An unusual "what to buy" situation

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
My PowerBook G4 is getting a bit old, a bit buggy, and running out of space. Plus, my kid's grandma really wants us to get a new computer with a webcam so that she can have video chats with her grandkid.



Before we go further, let me summarize how I use the laptop. It's primary use is for playing TV shows downloaded from iTunes. My kid's Backyardigans and Thomas the Train get plenty of use, and my wife and I also have subscriptions to a couple shows. So audio and visual quality are important. It's also used for a lot of word processing, so the keyboard is very important to me. I need a laptop instead of a desktop to move it from room to room, but it never really leaves the house, so a large and heavy laptop is perfectly okay. It's also used for occasional gaming, so if I go for another Mac, it'll have to be one of those that can boot up in either OSX or Windows.



Here's the dilemma I'm having. I've got it narrowed down to two laptops, one non-Apple (Lenovo Ideapad Y710, moderately equipped), one Apple (MacBookPro 17"). Why am I comparing a $1,500 laptop to a $3,000 laptop? Because the aforementioned grandmother is a complete and total Apple fangirl, and will help us out in getting the Apple if we decide that's what we want. What I'm struggling with is I don't understand why the MacBookPro costs twice what the Lenovo does. They have the same size screen, Intel CoreDuo processors with a bit over 2GHZ, similar video cards, similar size hard drives, and similar RAM.



I'm not asking for people here to tell me which to get. Obviously most folks here are big Mac fans. What I'd like is an explanation of what I'm getting with the Apple that I'm not getting with the Lenovo that explains the 100% price disparity. The advantage of the Lenovo is obvious to me. Far lower price for what appear to be equivalent specs, excellent keyboard, Dolby sound system. And it's biggest drawback, its 8 lb weight, isn't really a turnoff to me. I want to understand what the Apple will do that the Lenovo won't do, so I can make the most informed decision for myself and my family.



And I'm no computer expert, so if I'm wrong in saying the specs are equivalent, please do not hesitate to say so...but just remember that it was an honest misunderstanding and not trolling or anything.



Here's the Lenovo I'm looking at (middle column): CLICK HERE



Here's the Apple my mother is urging us to get (17" model): CLICK HERE



Thanks! Any and all insight is welcome.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    I used to own a MacBook Pro 15" model. Loved it but had to sell it for school reasons. I'm currently anticipating buying the new MBP hopefully to be announced soon.



    I currently own a Lenovo T61p and X61s. I love both of them for different reasons. Running Vista for as few things as possible. Dual booting Ubuntu for everything else (including my school coding projects at this point).

    T61p: built like a rock...rollcage and all. Somewhat of a powerhouse as far as notebooks go...2.4Ghz, 4GB ram, encrypted everything, wireless usb...the works.

    X61s: very compact and lite. easy to bring everywhere with me.



    The Ideapad, from what I remember, doesn't have the rollcage. It is a decent consumer laptop though if all you want to run is windows (and maybe linux? I'm not quite sure how compatible the Ideapad is - though Lenovo laptops typically have very good linux support). While Lenovo build quality is good. Their support blows.



    I guess what I'm getting at is it should depend on what you are going to use it for.



    If you need something real durable and able to withstand shock - the Ideapad (AND the MacBook Pro for that matter) is not what you should be considering. Take a look at the T61 or T61p for the built in rollcage and other nice additions like TPM chip and whatnot.



    I'd personally choose the MBP simply because I think OSX is a much superior OS - but this is also personal opinion.









    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mitlov View Post


    My PowerBook G4 is getting a bit old, a bit buggy, and running out of space. Plus, my kid's grandma really wants us to get a new computer with a webcam so that she can have video chats with her grandkid.



    Before we go further, let me summarize how I use the laptop. It's primary use is for playing TV shows downloaded from iTunes. My kid's Backyardigans and Thomas the Train get plenty of use, and my wife and I also have subscriptions to a couple shows. So audio and visual quality are important. It's also used for a lot of word processing, so the keyboard is very important to me. I need a laptop instead of a desktop to move it from room to room, but it never really leaves the house, so a large and heavy laptop is perfectly okay. It's also used for occasional gaming, so if I go for another Mac, it'll have to be one of those that can boot up in either OSX or Windows.



    Here's the dilemma I'm having. I've got it narrowed down to two laptops, one non-Apple (Lenovo Ideapad Y710, moderately equipped), one Apple (MacBookPro 17"). Why am I comparing a $1,500 laptop to a $3,000 laptop? Because the aforementioned grandmother is a complete and total Apple fangirl, and will help us out in getting the Apple if we decide that's what we want. What I'm struggling with is I don't understand why the MacBookPro costs twice what the Lenovo does. They have the same size screen, Intel CoreDuo processors with a bit over 2GHZ, similar video cards, similar size hard drives, and similar RAM.



