#523. The MacBook Pro. Overpriced gimmick or World’s best laptop for photographers ?

#523. The MacBook Pro. Overpriced gimmick or World’s best laptop for photographers ?

First world problems, right ? …

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My current workhorse laptop has been round the globe a few times, seen concrete floors close up too often and is in dire need of replacement.

Having recently bought an amazing Dell XPS 13 which has a fabulous screen and a high power i7 CPU, but is too small for photo editing, I’ve been looking for a larger replacement. Obviously, the XPS15 seemed like the natural candidate. But, with the launch of the new MacBook Pro a few weeks in the future, I waited. With growing anticipation.dsc05443-pano

Now, I’m not so sure. On the plus side:

  • Cool design
  • A screen that could well be the absolute star of the show
  • The dynamic touch bar, which could be an answer waiting for a problem or a brilliant shortcut
  • Super fast SSD
  • (apparently) great memory management and relatively lean & clean system

Negatives:

  • My new laptop would have a slower CPU than the 3 year-old one it replaces. Seriously uncool.
  • As for the GPU, my mechanical watch probably has a better one. Not a big issue, though, as photo editing doesn’t require much help from the GPU. This may change with newer versions of out editing software.
  • 16Gb memory. Even with good management, the stupid resolution increases we are being served in place of actual IQ do pause a real threat to performance with limited RAM.
  • Corporate ego / neglect which messes up the user experience for negligible aesthetic “advantages” (no SD card reader). Unless, that move is just a way to sell adapters. Which would be really, really, pathetic from what once was the most desirable brand on the planet.

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All in all, it looks like Apple have worked hard to make the new MacBook Pro slim and long-lasting on a charge. Neither benefits really matter to me.

So what do you think?

Do any of you use MacBooks with large files (assembling 6 42Mpix RAW files into a pano isn’t the same as working on a single 16Mpix image? Are you happy with your choice? Any recommendations, warnings or caveats? Speak up, I’m pretty sure many others are asking themselves the same question!

Oh, and, yeah : silver or space grey ? 😉

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35 Comments

  1. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron November 02, 2016

    I don’t have much experience with laptops, Pascal – I prefer a proper keyboard & a proper mouse, to work with – I have gardener’s/carpenter’s hands, and those fiddly things irritate me.
    I do agree about RAM – this PC is nearing the end of its useful life, it’s split between 500Gb on Apple and 500Gb on Windows.
    When Windows upgraded from 32 to 64 thingummies, I couldn’t do it, because I had a couple of programs that wouldn’t work on 64 – that cost me a jump from 8Gb of RAM to 16Gb and left me stuck with 8Gb in Windows, and to be quite frank, I can’t make my photography post processing work properly in Windows. It just needs more RAM.
    Is 16Gb enough? – yeah – right now – till you buy it, and “they” dream up something new, which shreds that theory and leaves you wishing you had more. That nasty little stunt has hit me several times over the years, and the whole industry seems to be happy to do it to their customers. Better to buy extra, up front, and have some peace for a few years longer. That said – can you get one that has 16Gb, which is expandable if you need to add more RAM later?
    As to whether Dell or Apple, they both have a good reputation. Heaps of commercial firms have dropped the rest of the makes and switched over to all-Dell.
    One thing Apple has done, over the years, which impresses me more than Microsoft ever has – they do have good support and a keen interest in good customer relations. I’ve mentioned that issue before, with others – three of them are now banned from my life, because their attitude to customers when there was a problem was not just “bad”, it was totally unacceptable. Apple has been the opposite, in all my dealings they’ve been great. Not cheap, but hey, the PCs I’ve had from them have lasted way longer than some of their competitors do – is it “expensive” if it lasts twice as long?
    Card readers? – I use a Lexar reader – it’s small, easy to take with me, and super easy to use. Not expensive, either.
    What I don’t get, because I don’t do it, is why you want to lug a laptop with you, with all the other gear. People keep telling me it’s “security”, because you put your shots on the laptop and that gives instant backup copies – I generally shoot with the D810, with two cars, and have backup all the time, from that. By choice, I use 32Gb cards but with a neat card holder (which carries 4 of both) and a pair in the cam, that gives me 160Gb twice over, to shoot RAW and keep back-ups. My choice to go 32Gb, I could double that if I went 64Gb, but I can’t imagine ever needing that much on any shoots I’ll ever do.
    And the card holder is a fraction of the problem of lugging a laptop around the globe.
    If you go with Dell, aren’t you going to be stuck with Windows 10? If you are, best of luck – Microsoft talked me (“conned me”?) into trying W10, it didn’t work, I had to back pedal and revert to Windows 7, and NOW they tell me that it has corrupted my Windows 7 operating system, I have to take everything off the hard drive & reformat the disc, and put it all back on again, which is going to take several days’ non-stop. So just right now, I have a VERY dim view of Microsoft. They admitted they’ve been coming across thousands of customers all over the world that they’ve done this too, and they aren’t even able to mouth the “sorry” word. So they are “temporary residents” in my house, and when I get round to replacing this PC I’ll add Microsoft to the “permanently banned from the premises” list.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      Thanks Pete, I need the laptop to travel. Plus, my lizard nature makes me seek the sun where it is, so the desktop in my office never gets used these days 😉

