Macbook or Macbook Pro?

by Andy Polaine on February 16, 2007

in General

Macbook  or  Macbook Pro

I’m about to upgrade machines and it’s time to go Macbook or Macbook Pro (the 15″). It wouldn’t be a primary design machine, so the screen resolution is not so much of an issue, nor is the speed difference (though see question 2 below).

What I want to know is:

  1. What the keyboard feels like on either of them. I write a lot and it makes a big difference to me (and I get occasional RSI). Is the Macbook’s weird flat-button keyboard nice to use or awkward?

  2. The other thing is, perhaps, playing some PC games on the laptop via Bootcamp. I know the Pro has a better graphics card but has anyone had much of a go with that on a Macbook?

  3. Is that glossy screen annoying on the Macbook? I notice you can have the option of changing it on the Pro.

I know there is a lot of opinion out there in Googleland, but frankly it’s too tedious to sift through. I’ve read the benchmarks and reviews, I’m more interested in personal experiences. I know many of you have probably been using either of these machines for some time and love or hate them.

Please step forth and comment

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Johnny February 17, 2007 at 8:33 am

I’m a macbook user. It’s great for the price no doubt about it but I wouldn’t recommend it for games.

The keyboard is fantastic I love it to bits, though I wouldn’t really know what it’s like on the Pro.

And…. I HATE the glossy screen. Repeat, I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Other than that it’s tops! (if it’s not ur primary machine).

2 Andy Polaine February 17, 2007 at 3:57 pm

But what do you really feel about the screen? Don’t hold back now…

3 tim February 18, 2007 at 7:34 am

Been on the 15″ pro for about 6 months now. I think the build of the machine is great (just those damn universal issues that’s annoying). Keyboard feels nice and matte screen is sexy. Used the standard macbook briefly and wasn’t a fan of the gloss at all nor the plasticy build. But it is small and portable if that’s what you’re after.

I think Adam’s tested gaming on his macbook so might be worth chasing him up.

4 Johnny February 18, 2007 at 7:43 am

Hmm, the screen I would like to be abit bigger like the 15″ MacBook Pro. But you can’t fit a 15″ screen on a 13″ laptop can you? (maybe you can, but it’d be wonky). Personally, I would prefer anything that’s not Gloss. Photos and colour are really really vibrant under the gloss screen though, but i hate the fact that even if the screen is off a few degrees, you’ll face a shite-load of glare. I think this maybe a personal thing though, because Adam doesn’t seem to mind the glare (and the gloss for that matter).

For portability, the Mac Book wins hands down. No doubt about it. It’s the neatest thing you can carry around.

Oh, and chicks dig it. ;)

5 James Mac February 22, 2007 at 12:15 pm

I’ve got the black macbook 13 inch. I got black so it didn’t stain. It sux for games. But that’s probably a good thing, so I don’t play them as much. Which is why I’ve never tried Bootcamp.

The keyboard is much better than the keyboard on macbook pro. The raised nature of the squares is very nice. Much better for writing than normal keys on lappies.

I don’t notice the grunt over my old eMac that much to be honest (and it crashes more) and I’ve got the maximum memory of 2gb. But it is damn sexy. The glossy screen, as the others said, is great for showing pics off, etc, but seems to hurt my eyes more than other normal laptop screens, which is a pain in the ass. Or in my eyes, rather.

Probably, were I to make my purchase again, I’d go the pro, mostly because of the better video card. But seriously, the cool factor of the black compactness outweighs any notions I have of upgrading or trading in any time soon. I do look forward to coming home to it, and even more to taking it around with me.

6 James Mac February 22, 2007 at 12:23 pm

One more comment about the games…games that I played on my old eMac run faster than they do on my Macbook – but that may just be that they are not made for the intel chip. And that’s not on Bootcamp. So sorry. Pretty useless comment actually. Yeah.

7 Knotty February 28, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Andy,

If you’re going to do anything really graphics intensive, go the MacBook Pro… The integrated graphics of the MacBook just won’t cut it…

8 Andy Polaine March 1, 2007 at 9:33 am

Ha ha, it’s funny how often people have said that, but you know it’s not terribly true – it’s the old relative power thing.

If by graphics intensive you mean video, After Effects or 3D, then maybe. But my old Powerbook ran AE and FCP really well and the Macbook is easily more potent than that one. So it’s a relative thing.

Photoshop, etc. aren’t really a problem. I’m never going to be doing much at high resolution and certainly no large format work. Again, I did lots of print stuff on my old machine too. But actually I’ll use my 20-inch iMac for that kind of work and it’s probably better for me to have a lesser machine as a laptop so I don’t keep having to deal with the choice of which to work on.

The rest of it is writing, web-stuff, etc.

Anyway, I went Macbook in the end and Bootcamp and Parallels run very well on it. I don’t know what a really graphics intensive contemporary PC game would be like, but Unreal Tournament 2004 ran really well on it in Bootcamp.

I took, for about half a day, a perverse pleasure in working in Windows, but then the simplest task (making an app start up at start up) just got so complicated as well as the fifty-milion updates it’s always doing that I remembered just why I like OS X.

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