in Technology

MacBookPro – two hot weeks.

As I was about to leave Littlewoods, handing back my laptop in the ceremony of stripping of the tech (think of Beau Geste and ripping off the epaulets of the legionnaires – you get the picture), I get call from the lovely people at Square, the Mac centre on New Oxford Street, saying that they did after all have a “spare” MacBookPro… Did I want it?

One quick fumble to extract my credit card later and it was mine. They “only had the 2ghz” (heh) and I was pleased with the specs. Lots of everything. My 15″ G4 powerbook had been running like a dog: a combination of Firefox memory leak (which I hadn’t realised was happening), years of crap software, betas, rubbish and finally no disk space was making it painfully slow. Oh, and an old processor, and no RAM. Anyway, it had served well. I was however looking forward to the promised greased lightning computing.

Two weeks in, with the first coffee stains on the lovely speakers, and scratches on the lid, here’re my thoughts. This isn’t a full review cos hey I’m lazy, underqualified and others have done it better. These are the views of a Mac Addict on his new toy (^W ‘necessary business expenditure).

1) Packaging to die for. I assume the box is matt-laminated to withstand frequent licking by happy purchasers? Thin, elegant, stylish. What an experience. It’s probably “eco” too, just to add to the smugness factor! I’m keeping the box.

2) Power chord. It’s lovely. Great idea – especially in a house with galloping 3-year olds. The downside is that the transformer unit is significantly bigger than the last PB unit and so plugging it in (on trains, odd corners, underfloor power boxes etc) is a pain. Speaking of pain, there’s now a need to acquire – at £65 a pop – spare power adapters. Strike two on the gullibility scale.

3) Illuminated keyboard. Why didn’t I specify this on the last PB? Excellent.

4) Screen. Denser pixel count, brighter. Pleasant.

5) Startup: whoosh – that’s fast.

6) Speed overall. Well, it’s certainly faster for most things. iCal is still a total, barking, mangey dog. It was conceived in an evil plot to sap power from ‘puters and make us upgrade. It’s now just “awful” instead of “suicide-inducing”. Firefox suck, Mail.app flies, searchlight is fiendishly quick and iPhoto is on performance-enhancing drugs! 10,000 images scrolling briskly. Impressive. That aside though it’s simply a brisker overall experience.

7) YE GODS IT’S HOT!! If this is the “cool” option (ie the Intel dual core because G5 chips run too hot) then I’m going to buy an asbestos mat for the G5. I’ve never had a laptop this hot: it really is not safe for laps! The heat seems to come from the left hand side by the power supply so I blame that. I don’t know why, but I do. You may remember those “take a break” reminder widgets so you didn’t get RSI: this is ‘take a break or your hand will fry!” 🙂

That’s it.

Is it wortwhile? Not sure. It’s nice to have a new ‘puter (fewer scratches, chance to start over on the organisational front, smell of the box etc), but it’s an evolutionary step rather than a total speed revolution. A G5 desktop is still way faster for about everything, and – as we Maccies get reminded – most PC desktops are faster still. Just shows that a) you don’t really need that much power for mobile computing and b) what Mac Addicts will put up with just to use OSX and be touched by the Power of Jobs.

Now, time to order that G5 🙂

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