Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Please Help Me Pick Out My Birthday Present!

I need your advice.

My husband is encouraging me to pick out a laptop computer as my birthday present from him! While I was trying to decide between the different computer options available, I asked the Best Buy technician a billion questions last week. I still can't make up my mind.  

Here's where you come in. It just dawned on me that I have a valuable resource of expert opinions readily available to me - many of my blog readers know a lot about computers, and all of you use one! Will you please help me pick one out?

 This is the Mac desktop I have used to write most of these posts.

I am pretty sure I want an Apple product.

Actually, I have already narrowed down my choices somewhat.  We are an "Apple" family - all of our cell phones are iPhones, my husband has an iPad, and we have owned an Apple desktop for the past decade.  I plan to stick with an Apple product - not necessarily because it is superior to the competition, but because it is what I am used to. One huge bonus that I see is that I would still be able to access to our large iPhoto file from my laptop.  That being said - if you think Apple is a poor choice for a blogger, please tell me why!

What will I use this laptop for?

I probably will continue to do some writing/ blogging on our desktop. There are several reasons it would be really nice to have a laptop though.

  • For travel: Having a nice computer with me will make it a lot easier to blog (rather than get frustrated trying to use our ancient and undependable netbook; borrow a family member's computer; or write posts on my phone - which I have done!)
  • Change of scenery. With a laptop, I can blog from any room in the house - or the library, a coffee shop, a doctor's office, ... or anywhere I can connect to the Internet! 
  • For exercise: I have become more sedentary than I like as a writer, and I really need to build more exercise into my day. The option of creating a standing desk with a laptop, or even adding a shelf to our treadmill, and doing some walking while I work has a lot of appeal! 

What size of screen?

I want a big enough screen to work comfortably on, and for my aging eyes to easily see.  But I do not want something big or heavy. I think I have decided on a 13-inch screen. 

  • An 11-inch is definitely too small for my needs, as I open multiple windows at a time.
  • I don't think their is enough difference between the 13-inch and 15 inch screen size  to justify the extra size, weight and price of the 15-inch. 

Which models are in the running? 

Technically, I believe Apple refers to the computers in which I am interested as “notebooks.”  I ruled out the Macbook Pro, because it is the heaviest of the three models I have been comparing. As far as I can tell, the only real advantage of the Macbook Pro is a CD player, which I don't need. (Or do I?) I think I have narrowed my choices down to:

  •  the 13-inch Macbook Air versus the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display.

Air versus Retina Pro?

As far as I can tell, and from information on the Apple Website:

-The Macbook Air is a little lighter, and has a longer battery life (12 versus 9 hours, I think) than the MacBook Pro with Retina DIsplay.
- The MacBook Pro with Retina DIsplay has one more Thunderbolt port than the MacBook Air - and an HDMI port (whatever those are!) 
- The MacBook Pro with Retina DIsplay has considerably more storage capacity and more memory than the MacBook Air (but there is always the Cloud ... )
- The MacBook Pro with Retina DIsplay has much better resolution and pixel density (better display) than the MacBook Air. 
- The MacBook Pro with Retina DIsplay has a more powerful processor, so it is faster than the Macbook Air.
- The MacBook Air is less expensive, but perhaps not enough to sway a decision, if the features of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display are more desirable.  I may need to purchase Cloud space or external backup for the MacBook Air, which would lessen the price difference.

So - What's a Blogger to Do?

I will primarily be using this laptop for writing and blogging.  I want to chose the computer that is best for this these tasks, while being easy to see and use, and portable.  As you have seen on this blog, I do incorporate quite a few of my own photos into my blog posts, but my photo editing efforts are not extremely technical. 

The battery life and lighter weight of the MacBook Air are extremely enticing - but so is the storage space, more powerful processor, and enhanced screen of the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Here are my questions for you:

What type of computer do you currently use - and are you a blogger?

Of these two Apple products, which do you recommend I buy - and why? 

     OR - - Is there a different laptop you think I should consider?

My birthday is over. My husband really wants to give me my gift - and I can't wait to get it!! I value your opinion - and I would really appreciate your help in choosing it. 

Photobombed by my feline assistant!

Please leave your suggestions in the comments.
Thank you for your help!

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


  1. I missed your birthday?! Happy Birthday!!! I'm no help with your laptop dilemma - I don't have one either, and just work from my desktop computer. Both of your options sound wonderful though!

