A month with the 15” MatteBook Pro
After a month of use, I appreciate my new matte-screen MacBook Pro even more.
The battery life is very good. During typical web/email activities at medium screen brightness, it’s easy to get 7-8 hours. I never expected it to be this good, and it has changed the way I use it at home: since I almost never need to use it for more than 2-4 hours at a time, I never worry about running a power cord to wherever I’m sitting. I just use it on battery, then plug it in when I put it back into its stand for the night.
It runs cool. Some parts warm slightly after a while, but no part of it gets noticeably hot unless you’re heavily loading the CPU for a while. Again, I never expected it to run as cool as it does, and this makes longer periods of use much more comfortable than I expected.
It’s fast. And it will be even faster once I put an Intel X25-M SSD in it (whenever prices make sense). This is likely to extend its useful life.
The matte screen was worth every penny and every bit of hassle for the exchange.
The only downside is the weight, which really isn’t bad unless you’re loading up your bag with other heavy things, in which case you’ll want either the Air or no laptop (usually the better option). But I’m not bringing it with me every day anymore since I no longer have a commute during which I can reasonably use it. It mainly exists as a secondary household computer and a travel/mobile workstation, so the weight is far less important than if I were carrying it in a bag every day with a heavy camera.
The lineup is clearly defined for me now, and I’m confident that I made the right choice:
- MacBook Air: Ultimate for portability. Limited capabilities, performance, and screen resolution. Acceptable plastic-glossy screen. The SSD option is a must since the 1.8” hard drive is so slow.
- Plastic MacBook: Most economical. Good portability. Mediocre build quality that ages poorly. Great capabilities, good performance, limited resolution. Acceptable plastic-glossy screen.
- 13” MacBook Pro: Good portability. Great capabilities, good performance, limited resolution. Awful glass screen.
- 15” MacBook Pro: Moderate portability. Great capabilities, great performance, good resolution. Great matte-screen option.
- 17” MacBook Pro: Poor portability. Great capabilities, great performance, excellent resolution. Great matte-screen option.
Some glass-screen owners say it doesn’t bother them. They’re fortunate: they have the most options. But many weakly accept the glass with excuses like “It’s not too bad” or “I’ve gotten used to it.”
I prefer to buy products that don’t need me to make excuses for them. “Not bad” isn’t enough. I want good. I don’t want to tolerate my computers — I want to be delighted with them, like I am with my Mac Pro.
So, until (and unless) there’s a matte-screen option on the 13” MacBook, I see two major contenders in the lineup: the Air with SSD for ultraportability, and the 15” with matte for most other priorities. Given my priorities, I’m extremely satisfied with the choice I made, and using it is a delight.
In fact, this is the happiest I’ve been with a laptop since my first one, the 15” PowerBook G4 that introduced me to the Mac in 2004. Both times I’ve chosen the 15” form factor, I’ve been happiest with my choice. Hopefully I’ll remember this myself before I have another three-year affair with the 13” lineup full of performance and screen-size frustrations.