I did something crazy a little over a month ago… and I love it!

Friday, January 11, 2008 7:13 PM

People that know me know that this is one hell of a crazy move on my part. So what was it? I semi-retired my Dell D820 in favor of a brand new Apple MacBook Pro (MBP) in early December. Now, before you think this is some super radical move, know that I’m running Vista 99% of the time. Still tinkering around in Leopard but need to learn more… hello Mac101.

Why did I do it? Because it is the best damn reasonably portable laptop on the market. I got a 15" right after they released updated specs (Intel’s 2.6Ghz Santa Rosa Core 2 Duo, 200GB 72000 RPM). Saved a few bucks upgrading to 4GB myself. I looked at a few other laptop options… what wanted was a machine that was more powerful than my Dell, a better screen (the MBP has a LED-lit screen… talk about bright… I usually only have it at 60-70% brightness when indoors) and weighed less. The 15" MBP is thinner, lighter (less than 5.5lbs!) and better built… no plastic stressing when this thing is built in a lightweight aluminum case. The rest of the specs rock… 800Mhz frontside bus, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 256MB, FireWire 800 with the super fast 800Mbps for faster virtual machines (USB2 only goes up to 480Mbps)… all resulting in a beautiful 5.1 Vista Experience Index!

At first I was real hesitant to do make the move. They keyboard was a bit different in that there is no delete or insert key (you hit FN+ENTER for insert, Apple’s delete key is like the PC backspace, but FN+delete acts like a PC delete) and the lower-left corner keys are in a different order (FN - CTRL - ALT/OPTION - Apple/Windows), but the latter is more like a Toshiba yet easier to get used to. What about that whole no 2nd mouse button? No problem at all… my Microsoft Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000 paired up just fine, and even when I’m not using it a right click is as easy as placing two fingers on the touchpad and then clicking. But after checking out Dustin’s and Heather’s in Vegas during SharePoint Connections, I realize they would not be issues at all so I placed my order.

I’ve been using it now for over a month, presented once and taught three classes. Now feeling comfortable, I finally can come out of the closet. :) There are a few things I like so much more. First, setting up Vista was incredibly easy! Just run the Boot Camp assistant, tell it to split the partition, reboot into the Vista DVD, install, followed up by installing the Leopard drivers for the keyboard (modifying the screen brightness, sound, DVD eject key, the backlit keyboard and the built-in iSight camera. Amazingly I was up and running in 17 minutes! People told me the battery life sucked… not my experience. I got a 2nd battery just for those long flights (which is nice and small, like everything else with this laptop). The other thing I love about it is the A/C adapter… compared to other laptops I’ve had its tiny which is great for someone who travels.

Of course there are a few things I don’t like. Wish there was a docking station that Apple offered (there is a 3rd party option but it takes up a ton of room on your desk). Also don’t like that the FireWire, network, and monitor output is all on the right side so you need a little room on the desk if presenting if you’re using an external mouse. But seriously, that’s it as these are admittedly minor gripes!

This is by far the best laptop I’ve ever owned and I absolutely love it… zero regrets! Consider the Apple MBP if you’re looking for a new powerful yet portable machine.

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