  2. No worries Lana - I usually keep my birthday pretty low key, and sort of like it to go mostly unnoticed! Do you use an Apple or a PC?

    1. We're all over the place at our house! Both of our computers are PC's (we had them built because we use them for our business too), but we all have iphones and ipads. I'm excited to see what you decide on, since I'll probably purchase a laptop in the next year.

  3. Darn, I can't help you, I'm not an Apple user. But I will tell you that I adore my laptop, I don't think I could blog without it.

    1. I am really looking forward to having one of my own ...

  4. I tried to use an Apple computer for a while. A really nice one donated to me by my photographer SIL. I found it very hard to work with when it came to global decisions on large documents. Perhaps it's better now. And perhaps much of my difficulty was that I've always written my books on PC. But I did find that basic things (like inserting page numbers) - a simple matter of a single button on my computer - enormously complicated on Apple.

    1. Thanks for this input, Diane! I am going to play around a little tomorrow with inserting page numbers on my Apple desktop, and see if it still seems like an issue. So many things to consider ... !
      Still hoping to find time to read one of your books, by the way!!

  5. Happy Birthday Susan! You really are sneaky! I am having the same problem though (my hubby is getting me one for Christmas) but my dilemma is a little different. I have a desktop DELL that I have had for 10 years but it still works great, then I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, I have messed something up and am having the hardest time with Google + but I think I deleted something important need tech desperately going to take it to Best Buy when I get the time. Anyway, I can't figure out if I want a laptop or a new desktop. One minute I say laptop, because it's hard to type on the touchscreen of the notebook. You can tell when I use it because it skips letters and my spelling looks horrible but it's light on my hands and with RA that's a big issue for me. My desktop is okay but it is Windows Vista, really old and didn't have a writing program like Word on it. I have since downloaded a free one that Carol Graham told me about and after I took all the extra add-ons off it works great for working on my book. So I don't don't know which to get. This computer has 10 years worth of pics on it and that worries me but I have saved them all to dropbox so I can see them from anywhere. See I don't know, just thinking about it makes me babble! It's a huge decision I don't ever like to spend this kind of money on myself but an early Christmas present, why not. I wanted to stick with Samsung because both my phone and tablet are and they are very compatible so yeah I'm stuck! Going to stalk Best Buy I guess!

    1. I hope you get the Google+ thing straightened out Rena, and sorry to hear that typing can be hard with your RA. Dropbox is a great idea - we have some but not nearly all of our photos there. Good luck with the decisions. I know what you mean about being hesitant to make expensive purchases for ourselves, but - You are WORTH IT!

  6. I don't have an apple computer, but I do have an iPhone and iPad. I think more storage, faster speed, and enhanced screen are three things you won't regret paying extra for. I'd go with the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Happy birthday!! :)

    1. Thanks Marie - I think that is the direction I am headed, but still trying to consider everything! Thanks for the birthday wishes too!

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! I'm the wrong person to ask but here goes. LOL I have a huge screen all in one desktop computer that I love so much I am now TRAVELING with it - when I am going to be in one place for a week or more. Then I have another smaller desktop on my desk at home and use the two interchangeably depending on what I am doing. I also have a Samsung tablet and a Toshiba laptop. I hated my laptop until I got a wireless mouse and now it is much faster and easier to use when I am on the road. Then I use my phone when I am standing in line and have to blog or whatever :)

    1. Great and very helpful advice, Carol! The wireless mouse would be a great thing to have. My netbook is a Toshiba - it is so tiny it is great for travel, but no longer dependable and really slow!! Thanks for the help - and birthday wishes!

  8. I would go with Macbook Air....The 13 " screen would be my choice too...

  9. In my humble opinion you can't go wrong with an HP product.....A small size is important, yes, but make sure it still has a disc drive. For speed and ease of use I would advise a wireless mouse.

    1. Thanks for the input Delores! The wireless mouse sounds like a real plus. I'm curious why you think a disc drive is important - what function do you feel it is most necessary for?

    2. I have a whole cemetery transcript on disc that I use for lookups....it can't be transcribed onto anything else due to copy right issues. I also like to play my cd's and my daughter occasionally sends me a disc of photos from the photo shop. There is still a lot of stuff on disc these days.


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