Considering a MacBook; What Are Your Experiences?

Hardware & Accessories


I had some devices, but not a MacBook yet. I am going to get one, but I would like to read your experiences with your Macs especially, but also about your Windows Laptops.

I have a Lenovo X240 at the Moment, running Windows 8.1. It is not very responsive, I expect more for ist Price.
My Laptops have not seen their third Age. They were too slow and outdated, so that I had to get a News one. Another important Point which annoys me is the bad Service.
The Companys make it hard to Change defective Components, but if you Need their help, you have to pay a lot.



Submitted by David on Monday, May 25, 2015

It all depends on what you want or need. I have been considering getting a MacBook for a while. but in the end, I decided to get an HP Spectre X360 convertible laptop for less than the price of the MacBook. The processor is a higher spec than the Mac, and it has a decent set of ports. Plus, of course, it converts into a tablet which the MacBook doesn't. The MacBook doesn't even have a touch screen, which I still find a bit puzzling given Apple's strengths in that area. And for those who might start to comment on the whole VoiceOver thing, I found Narrator on the Windows 8.1 touch screen to be every bit as usable as VoiceOver to start with. I was able to set up the whole machine and get browsing and using built-in aps straight away. My main reason for getting this was that it is smaller and lighter than my current 17 inch laptop for taking on holiday. The battery life of the Spectre is also very good, generally somewhere around 12 hours with normal usage. And I'm quite looking forward to the free Windows 10 upgrade in a month or two.

My previous laptop is about 4 years old I think. That's not the oldest one I've got though. I've still got a little 12 inch Fujitsu-Siemens modal laptop that I bought about 15 years ago. Apart from a slightly dodgy power switch, it seems to work just fine. But I hardly ever use it now because it just doesn't have the memory or disk space for modern requirements.

Submitted by splyt on Monday, May 25, 2015

1- Apple macs are expensive.
2- They are way sheaper than almost any laptop plus the expenses of a conmercial screen reader, so at the end it might get cheapper if you are whiling to tolerate the way voiceover operates, for many people in a less productive way than what comercial windows screen readers will do.
3- On a mac you can run windows and on a PC you can not run mac, so if you want the best of the two platforms the mac is your only option at the moment.
4- Mac's are fast, and when I say it I really mean fast ..... when they're running the os X the operating system written specially for theis kind of compyuter. I have heard that windows on them is also fast but I personally can not judge on it because I have never seen such a case. Its hardware is though less powerful than most part of PCs.
5- Finally, you must know that migrating to OS X is not trivial and that you're gonna have a somewhat meaningful time to be as productive as you are on windows, I at least can not say I am even after two years of running a Macintosh everyday.

Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, May 25, 2015

Hello. I first got a laptop back in high school. It was a Toshiba which had been modified by Humanware. I only had it for a few years and then had to give it back to my high school's special education department, but it held up quite well throughout the time I used it. Fast-forward to a few years ago, when my parents got me a Dell laptop for Christmas. It came with loads of crapware, which I attempted to remove via the Windows add/remove utility because I couldn't use it. It worked okay up until the hard drive basically crashed. My life-skills tutor and I sent it back, and it eventually came back to me and worked okay again for awhile. But then the hard drive crashed again. Unfortunately it was no longer under warranty, so I had to say goodbye to it. <frown> That's actually more or less the short version of what happened. Then for Christmas in 2013 my parents got me the MacBook Air which I'm using to type this. It has held up quite well, and I must say the audio on here is good for a laptop. VoiceOver sounds great, and the stuff that I've listened to in iTunes sounds fantastic. My brother-in-law gave me an Apple SuperDrive for Christmas last year, and it has worked great too. Plus, I love the fact that VoiceOver and all of Apple's other accessibility features are built in. That I think makes up for the high price tag on these things. But to each his own. I can't really comment on using external speakers or headphones on here, because I don't have them. I did use a colleague's headset once though only with VO, and it sounded pretty good. Best of luck in your decision.

Submitted by Firebird on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thank you for sharing your Experiences here.
I am going to get a Macbook Pro anyway, at least for the Trial Period.

