So, a year ago I was looking for a new laptop. I’ve always been a Windows user but was tired on the quality of past laptops which would fall apart far too quickly after purchase.

Now, I could have gone for a high quality Windows laptop but, let’s be honest, putting a metal case on a laptop doesn’t ensure quality. Macbook’s on the other hand are known for it – tried and tested. And I was “up” for trying out a different OS. So a 2012 refresh Macbook Pro 15″ (non-retina) was mine. I did weigh up whether to spend the extra on the retina version but decided against it – I’m still happy with that decision.

So, a year later, how has it gone?

The Hardware

The Macbook is damn resilient with not a scratch on it. A quick wipe and it’s new again. I do find the lid a bit spongier that I’d expect but otherwise it’s pretty good.

The keyboard on the Macbook is always a dream to use and the screen is sharp and very good quality. The touchpad – as far as I’m concerned it’s the benchmark for any future device to strive towards. It’s amazing to use.

The battery, well, there’s a disappointment. It never seems to last that long before it’s back on the charger again. The charger provided is quite ingenious where you can either have it is as a long cabled version, with the block half way between (like a traditional laptop charger) or shorten it and have the block part of the plug socket. The magnetic connector is a brilliant idea but it creates scratches around the socket as it finds the right position upon inserting. I’m also finding recently that it stops charging too – a waggle of the charger in the socket and it starts again. I’m not really sure what’s happening there.

When I first got it I did struggle with getting the Macbook lid open but it’s something I got used to in time and now I don’t have a problem with it. The rubber feet on the bottom too don’t offer much grip – they’ve got better as they’ve worn and got a bit “rougher” but still aren’t as grippy as I’d expect.

Oddly, weight is an issue. Although it’s lighter than my daughter’s and wife’s Samsung laptops they find it heavy to hold. They were surprised to find out that my Macbook was actually lighter and I suspect the weight is more sub-consciously a result of the metal case.

So, hardware wise, it’s generally impressive. Certainly any future laptop has a lot to live up to.

The Software

Oh, how I miss Windows. It’s not that OS X is bad but, for me, it just doesn’t flow as easily as Windows does. Maybe it’s because I’m used to Windows, but after a year of use with OS X, it’s still not gelling for me.

Initially I had lots of crashing issues but these turned out to be the Chrome browser being particularly flaky.  Recently I’ve had problems with slow reboot times and WiFi connectivity but I think both of those are due to me using the SD card slot for backups. Not sure why WiFi should be affected by it and that may be an issue with the OS itself.

Really, the only issue I’ve had which caused me major issues was the time the touchpad stopped working. Connecting a mouse didn’t work either. Unfortunately, the recovery system built into OS X doesn’t appear to have been tested very thoroughly recently – all of it is controllable via the keyboard except for the very last key press which requires a mouse click. It was tremendously frustrating and I was only saved from sending it back to Apple by the fact that suddenly and inexplicably the touchpad started working again. Although I may have blamed the OS for a lot of these issues I now believe it was external hardware or third party software. Certainly, no different to the kinds of things that Windows would complain about.

Unless you have an application pinned to the launch bar then running it is a slow process. I also find the OS looking very old and creaky – that skeuomorphism, like with iOS, needs a desperate update.

The lack of compatibility is often an issue too with Apple wanting nothing to do with Flash and, indeed, Java even being an issue – I can’t view the website for my  daughter’s child minder because it needs a recent version of Java to run and, for some reason, Apple embed its own, older version.

Conclusion

I’m certainly far more impressed with the hardware than the software. However, I never intended to buy a Macbook and then put Windows on it.

For the time being I have no intention of replacing the Macbook although, if I was, I’d move back to Windows. But only if I get Windows wrapped in hardware as good as the Mac.