjet 1600
    • Security from viruses, etc with continuing updates and a cleaner
    • Web browsing including .onion sights
    • A warranty
    • Word Processing Software
    • A system (like Windows is a system and comes with word, excel, etc.)
    • Access to games - the newer or older the better (like orig. Nintendo or Dreamcast or newer PS3 games)
    • A case/carrying device as I will be using it quite frequently in a coffee shop
    • Security from anyone physically trying to see my content
    • Enough memory for thousands of written documents, pictures, videos, photo collages, artwork, and music and downloaded movies (not many), games, etc.
    • Camera
    • Microphone/Audio recording built in
    • Speed enough to keep up with what i am doing
    • At least 7 or 8 hours of battery


    • A touchpad and stylus and software for creating graphics, poss. Animation (package deal: one is not needed without the others)
    • A way to plug in or record as well as if it were plugged in, my acoustic guitar which I own a pick-up for with an electric guitar's amp-type male plug at the end as well as a way to record voice and software that can mix, modulate, help compose, and add drum, bass, etc. to my recordings, preferably with autotune for the voice. A guitar lesson-type software that can recognize the sound of my guitar and the same for voice. (Also a package deal although these things don't all have to fit into my budget as long as enough of them do to be able to perform at least one of the things I would like to I.e. Taking lessons via computer, recording and mixing songs)
    • Great photo-editing software and I don't mind using gimp.
    • A pony! lol
    Thanks for all your help!!!! Jamie

  2. maerz001, Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

    maerz001 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2010
    you really ask a for a lot. Don't believe anyone can answer everything...
    Invest 1200$ for your income lasting 10 years? Well i recommend rethinking about your business model;-)
    Forget the iPad to be productive. It's a device for consuming media mostly.

    I will start:

    Viruses: Huge on Windows, very less on MacOS
    Warranty: comes with every refurbished Mac 1 year
    Software: Word and Excel does not come with Windows for free. With a new Mac you get Apples alternative office package for free. Or get LibreOffice for free
    Games: a emulator you can get for every OS for free
    Security: a password for your account, or what? free:)
    Memory: how much do you need now?
    Camera: you have for web in almost every computer. In the MacBook one from 10 years ago;-)
    Connectivity: just buy a hub for 50$ or the like

    So i would recommend a refurb MacBook 1.2 512GB for $1359:

    or what till the 2017 model comes
  3. Silvestru Hosszu macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2016
    Arad, Romania
    Your requirements are much better fit by a 13'' MBP than a MB....
  4. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Syncing iCloud data with a Mac is much more seamless than on Windows, you're correct. The Apple ecosystem is a very nice one to live within, hence its huge success and popularity.

    Given the number of external devices you're looking to connect to your future laptop, I would avoid going for the smaller 12" MacBook. It only has one port and, whilst it is a very diverse port, it ultimately limits you in that regard.

    I would suggest you take a look at the 2015 and 2016 13" MacBook Pro models. The main difference between the two is the ports. Performance is about the same as far as your usage is concerned. The 2015 models have older ports that you may be more familiar with - HDMI, USB, etc., whereas the 2016 models only have USB-C ports which will require you to buy one or more adaptors for most of your existing peripherals.

    Pretty much any 2015/2016 model from the link below will get you by for the next few years - just buy enough storage space for your needs if you're not open to cloud solutions.


    More specifically, I'd recommend choosing between these options - the first two only differ in colour:

    Option #1a: 2016 13" MBP (no TouchBar) (Grey)

    Option #1b: 2016 13" MBP (no TouchBar) (Silver)

    Option #2: 2015 13" MBP (Silver)

    These options also leave you some budget for Photoshop, Office or any other software you'd like too. I would suggest not buying anything for the first week, a Mac can do a LOT just out-of-the-box. A hell of a lot more than Windows. You may not need all the third-party software you think you need.
  5. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2006
    My only contribution is to suggest that if you are dependent on your machine for your immediate livelihood...very urgently as you say, that jumping into the world of mac might not be a wise move at this point?
  6. icymountain macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2006
    Most current mac laptops would do most of what you ask, but the "USB port and SD card slot" requirement would point towards a 13" 2015 MBP, although it may be a bit more expensive than the price range you give.
  7. Juliusgirl thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 26, 2017
    If I were to get a non-Mac I assume it would be a lot cheaper and there would be a way for me to do something like download windows from the App Store on my phone, save my Apple writings as .doc and email them to the PC and the same kind of idea for pics. I feel like if you discount what I want and only pay attention to what I need, I'm not asking for much. Especially if I don't get a Mac. And I do t feel I should have to explain my business model except to say that I always save my work to Zip drives and sticks so as far as my livelyhood is concerned, if I lost something I wrote on the computer then I'd have it backed up. Also I have had a bunch of successful travel writing pup,ished in the past year or so and decided to start traveling on my own dime aka freelance so $1200 is what I have to spend for a computer. And the thought that it could get stolen anywhere I travel makes me loathe to spend more.
    So, I know that Steve Jobs came up with this brilliant idea to make people beholden to Apple but part of me thinks it would be cheaper and easier in the long run to get off the train while I can.....
    also, can I ask about jail breaking? Would that give me the opportunity to get the software I want that is so expensive?
  8. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Of course you can buy a Windows laptop and use Microsoft Office and Microsoft OneDrive to sync most of your data between your iPhone and your Windows machine. Certainly an option if you'd prefer a Windows machine.