      It appears most of my worries are probably less founded in the Mac world than they are (and they definitely are) in the Windows PC world. Memory management and system efficiency appear to be more optimised with Macs. So far so good.

      Card reader adapter … that’s less of a worry but seems unacceptable. I can’t imagine the Jobs-era Apple sacrificing user experience on the flimsy altar of cosmetics. I own a couple of card readers too, but they add a what you have to remember to pack, and are incompatible with the new Mac. So a new one is needed. Plus, cosmetics really take a hit once 4 dongles are attached to the Mac. Were Apple designing a tool for real people or a design piece for a museum? Unacceptable.

      Longevity and customer support are nice bonuses, though 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Mel November 02, 2016

    I was using a 20-inch iMac for photo editing. I replaced it with a 27-inch iMac with Retina display. Wow! I can actually see the nuances in the photos! I agree, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro is the star of the show. No, I am not tempted by a Dell or any other Windows machine because I can’t abide Windows (I was forced to use Dell laptops for ten years at the office, a constant irritation). One recommendation: max out your machine with processor speed and memory. I use Lightroom as a tool to edit projects *not* for cataloging and storage which helps performance (thank you Thorsten Overgaard for the idea). Of course, proper backup is another world of hurt.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      Interesting Mel. Do you still have the Overgaard article describing this use of LightRoom. My main LR catalog is an absolute mess thanks to LR …

      The screen and fast SSD do seem to outway the other issues quite significantly.

  3. Avatar
    Boris November 02, 2016

    Hi Pascal,
    at at the moment I use two MacBook Pros. One 15″ retina i7 quad core with 16GB and a low spec 13″ i5 with 8GB, used only for travelling. Both are from 2012.

    The 15″ is (connected to a wide garmut Eizo display) my main computer for all the image processing. It still has enough power for editing the 42 MP files of my A7RII, even HDRs or 6 image panos are possible without any serious problems. And I shoot only uncompressed RAW with the A7RII which should make it worse.

    While the 13″ MBP was suffcient for the M9 or 5DII files it is clearly at it’s limits with the A7RII files. Therefore I will probably order a new MBP this week. What I had hoped to see is a new 13″ MPB with 32 GB and an i7 quad core. Sadly this combination is still not available. I will probably get a max spec 13″, meaning i7 dual core, 16 GB, 1 TB SSD. The 15″ is for me just too large and heavy for a travel notebook (it won’t for example fit in a small photo backpack while the 13″ does).
    Regarding color: probably space grey, it looks at little bit more discreet compared to the shiny silver version, which could be useful in some places.

