Update to “Getting A New Notebook”

A while back, I wrote a post on how to choose a new notebook, or at least my process thereof. This is an update.

Omar Sayyed Work Station

After receiving the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook I was extremely excited. The device was packaged rather nicely, almost Apple-like. The ultrabook itself was very sleek with its carbon fiber bottom, the keyboard had a nice feel and its most impressive feature was its edge-to-edge gorilla glass. The ultrabook fired up fast and felt great. Portability was nice in comparison to the Alienware M11x since there was a huge weight reduction. But, I had to give it up and trade it in for Macbook Air. WHAT?? Had hell frozen over?

I work long hours and I typically fire up my laptop and get a few hours of work in before the next day. This usually means sitting in the dark. A light-up keyboard is an absolute essential for me. The Alienware offered the ability to customize the keyboard, the “Alienware” moniker and other doodads. I always choose the color red since according to BMW using red lights to illuminate things at night is easiest on the eyes. I always enjoyed this about the Alienware, plus their fit and finish was nice.

Very early, after the excitement of the new Ultrabook had worn off, I noticed a glaring issue with it. I slouch when I’m in bed working and for some reason that particular angle forced the keyboard lights to hit me directly in the eyes. The white light was super intense. This might be a non-issue for most people, but for me, it was a deal breaker.

At this point, I had three options: 1) the Asus Zenbook, 2) the Macbook Air or 3) start the process over. The latter was never an option since it would have lead me to option 1 and 2. As faith would have it, I wanted to update my iPad so I walked into an Apple store. I started playing with a Macbook Air and loved the design and keyboard feel.

I started doing some research about running Windows on Macs and discovered a world of people who run Windows on Macs using VMware or running it native. Using OSx never appealed to me, nor did I want to allocate space to run two operating systems. But the Macbook air was worth a try. So I purchased the 11-inch Macbook Air: 8gb of memory, 128 SSD (now 256 SSD), core i7.

If I’m absolutely honest, after opening and playing with the Macbook for a few minutes, I didn’t touch it again for 2 weeks. I was ready to wipe the Mac and run windows natively. I happened to stop by the Apple store again to get a new phone when I started speaking to one of the sales reps. He convinced me to try out OSx for at least 1 week. He showed me a few things on it and asked if I would give it an honest try. He even told me that he would help me install windows if I would give it a try.

So I did. That friday night, I opened the Macbook Air and started using it. It was very intuitive and despite having to learn a few minor things, it seemed to work just fine. The following Monday, I had our IT guy install MS Office so I could use Outlook and with the exceptions of a little bit of longer delay in receiving, sending and downloading emails, it was working beautifully.

Since then, I have become a convert. In fact, I have given up my Windows desktop and I’m only using the laptop with an external monitor. I have just placed an order for two 27-inch Apple monitors since I can daisy-chain up to 2 monitors. Hardware-wise there is little comparison between the Apple and the Dell, well almost anything else on the market. If you are not an Apple person, like me about 7 months back, you won’t understand this. Yes it’s more expensive, yes you’ll have to learn a few things, yes you’ll have to join the cult, and yes it is better.

My only gripe thus far?

  1. Deleting apps or programs is complicated. It’s not just dragging something into the trashcan. So I had to buy CleanMyMac.
  2. Microsoft Outlooks sucks on this. For some reason the Apple email client doesn’t like to play nice with our Microsoft Exchange servers so I downloaded MS Office for Mac. It runs fine, but there is definitely a lag in receiving, sending and downloading emails. Also the signature field is not as customizable. I can’t customize the “reply” signature.

Other than that, I love the Macbook Air running on OSx. Oh and I convinced our IT guy that all will be right with the world if we use Apples. So far, I’ve been right.

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