The New MacBooks

Last night, Apple introduced new MacBooks. I was hoping that Apple would finally release a laptop I found suitible, as I have always believed the Titanium PowerBook was the height of Apple laptop design.

The reasons? The Titanium PowerBook had:

  1. A good screen with wide viewing angles that didn’t wash out the colours if you looked at an angle other than straight on.
  2. The screen was matte.
  3. The screen was high resolution for the time.
  4. The connectors were in the back. I like to put things next to my computers, be it a bowl of fruit or paperwork. Can’t do that with connectors on the side.
  5. No adaptors needed to hook up DVI monitors.
  6. A battery that could be hot-swapped. Only need to put the PowerBook in sleep mode, pop out the old battery, put in the new one. Can be done in 10 seconds.
  7. ATI graphics. Sometimes slow, sometimes with buggy drivers, but the chips themselves didn’t burn up over time.

So what do the new MacBook Pros bring?

  1. Poor viewing angles and colour accuracy.
  2. A super-glossy glass screen that looks like a cheap HP laptop.
  3. Other manufacturers offer much higher resolution screens with better colour gamut as well.
  4. Connectors on the left side, with none on the back. Not only that, many useful connectors like Firewire 400 have been eliminated.
  5. To connect a Dual-link DVI monitor, I’d have to buy an adaptor that costs over 100USD (at least here in Taiwan).
  6. Battery is only accessible after removing a panel. Doing so makes it look as if the hard drive might fall out. In addition to taking much longer. No word if the computer needs to be shut off first before swapping batteries (when not connected to the mains).
  7. Nvidia graphics. There have been a lot of complaints about the video chips made by Nvidia dying prematurely. What does Apple do? Instead of just using an Nvidia graphics chip, they use an Nvidia chipset as well!

Even if I wanted to buy an older model, the Taiwan Apple Store doesn’t specify if I would be getting a laptop with a matte or glossy finish. I suppose if I were to get a new MacBook, one of these screen protectors would work, but that is additional money. I might also apply it incorrectly, screwing up the appearance of the screen even more.

The unibody construction of the new Macbooks is quite impressive, but I’d rather have a flexible and cheap-feeling laptop with a good screen than one that feels solid but gives me a headache from looking at it.

I think I might just get a Lenovo Thinkpad T400 or W500 when the time comes to buy a laptop. Better screens, better battery life, better quality, cheaper… you get the idea. One of those could also give me an alert when I get new mail, seeing as they don’t run Mac OS X. That problem still hasn’t been fixed as of Mac OS 10.5.5.


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