    Boris

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      Hi Boris, that’s very helpful thank you. If a 2012 MacBook handles all this with ease, then the performance of the new one has to be a non-issue. Very reassuring. In particular with uncompressed RAW files. I look forward to hearing what you think of your new one.

      Pascal

  4. Avatar
    Michele November 02, 2016

    Space grey without hesitation.

    Don’t try to be rational, you know it doesn’t work :). If the screen is that good, go for it: everything else doesn’t matter (except of course for the fact that using Os X is less troublesome in my opinion).

    Michele

    PS I have the 27 imac retina and it is so slow with LR that it makes me angry all the time.. but that screen….

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      “Don’t try to be rational, you know it doesn’t work :)” Aha, brilliant ! Thanks Michele.

      The screen does look exceptional on paper. Wide gamut and very bright. I’ll wait for users to confirm this in real life. And this screen indeed will be my number 1 decision criterion. Closely followed by the very fast SSD.

      Cheers

  5. Avatar
    Per Kylberg November 02, 2016

    Based on my experience a) being earlier a (Virtual) System Owner at a very large corporation using Dell (100k+ employees in all continents except Antarctic) and now photographing using Sony A7R2 uncompressed RAW:
    Dell is quality, very rare with HW problems. Apple products? Quicker start-up but then they run the same software at the same speed…
    I7 processor is faster processing photo files compared to I5.
    RAM is always good to have and nowadays not that expensive.
    The Dell XPS 15 I looked at has full UHD = 8 million pixels (three times more than Mac book pro with Retina (Retina is just marketing, no special technology involved)
    What is even more interesting with the Dell it covers 100% Adobe RGB! Here Apple has a weak side. When the 5k iMac came, I was very interested and looked for information about color space everywhere but could not find. It turned out the first version did not even cover sRGB. Later versions of the 5k iMac covers a color space used for film, a lot on the red side, but less green and blue. Great for looking, but not great for photo editing. Don’t know about Mac Book Pro resolution and color space.
    Color space is to me essential when photo editing (for print especially).

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      Thanks Per! At last a defender of the Windows PC world 😉 The screen on my XPS13 is wondeful. Not spectacular, but very true to life. The UHD is nice but it’s the gamut and calibration that really make it such a great performer. My only reservation with the 2016 XPS is that Dell have used a screen that’s not super bright and quite shiny. It’s a bit difficult to use in sunlight, which is annoying (very personal). The new MacBook Pro is said (by Apple) to cover 125% of sRGB. But it is very bright. Let’s wait and see what Notebookcheck have to say about that (the 2015 model is close to the XPS 15: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-Pro-Retina-15-Mid-2015-Review.144402.0.html). Resolution is lower (220ppi) but well enough for me. I suppose you can’t go wrong with either …

  6. Avatar
    eric carlino November 02, 2016

    My day job is trading the futures markets, as such i have lots of horsepower – always the biggest, baddest CPU/RAM and 6x 30″ monitors. Separately, I’ve had a very ‘big’ photo editing workstation with a ‘few’ big monitors AND i also had a very muscular (big, heavy) laptop for my photo travels.

    As part of my move from Nikon to Sony, I also decided it was time to downsize the photo editing hardware. I never liked having a laptop and separate home_base workstation. But i could never find a good compromise between size/weight of a laptop and screen quality/size.

    For now, I am very happy -with two caveats- with the Microsoft Surface Book with external 4k monitor and fullsized keyboard/mouse. I use CaptureOne and not anything Adobe (which i find are software performance hogs) and the MS Surface Book runs fast enough. My 2 items for improvement, which will be in the next version (2017) are even more horsepower in the CPU and the ability to drive two 4k monitors. Not that I would need that, but i had gotten used to 2x 30″ monitors: one in landscape and one in portrait orientation.

