OT - buying a new laptop/looking for advice

Submitted by brendandavis22 on April 27th, 2013 at 8:18 AM
So I'm heading out today to buy a new laptop and video camera and was wondering if mgousers could help me out and let me know what they think is the best brand to buy. I will be using the camera to film sporting events. Thanks in advance



April 27th, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

If you are buying a laptop and vidoe camera, I suggest you consider going all in with Apple and get either a MacBook + iPhone or possibly straight iPad with keyboard.

You didn't state how serious you are when it comes to video quality or how much word processing you do.  So I am just going off what works for me and the Apple line up is it.  I was going to buy a video camera to video my kids at events, etc but have found that my iPhone works just fine.  Not only that, I've always got it with me so I never miss an opportunity.  I do not miss the days of carrying the SLR, the video recorder, and the cell phone.  

Now, if you are more serious about videography and are looking for high-production quality, etc., then I'm afraid I can't help you.  But if you are just an average Joe looking for a 1-2 combo, I recommend you consider MacBook + Iphone 5/Ipad  or Ipad by itself.  


April 27th, 2013 at 9:08 AM ^

As much as I don't like Apple products because of the company's policies and the "tax", for the OP this sounds like a good bet.  If you don't mind the closed eco-system, the intregration between the products is good and the functionality is fine for most users.  I'm still an engineer so I like being able to upgrade my devices as needed and really hack away at then, but for most users Apple is fine.  My only issue is that you really wind up paying hundreds of dollars more for the same physical system.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:45 AM ^


Realistically though, If you are doing video editing (which im assuming you are because of the camera) macs are legitamitly good at that.

I highly recommend you do not buy from a store as well, you can honestly get one for cheeper using next day delivery from a store online (newegg is my go to).

Ive got an Asus 17" laptop quad core 2.8 ghz with 500gb hd, 4gb ram, and a nice video card for under 800 bucks. its never had any issues at all. I love it. That said, I am a tech guy (ive built 2 computers from scratch) and i am able to trouble shoot any issues i come across. I have had no such troubles in the 2 years ive had this laptop, but there is something to be said about fixing your own problems on technology. If you need to buy a mac due to the idiot proofness of it thats fine. I got my mom an iphone for that same reason.



April 27th, 2013 at 10:03 AM ^

What your chart doesn't show is that:

  1. The software on the Mac is worlds better than on the HP. I'm not an AV guy, but Cyberlink DVD Suite and the other software listed isn't on the same level as what you'd get on a Mac.
  2. The Mac quality is worlds better than on the HP. In our family we've had Dells, Acers, HPs, Lenovos, etc. and every single one of them has had something break after a year or so. My MBP is three years old this year and except for one ding on the cover where I dropped something on it, you'd never be able to tell.
  3. You can get a very well equipped MBP for way less than $2,799.

That said, you can go through a few Windows notebooks for the price of one MacBook. I have nothing against Windows, I use it every day at work and actually really like Windows 7. If you're looking for inexpensive but still functional, a $500-$800 Windows laptop would be just fine. If you're looking for a way to do a lot of video editing and are willing to spend a bit more for quality of materials and polished software, a Mac is the right choice. 

I don't know anyone personally that has bought a Mac and decided that it was a poor decision.

Naked Bootlegger

April 27th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

I had to also chuckle at the OS comparison between these two laptops (Mac OS 10.5 - Vista).  I bought my first personal laptop with Windows Vista.  That experience alone drove me to buy nothing but Macs ever since.   Windows Vista was horrifying.   It took me 5 minutes for my computer to load - when it was brand new.  My work laptop at the time was a cheaper version of the MBP shown in the comparison, and it further convinced me to never go back to Windows.   I'm sure Windows 7 or 8 is a much better experience, but Vista sucked the life outta me.

Naked Bootlegger

April 27th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

OK...I guess I'll take my lumps from you in stride.   I'm no technophile, but I do a ton of data analysis and computer programming on unix/linux systems, have used both windows and mac extensively for 2+ decades, and can generally troubleshoot most computing issues on my own.   But my Dell laptop (upgraded memory at the time, not entry level specs, etc) + Vista experience was unbelievably nightmarish and I spent far too many hours trying to "enhance" that experience by pestering technical support and researching the web for solutions.    No more Windows for me.


April 27th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

Like i said before, apple makes good products. they just remove the customizability in order to give you more robustness. I completely understand your situation where bad experiences drive you away. I personally dont need the mac robustness and i dont care to be trendy. What i use computers for it would be silly for me to purchase anything other than a windows pc. 

This was a thread about a guy asking for opinions. I gave him mine, which to reiterate was in his case he should buy one but personally dont like them. I then gave some explinations and justifications.

