New MacBook Recommendation

Hi All,

I'm currently looking for a good laptop that can last for a long time. I've tried many Windows laptops that have been a complete disaster (battery life shortening, lag, freezing, etc.) so I decided to go for a macbook this time.

Any reccomendations for a good value macbook under $2000?

Never used an Apple laptop before, are there any major issues mac users have experienced? how long do they last?

Thanks a lot.

Comments

  • +1 vote

    A Windows laptop with a SSD and a removable battery would be my recommendation, can't confirm if it has a removable battery but something like this, without knowing what you will be using it for: https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/NBKHNB147256IBS/HP-Zbook-14..., you can easily find better for cheaper, try to get a 512GB SSD

  • +1 vote

    Macbook will have the same problems with battery life shorting and the system slowing down over time

  • +1 vote

    I'm an Apple fan and I refuse to ever use Windows (or Google's alternative), … but there are many things you need to be aware of if you're thinking of making the switch to Apple.

    Basically you're not going to get an Apple laptop for under $2000, at least not a new one at normal retail prices. The exception would be getting the very cheapest model during the rare 10% off sales at somewhere like JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, but even then it's only just under $2,000.

    Apple's current online store prices are:

    • MacBook Air starts at $2,149
    • MacBook starts at $2,199
    • MacBook Pro starts at $2,199

    Most retailers will have the same, or close prices … there aren't usually big deals on Apple devices because the retailer margins are so low. The cheapest Apple laptop on JB Hi-Fi's webstore is currently $2,139. JB Hi-Fi did have a "Cost +GST" sale on Apple computers, but I think you've just missed it. If you are or know any students or teachers, you can get Educational pricing at any retailer (with proof of eligibility), but it's usually only about a 10% discount.

    Another option would be to get one duty-free / overseas if you or someone you know is going on holiday.

    You can get refurbished computers (ones that have been returned, repaired, re-boxed) from Apple's online store, as well as sometimes places like 1-Day or Dick Smith, but the range is limited to whatever they happen to have at the time, so you need to keep checking in.

    If you're lucky you might find a retailer with some excess old stock or ex-display models they want to sell off cheaper.

    To add to the costs:

    • Windows computers often include Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, etc.). Apple's computers do not usually include Microsoft Office. They do come with Apple's own free suite of similar programmes (Pages, word processor, Numbers spreadsheet, etc.), but although they can convert to / from Microsoft Office formats, how well they do so depends on the complexity of the document. If you need 100% (or at least as close as possible) compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, then you have to buy Microsoft's Mac Office separately. (Microsoft's Mac Office suite does not include a database - there is no Microsoft Access for Apple computers. The main alternative database software is FileMaker Pro, which is available for Mac and Windows.)

    • Another thing to look out for is the peripherals you want to plug in. Apple's laptops now come with USB-C ports (and not very many), so if you have devices using the old standard USB-A plugs, including USB 'memory sticks', you'll need an adaptor. If you've got a few devices you will be better off with a USB hub (that has USB-C to connect to the computer).

    • You may need other software and hardware upgrades as well. Windows software won't run on Apple computers (at least not without extra cost or unless you know what you're doing to set-up the free alternatives). Most normal hardware should be fine - printers, displays, etc. should all work, although you might need an adapter for some of them.

    Also, Apple's current range of MacBook and MacBook Pro models haven't been updated in a while (MacBook Air was updated late last year), so may be updated in the near future. That means if you wait you can either get the newly released version or get the out-going model slightly cheaper.

    As rkl indicates, all portable devices have problems with batteries wearing out - that's just a simple fact of battery technology. Since all Apple's laptops only have built-in internal batteries and are not easily opened up, it will be will require an expensive trip to the repair centre to replace the battery when that time comes. It also means a second-hand laptop from somewhere like TradeMe may need an expensive battery replacement sooner.

    Computers do also all slow down, it's a simple fact of their continual usage, although the SSD drives that are used in many computers these days do alleviate that to some degree. One bonus (and potential money-saver) with Apple is that, as long as you do sensible things, you do NOT need any silly anti-malware software clogging up the storage space and RAM, or slowing down normal computer usage.

  • +2 votes

    I have clients that have Windows, Linux, and Apple laptops, and from a value for money perspective, I would absolutely stay away from Apple.

    The specs are not great, and the costs are huge.

    Battery life and slowing down over time are issues across the board - I recommend wiping any machine once a year or so, and reinstalling everything from the OS to apps etc, as it is like getting a new superfast machine much of the time.

    Batteries can (often) be replaced - it will be cheaper to buy a good spec Windows laptop, and replace the battery after a few years when it loses capacity.

    As mentioned above, unless you need MS Office specifically, and many do, you can install, say, Libre Office which does everything that almost all users want, and is very compatible with most MS Office documents (not sure about Apple docs - I really never see anyone using those formats, or at least if they do, I'm not aware of it). Libre Office is totally free.

    Software availability for Windows is much better, but having said that, you only need one thing to do each thing you want, so that may not really be a factor.

