Apple Digital Life

Apple MacBook Pro MC374LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Review

Posted on: May 19, 2011

I was a 20-year Unix-on-PC user, a Linux-on-PC user since 1993 that dual-booted with successive versions of Windows. I had always thought that Macs were overpriced and a bit limited in terms of their software and hardware ecosystem. Then, the combined effects of Windows Vista and the unfortunate direction taken by the Linux desktop community in recent years (KDE 4, GNOME 3) forced me to consider alternatives.

I tried “hackintoshing” a PC by buying the OSX Box Set and installing it on PC hardware. That was enough to get me to switch to Mac OS X on a PC. But then I had occasion to use a MacBook Pro and now I am the thrilled owner of one.

This is far and away the best computer I have ever owned. Don’t believe the common line that Macs are just “commodity hardware” like I used to. Maybe there are some commodity components in them–memory, for example, and hard drives–but this is no commodity body, commodity display, or commodity mainboard.

This thing really does “just work.” Things that have always been iffy on PCs, like sleeping, booting, and hardware configuration via BIOSes and the dreaded “Control Panel” (or, in Linux, kernel driver set and its per-driver options) are simply non-issues here. The machine is built like a tank, is an ergonomic pleasure to use with the best keyboard and screen I’ve ever experienced on any machine, desktop or laptop, it requires zero hardware configuration or even thought, and it sleeps and wakes up, connects to wireless networks, detects and accesses USB devices, and all the rest reliably and instantly. What’s more, it’s absolutely, ruthlessly silent, runs cold as ice, and the battery lasts forever and ever!

Things really do “just work.”

Before having used a free MacBook Pro for an extended period of time, I was sure that a laptop with “average” specs for the market couldn’t be worth several times what the equivalent ThinkPad (which is what I tended to use over the years) cost. Now I’m sure it’s worth every penny; I’ve been saved many hours of aggravation I didn’t even realize I didn’t have to experience, and the use of this machine is so much more transparent than PCs ever were, even after 20+ years of Windows and Unix/Linux-on-PC operating systems.

You forget the Mac is there; it becomes a part of you in a way that other hardware/software platforms never did.

If it sounds as though I’ve been converted to the Cult of Mac / Cult of Apple, it’s because I have. This machine is worth every penny, is easily the best computer I’ve ever owned (and I got my first in 1984), and I’m not sure I can ever go back to using commodity hardware or non-Apple software again.


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