    You don't simply 'save money' by getting a Windows laptop - you just sacrifice quality in return for a lower price. Just like you do when buying Target over Levi's jeans.

    Jailbreaking is a term used to describe the process of escalating the privileges you have on your iPhone - basically giving you root access to the device's file system. What software are you looking to buy that is 'so expensive'? Evading the license fee of any software is theft and completely illegal, regardless of what method you use to do it.
  9. maerz001, May 3, 2017
    Last edited: May 4, 2017

    maerz001 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2010
    sorry i didn't want to offend you about your business model. just that you asked for a laptop lasting 10 years. which is very unlikely and a invest of $120/year not really demanding. i almost have to pay that much to fill up my car once here in Europe.
    anyway. for over a grand you will get a descent laptop. a MBP should last you longer than a MB. maybe you can get out 5-7 years before it slows/breaks down and after that time you probably have to reinvest.
    and as we have shown you, there are a few refurbished models wich are fine for what you need...

    about software: the only expensive i can think of is Adobe illustrator or photoshop from what you write. but than i don't get your last sentence about jailbreak. cos you won't install this on your phone. and on a mac or windows you can install whatever you want (with or without license).

    the license fees will be the same on both systems. more than your laptop costs:)

    u didn't tell us how much storage u are using now. You can save a couple of hundred $ with that. But as SSDs are not upgrade able anymore in newer MB and MBPs u have to think of that before or use external devices.
  10. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    Most likely a 5-7 year-old Mac, of any current variety, will not breakdown if it's taken care of. What it will do is begin to run new applications slowly or not at all because they would rely on newer tech. That's the limitation. If you continue to use older apps for your work you should see little degradation. I'm writing this on a 2011 MacBook Air on which for an older version of Adobe Lightroom—it works fine.
  11. Gidjit-SmartLauncher

    Apr 19, 2017
  12. maerz001 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2010
    Ok than check please the posts of broken Macs in this forum;)

    taking care of ur computer doesn't help against logic board failures e.g.
    I know nobody running a computer older than 8years. My 2012 Airs screen just died which would "only" be 450€ from Apple to repair
  13. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    I have a MacBook Pro from 2009 that runs perfectly well and was repurposed as my parents main computer until only a few months ago. I still use it randomly. My 2010 iMac is still one of my main machines (to be fair, I put SSDs in both of them).
  14. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    The breakdowns are the exceptions. My MBA logic board died in the first year. Apple replaced it and the machine has run marvelously since. I'm sorry you have a screen problem.
  15. Esquire1 macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010
    What do you care about someone stealing your laptop when you have no problem stealing software?
  16. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    if you want a laptop that will last up to 10 years do not get one with a non user replaceable battery. that will exclude all current apple laptops but not those that were made a few years ago. in other words you are more likely to find a five year old laptop and keep it running for another 10 years than to get a brand new one and trying to get it to last 10 years. no warranty though. i wouldn't be giving this same advice if you were just looking to get 4 years out of it.
  17. kevinkyoo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    13inch MacBook Pro from 2015. You'll be able to replace the battery, it has all the ports you need, has the great keyboard instead of the more controversial one from the newer models, has very good battery life of 8-10 hours, and the trackpad isn't as obnoxious to present problems with palm rejection. I would look at the refurbished part of Apple's website. Another great thing is, if you're going with the base model, you can swap out the SSD's in these MacBook Pro's (I only recommend swapping out for other Samsung SSD's used in other MacBook Pro's - make sure to check the compatibility - because of the speed and lack of heat issues in the OWC SSD's)
  18. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    Uhh not with the 2015 model, it's glued in just like the new design. The only MBPs with a replaceable battery are the pre-unibody and non-Retina unibody models.
  19. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    Going Mac:
    $1,099: A refurbished 2015 13" MacBook Pro from Apple (great computer, all the ports you'll need).
    $70/Yr: Office 365 Personal gives you Microsoft Office and 1TB of online storage.
    $30: Any of the multitudes of cases on Amazon for the 13" MacBook Pro.
    $99: Sketch 3. A powerful Photoshop replacement for Mac.
    $50: 500GB external hard drive of local storage and backup

    Total: $1,348. Recurring costs: $70/yr for Office.

    You'll have iWorks (decent photo, video and music apps) as part of your Mac purchase.

    If you don't want to spend $70/yr on Office (but I'd recommend you do), you can use iLife (comes with the Mac) or Google Docs for free. Both have options to save documents as Microsoft Office docs, but they're not perfect. Instead, save any document as PDF and it'll keep your formatting.

    If you don't want to spend $99 for Sketch, you can use the free and powerful, but not easy to learn, GIMP.

    Also, one of the big benefits of using a Mac are the Apple Stores. Being able to make an appointment and go and have your device looked at is invaluable. I didn't list it because you look to be keeping costs down, but for peace of mind, Apple Care is something that you may want to look into if you go down the Apple path.

    Going PC - for the same price you'll get a newer computer with a larger hard drive, but need to replace Sketch with something on the PC side, and you can also use Google docs instead of Office 365. I believe you could get a refurbished Surface Pro 3 that would also fit your needs and meet your price target.

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