Dude You Got a Dell

[Feb 3, 2018]

About a year ago I was ready for a new computer.

I had money set aside to buy one, and was just waiting for the release of the new Macbook Pros. And then they released it... and I didn't get one. I had a number of older Macbook Pros that I 💖, and when I had them you couldn’t convince me to ever use a Windows laptop instead. But in the years that passed since the last owning a MBP, a few things happened on the Windows side:

  • Windows 10 released, and while I have issues with it, it’s the best release of Windows so far.
  • I’m more OS agnostic than I used to be. I use a Windows PC for development at work, and there are no apps that I have a strong preference[^1] for that exist only on MacOS.

...and a few things happened on the Mac side. The last MBP I had was a 2012 model and it was great for the following reasons:

  • It had an SD card reader! That was amazing at the time, and made importing photos off of my DSLR so much easier.
  • It had an ethernet port.
  • I had an Nvidia GPU in it, which made you believe Apple actually cared about gaming.
  • You could upgrade it. It came with 4GB of RAM and a 250 GB spinny-disk and left my possession with 8GB and a sweet SSD.
  • I bought it from Microcenter for under $1000. Actually, well under at $899, brand new.

So Apple decided to get rid of all of the things I liked, and focus on things I didn't care that much about, like making the computer incredibly light and adding a useless touchbar, while increasing the price.

So instead of a Macbook, I am now the “proud” owner of a refurbished Dell Inspiron 7577.

Dude you're getting a Dell

Pros:

  • It has a GTX1060 (MaxQ) GPU in it. It can play Overwatch at 60 FPS on high settings without breaking a sweat. Attempting to do that on a Macbook Pro would have required setting large piles of money on fire on something like an external Thunderbolt GPU box and dual booting Windows.
  • It has an SD card reader! And an ethernet port! And an HDMI port! And a Thunderbolt port so I can attach a dock and get an entire second set of all of those ports!
  • It has one screw that keeps the bottom on, and if you take it off, you can upgrade / replace whatever you want in there.
  • I picked up a refurbished[^2] model and it cost about 50% less than a similar refurbished Macbook Pro would have cost.

Cons:

  • The screen isn't great. I’ll conceed that Apple’s retina screens are pretty amazing.
  • It weighs about 3 times what a MBP would weigh, but again, I didn't need it to be super portable.
  • I’ve never used a Windows laptop trackpad that was half as nice to use as a Mac’s, although I will say that this one is better, and has multitouch support.

It’s worth noting here that I have an iPad Pro that I’m pretty enamoured with, and it was a driver for not needing a laptop running MacOS. 95% of what I used MacOS for exists on iOS, and the iPad is lighter, cheaper, and (in some cases) faster than a MacOS running laptop. If the two OSs ever merged, I’d consider getting a Mac laptop again, but until then I’m happy with Mac apps running on an Arm processor and everything running on a much cheaper Intel box.


1 I will admit that there's no good Windows replacement for Tweetbot, and not being able to use Sketch is annoying, but I am equally annoyed that they won't support Windows. And my favorite writing app, iA Writer, has a kickstarter for a Windows version!

2 I try to buy refurbished computers and electronics whenever possible. Best case, they're just a computer someone returned, worst case they failed in some way and then got fixed, but that just means someone else took the early part of the bathtub curve for you. Also, some times you get unexpected free upgrades.

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