Peeps who follow me on Twitter may have picked up the fact that my 6 month laptop hunt ended with me purchasing a 15 inch Macbook Pro. Sure, it’s the price of two used Toyotas duct-taped together, but it’s also carved from a single piece of aluminum, and the keyboard is chiseled from unicorn horn.
The hardware is absolutely delightful and was the primary reason for me going with this and not a Thinkpad. It’s sturdy and extremely well thought-out. Great keyboard (competes with actual keyboards!) and details such as the power cord being magnetic and working both upside and upside down as well as the battery indicator on the side are all little touches that Macsters have been yelling at us for years. Yes, this is fricken expensive hardware, but you get the feeling that on some level, it’s almost worth it. In fact, the hardware is so much better than nearly every other laptop on the market that I consider this purchase, not an endorsement of Apple (read on), but rather a punishment to all the other laptop makers out there.
There is a downside. Intel Macs have the ability to run Windows, my operating system of choice. So of course one of the first things I have done is to install said OS. As it turns out, however, Apple may be good at building and designing hardware, but their driver-writing skills are in the drains1. The thing is, while most of the innards of a Mac is stock hardware, at least the keyboard and the trackpad is unique. That’s why you have to install a bunch of bundled drivers as soon as you boot into Windows for the first time. Unfortunately, these drivers are so bad that:
- Windows cannot control the cooling fans, at all. There’s one speed, and one speed only.
- The multi-touch driver doesn’t work very well, and crashes once in a while.
- Windows cannot pick between the two GPUs. The fast (and battery expensive) one is always picked.
- “Hold down two fingers to right-click” works oodles better in OSX than in Windows.
Because of these gripes, which I’m assuming can/will be fixed in future updates, I’m dividing this review into three
Windows driver support rating:
Mac OSX Leopard rating: to follow in a future post
So am I happy with the new purchase despite these gripes? Well, I’ve waited 6 months to buy a laptop in the first place so what’s a few more for them to fix their drivers, and through it all, the laptop is still better than any other laptop out there. Which says more about Dell, IBM, Acer, HP and Sony than it says about Apple. J’accuse!
- Or they don’t care, which part of me feels is just as likely; people having a bad experience with Windows on their systems may just treat Windows as the “new Classic”, as Gruber puts it, and use OSX instead. Which, as it turns out, will be me, until I either switch or Apple fixes their drivers, so stay tuned for a review. [↩]