I bought a Windows Vista HP DV2210us notebook in March 2007 because I wanted to be an early adopter and figure out Vista before the rest of the world. Now, unlike a great deal of the world, I don’t think Vista is a total waste: Some of the UI improvements are nice, especially the breadcrumb navigation and the Start menu search. My biggest problem with Vista is that it’s slow as molasses. I upped the RAM in the HP to 2GB, but it didn’t help much. Aside from the laptop at home and for web and Java development, my classroom is a lab with 20 brand-new, Vista-equipped Dell Optiplex machines. Again, they have Core 2 Duo processors and 2GB RAM and are still slow as molasses. So much for progress.
In September, I bought my MacBook with a 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo and 2GB RAM. Equipped with OS X 10.4.12, the MacBook is a pure joy to work with. The jewel goes from turning on to ready to be useful (i.e. no latent grinding like Vista) in about 20 seconds. That’s simply fantastic and something I have never witnessed in a 32-bit Windows OS. (I had a DOS box that would boot in about 8 seconds, but I don’t think we can count that!)
As far as getting stuff done, iLife is the defacto consumer-level media suite as far as I’m concerned. Vista’s Photo Manager and revamped Movie Maker are improvements, but iPhoto and iMovie HD 6 (which is available for download if you own iMovie ’08) beat both hands down. I use NeoOffice (a Mac-native spinoff of OpenOffice.org) to handle all my Office tasks. For software development, I use Eclipse and custom-compiled Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Now, I could have compiled these on Windows, but compiling the stuff without spending money on a full-blown compiler is a huge challenge. To top it off, I can get 5 hours of full productivity off of one battery charge, compared to 2.5 hours on the Vista machine.
The bottom line is that I don’t use the Vista box much, but the MacBook gets carried around and used for work and play day in and day out. It’s a joy to use and I would recommend it to anyone, as long as you’re willing to relax your PC mindset. (Let it be known I don’t like Leopard AT ALL: I downgraded back to 10.4 after about a month of suffering.)