    But the Surface Book is extremely lightweight and has a great built in monitor for the road. If you can wait until next Spring, I really can’t say how much I’m enjoying this laptop – for the first time in a long time!

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 02, 2016

      Thanks Eric. The recent announcement put that laptop on the radar for me. Up to them, I naively thought it was only a lightweight “iPad with a keyboard” sort of thing. I’ll take a closer look now. Maybe they can even deliver a signature version without the bloatware 🙂

      • Avatar
        eric carlino November 02, 2016

        one other thing i forgot to point out that absolutely sets the MS Surface Book ahead of all others is it’s stylus-touch-screen – i was so happy to have that on the road with me and also very excited to be able to sell my WACOM CINTIQ to free up space in the home office. Windows 10 has touch and a lot of monitors have ‘finger touch’ but few have the sensitivity required for a stylus.

        • Avatar
          artuk November 06, 2016

          The MS Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Acer Aspire Switch 12 and newer Alpha Switch 12 all support a stylus, and the Acer comes complete with a keyboard and stylus at a good price and what generally appears to be a decent screen and good performance at a somewhat lower price point than the MS devices. If you want to do drawing and some kinds of graphic design, it’s probably a great feature. Lenovo also make a smaller 10″ tablet with a “keyboard” which is actually a giant touch device that can be used as a tablet with a pen, or can display a virtual keyboard – I haven’t seen many reviews, and it’s size and Intel Atom based motherboard mean it’s not particularly well suited to photo development and editing, although it would be capable of it for lightweight travel use – it’s raison d’etre is it’s slightly weird tablet/keyboard.

  7. Avatar
    Fabrizio Giudici November 02, 2016

    I’ve been using a Mac as my primary computer since 2005, but since I’m a software engineer I always have to do with the other operating system (actually two operating systems, but Linux is not relevant for photography).

    I’m puzzled. My previous MacBook Pro was a late 2011 15″ bought at the very beginning of 2013 and later upgraded (with SSD and extra disk, etc…). My original plan is to change the laptop every four years, so a few months ago I started looking around. Then I decided that I didn’t want to pay a lot of money now and, even though the lack of performance due to the increased megapixels of my cameras started to be noticeable, I figured out I could keep it for one more year. Honestly, I’d have taken that time for a serious evaluation of Mac vs PC, for the reasons I’m going to explain below. Then, during the summer vacations, the laptop broke for the third time in the same way (a specific plague of that specific version) and I reckoned it was too unreliable. So I bought the mid 2015 retina, 16GB RAM, quad i7 @ 2.8GHz, 1TB SSD.

    Honestly I’m more and more fed up with Apple for a number of reasons. Once upon a time they were expensive, but not so much when evaluating the things you were buying. Now, I think the situation has changed and I see more and more cool-but-honestly-not-so-useful stuff that only fits their need to increase prices. If I did the math right, the latest model which is equally powered as my current laptop would cost 4.000€ or such. Hell. When I was younger I enjoyed buying electronic gear. Honestly, not so much now; and anyway I’d rather buy photo gear…

    The real need for computing power is for my photos. For my job, I could be fine with something less (the SSD is really important though, especially when using lots of Virtual Machines). BTW I’ve measured that anyway a greater-than-expected amount of CPU goes for disk encryption (both native and VeraCrypt), a thing that for me is fundamental because in the hopefully remote case somebody steals my laptop I don’t want to be worried because they got my passwords, data, or some customers’ data that in some chances might be on it. Consider it if security is important for you.

    The fundamental point for which I still stay with Apple is Mac OS X. I really can’t stand Windows, even the latest one. For my job I could live very well with Linux, but Linux isn’t an option for photos. Virtualizing Mac OS X inside Linux isn’t supported and in the end doesn’t work well. I’ve considered moving away from the “only one laptop” way (could have Linux for business, Windows only for photos), but I hate carrying around too much stuff. I enjoy the fact that I can post-process my photos during lunch breaks, or when sitting in a train or waiting in the airport, so I want to have all my stuff, personal and business, always with me. I’m mostly on the move, so a desktop is not an option (I only have an external, wide-gamut monitor for colour post-processing).