The worst experience I had were with HP. I had a HP Pavilion DV7. It cost me about € 1,000, yes I live in Europe and that is why my English is not the best here.

I had been using it for about six months, when Windows did not boot anymore. HP told me that the Motherboard was defective and that this is not included in the warranty. Forget it. The phone Connection was bad and the Consultant seemed to have difficulties with answering my questions because of language barreers.
And I also know Lenovo direct customer Support and how it was when ThinkPads belonged to IBM.

Submitted by David on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In reply to by Firebird

Oddly enough, the 17 inch laptop I have now is an HP Pavillion DV7, and it's working fine after 4 years. I've no plans to retire it yet, even though I've now got the Spectre. It'll basically take the role of my desktop machine.

I think under EU law, but certainly UK which wouldn't apply to you, a faulty motherboard after six months would qualify as unmerchantable quality, entitling you to a repair, replacement or refund, never mind the warranty. Perhaps things are different where you are. The sales centre in Ireland I dealt with in ordering my Spectre were very helpful, and I would certainly go back to them if I had any problems with it. I'd also take advantage of HP's high profile if I didn't get good quality service. Always try to go with a company that has a reputation to lose. :)

I do wish people would stop using the price of screen readers to justify the cost of Macs. There are free Windows screen readers, like NVDA, which invalidate this argument. And as I indicated earlier, I was able to use Narrator with Windows 8.1 perfectly well. There are some things in fact that Narrator does better than either JAWS or NVDA in windows 8.1 in my opinion. Just like VoiceOver, Narrator works best with the built-in apps, and is open to the vagaries of developers as to how well it would work with third party apps. Is VoiceOver better than Narrator generally? Yes, I'd say so. But narrator is perfectly serviceable within the above limits. Could I walk up to any Windows computer and get Narrator going to be able to do most built-in things? Yes, just as I could do likewise to start VoiceOver on any Mac.

With the advent of Windows 10, I foresee the differences between the capabilities dwindling still further in terms of the operating systems and aps. I can't say about Narrator, as MS seem to be being rather coy about that.

If I had the spare cash, I'd certainly consider getting a MacBook as well. But in terms of prioritising, it unfortunately came second.

Submitted by splyt on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Now ... to respect other's opinions is so good ....

You say narrator is enough, I say it's not. You gave your opinion, I gave mine.
I respected your opinion, you didn't respect mine.

I do not use computers for home activities. For these I use IOS.
And in professional activities I pretty much doubt narrator is enough. May be it is for you, not for me.
This is why people put their opinions, to allow the poster to read different points and based on that judge him or her self what to do.
For me narrator won't work. I am a programmer and an office power user, so for me, for me .... and, cinse you asked again ... for me it is out of the game for comparisons.
NVDA is good. It's a free screen reader. It is a somewhat good screen reader for almost anything but again I didn't stated he or she needs comercial screen readers.
What I said is this: should you consider buying windows and a comercial screen reader or buy a mac OS you will pay cheaper for a mac, because voiceover is pretty much at the level of a comercial screen reader if you will tolerate its way of operation.
Now, again: if they don't need a comercial screen reader than that's good.

Submitted by Firebird on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No, really. I'd not call Narrator a Screen Reader.
NVDA is good. More and more it replaces Jaws on my Windows.

I did not understand that Screen Readers were judged by their Price. But I Support design for all. Blind Users should not pay the full Price + Screen Reader to be able to use the device. Free Screen Readers are good, but again, blind Users should be free to use them and not because of no alternate. NVDA is a big exception. Other free Screen Readers don't have a active community behind.

I don't believe my reply was disrespectful of your opinion at all. I was expressing an equal opinion that using the price of a Windows screen reader in comparing with Mac was invalid, because buying a screen reader is unnecessary these days. You're perfectly free to hold your opinion as to the usability of Narrrator, and I did in fact say that VoiceOver is better than Narrator. But I was able to work with a Windows laptop using Narrator just as much as I was with VoiceOver, using built-in apps, which is a valid comparison.

So, no disrespect intended, but definitely a difference of opinion.

