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“I've been a professional computer user for years, and...”

Written on: 23/02/2011 by partypest (8 reviews written)

I've been a professional computer user for years, and as with many people, my place of work used Windows NT based PC's. I was pretty good with them, and each time I had a problem, the IT dept sorted it out.

Then, I started work at a firm that used Mac's. Not being familiar with them, my first question was "What's the number for the IT dept?". The answer came "We don't have one." I was dreading having a problem and losing time. However, after a few days, I was up to speed on the subtle differences and that 'problem' never came.

I had a Windows PC at home, and I became increasingly frustrated with its quirks and temperamental attitude to everyday tasks. I vowed I'd get a MAC, just as soon as I could afford one.

Shortly after that, I went freelance and needed a laptop. I needed to be compatible with some Windows based projects, so I went with Windows XP Pro on a Sony Vaio that cost best part of £2k. It lasted nearly 13 months, so I had to buy another one. This time I'd learned my lesson, I went for a high spec but low price Fujitsu Amilo Pro. That lasted nearly 13 months too. The lesson I thought I'd learned was that it isn't worth spending a lot of money on a laptop. You may be thinking that I was rough-handling my laptops, but it traveled in a pro flightcase, my work depended on that laptop!

In the meantime, I'd bought a used iBook, just as a toy to experiment with, then I bought a used 12" PowerBook to take with me on my travels and suddenly, I realised, I could ditch the Windows PC completely if I got a MacBook Pro, and have the best of both worlds.

That was a pretty long winded way of telling you I bought a MacBook Pro, which is obvious if I'm going to review one, but I bring you on this journey because I would've saved myself a few thousand quid if I'd known that someone else had had the same reservations about spending the money on a Mac and not another laptop running Windows.

By the time I'd finished with my 12" PowerBook, it was 6 years old and still as good as the day it was made. Performance wise, it still kicked the pants off a new Windows device.

I took the plunge and bought a refurbed 13" MacBook Pro. When I absolutely HAVE to use Windows, I boot up Virtual Machine and can run Windows and Mac simultaneously. There are no peripherals I can't use and, 9 times out of 10, when a client tells me I need Windows XP/Vista/7 blah blah, I just shrug and say "That's ok, I've got a Mac.". Plenty of my clients are seeing the sense.

My MacBook Pro is more than a few years old now. It cost me less than £1k so, that in itself is a huge saving over buying new laptops every year. It's been right around the World with me, working with me and just generally making my life easier.

It doesn't end there though. The other week, it failed to boot up. I booked a Genius Bar appointment for the next day, went into the store, they looked at it for less than a minute, told me what was wrong, also told me that it was a known fault with the nVidia chip and that they'd fix it free. They did just that, that day!

So, let's recap. I paid less than £1k, 4 years ago, for a high performance laptop that has NEVER crashed, was repaired for free with no extended warranty, allows me to run as many different OS as I like and is as good looking as the day it was made. There are more applications available than you can shake a stick at, that do almost anything you could ever think of. A lot of them are free and if you fancy learning Unix, you can make your own, it's open source.

If you know very little about computers but want one for email, internet the odd letter, MP3's, online tv etc (like my wife) I see no good reason why you wouldn't choose a Mac.

If you know a fair amount about computers, but are unsure about leaving your Windows comfort zone, don't be. With a little time and perseverance, you will thank yourself for making the switch.

I can not find fault with my Mac. My only hope is that legislation allows Apple to carry on doing what it does so well.

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