Previous 1 2 Next 21 Replies Latest reply: Jan 10, 2010 9:05 PM by GoodmorningNightmare
GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi all,

First of all, I am a huge fan of Apple products and own a Macbook pro purchased in 2007. I've never even imagined using a computer that is not made by Apple despite the fact that I use Windows quite a lot because of all the architecture softwares (D*mn it, you Autodesk!) . Here I am, looking for an alternative laptop to a Macbook pro. My belief has been that there's no alternative to the Macbook pro, so I didn't know where to start. After surfing around dell, sony, etc, I thought it would be fool of me not to ask you guys who may know well both Mac and other laptops.

My beloved macbook pro's battery said goodbye to me, but I didn't want to buy an one-hundred-dollar new battery because I've been thinking I need a more powerful laptop anyway. The new unibody Macbook pro 17" looked really good, but I found out that it has a built-in battery, and that Apple doesn't even sell a battery separately. I'll have to bring the laptop to the apple store and let them change the battery. (Mr.jobs, I can do the job. Please let me do it myself, saving some dollars. By the time the battery's depleted, the warranty is expired anyway!) Also, Apple is so closed that I can't trust any third party products for Apple.

After buying a $3000 laptop, the customer has to pay $200 every two-so year without any legitimate option? What is this, am I a drug addict, and they are the only drug dealer in the town? I feel like they think that their customers are all moronic zealots. (yeah, I was actually.)

Please let me hear what you guys think. Any word will be appreciated. You can give me some other options to purchase, or you can call me an idiot who doesn't know anything about the laptop and tell me to stick to the macbook pro--please don't forget to give me a reason to stick around the apple store besides calling me an idiot, though.

Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Travis A. Level 6 Level 6 (14,970 points)
    So, am I right in thinking that your major (only) issue with the MBP is the battery? If so, then consider the following:

    1) The new batteries are rated for 1000 charge cycles. 3 times the length of the old ones such as the one in your machine. So, instead of replacing the battery in 2 years, you'd have approximately 6 years before the same level of wear appears. I think most people replace their machines after 6 years.

    2) Even if you don't want to replace the machine after 6 years, a battery replacement will still be approximately the same price. So, instead of paying $150 (that is much closer than $200) every 2 years, you'd be paying $150 every 6 years. On a PC, you'll be paying for annual anti-malware software that could cost $100 every year.

    3) Batteries in notebook PCs are noticeably inferior to what is in a MBP now. Most of them won't get half the battery life that a MBP would get. If they do, they have a bulky 9-cell battery that often increases their thickness and weight substantially. Not as portable. And you'll run into the same issue with a PC that you did with your older MBP. Their batteries don't have a longer lifespan, and are very similar in cost to a MBP battery. Yet, the new MBPs have batteries that last longer on a charge and have longer lifespan.

    Also, Apple is so closed that I can't trust any third party products for Apple.


    Why do you say this? I use multiple third-party products with my MBP, from a video adaptor to multiple external hard disks. There are reputable and trustworthy companies selling third-party batteries for older MBPs too.

    I think you'd be an idiot (your own words) to switch to a PC based on these concerns. But, you did ask for opinions. If you need any clarification, just ask.

    --Travis
  • GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Travis A. What a quick response.

    It's good to know that the lifespan of the new battery is 3 times longer if I can trust what Apple says. I hear people complaining that the new battery does never last more than about 4 hours under normal circumstances.

    I'd checked the built-in battery for 17" costs $180. You are the first one who said that third party MBP batteries are trustworthy. Maybe I didn't research enough. Another question is, are batteries in all of notebook PCs really that inferior to those of MBPs?

    You are probably right. It may not be a good idea to switch to a pc just because of the battery issue. However, I really come to hate the way Apple treats the customer (Maybe I've just become anti-corporation?). I now want to know other options and other people's opinions. I'd like to ask anti-Mac/PC fans, but they don't even seem to know what an Macbook Pro is, based on my personal experiences of hearing them talk about mac.
  • Travis A. Level 6 Level 6 (14,970 points)
    I understand not really trusting Apple's hard numbers, but what you can trust is that the new batteries will last longer than the previous ones. Perhaps it may not be 3x as long, depending on how you use the battery, but it should be +at least+ 2x as long.

    I hear people complaining that the new battery does never last more than about 4 hours under normal circumstances.


    Well, it does depend what normal circumstances are defined as. With my MBP (old, user-replaceable battery rated for 5 hours and 300 charge cycles) I can still get 4.5 hours after 1 year of use, with WiFi off and the screen brightness at the lowest setting. That's fine for me if I'm taking notes in class. For others, if they use more intensive apps, the number could be lower. Still, I can't imagine getting worse battery life than any PC when carrying out the same tasks.

    I'd checked the built-in battery for 17" costs $180.


    My mistake entirely. I did read that you were interested in the 17" but had the 15" in mind when I typed my reply! Sorry about that, you're right!

