Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Reliving the MacBook Pro

Last month, I spent a week using a MacBook Pro, and I am reminded about some of the nice things I liked about Macs. This is kind of like a reflection post. I’m not new to Mac, but I don’t use Macs often nowadays, so it’s fun to be back using it for a bit.

I’ve used Mac computers for a very long time, since the days of the PowerPC. However, in 2018, I decided to move to Windows as my primary desktop OS. I still use a Mac from time to time, but it became even more infrequent this year when I started to use a tablet for some types of work that I’d ordinarily do on a laptop.

While preparing for my last trip, I was thinking about which device to bring. I use a Windows laptop even less regularly nowadays. My options were mainly between the 14-inch M1 MacBook Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. I know, these aren’t quite on par, but I have seriously been able to get some casual work done on the Samsung tablet. However, I was expecting to need some “heavier” work this time around, so it would have to be the MacBook Pro.

When I do use a Mac, it was usually an older MacBook Pro, one of those Intel-based ones. So, this 14-inch M1 MacBook Pro had been kind of unused for a little while.

Funny enough, trying to get back into doing real work on the MacBook Pro felt a bit nostalgic. It hasn’t been a long while at all, but somehow I felt like I was appreciating some of the things I liked about the Mac all over again.

For example, sound from the MacBook Pro is just better than any Windows laptop I’ve ever used. No need for endorsement by AKG or other pro-audio brand. MacBook Pros just have great sound, sometimes even better than dedicated PC desktop speakers.

The other thing that is quite apparent is about the display quality. The display isn’t just sharp, but the colours are also absolutely beautiful. I have a colorimeter, so I can say quite objectively from my testing, that Macs have really good colour gamut coverage.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro I have (2021 model with M1 Pro processor) has 100%, 84%, 88%, and 94% sRGB, NTSC, AdobeRGB, and P3 colour gamut coverage. It’s one of the best I’ve ever tested.

But not the best. So in case you were wondering, there are a couple of PC laptops that performed quite outstandingly. Notably, these are:

  • ASUS ROG Flow X13 (2023)
  • ASUS ROG Flow X16 (2022) — this is really superb

There are a couple of other premium ASUS laptops that also exceed the MacBook Pro’s colour performance, but I’ll tell you that the Mac is quite good enough. That’s why creative professionals use Macs to work with photos and/or videos.

I had to use the MacBook Pro for a full week. I loved the display, I loved the audio, and I love the general, overall, experience of the software. These days, compared to back in 2018 when I decided to switch to Windows, I can work productively in a Microsoft-centric work environment on macOS. The main apps I need, the usual office software from Microsoft 365, including Outlook and Teams, are not substandard in experience.

I also use Visual Code Studio heavily, and they are first-class on the Mac. Most other work-related apps I need are on the web, and no doubt Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are great, no different from options on Windows. All my CLI-based needs are met by macOS’ terminal environment.

I have some occasional need for Adobe Creative Cloud tools, and those, of course, also run on macOS no differently than on Windows.

So, while I still think macOS somehow is just less fluid navigating through heavy Office applications workload, much of my gripe that pushed me away from the Mac in 2018 isn’t a pain anymore.

Even though I am an IT guy, living out of terminal shells, VS Code, and web environments, I still need lots of Office applications. I can make do with the Mac for one week. However, I think I will still lose patience with the Mac if I had to deal with the little bits of hinderance to my office productivity.

The Mac is fun. It’s nice in many ways. But I still find Windows working out better for me overall.

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