Disappointed in Apple

Apple came out with Haswell MacBook Pros way later than most other hardware manufacturers came out with Haswell-based laptops.

I bought a 13" MacBook Pro with 16GB. And it had a nasty bug that caused the machine to lockup.

Plus, the 13" MBP was slow. So, I got a 15" MBP.

The 15" MBP is fast, but it's big and bulky.

Too much iCloud

The problem with Mavericks on the Mac is that Apple is pushing iCloud way too hard. Specifically, it is really hard to not send your Keychain up to the cloud where "Apple cannot see the contents."

Now, maybe Apple can or can't see the contents, but it's a strange wording and indicates to me that other entities can see the contents of the Keychain.

No, I really don't like Apple pushing me to send my passwords and other sensitive information up to a clearly insecure cloud.

Tried the 13" MBP again

On Black Friday, I ordered a second 13" MBP because the keyboard/lockup issues were resolved and the 15" MBP is too big to use on an airplane... well it is for me because I'm 6' 2" and my arms are long and using the larger MBP causes my elbows to bump my neighbors.

The second 13" MBP arrived and it was a disappointment. The performance is pretty lame. It's no faster than a U series Haswell, but the 13" MBP has pretty lame batter life (maybe 3 hours of browsing and document editing.)

Additionally, the latest OS X Mavericks update seems to have introduced a bunch of display artifact problems on the 13" MBP.

And the 13" MBP takes a good 30 seconds to re-establish a network connection. This is so not Apple-like.

Gigasquid points me to another option

Carin Meier took the plunge with the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. I had really wanted a 16GB machine so I could do serious Scala coding, but in all other ways, the XPS 13 Developer Edition met my needs. Specifically:

  • It runs supported Linux (which is faster than OS X)
  • It's a light machine (lighter than the 13" MBP)
  • It's got a nice screen (turns out the screen is amazing)
  • It's not too expensive

So, I, too, took the plunge.

The XPS 13 Developer Edition is very Impressive

The machine "just worked" out of the box.

The screen is clearer and better than the MBP 13". I do not need my reading glasses to see the screen at 1920x1080 resolution where I need my glasses to read the MBP at any resolution above 1440x900.

The keyboard is very sweet. It's got better action than the Mac and the Mac keyboards have been my favorite for 4+ years.

The machine is solid like the MBP, but not as "sharp". Dell did a really good job with the materials.

The trackpad is amazingly accurate and solid.

The batter life is amazing. The XPS 13 does a solid 6 hours of browsing and document editing. This is at least 2 hours more than the MBP.

The XPS 13 is 30% faster for compiling Lift than the 13" MBP. So, even though the XPS 13 is using a nominally slower processor, it's faster for CPU intensive tasks.

Sleep, etc. just works.

Most importantly, the size of the XPS 13 is smaller than the 13" MBP. The XPS 13 is marginally larger than my 11" MacBook Air. It's perfect for doing airplane coding.

Just buy one

If you're doing development like Clojure and Java, then the XPS 13 Developer Edition is a better choice than the MacBook Pro. It's less expensive and just as impressive hardware-wise. And I like Linux a lot more than OS X.

I excluded Scala from the list because to do Scala development, you really need a machine with 16GB of RAM. I really wish Dell had an XPS 13 with 16GB.