    For what concerns the screen… Well, hi-dpi is nice, once you have it you don’t want to go back. But probably I’d have appreciated the option of having it optional and save some money. Given that, at 220dpi you don’t see pixels anyway, so I don’t think the 280dpi of the competition is really so important. I’d rather like have a wider gamut, so to get rid of the external monitor at home.

    Add that I hate being subjected to a vendor lock-in, and if you go the Apple way, you enter that situation.

    So, for me the only real value of Apple, today, is Mac OS X. Way too overpriced, anyway.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 03, 2016

      Hi Fabrizio, do you mean the new model isn’t any more powerful than the 2015 model?

      Yes, these machines are getting very expensive. It was OK when the competition was so far behind but now that many other manufacturers have caught up on many points, it is disappointing to have to settle for a lackluster spec with no clear advantage in any key area. The screen is what stands out for me. But, except for the added brightness it’s probably not that much better than the great XPS15, which costs less, has great battery life and has a great specification.

      Being used to Windows, I can live with it. So we’ll see what the technical reviewers out there have to say about the new Mac (real life speed, keyboard, screen …)

      • Avatar
        Fabrizio Giudici November 03, 2016

        “Hi Fabrizio, do you mean the new model isn’t any more powerful than the 2015 model?”

        I don’t know, as the specs of the latest units have been just published and indeed only hands-on guys can tell something meaningful. I can tell you that “powerful” must be carefully understood in function of one’s own needs.

        Just to express my point of view about the comparison method, I did a careful comparison of powerfulness between the mid 2015 MBP and my previous laptop. CPU-wise, looking only at the core, I don’t think is a lot _considering the 4/5 years gap_ and the cost (that’s one of the reasons I was going to postpone the change for one year). On the other hand, no doubts that SSD is super-faster than my previous SATA-6 SSD. This probably is not relevant in a lot of cases, as many says, because seldom you have operations that are long and I/O bound (I don’t know about video, I don’t do that). But, recalling a bad experience in the past, when I realised that the disk was silently corrupting my files, I periodically run a task which computes MD5 on all my RAW files. It was taking such a long time to be a problem, while now it completes in less than 20 minutes and I can run it frequently (being the disk encrypted, this has also to do with the CPU and encryption hardware support).

        Also: my previous model was the last one with USB2, which prevented any effective use of external SSD units (Thunderbolt units would have worked fine, but they are expensive). This was a problem with my Virtual Machine files, that I was forced to keep on the internal SSD, struggling with free space. Now they happily run on an external SSD connected with USB3.

        There are a lot of things that have different weight in our different perspectives.

        Anyway, from my point of view, if you are fine with Windows, the biggest reason for moving to Apple doesn’t hold.

        • Avatar
          pascaljappy November 03, 2016

          Thanks Frabrizio. Very useful. I was afraid you’d say that. The idea of switching was quite appealing and also made sense from a pro point of view. But it does look like the best PCs have more than caught up and the new Mac doesn’t bring much to the table that I don’t already have with high-end PCs. Cheers.

  8. Avatar
    Soso November 03, 2016

    I’m using both, Mac and PC, since decades. And while the Mac was better back in the days, Windows and PCs have improved a lot and in my opinion are head to head (and sometimes even took over) Apple today. Today, it’s the same but different. My Macbook Pro makes different problems then my PC but both are on a very high level.

    The question is, why would you switch to a Mac when you were on Windows and to learn everything new? It’s not better but different.

