Mac meets Windows 8: Perfection versus Position. A Journey.
Define: po·si·tion[ pə zísh'n ]
- location: the place where somebody or something is, especially in relation to other things
My location sits firmly inside the Microsoft ecosystem. As a professional photographer, I've discovered long ago that Windows holds the keys to staying ahead of the competition. Having an OS that is heavily integrated into my phone, tablet, and laptop is vital towards productivity. If I have notes to jot down on the go, or a potential client, OneNote takes care of it for me. XBox Music? Earl Sweatshirt and Sade with a touch of the Moody Blues serenade me wherever I am. Found a new album? Add to music, bam. My devices stay in sync.
But it's not all peaches in this world. My editing rig has defeated me.
The Asus G75VW packs an i7 alongside the GTX 660m from NVIDIA, and with the addition of a Sandisk Extreme 256gb SSD and a Momentus XT 750gb Hybrid Drive, my laptop became a beast. A beast of burden. The pleasure of watching mass RAW files import as DNG's faster than most desktops can muster faded after years of solely using gaming laptops as my main workstations. I used to lug my machines all over town, and relish the performance that I had everywhere I went. At least, until the battery ran out in an hour flat. In which case, the rest of the day was me lugging around a massively heavy laptop that was dead.
Like a fallen soldier. Enduring the weight of my friend who gives me so much, but can't give enough.
I finally had enough when, after 32 hours of hiking and traveling through the transit system of the MTA, hitting shoot after shoot, my legs gave out. I took a tumble down the stairs and, in an attempt to tuck and roll my bookbag, smashed my head against the ground floor. It's hard enough lugging a full frame camera, weighty tripod, G lenses (Sony) and extra batteries around to have to deal with a laptop that weighs just as much as all the aforementioned gear, when you include the weight of the charger that made the XBox 360's charger look mundane. I needed a change.
The first step is always acceptance. I knew I had a problem. I was so busy caught in trying to make sure that I could go anywhere, shoot, edit, and deliver a picture to a client, that I was letting my art become a job. The joys of my photography started sliding away, as it became a chore.
I took a trip to Best Buy, and decided to buy a new laptop to keep me going, on the go. The first priority for me was battery life. The amount of times that my laptop died on me in a shoot, or during a tethered capture, was not something I wanted to continue. Saving a minute off of editing time was wasted spending 5 minutes searching for an outlet to plug into. I wanted battery life, and I wanted a lot of it. My Surface RT had absolutely delicious battery life, but performance left a lot to be desired. Having so much battery life at your fingertips with the RT left me spoiled. Yet, every PC I came across had something wrong that left me wanting. The Zenbook Prime had great build quality, but an infuriating keyboard, lackluster battery life, and performance a touch too sluggish for me. The Yogapad was tempting, but a lack of a backlit keyboard left me looking elsewhere. Stumped, I spent 4 days going back to Best Buy for hours, spending time with as many ultrabooks as I could. Then, it hit me.
Now, I've used OSX for a long time in various studios that I've done jobs for. In my opinion, it's a great OS for everyday use, but not great enough to best Windows. Something as simple as multiple windows leaves me foaming at the mouth on OSX. I don't want to go fullscreen. I just want a window to take up the screen, but leave my start menu accessible. I don't want to have to swipe between screens; just let me drag a screen left, and right, and book view them both. I don't want a dock with a million applications crammed into a singular strip, or a desktop that has icons scattered all over the place.
Yet, the hardware was undeniable.
I approached the Macbook Air, lifted it up, admired the gorgeous design and profile, and knew that this machine could shine, if it was running Windows. So I did just that.
About 4 hours later, the Macbook Air came to life, with the Windows 8 logo on the screen. I chose the Bootcamp route, and only kept OSX for those clients who, for some reason, insist on using OSX. A few drivers later, and the Macbook Air was a full-fledged Windows 8 machine. So why go this route?
The truth of the matter is that the Macbook Air is the only viable ultrabook on the market. It packs an i5 and an Intel HD 5000 graphic card. That's more than decent for Lightroom. It's fast (albeit still a bit slower than my Asus, but that's expected) and more than powerful enough for editing on the go. The battery is DAMN GOOD. Being able to edit for 5 hours straight is unbelievable on battery (keep in mind that when editing, you're using the processor and disk quite a lot, so you lose a lot of battery life). Think of it like this: The Air can let me browse the internet, do my usual social media promotions and check my emails for about 9 hours straight, whereas the Sony Pro Ultrabook (the one with a Haswell chip) barely made 4. In terms of real world usage, nothing can come close to the Air. If I'm doing light surfing and email checks, I can even get as high as 11 hours of battery out of this machine.
I'm sick of PC OEM's skimping on their laptops. If Apple can do it, why can't Sony or Asus? Apple made this machine as efficient as they did, and packed a stupidly large battery into it. Why can't the competition?
The stone dead truth is that design doesn't matter anymore to the PC OEM market. If design matters, it only matters as far as the budget sheets will allow. Look at the internals of any laptop; it's horrible. Chips are often placed in ways that make me wonder if the designers had any goddamn idea what they were doing. Aside from the Asus G line, a few Vaio's (RIP Vaio Fit that fell out the back of a pickup during a music video shoot, your internals were gorgeous) and the occasional Lenovo, laptops all look like an afterthought of design, versus the budget sheet. Even the laptops I listed haven't been designed as well as an Air. How can I say that? The Air's keyboard doesn't flex. Asus couldn't even get the trackpad on the G75VW to stop registering accidental touches and sending me flying backwards a few web pages. The Air's motherboard is tiny, but packs the same chips and internals as a Yogapad or Zenbook Prime. The Air doesn't have any flourishes on it in terms of design, save for a glowing Apple on the back. Most Ultrabooks make me cringe at the use of sub-par materials. It's the reason I'd shell out a few dollars extra for a Lacie Porsche P'9220 Drive over their much cheaper base line. Good design evokes emotion and creativity in the person viewing said design. It's inspirational. Yet, Windows OEM's don't FUCKING get it.
I'm sorry. This makes me so sad that I can't find a PC OEM that can match Apple's hardware.
Let's be real here. I absolutely hate the iPhone. Nokia's better at design, functionality, and form. Windows Phone, meshed with Nokia's hardware, is the first time that I feel as though Microsoft got it right. Yet, PC OEM's constantly let me down. Microsoft has done such an admirable job, and it's a shame that the only way to see how beautiful their work is, in terms of a PC...
is to get a Mac.