Aug 12, 2016

Thoughts about notebooks

Since 2008 I use Apple Mybook Pro for all my activities. I migrated from Windows to OS X because of better quality of the screen, higher resolution, better fonts and colors. If you have to spend 50 hours near the computer weekly, you should have a really good one.

My last Macbook Pro was late 2011 model. I was really reluctant to change it because it was a HiRes model (not Retina though) with a matte screen. I hate glossy screens. But time goes on and after five years I had to buy a new one. The old one stays as a backup and it is now being services by Apple authorised service center.

Meanwhile I thought about criteria that I would use to select a computer. I started to think about it because I saw a very good deal on Dell E7450 ultrabook. I am not going to run Windows on it but a certain kind of Linux. So here is what I got as my criteria and how the current Macbook 2015 matches to E7450:

CriteriaMacbook Pro 2015Dell E7450
CPU power
Need highest possible
2.8GHz, 4 cores2.3GHz, 2 cores
16GB at least
16GB, 1600MHz16GB, 1600MHz (upgraded from 8GB)
The more the better
1TB USD256GB SSD (upgraded from 128GB)
Only need good quality screen
Retina looks great but screen flickers when switching from integrated to discrete graphics and there are artefacts on the screen sometimes when using discrete graphicsScreen is excellent!
Screen size15"14"
Not really noticeable difference comparing to Macbook Pro
Non-glossy screenNot availableNon-glossy
Touchpad with multitouch++
WWAN connectivityNoYes, with Dell WD5809e card (GPRS/EDGE/3G/LTE)
Real battery life
Maximum possible
About 6 hoursAbout 6.5 hours
Weight2.04 kg1.54 kg
Upgrades possibleNoYes
General stabilityExcellentExcellent
Price3200€990€+320€ for upgrades

As you see, suddenly Dell beats Macbook Pro in overall comparison. Also given all kind of issues with video, privacy and upgradability, Dell becomes much better choice than a Macbook Pro. I also found that using Linux on Dell is a very good experience.

Probably, I will use more and more Linux on Dell Ultrabook and less and less Apple notebook. It still remains my main work computer but for side research and private activities I would prefer Dell & Linux.