A few weeks ago my 3rd generation Intel Core I7 Asus ultrabook started showing signs of end of life. It decided that it would power off when it felt like it. This meant it was time for a new machine. On the day the Asus died, I went out and grabbed a Toshiba Chromebook 2. I figured for under $300 I would have a machine that at least turned on while I figured out which laptop would be mine.
It took some work to make the Chromebook work for me, but the hardware was really impressive for the price. This Toshiba model has a gorgeous 1080p IPS screen and 4GB of RAM. It also did a nice job of filling in for the short term. I could not have a device that required me to remote into other machines for so much be my daily driver. That said, it was a very pleasant experience. When it comes to lower end hardware, there was nothing else like it in the same class for that price. No Windows machine in that range had those specs. Did I mention the gorgeous screen?
Now onto the big decision. I had a few models in mind, and looked online at the Microsoft store to see if I was missing anything. I made a trip to both Best Buy and the Microsoft store as well. In my mind I was going between a Dell XPS, the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, and the Surface Pro 3. I wanted a lightweight machine, but also wanted some power. A great screen, SSD, and at least 8GB of RAM was a must. At the Microsoft Store it became quite evident. Most of the machines, even at the high end, feel like crap. The Dell XPS 13 touchpad felt like a cheap piece of plastic as did the whole area you rest your wrists while typing. The Yoga was a little better, but the Core M processor scared me a little bit. I also was not sure about the feel of the item. So at this point I was looking at the Surface Pro 3. There was one thing however that caught my eye at Best Buy. That was the MacBook Pro Retina 13. Forget the OS and the software for a moment. Outside of the Surface Pro 3 I could not find one standard clamshell Windows laptop that you could put next to that machine, and have it stand up on the hardware side. After a few hours of beating myself up for going in this direction I bought the MacBook Pro, and a week later I could not be happier. I figured I could always install Windows if that was the direction I wanted to go, and I would have it on top in class hardware. The reason I went this direction over the Surface was the old lap problem that the Surface products have.
I am going to go more into my thoughts on the software and OS later, but here are a few quick bits. The Microsoft apps are severely lacking outside of One Note. I am an Exchange user for both my personal and work accounts, and find they work better in the built in Apple apps compared to Outlook. Everything else I need is running great, and I came to a realization after being in the Windows ecosystem for years. While Windows has the tools we consider apps for work today (or yesterday), the apps of the future are all being written for OS X first. Even things like Evernote and Wunderlist which I used on Windows look better and work better on the Mac. I am not sure when this happened, because being a Windows guy I missed this, but something has changed in the last four years since the last time I really used a Mac for any amount of time. Maybe it is the marketshare for higher end machines that is leading to this, could be the users willing to pay more for software, or are we finally seeing the dominance of iOS in the enterprise creep in the rest of the users work life?