The end of a 12-year-run with Mac laptops

posted by Jeff | Friday, February 2, 2018, 9:21 PM | comments: 0

As you might expect, I had been around Macs as early as college, when we had one in our residence life staff office in the hall where I was an RA (a Mac SE, I think). In my first TV job, I got to buy one for use as a video editor. Some years later, Stephanie bought an iBook, when the stopped making them colorful. I didn't buy one myself until 2006, when Apple flipped over to Intel CPU's. Prior to that, I had four other laptops, the only one of which that didn't suck was a Sony (that cost a remarkable $2,500 in 1999, and I can't believe I spent that much). That first Intel Mac was the best I ever had to date, and was the first of many, though it was not without its problems.

And that brings us to now, when I've found that getting another Mac laptop is financially insane. When I bought the last one, if you wanted a good laptop with the specs I got, the pricing was pretty much the same across the board, only the other manufacturers had crappy designs. What I call the "Surface influence," the act of Microsoft making really nice, thin hardware with the Surface Pro, hadn't really made an impact yet. Bit for bit, Apple still had the best stuff with very little premium paid for it being from Apple.

What a difference four years makes. HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and the like all make really nice hardware. It's not that the Macs are less nice, because they're still pretty great (if generally behind a CPU release cycle for extended periods of time). It's just the price difference. I ended up getting HP's Spectre x360, with its nutty flipping screen for when you want to use it as a tablet, for $1,400. That's the latest quad-core CPU, 16 gigs of RAM, a 512 gig SSD, under three pounds with a 4K touch screen and insane battery life. The equivalent MacBook Pro, which would still be behind a generation of CPU's and not have the great screen, would cost $900 more.

Yes, I have to deal with some of the weirdness that is Windows (I immediately flattened the computer with a clean install), and I do love the general typography and ease of use of MacOS, but they've really blown the value curve for me. Congrats, HP... what a huge difference compared to the awful piece of crap I bought from you 14 years ago!

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