    For a workstation, I would also avoid laptops because they can’t be upgraded on the same level, a desktop PC can, and therefore age much fast. And as you’re bound to high fidelity displays anyways, you can either use a laptop (with all it’s down sides) or a desktop PC or just both, optimized for their purposes (light, portable laptop for traveling, browsing and writing, and a powerful desktop PC for photo management and editing).

    Especially, I have problems with the latest Macbook Pro. The touchbar can be nice but it will take Adobe years to support it properly. But the worst are the needs for so many adapters and new purchases because of the proprietary interfaces (yes it’s standard but not very widely spread), that it takes the idea of a portable travel device ad absurdum. Whenever I go to a meeting, the search for a proper VGA-Thunderbolt adapter begins. Now, VGA is pretty out-dated. But imagine, the search starts every time you want to attach a USB-stick, a external HDD, a mouse, a display, card-reader, camera, scanner, phone … You can’t even stick in your SD card and view and back-up your photos while traveling without an card reader and adapter. I don’t want this.

    Furthermore, Apple’s QA has constantly dropping within the last years. Be it iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Macbooks, Mac or iMac and displays. From Pro-features and durability to mainstream features, throwaway products and stupid product decisions (How can anybody purge the headphone jack of the iPhone 7 and tell everybody Bluetooth headphones are better and standard? How can they purge the SD card slot because the card stocked out and telling everybody to transfer their images wireless? Why can’t we attach the new iPhone 7 to the new Macbook without adapters? … ), foremost their software department (iOS and Mac OS). Thankfully, I don’t need to upgrade my Macbook now and it’s still very nice.

    If you want to still get a Mac, I would look for a discounted last year’s option: still very good with lot of interfaces. Or look at Windows land, where diversity and choice (and actually innovation) is happening. There’re a lot of “10 Top Windows alternatives for the new Macbook” articles popping up everywhere (Dell, Surface, Lenovo, HP).

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 03, 2016

      Thanks. My Dell XPS 13 is indeed wonderful. It looks like the bigger brother will get the nod over the MCB (HP Elite, maybe?). I could live with inferior specs and even with the card reader issue. But dropping QA is unacceptable. That’s THE only real differentiator Apple should fight for to the death. Without that, they’re just pushing laptops for designer stubbles. It’s hard to imagine they can sustain business on a worldwide level just on ego.

      • Avatar
        Soso November 05, 2016

        The Dell also has a matte display while the Apple’s glossy. So you’ll see more reflections when outside. And you’re used to Windows already and continue your workflow. There’s nothing worst to me then constantly changing your workflow and gaining nothing.

        You should not underestimate the issues with adapters. It’s not one adapter but you buy into a world of adapters only. It’s painful when on the go and there’s always one adapter missing or your bag is full with adapters.

        And yes, QA went really down. Support too (“Apple doesn’t make any mistakes” attitude). Especially problematic with bad software releases.

        • Avatar
          pascaljappy November 05, 2016

          Thanks Soso. All of this is a shame. The computer itself is really nice but all around it seems to be a sea of worries. Given the asking price, this is not good.

  9. Avatar
    artuk November 03, 2016

    From what I’ve read of the new MacBook Pro:
    – no SD card slot (seriously uncool for photographers)
    – USB 3.0 micro x2 (seriously uncool for anyone with niche peripherals like… USB pen drives, extrernal hard drives, cameras to connect etc… very very uncool)
    – ridiculously high price
    – not exactly class leading specification (not very cool)

    Windows ultrabooks offer much better value, can be slimmer, lighter, more powerful, have better graphics, mostly have a decent collection of ports to connect all our things to. Unless you are fully signed up to worship in the particular cult of the Church of Apple, then I simply don’t see the point. Personally, I bought an Acer Aspire V Nitro with a stunning 4K screen and an excellent graphics card etc for a much lower price, and when in 3 years time I upgrade to something more powerful, I will probably still have saved money.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 04, 2016