    I'm not asking for people here to tell me which to get. Obviously most folks here are big Mac fans. What I'd like is an explanation of what I'm getting with the Apple that I'm not getting with the Lenovo that explains the 100% price disparity. The advantage of the Lenovo is obvious to me. Far lower price for what appear to be equivalent specs, excellent keyboard, Dolby sound system. And it's biggest drawback, its 8 lb weight, isn't really a turnoff to me. I want to understand what the Apple will do that the Lenovo won't do, so I can make the most informed decision for myself and my family.



    And I'm no computer expert, so if I'm wrong in saying the specs are equivalent, please do not hesitate to say so...but just remember that it was an honest misunderstanding and not trolling or anything.



    Here's the Lenovo I'm looking at (middle column): CLICK HERE



    Here's the Apple my mother is urging us to get (17" model): CLICK HERE



    Thanks! Any and all insight is welcome.



  • Reply 2 of 10
    I found out that part of the issue is that the Y710 has the previous-generation Intel Core Duo, not the Centrino II that the new MacBookPro has. Lenovo has a Y730 coming out that, equipped like the Y710 I listed, should cost about $1600 (the "Valencia Orange" model which isn't quite on their website yet).



    Anyway, mcbrided, thanks for the response. As for operating systems, I'm not a Linux guy. I'd run Windows Vista on the Lenovo and a combination of OSX and Windows Vista on the MBP.



    The T61, while durable as all heck, is lacking in the RAM, video card, and hard drive space departments. If I was a business traveler using the laptop to work on the road, I'd be all over the T61. But for a multimedia-and-gaming laptop that would move around a house but never leave the house, it doesn't seem like a good fit. Thanks for the suggestion, though.



    Anyway, it sounds like the main differences between a Lenovo Ideapad Y730 and a MacBookPro 17" are (1) weight, (2) the Apple's multifunction trackpad, and (3) operating system? It sounds to me like those are the main differences. Any other opinions or insight?
  • Reply 3 of 10
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Don't forget iLife on the Apple. Vista Home Premium has similar apps that I've used but I still like the iLife package. Scrubbing over Events in iPhoto is great.



    Apple does have great support. Always get an English-as-the-first-language support person. Shipping out a broken product is a breeze as they send you all pre-paid shipping boxes and labels.



    I recently bought an MBPro 15" and love it. My Brother and wife just bought an HP 17" a few weeks after me and Internet Explorer is already crashing for them (that sucks cuz they call me asking for help). Oh, for full disclosure, I should mention that I'm a Windows Systems Administrator by day.



    Benefits of Apple over Lenovo

    Mac OS is much easier to use and more responsive IMHO. Apple uses LED screens. More environmentally friendly. Faster processor. Better support. iLife. Better end-to-end experience. MobileMe is great (albeit a little slow), especially with an iPhone. Track pad on my MBPro is a lot more functional than the HP. The power cord is better on a Mac. And of course, it runs OS X and Windows.



    The only real complaint I have about my MBPro is that I can't remove the DVD drive and slide in an extra battery or HD or whatever. I burn a CD/DVD about once a month so why have a permanent DVD drive??? And they don't have a docking station, that kinda sucks.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Hi Mitlov,



    Whether it's useful to you or not, the main reason the MacBook Pro is twice the price is the size and weight. To get those down requires precision design and manufacturing and higher-grade materials. The MacBook Pro is 14.4% lighter and about 20% smaller; no mean feat given the MacBook Pro's additional features:
    • MacBook Pro has faster processor (but the MacBook Pro doesn't have Centrino 2 as you asserted earlier. The processors are the same class but the MacBook Pro's is faster (intel charge a lot more for the faster chips). The motherboard chipset is likely the same.

    • MacBook Pro has backlit keyboard

    • MacBook Pro keyboard does not include dedicated numeric keypad which means it and the trackpad are centred on the machine - much less awkward to look at and use.

    • MacBook Pro has dual-link DVI out for driving high-resolution external monitors

    • MacBook Pro has optical digital audio in and out (in addition to analogue a la the lenovo)

    • MacBook Pro has FireWire 800

    • MacBook Pro has 6-pin (powered) FireWire 400

    • MacBook Pro has higher capacity battery (68 Whr Vs. 52 Whr). It also looks like the MacBook Pro's power consumption is lower as it uses an 85 watt power adaptor whilst the Lenovo's is 135 watts. That means that running full-tilt, the MacBook Pro would give much better battery life.

    • MacBook Pro has multi-touch trackpad

    • MacBook Pro has Magsafe power connector

    • MacBook Pro has gigabit ethernet

    Finally, it's important to bear in mind that the MacBook Pro is due an imminent update meaning the current one is getting a bit long in the tooth, and Apple have an irritating habit of keeping their prices constant as their models age. This means newly refreshed models compare extremely well with the competition. Wait a few weeks and see what the refresh brings.