    Obviously you'd want to do research into the third-party solutions but unless you find a large number of people complaining about them I would see no reason not to trust them, especially if the price differential is large. If you're saving $20 though, I'd go with the Apple battery.

    However, I really come to hate the way Apple treats the customer


    I've had the exact opposite experience. All my Apple gear works perfectly and when I did have issues in the past they've been very quick to take care of me and have the malfunctioning product repaired or replaced. You may be able to find a PC manufacturer that is better at this than Apple, or you may not. I personally doubt you will, but I don't have much experience with PCs, admittedly.

    --Travis
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    I would tend to agree with everything that Travis has said. Apparently these new batteries are really good and you can save some weight and bulk by using them. Actual run time may vary a lot depending on what you are doing. People who are normally listening to music and playing games will have a shorter run time than people who are maybe just doing email and Apple Discussions. You probably know by now how many cycles per year you might put on a battery and what kind of run time you get with the battery you have now with your own computing habits.

    My only concern--and I've NEVER read about a problem of this nature--is that these built in batteries could swell and leak like some of the earlier MBP Sony batteries did. I am assuming that the problem has been solved for the built in batteries, or we would be hearing about it on the forums.

    As for customer service, I have read that Apple is consistently rated higher than others. I am thinking of things like their flat rate repair program for older Macs. I don't know of anybody else who would fix an older PowerBook or MBP for ~$300+ instead of trying to sell you a new one instead for several thousand. I doubt very much that there is anything like that for my dad's old Windows desktop, although I could be mistaken.
  • Randy Pozzi Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)
    You should have bought the last late 2008 Mac Book Pro that has the removable battery if that's your concern. It was my concern, also. I bought two of those computers. I didn't want one with an internal battery. I have a Nu-Power battery charger/refresher and rotate my batteries. I was able to obtain several used batteries with low cycle counts from a supplier. With this set up, I keep my batteries plugged in on the computer all the time. I restore them out of the computer on rotation. I'm a firm believer that discharging them in the computer ruins them.

    zoz
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    I'm a firm believer that discharging them in the computer ruins them.


    This is just nonsense.
  • GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Why would you say that? Can you share the reason you pointed out that is nonsense?
  • JDVough Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    To reply to your original question, alternatives to a MacBook Pro.... I bought my MacBook Pro 13 six months ago and love it. But I also totally loved my Dell XPS 1210 that I had before it. It had a good build quality, and was very stable with XP and Vista. With its upgraded graphics chip it even played 3D-ish games. I do not know if this is all true with the latest XPS laptop models but I would wholly recommend the XPS laptop line. That being said, I don't know why a new battery wouldn't do what you want.
  • GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks JDVough, I'd like to mark your post as helpful, but it seems like I can click the helpful button only 2 times.

    I checked out Dell XPS. The 16" one seems nice. It's got Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor @ 1.6GHz and 500GB6 7200 RPM7 SATA Hard Drive, which seems good. Also, the speaker is much better than that of the MBP. However, I am not sure about its 'shared' RAM and ATI graphic card. If the video card works well, why does the RAM memory have to be shared?
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Because notebook batteries are made to be used and discharged inside the computer. That's what they're for. It's all they're for. Randy's comment is as silly as saying you shouldn't drive your car on its tires because it just ruins them. You buy a portable computer because it gives you the option of running on battery power when AC isn't available.
  • GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You're right, eww. If I see someone who has several sets of tires and rotates those once a week, I would say it's ridiculous. Car tires are meant to be abused and thrown away eventually. However, I think in that nonsense-way the user will have more time to molest each tire since each set of tires has some time to rest while others are being harassed.

    As you pointed out, I don't see any reason to have several batteries if the user uses AC all the time, though.

    Any thoughts on my original question, eww?
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Any thoughts on my original question, eww?


    Nope. Travis has covered the subject well. As someone who has kept and used several portable computers, all Macs, for four to six years each, I see the 1000-cycle battery — and the likelihood that I'd never need to replace it — as a real selling point.
  • GoodmorningNightmare Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    After intense research, I've found an amazing option.

    Dell dv8t Quad Edition customized as:

    • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-820QM Processor (1.73GHz, 8MB L2 Cache,1333MHz FSB)w/Turbo Boost up to 3.06 GHz
    • 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
    • 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230M
    • 18.4" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920x1080p)

    This customized laptop costs only $2000. It is so cheap compared to the Macbook Pro 17" although it is so ugly compared to the MBP. Surprisingly, this one is much more powerful for a lot less money.
    As a person who has been using both Windows and OS X for a long time, I can say that Windows is such a self-messed up operating system. Since I have to use Windows anyway, only concern is the
    hardware.

    I am no expert when it comes to the pc laptop. Is there something that I am missing about the laptop above? It seems too good to me. Who will enlighten me?

    thanks
  • Travis A. Level 6 Level 6 (14,970 points)
    I don't know how that laptop will offer you better battery life and lifespan, compared to the MBP? I thought that was your original concern.

    --Travis
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