Cymen Vig

Software Craftsman

Dell Studio 15 versus MacBook Pro 15 Retina

During my apprenticeship at 8th Light I used a Dell Studio 15 notebook which had 15.6 inch LCD with 1920x1080 resolution. I upgraded the hard drive to a solid state disk (SSD) once they came down in price and it came with 8 GB of RAM and a quard core Intel i5 CPU. The configuration I brought on the Dell Outlet also had a 9 cell battery. It ran Ubuntu well and overall worked great except for the touch pad. Occasionally, it would go wonky and just stop working and it didn’t seem as sensitive on the edges as some of my other notebooks. It had a more modern “seamless” touchpad which might have been part of the problem.

When I became a craftsman with 8th Light I chose a MacBook Pro 15 Retina with 16 GB of RAM (not possible to upgrade later) and a 512 GB SSD. The screen resolution at the optimal retina setting is not that great. The LCD panel can display 2880x1800 pixels however the slider on the display settings limits it out at 1920x1200. The optimal setting is 1440x900 which is great when my eyes are tired and looks really nice with fonts and vector images but just feels small. What I like about the display is that I can scale between 1440x900 and 1920x1200 when I feel like it and I’m not sacrificing quality with the lower setting like I would if I ran a lower resolution on my Dell notebook LCD.

The biggest difference between the two is the touchpad. The MacBook Pro has a phenominal touchpad. It is big and it is sensitive and I really wish my Dell Studio 15 had this touchpad or one even a faint glimmer of it. By comparison, the Dell touchpad feels like a dollar store special. Of course there are other nicer things on the MacBook Pro however I would expect that given the price difference. But it really only comes down to the touchpad between the two. I simply can’t explain how bad the Dell one is compared to the MacBook Pro. Note that I do believe this is partly due to the particular touchpad on the Dell. Other Dells and ThinkPads with the non-seamless touchpads have been decent. But even those are a far cry from the MacBook Pro touchpad.

Now if only it was easier to get Ubuntu running on the MacBook Pro Retina!