      Hi Artuk, I certainly do not worship that church as this Macbook would be my first Apple product ever (not counting an iPad someone gave me as a present and was stolen a few weeks later). And, one by one, my reasons for chosing this Mac seem to crumble. Super quality/reliability seems to be a dream of the past, price is high, ergonomics are a question mark (card reader but, mostly, keyboard), super efficient OS that compensates for lackluster specs (signature PCs come without the bloatware and seem to do as well) …

      So, it’s really down to that screen and real life performance on my daily tasks. Super fast SSD is interesting (but available on the Dell XPS series). Price is less an issue as a professional tool. If the laptop makes my work more pleasant/faster, the price is worth it. If it hinders it, that’s an issue even at 70% off. Still on the fence 😉

      • Avatar
        Soso November 05, 2016

        Mac OS is not super efficient – or at least not notable better then Windows. The super-fast SSD is not a difference in real life. I do have such SSD into my Macbook and have a normal SATA-3 SSD in my Windows desktop PC, with just 500 MB/s. On paper, it’s double as fast. In real life, there’s no differences because there’s more in play when it comes to work then pure read and write performance. Let’s say, you have a 250 MB image. On my desktop SSD it would be read in 0.5s, on my Macbook it’s 0.25s. But then there’s caching and processing involved and it doesn’t matter anymore.

      • Avatar
        artuk November 05, 2016

        Some people cling to a belief that the Apple OS is more efficient than Windows, which might have been true 10 or 20 years ago, but modern versions of Windows are just as good or possibly better than OSX, which has also become bloated over the years with all the extra multi media features that users expect. Apple tend to hide behind the “special” mythos of their computers, and hence don’t publish proper specifications (try finding out exactly which “intel core i5” processor it has?), although Microsoft also play that game with their own hardware but do publish actual processor model numbers etc if you care to look for them. Apple users also babble on about the mythos of “retina” displays, which is meaningless marketing babble, and in fact if you really want a high resolution and high quality screen, there are lots of PC options now right up to full 4K with close to 100% sRGB or Adobe gamut etc. I wasn’t accusing you personally of worshiping at the church of the religious cult of St Steve, but many people do so very unquestioningly and being very ill informed. If people have the money, by all means they can buy one, but they don’t need to be sanctimonious about it – it’s just an Intel based computer like all the others, it’s just the OS is different and they control the spec more, for which you tend to pay a premium. There are lots of lovely premium PCs running Windows these days – just read some reviews of models such as Dells XPS 15 (pricey), Acer V Nitro (15″ and 17″ variants), Asus 15″ zen books, and some of the HP Envy and Spectre models. Many of those come with excellent full HD or QHD/4K screens of good quality (check the reviews on places like notebookcheck or ultrabookreview as quality varies by panel, which may not be the same across models). I recently purchased a very high spec Acer V Nitro with a 4K screen, 128Gb SSD for the system and a 2Tb HDD for data, GeForce 960 4Gb graphics card and 8Gb ram for about half the price of one of the new Macs – it doesn’t look very sexy but the chassis is actually a rubberised bonded alloy. The XPS are lovely, but in my opinion are too expensive for their specification, which in the UK is often very modest for the price. If you were looking for something smaller my suggestions would be different, but you clearly want a 15″+ model,

  10. Avatar
    Jens November 05, 2016

    If you’re looking in the win world – I think it’s worth it to checkout the SurfaceBook. I switched from my XPS15 to a SurfaceBook. Things might have changed, but I wasn’t too happy with the colour on the XPS15 (late 14 gen) even after calibration – the SurfaceBook was much better (+ brighter) and I prefer it to the Macbook I have on my desk at work as well (but since the new one has an improved display, my guess is that apple will be as good or better). Again a matter of preference – I prefer the 3:2 ratio on the display.

    Another important issue for me is that I like looking at photos on a tablet and being able to simply detach the screen is very nice. The touchscreen of the XPS15 was more of a gimmick without the pen as input – the SurfaceBook might not be a full replacement for the wacom cintiq, but it’s close enough (and I would never carry that one around).

