Pros good build quality, stable and secure OS
Cons too few USB ports, and too close together
Summary After twenty years of owning DOS and WinOS PCs, a dozen of those in Wintel I.T. sales and support, I defected to Mac rather than "upgrade" to Vista when my old notebook died. (I'm not in the PC biz anymore, so I figured it was as good a time as any.)
It was the right move, although the learning curve was a little steeper than I expected. Someone who is/was not as involved in the nuts and bolts of the OS might have an easier time of it, however, as there would be fewer WinOS habits to unlearn.
The MacBoook is a bit pricey, but well put together, and the assembly quality is better than the low-end PCs that I had been using of late. The slot-loading optical drive means no more gingerly operating a flimsy disc tray, and the magnetic lid is a nice touch. The keyboard has good tactile feedback, the screen is bright and clear, and the connections for USB, audio, etc. all fit securely.
Battery life is good, especially with some minor tweaking to the power management features. Boot-up and shut-down are fast, and OS X Leopard has so far been very stable. Being free of the need for conventional resource-sucking antivirus and spyware software has been a performance plus.
On the down side: Hard-wired connectivity isn't the greatest. There are only two USB ports, both located on the same side of the chassis, and too close together. Cables or devices that are only a little wider than the ports themselves won't fit simultaneously. iLife is an impressive suite of creativity tools, but I might have preferred to have iWork included instead, since the bulk of my work is more pedestrian spreadsheets and word processing. (Boring, I know. Most prospective Mac buyers might disagree with me.)
I bought the black Mac, but would probably recommend others get the white. The price difference for the black isn't cost effective, and the matte finish can get marked up with fingerprints easily.
If you're happy using Windows or have a lot invested in Windows softwawe, making "The Switch" might not be for you. If, however, you've considered moving to Mac and you need a notebook, the MacBook is a good way to do it.
Pros Quality build; scary fast; great screen; compact form factor; awesome keyboard
Cons No Express Card 34 slot; no PCMCIA slot; no dedicated video
Summary This is my 8th Mac and I must admit, it is a beauty. As I write this review using my MBP CD2 2.16, my Blackbook (Santa Rosa) is loading VM Ware's Fusion (so I can use XP and Ubuntu). I do not consider myself a power user but have very discriminating tastes when it comes to my ladies (laptops). They must not only be great looking on the outside, they must also have stellar innards. That said, my Blackbook almost strikes the elusive "perfect balance" of form versus function.
I initially set out to purchase an HP TX1320 (specs: AMD TL-60; 2 gig Ram; 250 hard drive; tablet; 12.1" screen; great speakers; dedicated video, er 64 native, 128 can be allocated if I recall correctly) but visited CompUSA and tried it out first. It had an excellent keyboard, quality look and feel to it, but I could not focus on the screen without squinting. I was very disappointed.
My alternate object of affection was the beautiful Sony TZ 150. Wow, she was gorgeous. Had a sleek, quality design. Though only 2.7 pounds, she had a built-in DVD writer, wicked long life battery, great keyboard (similar to the Blackbook, albeit a bit cramped), and a screen to die for. So why didn't I get it? I could not see myself typing out my whitepapers hunched over such a small screen. My eyes were strained too much during grad school and I really needed a machine that was travel-wise yet provided much needed ergonomic comfort (I still have a soft spot for my old iBook 14" ... she was hot). But alas, I digress...
Now convincing myself to buy another Mac wasn't difficult, I just wanted to sample my options. Sure I looked at the Toshiba Tecra M8, Satellite U305-S5127 (she wasn't bad in the eyes), but the build quality just didn't stack up. I suppose I've been a bit brainwashed by Steve Jobs, but after owning a Mac SE 30, iMac, 2 iBooks, 2 Powerbooks, and a MacBook Pro, I really like the Mac platform. Having said all this, I am still equally drawn to Windows machines. I've owned 2 Thinkpads, 2 Sony Vaios (SZ and T series), one wild night with a cheap Acer (she won't let me forget it...suppose I drank too much), and countless short term relationships with nondescript Win-Tel laptops, but haven't found the COOL factor in any Windows machine to date. There I said it -- the COOL factor. I know I can be a bit shallow when it comes to aesthetics, but I appreciate a good looking lady, er laptop!
OK, let me get back on track. The Blackbook is a well executed design. My only drawbacks are the lack of a PC card slot, and dedicated video card. I am not a hard core gamer, but I like options. Verizon Broadband should be happy because I had to purchase a USB 720 exterior card to stay connected on the road, and will not be using my Express Card 34 Broadband card, thus extending my contract (don't get me started on that oligopoly arrangement Sprint, Verizon, AT&T -- really a 2-year commitment just to but new technology!!)
In closing, if you are even considering a purchase of a MacBook, I'd say go for it. Even as an owner of the MacBook Pro, I find the MacBook black edition, more attractive and it has a superior keyboard feel (I like the tactile feel; MBP is too mushy). Finally, the battery lasts a whopping 5+ hours versus 3 hours for my MBP (your results may vary).
Pros OS X, Looks good, decent power under the hood
Cons Can cut your wrists if not carful, no dedicated GPU, No LED screen
Summary I currently own an iMac and was looking for a portable to take on the go. I was trying to decide between the XPS & the BlackBook and to be honest i haven't made a decision yet
Anyways my impressions of this machine so far:
Its fast and everything loads quickly...its definately no slouch. Leopard works well for the most part but like every new OS needs a little tweaking. Basically everything works well out of the box
It'll get you looks as the laptop looks good i'd say even better than the white version.
