I suffered one year of sleep, hibernate and boot problems with my Sony Vaio VGN-AR69GU laptop. The last time I applied a Windows Update, it caused my laptop to hang for 30 minutes while booting up, which is unacceptable for my work. I hoped these problems would go away once I migrated from Windows Vista to Windows 7, so I bought a new notebook to make the transition easier.
I chose to replace my 17-inch Sony Vaio laptop with a 17-inch MacBook Pro. Why did I choose the MacBook Pro over other PC notebooks like Sony or Dell?
-- I can dual-boot Windows 7 and Mac OS X on the MacBook Pro. I plan to do most of my work in Windows 7, but if Windows 7 causes problems I can still fall back on Mac OS X to work on my e-mail and other documents.
-- The MacBook Pro battery lasts about twice as long as the Sony Vaio's extended battery. I was able to run the MacBook Pro for 4 hours on Mac OS X, based on my continuous usage of HSDPA/HSPA mobile broadband. I like the battery indicator by the side of the MacBook Pro--a series of LED lights tells me how much battery power I have remaining. Charging the MacBook Pro battery is faster than on the Sony Vaio; the MacBook Pro power adapter is a lot smaller and lighter, too.
-- The MacBook Pro is very much slimmer and lighter than my Sony Vaio with the extended battery (3kg vs 4kg). I like the sturdy aluminum build and unlike most notebooks, the MacBook Pro doesn't have a fan. It's completely quiet. (Correction: There are actually 2 fans, as you can see here. But there are no vents pumping out hot air, and I can't hear the fans, so I'm still happy.)
-- The 17-inch anti-glare screen (at additional cost) is better for my eyes, compared to the glossy, reflective screens of other notebooks.
-- Other nice features I like about the MacBook Pro: The illuminated keyboard that lets me type in the dark; the powerful Nvidia graphics processor; the power cable that snaps quickly to the power port without needing to poke around.
Ordering the MacBook Pro through the Apple Web site was easy and efficient. The notebook configured with additional options and accessories was delivered in four business days, faster than my experience with Dell.
What don't I like about the MacBook Pro?
-- It's costly. Adding all the options to the 17-inch MacBook Pro (3.06Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive, anti-glare screen) will cost about S$6,900 (US$4,800).
-- The battery is not removable. Apple claims that the battery can be recharged up to 1,000 times, nearly three times the lifespan of typical notebook batteries. So hopefully I won't need to send my MacBook Pro to Apple for battery replacement within the next two or three years.
-- There isn't a VGA port on the MacBook Pro, you need to connect a special cable to convert the Mini DisplayPort into a VGA port. This is one crucial cable that can be easily misplaced--I keep an extra cable in my bag just in case I lose it.
-- Some keys that are standard on a PC keyboard are missing in the MacBook Pro: Backspace, Home, End, Page Up/Down, Print Screen, Insert, Menu, etc. When you use PC programs on a Mac, you need to press special key combinations, e.g. for Home you need to press Command-Left Arrow.
-- Other shortcomings with the MacBook Pro: No built-in Blu-ray drive; USB ports positioned too closely to each other and located in a single spot; Need to buy two versions of Microsoft Office (for Mac and for Windows), if you want to work on both Mac OS X and Windows.
Next week, I'll share my experience installing Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, check my Twitter feed for tips on the MacBook Pro: http://twitter.com/MisterTechBlog