About three months ago, i was sick of my old HP Elitebook slowing me down at work. So i searched for a high end Windows 8 ultrabook that matches my expectations. So basically a non-existend device.
- Beautiful 13″ screen
- 1920×1080 resolution or higher
- thin and light
- a design i’d like
- 8GB RAM
- 256 SSD
- Reliable battery life and performance
- good trackpad and keyboard
- no stupid problems like poor build-quality, too much heat, too loud or what else a cheap Acer laptops can annoy you with
The only ultrabook that came close, was the Asus Zenbook Prime. A beautiful beast with a 4GB weakness. After searching for 3 weeks, i made a snap decision and ordered a 13″ Retina Macbook Pro from Apple. I mean, it has the best trackpad, a nice keyboard, a beautiful high-res screen, a stunning design and the specs are also good. So – why not? Because i never used OSX and i seriously didn’t want to get sucked into Apples ecosystem? Yes, but i did it anyway. So there i was. 1705€ lighter. Oh god…
A few days later i got it. Unpacking it was like unwrapping Heidi Klum from a black Versace dress. Such a beautiful device. Especially compared to my old Bud Spencer of a laptop.
I fired it up and forgot all about the 1705€ i just spent. As most bloggers, journalists, designers, musicians and all the hipsters use OSX, i thought it can’t be that bad. And it wasn’t. It was actually pretty good in most things. The trackpad gestures were just a joy compared to Windows. But i came across some little annoyances. For example multi-monitor support. Or options i needed that are burried somewhere in the system like they’re a treasure and i need to earn the right to use it by digging until my hands fall off. Software for OSX is mostly very good designed but sadly, most of them cost money. Most of the other stuff you do every day works just fine.
But then… i noticed one very critical thing that made me use ebay for the first time in 5 years: lags.
You should know, i’m allergic to lags. If a system (PC, ultrabook, phone, whatever) is slower than me – especially at work – i’m getting all frustrated. Devices that slow me down while i work are the wrong devices for me. So how did a 1705€ premium device like the Retina Macbook Pro lag? Simple: OSX doesn’t support high resolutions very well.
I maxed out the resolution in the settings as that was one of the main reasons i bought the rMBP. I love working above Full HD. Anyway, with the resolution set the highest, the UI started lagging. More importantly, the browsers, especially Chrome, started lagging while scrolling. And i don’t mean a little lag. I mean a diashow. If i had a cent for every frame i saw scrolling through Twitter, i’d have 3 cents.
Chrome scroll lag on my macbook pro is driving me insane.
— Rachel Stock (@rachstock) July 1, 2013
Now before all the fanboys start shouting at me: no, it’s not because of the HD4000 integrated Intel Graphics. My old tank of a laptop got an HD4000 as well. If i plug an 2560×1440 resolution screen via DisplayPort into the thing, everything runs smooth on an even higher resolution than the Macbook runs on (highest possible resolution available in OSX). Ergo, the problem is OSX, not the graphics chip. I searched a LOT to fix this and ended up waiting for WWDC 2013 to see if Apple adresses this. And yes, they do apparently. At least, they say they do with the Mavericks update coming this fall. But this fall i’d also get super high res Windows 8 ultrabooks with Haswell and Touchscreens – which sounds like a much better deal. So what now? That’s right, i tried to resell the thing on eBay. Why? Why not wait? Because i can’t work with lags for half a year. In addition, i expect more from a premium device that sells at a premium price and advertises high resolution screens.
Sadly, 1200€ was the auction winning price. I’m not going to lose 500€ for 6 weeks of using this thing. Not gonna happen. So what now? Windows 8.1 Beta Release!
“Oh no he didn’t…” Ohhh but he did! I’m running the best OS on the best hardware out there. Granted, there are issues. Trackpad and keyboard are not as good as on native OSX/Windows machines, but hey – at least i have no lags what so ever on a 2560×1440 resolution. This defenitely is the fastest and best laptop i’ve ever used. Beautiful, reliable, and again – blazingly fast.
So would i recommend the 13″ Retina Macbook Pro? No. Not yet. Not now. Wait for the Mavericks update and the Haswell refresh with better battery life. Then, OSX will be much much better. And if you’re in the Windows camp, you should also hold off as OEMs finally catch up to Apples hardware. You can expect some beautiful devices this fall. Most notably the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus (horrible name) and the 2nd Generation Surface Pro.
Never, ever, buy an Acer laptop.