College Freshman, MacBook or SurfaceBook

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by anirudhs98, Jul 6, 2016.

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  1. anirudhs98

    anirudhs98 Newbie

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    1) What is your budget?

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Netbook; 10" screen or less
    b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    C and D are both nice

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    Michigan, USA

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like:
    b. Dislike:
    Lifelong PC user, but prefer MacBook and Surface Book due to there brand name. If there are significantly better laptops of other brands I am open to suggestions

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    I am an incoming engineering Student at the University of Michigan college of engineering. I would definitely taking notes, making presentations, using CAD and Programming softwares such as C++ and MATLAB.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes, will be carried around pretty much everywhere

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    I currently play a lot of Hearthstone, but will likely be playing a decent amount of CS:GO an League of Legends soon. I will also probably start playing Overwatch and will probably download a couple new releases in the future,

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    The more thee better as this will be a very mobile Laptop. I'd say atleast 6 hours would be ideal

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    I would like to see it beforehand i suppose but could probably just see them at my local Best Buy.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Lifelong Windows user but willing to switch

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.)
    Higher resolution preferred. Surface book apparently has 3000 x 2000

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)
    No real preference again

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Yes, will bee bringing it everywhere

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Probably within a month, late august at the latest

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    Atleast throughout college until I get a job myself

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    The abundance of programs I'll be using make me believe 256 GB would be a good amount

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    No, not really.
    Alright so the University of Michigan computer store offers a Macbook bundle.
    It contains:
    13" MacBook Pro
    with Retina display
    (2.7GHz i5 | 256GB flash | 8GB RAM)
    4-yr Safeware Protection Plan
    1TB external hard drive
    USB 3.0 ethernet adapter
    Block M notebook sleeve
    Office 365 Education
    Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones**
    $50 Computer Showcase gift card

    Meanwhile the $1899 Surface Book also has an i5 processor, 256 gb ssd, and 8 gb memory.

    I personally like the surface book better due to familiarity, whole touch screen ability, and the gaming aspect. however, should I still go with the Macbook due to the value of the bundle? The Protection plan is apparently a $279 value the the surfacebook would cost $350 more for the essential items. My parents are buying this laptop for me so I would need a good reason to pick the the surface book over the Mac.

    I sincerely appreciate any help and thank you for taking the time to read this. I sincerely appreciate it.
  2. Rhodan

    Rhodan NBR Expert of Nothing

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    What does your uni recommend? In the end it's all about getting something that will last you 4 years, have readily available support and service onsite and run well the applications you need to complete your degree.

    To be honest, I like macs and when my daughter goes to uni she will probably use one and if she does there will be a backup unit stashed away in case of disaster. That's just me the poor IT schmuck who's seen disaster first hand and has a strong dislike of single point of failure...

    In your case I would go with what your college can support or with a business class laptop. Ask yourself, how long can you function in school without your laptop.
    Aroc and Kent T like this.
  3. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Be mindful of what her major requires software wise, and also what OS it needs to run best. Also, if that machine travels a lot, accidental damage coverage is a good thing. And also Apple does not offer it. And also, Apples must be treated more delicately. A ding in the right place, can get warranty invalidated. Not a machine to have in your backpack without very intense protection. Any major which is computer intensive really needs a business class machine with accidental damage and at least 4 year warranty. And for you something capable of heavy lifting. And with next business day. Some majors will be best with a Mac, some best with PC, check and see what is recommended. CAD is mainly a PC thing, and also gaming is best on PC, as cooling under sustained loads is a Apple weakness on MacBooks. Programming in some cases will be tied on both on C++. You might want a thin and light for light duty use and a more substantial laptop for heavy lifting, the thin and light could be a MacBook Pro or SurfaceBook. Also, there's better headphones than Beats for way cheaper (Audio-Technica, Grado, Yamaha, AKG, Sennheiser, Beyer Dynamic to name some) $1500-$2200 could get you a gaming PC of some kind or a workstation of some kind, and have enough left to get a refurbed MacBook Pro 13" as your travel machine. Just something to consider, and you'd have cheap or free Windows to dual boot with Bootcamp for when you need or want Windows. This plan would allow backup facilities if one machine is down.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  4. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    I'd definitely check up on the university recommendations to establish some sort of baseline. Not only for the hardware but also for software; it'd be unwise to buy a Windows laptop if your school uses OSX software or vice versa.

    That said, what sort of CAD will you be doing (might have to refer to the university again for this)? As for gaming, if you're planning on playing newer titles at higher settings, you might want something that has more GPU power than either the MBP or SurfaceBook; since those aren't actually designed for such tasks.

    Personally, with that sort of budget, I'd not pick either of those two systems. For gaming, I'd go with some sort of mid- to high-end desktop build (either prebuilt or preferably DIY if you can) for a part of that budget and then get a business-class laptop for the other part (you're worried about durability and reliability judging by your OP, in which case I'd ignore consumer-class laptops altogether since they're built to be disposable appliances).
    Aroc, Galm and Kent T like this.
  5. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I'd go with Jarhead or get something more capable for gaming than either of those options, like a Sager NP8658, Razer Blade, or Asus Zenbook Pro or something depending on what kind of performance and portability you need.
  6. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    And even then, be mindful of service and support if this is your only laptop. In an engineering major, that machine being reliable is critical to getting coursework done on time. You need fast, proper warranty service if you have a issue with your machine, this very issue is a common gaming company weakness. Choose your reseller carefully on this one.
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  7. InOrderToSignIn

    InOrderToSignIn Notebook Consultant

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    NVM haha, didn't realize you wanted to game.

    I would definitely follow previous advice about going for a different laptop than the macbook and surface for gaming.
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