Wasnt looking to deal any lumps. preference is preference like you said earlier. I do recomend you get familiar with the buisness and see if that skews your opinion at all. given the choice between 2 otherwise comperable setups prefer giving my money to the less shady group.

Here is a puppy.

Im out of here before i get sent to bolivia by the apple fanboys.


April 27th, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^

I dont buy apple products because I understand technology and I use my computer for gaming. Apple products are the best in the buisness for video editing. Beyond that they are overpriced and under engineered. 

On top of all of that, I disagree with the buisness model that apple uses. In a similar line to people who dislike nike for their buisness decisions.

Apple products are exlusive and rapidly replaced. So not only are you "forced" to replace the products more often, but you are forced to buy expensive accessories that come standard from other companies. Additionally, if you have heard about the samsung lawsuit, I have lost any respect i had for them. Years ago apple admitted to taking other peoples technologies and wraping it in a new pretty box. but to turn around and sue a company for billions of dollars because the product was "substanially the same" is a farce.

Apple make reliable, userfriendly, robust, trendy, cool looking products. anyone who tells you differently is a fanboy and should be ignored. Depending on the application (which in this case is video editing which is the one thing mac is unquestionably better than windows) macs are a great option. That said, based on what ive mentioned earlier, i will never own an apple product.


April 27th, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

Agreed on gaming. I've got a PC that I built for that purpose, among others.

Understanding technology should not exclude you from owning a Mac. Walk through a computer science department sometime and you'll see just as many Macs as PCs. 

The business model argument is fine, that's up to you. If you disagree with their practices, I can't argue with that.

However, I haven't been "forced" to replace anything. My three year old MBP still runs just as well as it did the way I bought it. I upgraded the RAM, but only because I was doing some coding for large multithreaded scientific optimization programs and needed it. I haven't been "forced" to buy any expensive accessories, either. The "new pretty box" they use is a single piece of aluminum that is still in as good of shape now as it was when I bought it. The hinge is still great, the keyboard is still great, no chunks have fallen off or cracked, etc. etc. No one is stopping other manufacturers from upping their build quality, they just don't do it.

There's no right answer here, all comes down to personal preference.


April 27th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

As someone who has worked as an engineer in Silicon Valley for almost 12 years I can tell you two things that all the engineers out here know. One, Apple and Google have the best engineering talent in the Valley. And two, Apple's hardware products are incredibly well engineered.


April 27th, 2013 at 3:26 PM ^

The iphone 4 inovative antenna design.

(someone had the phone in their back pocket. iphone 5. 30 minutes after purchse)

Google is the best in the buisness hands down. Thats why their employeys are the most saught after for tech positions in the world.

Apple is a fantastic marketing company which recyles tech in a clean package easy for people to use it.


April 27th, 2013 at 7:48 PM ^

Do you know who makes the computers most popular among Google engineers?  Apple.

Do you know who makes the web software most popular among Apple engineers?  Google.

Do you know why? Because in both cases it's the best, and the engineers know it.  

And here's something else you might not know.  Google engineers and Apple engineers are the same people.  You wouldn't believe the number of employees of one or the other that were offered by both.  If you get into one you're a world class engineer, and everyone in the valley knows it.

Real recognize real son.

Now go back to your games.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:52 PM ^

I did an on-site interview at Google about six weeks ago. I wasn't specifically keeping track, but I'd estimate that if I saw 15 laptops while I was on their campus, probably 13 of those had an Apple logo on the back. The only person that I can specifically remember using a non-Apple laptop? The HR recruiter, who was using a Lenovo. 


I didn't end up getting an offer from them, I've taken a position with one of their Enterprise partners. We have a number of remote employees (I'm one), so I don't have exact stats, but based on my week at our corporate headquarters, I'd estimate that roughly 80% of our engineers are writing software on Macs. 


The smartest people you know use Macs, especially if they're writing anything other than .NET code. The smartest people they know are using Macs, too.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

I know this thread is a bit old so who knows if it is relevant anymore, but the argument that Mac video editing software is somehow immensely better than similar software on the PC drives me crazy.  Yes, the standard Mac installation comes with iMovie or whatever it is called now, but that cost is included in the price of the unit you just bought.  Let's say you buy a 15" non-Retina Mac - that's about 1,800 dollars per Apple's site.  You can get similar specs in an Acer/Asus/HP for comfortably under $1,000.  With the extra savings, you can just get software like one of the Adobe packages or try a couple of free options like Windows Movie Maker.  So yes, out-of-the-box Mac's software is better, but given the cost you can get better software from a third-party provider that is comparable for most users.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:30 AM ^

I don't know anything about video cameras, but you should NOT buy a computer in a store.  You're just going to get hustled by a sales clerk who doesn't know that much about computers anyway.  Do your research online and buy the computer from the MFC on their website.  I have had good luck with Lenovo/IBM Thinkpads btw.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

Meh,  For things like computers and technology, I want to put my hands on it right away. I don't want to wait 2 or 3 days for shipping. 

