Friday, April 09, 2010

Return of the Mac(k)

After taking the apple store's advice and buying a netbook (a Samsung N210) 6 weeks ago, I picked up my MacBook from repairs earlier this week. It was an interesting 6 weeks back in Windows world, and I thought I'd share a few of my observations.

Battery life:
My Mac gets ~3 hours per charge, the N210 gets ~8 hours. This difference is noticeable in just about everything you do. With an 8 hour charge, I can justify the $12 for gogo inflight wireless on a cross country flight as I'll actually be able to use it the entire time. Also, it means not having to carry around a charger all the time (a good thing too, as the Samsung charger is hideous).

Screen size:
A netbook is tiny. The screen size is reduce proportionately - you have to scroll all the time, including sideways on some sites. More concerning, the quality of the screen is a lot worse. For the first two days I kept trying to adjust the brightness, but nothing seemed to make it improve. It's torture on the eyes to look at for any lengthy period of time.

Speed:
When everything is working, and there's only limited background activity, both machines pur along nicely. However, as soon as anything starts happening in the background on the PC or the Mac gets a bit hot they both come to a screeching halt. I guess it's hard to say one really has an advantage over the other, except that the Mac can stream video - which makes all the difference if it's a primary machine.

Windows vs. OSX:
I can't find where I read it, but a recent comparison I saw likened Windows to living in the bad part of town with bars on the window and OSX to living in an open barn in the country side with no neighbors. I can't agree with this more - Windows is constantly doing something to remind you of security, and when you have a machine that can't handle much background activity that can get very annoying. OSX is a much more enjoyable experience, but in all honesty Windows 7 has come pretty far and isn't half bad.

All in all, I'll miss the battery life, but I'm happy to have a snappier machine back that works how I expect. I'll keep the N210 around for the next time the MacBook gives out, but beyond that it'll have to suffice as an expensive paperweight in the meantime.

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