    That's the hardware front. Then you have to consider that OS X and iLife are vastly superior to Vista.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Hi Mitlov,



    Whether it's useful to you or not, the main reason the MacBook Pro is twice the price is the size and weight. To get those down requires precision design and manufacturing and higher-grade materials. The MacBook Pro is 14.4% lighter and about 20% smaller; no mean feat given the MacBook Pro's additional features:



    That is really useful to know. While size and weight are really important to most laptop purchasers, they don't matter at all to me. The difference between 5.5 lbs and 8 lbs is inconsequential for how I use the laptop.



    Quote:

    [list][*]MacBook Pro has faster processor (but the MacBook Pro doesn't have Centrino 2 as you asserted earlier. The processors are the same class but the MacBook Pro's is faster (intel charge a lot more for the faster chips). The motherboard chipset is likely the same.



    Thank you also for clarifying that. That's interesting to know.



    I've always found it odd how doubling the RAM in a machine generally costs you about $100, whereas about a 20% increase in the processor GHz adds perhaps $1,000.



    Quote:

    Finally, it's important to bear in mind that the MacBook Pro is due an imminent update meaning the current one is getting a bit long in the tooth, and Apple have an irritating habit of keeping their prices constant as their models age. This means newly refreshed models compare extremely well with the competition. Wait a few weeks and see what the refresh brings.



    Also very good to know. Do we have a hard date for when the new-gen MacBook Pro arrives, or is it "any week now" like the Y730 Valencia Orange?



    Quote:

    That's the hardware front. Then you have to consider that OS X and iLife are vastly superior to Vista.



    I haven't tried either Vista or the latest generation of OSX (what Panzer is it named after this time? I forget), but I personally didn't find OSX Tiger to be a lot more useful than Windows XP. I realize that this is a bit of a personal preference issue, and most people here probably vastly preferred Tiger to XP, but for me, I didn't have a strong preference either way.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Thanks everyone for the advice, but I ended up going with the Lenovo Y710 that I linked to in the original post. It'll be here at the end of the week.



    For the $1,350 it sold for, I could have gotten a MacBook 13" (instead of 17"), 2 GB RAM (instead of 4 GB), 160 GB hard drive (instead of 250 GB hard drive with a slot for a second hot-swappable hard drive), and a "Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory" for video instead of an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 512MB. Admittedly, the MacBook 13" has a 2.4 GHz processor instead of a 2.1 GHz processor, but otherwise the Lenovo was just a much more enticing offering for me.



    Yes, my mother was offering to pay the extra $1,700 to get us into a MacBook Pro 17" with 4 GB RAM and a 320 GB hard drive and a similar video card to the Lenovo, but even when it wasn't my own money, I didn't feel right paying two-and-quarter times as much just to get OSX, a couple pounds off the weight, and a couple other features I wasn't terribly excited about.



    If people are interested, I'll post a quick review of the new Lenovo when it comes, including my impressions of Vista (coming from OSX Tiger).
  • Reply 7 of 10
    mitlovmitlov Posts: 131member
    After two weeks with the Lenovo, I'm willing to fork out a restocking fee to change my mind and get a new Apple. Vista really is that bad. It almost seems like it was designed to be difficult and unpleasant.



    The fact that both the screen and the CD-ROM drive on the Lenovo are buggy doesn't help.



    I'm looking at getting a 2.4GHz MacBookPro 15" with fully-upgraded hard drive and RAM.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mitlov View Post


    After two weeks with the Lenovo, I'm willing to fork out a restocking fee to change my mind and get a new Apple. Vista really is that bad. It almost seems like it was designed to be difficult and unpleasant.



    The fact that both the screen and the CD-ROM drive on the Lenovo are buggy doesn't help.



    I'm looking at getting a 2.4GHz MacBookPro 15" with fully-upgraded hard drive and RAM.



    Serves you right



    In all seriousness though, presumably you are aware that Apple is going to be launching new portables next Tuesday (14th)?



    Welcome back to Mac!
  • Reply 9 of 10
    mitlovmitlov Posts: 131member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Serves you right



    In all seriousness though, presumably you are aware that Apple is going to be launching new portables next Tuesday (14th)?



    Welcome back to Mac!



    I knew that new portables were on the way. Didn't know they would be here that soon. Thanks for the news!
  • Reply 10 of 10
    mrsinmrsin Posts: 163member
    Mom's right, you know it, she knows it and I know it. My wife chose the Compaq Presario with Vista Home Premium due to reduced price - less than 3 months ago, she's already had a blue screen of death and is constantly frustrated with the updates and reboot now scenarios. I've already had my quota of I told you so's. Now she says "I don't want to hear it." My iBook G4 is 3 years old, never a BSOD, my 24-inch iMac C2D is 2 years old, never a BSOD - Listen to Mom and get the Apple, I would!
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