I like using newegg, but for computers and things, I can't wait. :( 


April 27th, 2013 at 8:33 AM ^

You should seriously consider an Apple MacBook Pro.  Spend the extra $$$ and save yourself a lot of headache from spam and other crap in the future.  I don't like the Apple brand and how they do business, but I don't think you can beat their laptops.  


April 27th, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

I largely agree with this, except the part about spam and virii.  They are on the uptick recently because insidious types are figuring out that the market footprint of Mac is high enough now that the investment is worth the reward in terms of stolen material.  Despite some biased claims, Macs are no harder to break into and infect than other systems.  The lack of prominent virii should not be confused with difficulty in creating such attacks.  But if you take precautions, I agree that the Mac hardware holds up reasonably well (provided you are okay with a box that is difficult to upgrade and will depreciate in effectiveness over time).


April 27th, 2013 at 8:39 AM ^

If you're going to be filming and editing anything, then as others said, it has to be Apple MacBook without a doubt. To add to that, if you're serious and want some good software for touching up your videos, Final Cut Pro all the way. 


April 27th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

I've had nothing but PCs my entire life and I finally caved and bought a MBP last year and it's the best decision I've ever made. I will never in my life buy another PC as long long as I live. I only wish I had enough money for an iMac. The only time I can see myself buying another PC is for a desktop.

I hate shopping I don't wanna compare brands upon brands. I walk in, buy what I want, and leave.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

I personally didn't think the retina was worth an extra 300 bucks or so. That's a few nights at the bar. If you're just like me and want something reliable for school and light internet browsing, I'd skip out on it. Put the money towards Apple Care. Also, if you have an Amex or Discover buy it on that. They'll give you a year extra warranty on top of the manufacturer (this goes for all appliances/electronics you buy).


April 27th, 2013 at 8:42 AM ^

on exactly what you are trying to do. Do you want to take video and edit it? For Youtube or professionally? Or is the laptop for school or work? If you want to professionally edit video, then a laptop is the wrong way to go.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:54 AM ^

if you have a membership they have great deals. in ten years ive bought two laptops, spent $500 a piece (and they actually refunded me the price of one because after three years the charger broke) and never had any real problems with them. plus their support/warranty is phenomenal


April 27th, 2013 at 8:56 AM ^

Not to highjack the thread but there are so many fellow Apple fans here, any tips on cleaning the aluminum outer shell? For some reason there are some yellow stains on the outside. IDK how they got on there. I think I might have not put it in my case when I left it on my backpack and there was a highlighted sheet of paper against it.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

I'm in a similar situation as the OP, but my grad program utilizes software that's minimally compatible w/ Apple OS. We get this is an Apple world, but what's choice #2? I have an HP now, but I got annoyed by a manufacturing defect w/ overheating.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:43 AM ^

Already stated once, but look at this baby:




Better graphics than a macbook pro, comparable battery life, and half as expensive. It has a very comparable screen with similar color reproduction as the retina and better brightness if I remember right. This thing is a steal if you are looking for a 17" notebook. I'm waiting for the 15" version with the 8870 to drop in the US.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:50 AM ^

My MacBook is in it's 6th year and I couldn't be happier, but recently I helped my girlfriend shop around for PC's (on a budget). What I found is that Lenovo laptops are generally of higher quality and therefore price, but in the end, I went with the Asus because of a few specific search parameters (HDMI capable, backlit keyboard, $$$$).  I've used it and actually like the machine a lot. Windows 8 is dumb on a laptop though.


April 27th, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

despite being a software developer who primarily uses Visual Studios. I've had the computer a little over a year, and I still think it's great despite the fact that I boot into Windows almost exclusively. The only thing I do on the Mac side is video editing once a month when I want to compile highlights of my infant. There are a couple of annoyances with being on a Mac, but the only one that still bugs me much is that I need to hit Fn+Delete to get the Delete key (otherwise it's a backspace). In retrospect, I probably wouldn't have spent the extra money to get a Mac when I'm just running Windows, except possibly for the video editing since I hate all the Windows video editing software I've tried, but I wanted to remind you that it's an option.

If you don't want to go with a Mac, I definitely recommend Lenovo based on friends' experiences.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:21 AM ^

or MacBook Pro

or iMac

or Mac mini

or Mac Pro (wait, they're updating them soon)

or I guess you could use an ipad with a wireless keyboard like I use sometimes.


This is all assuming you need something larger than an iphone ;-)