However i've found some issues with it.
For one there is a significant design flaw on the notebook. The edge between the palm rest and the base of the notebook is quite sharp and can cause some serious discomfort when using the trackpad unless you don't rest your palms on the edge at all which is not a natural thing to do
Also you will notice the fact that you're using an integrated graphics solution, transitions/animations (eye candy) in Leopard can become jerky and laggy. Supposedly though, this will be fixed in the form of a driver update soon.
Finally i was a bit bummed that Apple still didn't include an LED screen in the current revision like other manufacturers are doing. It would have decreased weight (5 pounds currently) and improve battery life (between 4 & 5hrs) but instead Apple would rather you pony up the extra cash for a MacBook Pro which has this
Overall i don't hate the laptop in fact, i quite like it due to the flexibility it gives in terms of running multiple OS with very good performance thanks to high-end processors, ample storage etc but i am not 100% satisfied with it.
However if you're looking to try out OS X whilst retaining the option to run other OSes then this laptop is for you and offers decent value for money.
Pros Performance; ease of use; smooth OS
Cons Noisy optical drive
Summary My only regret with this machine is that I waited so long to get it. Overall I am overjoyed with this laptop, and highly recommend it, especially for anyone unsatisfied with the current options for similar PC/Win laptops.
I researched numerous mid-range thin laptops, and I felt MacBook was comparable to PC offerings in price and features. The only key hardware shortcomings, in my view, are no express card slot (but can get a USB card) and only two (neighboring) USB slots (I was not concerned with high end video cards). Was pleased to have gigabit ethernet, BT 2.0, and WifiN (some PC offerings that were more expensive didn't), although wish it had the LED screen.
I AGONIZED over the potential pain of moving to a Mac OS after using Windows for 15 years--would I regret the attempt? My fingers are wired to use all the shortcuts going back to the days of Win 3.0 and the command line from MS-DOS, I have tons of data for Windows programs...you get the idea. But the questionable quality control and customer support with some of my other laptop options or their higher relative price, my fear of Vista problems, and the ability to run Windows on the Mac when needed made me take the plunge. Have you noticed the major difference in average CNET user opinions and comments between reviewers of Macs vs windows laptops? Opinions on most mid-price Windows machines are decidedly mixed, but almost everyone seems to love their Mac. Now I know why.
The best part: it WORKS PERFECTLY AND SMOOTHLY right out of the box. No crashes, hardware installation/configuration, endless re-starts. A few minutes of reading "Mac for Windows users" sites/advice, and it was easy to use/customize the OS and applications. Instant connections to wifi, BT, external drives, etc--no messing around like it seemed I always had to do with PCs. The optical drive is absurdly noisy sometimes. Screen is decent, keyboard nice, touch pad fine, videocam nice, decent sound, great battery life, love that magnetic power cord. The overall simplicity and functioning of the hardware makes you say, "why aren't all machines like this?"
The desktop/application management features are slick (Expose, Spaces, shortcuts). With the HD from my dead Win laptop in an external case w/ USB cable, I was able to transfer my data easily (slightly different storage scheme on Mac). Overall the basics of getting around the Mac are not THAT different from a Windows OS, I expected it to be harder.
Installed Office for Mac, the normal apps work great. Entourage is, as I knew, NOT an Outlook counterpart, and there is no perfect solution to migrate Outlook data (PST files, etc) to Entourage. I will probably use MissingSync to load contacts/tasks/calendar/notes into Entourage/iCal/etc from my WinMobile phone, and then migrate the email with Outlook2Mac or Emailchemy (neither is perfect). A corporate user might have to think through this carefully, I was not to worried with my personal email since I can always pull up an Outlook window to get into an archive...see next paragraph.
By far my favorite aspect of this new toy came when I installed VMWare Fusion (allows running other OS's on the Mac, simultaneously with Leopard). Wow is this a fantastic and well-executed concept! So simple, so smooth. This machine runs WinXPsp2 way more smoothly than my old PC, and the XP virtual machine (VM) is so eash to start/stop/configure. You can confine any guest OS to its own portion of the hard drive, protecting from infection of Win viruses. Since the import of Quicken data from Win to Mac is not seamless, I will use the XP VM to run Quicken. I'll also need to use IE for a few sites that don't work with Mozilla/Safari.
So for ~$1500 plus some software I got a machine that runs and looks great, and the confidence that it will continue to do so. If this machine meets your requirements for hardware and price, do NOT let the fact that it is a Mac stop you--even if you install VMWare/BootCamp/Parallels and ONLY use the machine with a Win/Sun/other OS, it is still worth doing for the quality and piece of mind.
Pros Reliable, FAST, extremely fast boot up, too many to list!
Cons Screen isnt as crisp as I thought it would be
Summary Well I finally got fed up with the Windows / PC world, and took the plunge to Mac. If I would have known how much better their machines are, I would have jumped ship a LONG time ago. It does get frustrating trying to learn a new OS again, but it becomes VERY apparent how much Windows tries to emulate Mac. Just like it has always been said, there's only ONE original! The 30 second boot up time blows my 5 minute experience with my PC. I am slowly transitioning my workload from my PC to my Mac as I learn more. I was anti-mac forever, and the only person I hurt was myself, jump ship - its worth it!