    In the end a mobile device is for me mostly about convinience, display and keyboard and the SurfaceBook is my personal winner – I don’t care too much about performance since I have my desktop for that.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 05, 2016

      Thanks Jens, the SurfaceBook dropped off my shopping list because of the small screen. 13″ is too slamm and I already have the XPS13. I’m replacing a 17″ laptop and would like something slightly lighter (which unfortunately excludes the tremendous new Razer pro) but not too much smaller. 15″ is probably the sweet spot. Shame because Microsoft appear to have built a winner there. Truer to the Mac spirit than Apple have been able to create? 😉 The 2016 XPS15 has a very good screen. But a little too dim for my work conditions. It’ll still get the nod if the new MBP doesn’t convince me entirely. It’s much cheaper, too …

      • Avatar
        artuk November 05, 2016

        I’m not sure where you live, but if you want something larger but very portable, check out some of the latest ultra light 15″ models from Acer, Samsung and LG (alas the latter 2 not in distribution in the UK) – they all now make 15″ ultra books of less than 1Kg, though obviously there are some compromises – it really depends on your priorities, power vs portability etc.

      • Avatar
        Jens November 06, 2016

        Ah ok. Again something very much subject to personal preference – for me 15” was too small for any real work* and the keyboard wasn’t as comfortable as a proper one. In the end the XPS15 was virtually always hooked up on the docking station.
        And it was a bit too big for carrying it around (it wouldn’t fit into my regular backpack I use for my camera gear / excursions).

        A case of ‘neither fish nor flesh’ really. If you keep your XPS13 I likely would go for a 17” laptop again – if you can justify the price the HP ZBooks are really nice.

        (* I do a fair amount of coding / CAD and while I can scale things down to fit everything on the screen it’s too tiresome when trying to work for several hours that way.)

      • Avatar
        eric carlino November 06, 2016

        I’m not sure what % you edit on the road vs at home/office – but if you’re at home at least 60% of the time, then perhaps a SurfaceBook with external 30″ 4k monitor is a solution – i’m probably only on the road 20% of the time for my editing needs so that’s what i’ve done – and the screen on the SurfaceBook is simply gorgeous (but, yes, only 13″ but for me that is a huge plus as portability was a big factor).

        also, not sure what your purchase timeframe is but if you’re able to wait until H1’2017 there will certainly be more powerful SurfaceBooks released but perhaps even a 15″ version.

        whatever brand you go with, i’d consider (if your workflow would benefit) a screen that has a stylus – i’ve always enjoyed the option to use one for masking.

  11. Avatar
    RLB2444 November 07, 2016

    I have been doing a lot of research on the latest intros of MacBookPro. I have a 17″ MBP with a retina screen in the closet…too old and too slow to work with high res images. My 2012 is used most of the day for communication and it work fine for that…. the screen sucks.

    Here’s my problem and I don’t think I am alone. My brain doesn’t handle much mechanical or electronic but I realize I have to use computers to support my interests. In the past when I had PC’s I had on call a service person that would visit and clean up and update my PC for me. When I switched to Apple all that went away. I seldom need service but when I do I can speak to someone that speaks a language I can understand and never have to wait more than a couple minutes to do so. I can also make an appointment at the local Apple Genius Bar and always get a fix. This may happen a couple times a year. This is peace of mind for me. While I do understand that PC’s have come a long way it brings back too many costly horror tales in dealing with it. I realize their is a premium to pay for Apple’s level of service but it’s worth it to me. What I don’t understand is Apples focus being more on the esthetics than on the operational advancement. All marketing!

    I don’t think I am willing to risk my sanity to venture away from Macs. What really upsets me is to have to configure a MBP for my needs at a super premium price when Apple continues to search for prettier, costlier and less meaningful changes than function.

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