I have no experience of how long Mac machines remain performant, and hope others will post their experiences for comparison. I've had one bad experience with an Acer laptop that only lasted a couple of years before I needed to have it seen to. That was mainly the plastic casing breaking. Macs usually do appear to be higher quality build, but the aluminium casing of the Spectre and its solid state seem to bode well.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I've had very good experience with apple. My laptop lasted 4 years before it crapped out on me, in the middle of my semester. The techs are wonderful, the help is good, and I'm applying to try and work for them in the tech department as I want to continue the grate service they offer.

If you treat your mac well expect to get about 4-6 years out of it. They will discontinue the ram though 3 years after your laptop is built and now a days you cannot change the ram yourself as it is welded in to the lojic board. Still though you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Take care.

Submitted by Rocker on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holiday greetings!
Not here to continue the screen reader flame wars. I like the new star wars much better LOL!
I looked at the Narrator control panel and I learned that there are now over 130 Narrator settings that can be adjusted. man she's come a long way since XP.
I'm not saying Narrator is better then V/o, JAWS, NVDA, Dolphin, Window eyes, etc. etc.
I am here to ask if any of you know if I can use Narrator to set up a new HP Spector X360 that I just bought and will be arriving in two weeks?
I know you can set up a new Mac with voiceover but, I couldn't afford a new Mac and scored a much better deal on a higher spec HP.
I'm just hoping that I can fire up Narrator to set up the laptop for the first time out of the factory box.
It's a downer to need sighted help and hand over the first time experience of a new tech toy right?

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Agree with Sarah on this one. She's got a lot of great points in the world of macs. whether or not you choose a mac is up to you, and good on you for choosing one! I know they are expensive to those that say it, but if you can afford it or get one thru a deal, then thats fine! I've had my 15 inch mid 2012 MBP for almost 4 years now and it's working very well. The only repairs I had to do was to replace the original spinning 500GB drive with a 500GB samsung SSD and it's working loads better than it was before! Let's not judge a piece of access tech on how much it costs, but how it works in real life and how it meets your needs. If VO works fine for you, then that's great. If not then find another alternative like NVDA on windows. anyway to the MBP, which one are you getting anyway? Honestly the 15 inch form factor is wonderful. You get more processor for your money and better internal speakers than the smaller machines. Plus the 15 inch has a bigger battery, so more runtime between charges, yay!

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hi and I'm so glad you're considering a Mac. I wanted to post and say one thing. You probably already know this, but each individual's experience is different. I've seen so much bashing lately, and people claiming that Apple doesn't care about accessibility. This in fact could not be farther from the truth. Apple is very committed to accessibility for all. Some people may not particularly care for the way in which the company implements their access features, but that does not change the fact that the company remains committed. Having said all that, I've had my MacBook Air since the end of 2013, and love it. VoiceOver does have a bit of a learning curve if you are switching over from another screen reader, but Apple has done a very nice job with VoiceOver. It is built into most if not all of Apple's products to date, so that in my books is a huge plus.

Regarding laptops, I had a Dell running NVDA and System Access. System Access and SA to Go are very good, and so is NVDA. However, my Dell laptop came loaded with crapware and I had to delete tons of stuff. The hard drive failed not once, but twice. So that was the end of that. Now I have this Mac which is my first one.

Submitted by MelodicFate on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I've had my current Mac for about 5 years this month. The only thing I've had to replace was the hard drive with an SSD. I'd say if you're careful with them, Macs last quite a while.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Agreed. Macs tend to last a lot longer than PCs if "taken care of well." Plus, the hardware and software work in tandem, whereas with windows, it seems like theres a lot of fighting with resources etc. I've been a mac exclusive user for 6 years and don't ever plan on going back, ever!! lol. Anyway, there are some quirks with voiceover, but if you can get used to it's quirkiness, you'll be good to go. Look on the getting your first mac page on here and there should be enough info to get you going.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Windows 10 has gotten considerably better as far as resources. I've also owned my previous Windows 7 desktop for 5 years, so if taken care of properly, any pc, mac or Windows can last a long time. I'm very happy with Windows so I see no real reason to switch at this point. Just offering a different perspective.