    If you want secure, then I would go Linux, Windows, Apple in that order. Apple have lost the plot and been left behind security-wise over the last five or more years. Fifteen years ago, they were not targets due to low market reach of 10% or so, whereas Microsoft was, and were forced to lift their game, which they have done. If you run Windows as a non-admin user (totally viable with recent versions), then you are probably pretty safe unless you are doing 'dangerous' stuff and / or visiting the nether regions online. Linux is arguably even more secure, but if you don't know it already, you might find it hard to get going, and support will be harder to come by. Having said that, if you have someone nearby (at home?) that knows Linux, this could be an excellent option.

    You could also consider buying a cheaper machine second hand, and spending, saying $500 a year every year. The life of a $2,000 laptop might be, say, 4 years, which works out the same, but you only have 25% of the capital invested continuously. You might expect to get 18 months and five years, but its still quite compelling, and given that the rate of development has slowed, a year old second hand machine is likely similar specs anyway.

    Good luck!

    Alan.

  •  

    Buy a business laptop - Dell Latitude or HP Elitebook, both have metal chassis, offer extended battery options and are fully serviceable.
    Go one better and get a 2 year off-lease one for $700 while beating the spec of a $2500 apple.

    •  

      Agreed. Still using an old dual core Dell business laptop, must be 8 years old now. Have upgraded to SSD of course, upgraded RAM, and changed the power adaptor once. Still going strong for everyday business stuff, spreadsheets, and not for gaming. Also bought an extra battery or two since.

      •  

        When you look at upgrading, have a peek at a Dell E7440 or HP Elitebook 820 G1/G2. Both can be bought for around $200 on Trademe and feature 4th/5th gen i5, 250gb ssd's and 8gb ram.

        •  

          Yeah have seen some ex leased ones with lots of wear and tear. Will try and find one with a careful lady owner (hah lol).

  •  

    One other thing I forgot to include is that most of Apple's computers are not upgradable, and even the few that are are mostly very difficult to do so. Because most of them are sealed shut (often using special glues and pastes!) and many even have their components actually soldered onto the circuit boards, you cannot add more RAM, change the internal storage drive, etc. after purchase … well, unless you are or know a highly skilled electronics nerd who is extremely proficient with a soldering iron.

    That means you are always best to buy a custom-built Apple computer which will have the amount of RAM and internal storage that you may need built into it at the factory, which of course is more expensive than an off-the shelf model. Custom-built computers are also rarely included in the few special deals.

  •  

    Pros:

    • Lasts forever - I still have mac laptops from 7 years ago still running great.
    • Retains value - Better than any other brand of laptop by some margin.
    • Support - Apple are great at resolving anything that goes wrong - have had machines repaired out of warranty for free in the past.
    • Build quality - is great, I had a Dell XPS 15 until recently and the macbook pro has significantly better build quality, no extra junk installed, it just works.
    • The OS is really efficient - I do video editing on a macbook pro with 8 gigs of ram without any hassle (though I am currently building a 12 core Threadripper based machine with eventually 128 gigs of ram specifically for that, but it does work well on an 8 gig macbook pro).
    • The OS is really nice to use - I prefer it over my Windows / Ubuntu / Mint / ElementaryOS / Archlinux machines just in terms of being productive and intuitive to use
    • Secure - I have worked on several hundred Mac / Windows / Linux boxes over the years and I would still recommend Mac over them all.

    Cons:

    • Ports - My main bug bear is lack of ports - I have 4 Thunderbolt / usb-c ports and to fit my 4k monitor I needed to buy a thunderbolt-displayport cable, needed a new usb c to usb c cable for my galaxy s9+, needed a new cable for connecting up my old hard drives etc. might be worth just buying a startech dock or something once. You will need an adapter just to connect an old USB stick which is a pain in the a$$
    • The newer models use different composition of brushed aluminium to make them lighter - but they definitely ding a bit easier than the older models.
    • Not regularly on sale - but you might find a deal on refurbished model from apple https://www.apple.com/nz/shop/refurbished
    • Stay away from the old model macbook Air - I have one, while its a great wee device it really is under powered and should only be considered for web browsing and a few apps like a chromebook.

    Based on your use case - if you want something that will last a long time without lagging etc I'd absolutely recommend a macbook or macbook pro. And dont bother about paying extra for the touchbar models - theyre not worth the extra - I have both.

    •  
      • Lasts forever - I still have mac laptops from 7 years ago still running great.

      My old desktop Mac lasted me 20 years (it was from before Apple's switch to Intel CPUs!) before I had to bin it due to a motherboard fault. It was my only computer used for everything every day, but I didn't need the latest new toys and software. Unlike today's models, it was very easy to upgrade internal bits like more RAM and bigger storage drives as needed. :o)

      You will need an adapter just to connect an old USB stick which is a pain in the a$$

      You can get a USB stick which has both plugs on it, but of course it is still another extra cost. You're definitely better off getting an externally powered hub, even if only with extra 'normal' USB ports.

  •  

    A new article by one of the iLounge website 'journalists' …

    Buying a MacBook has never been more difficult
    Buying a Mac laptop has never been more difficult. It can be agreed that, Apple has not made a good laptop since 2015. The company unveiled the revamped and “innovative” MacBook Pro in 2016 which completely changed its perspective on laptops. However, its innovativeness has caused users more problems than actually improving the workflow.

    Article continues at iLounge.com.

    It's the author's personal opinions, so some of it makes sense, some of it not so much. :o)

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