Laptop or Desktop

It appears that the majority of users don’t view such concerns as “silly” at all. If the manufacturers thought there was a big market for such machines, they’d be falling all over themselves to build them. In general, the trend has been the opposite: toward bigger, more powerful desktop replacement laptops.

Personally, I recently switched from a (Windows) laptop to an Apple desktop as my primary machine. I decided I didn’t need the portability enough to deal with the tradeoffs.

If an Apple ultralight existed, I’d look at it as a second machine. But no second machine is worth $2K to me.


  1. Not when you’re paying nearly 4x as much as you would for a more powerful machine that’s only slightly less portable, it’s not. (And almost 2x as much as you would for an Apple laptop.)

  2. You specifically referred to Apple being “far behind in the laptop portability race”. So make your mind up; is it a laptop, or is it an ultraportable? If the latter, then Apple aren’t even in that race. If the former, well, see my previous and above comments.

I think portability is a strong factor for many people. I could have gotten a new Mac laptop for about $400 more than the 12" PowerBook I wound up getting, but for what I want to do, the PowerBook is better.

The relatively small difference in price for a machine that is, after all, a few years old, shows that people do want a smaller laptop, and I think eventually Apple will bring one out again.

Or you could go totally minimalist and get an Alphasmart Neo. :smiley: I have one and 700 hours of battery life is hard to beat. Nice clear screen in all but the dimmest light (and I have a MightyBright light for darkness), a full-sized quiet keyboard… well, it’s just a near-perfect writing machine.

I know Neos have been mentioned before, but it seemed to fit in the minimalist shoot-out quite nicely. The little machine works well with all my Macs (at least the ones I’ve tried so far) and prints via infrared to my little i80 portable printer.

And the biggest boon to getting writing done: no internet!


I’ve been thinking about a Neo. The screen just seems too small to me. But the no-internet feature is very appealing.

How does it work with Macs exactly?

I got even more minimalist by ordering an Alphasmart 3000. :wink: (Neo is not available with a German keyboard, only 3000 and Dana, and the latter is way too expensive.) It will be my 3rd writing tool besides a 20" iMac and an iBook. For some travels I really wanted an ultraportable, and even in case Apple is unveiling one in the coming months - it won’t be very affordable. So I went with the Alphasmart (and a fresh battery for the iBook). I don’t know yet if I’m really an Alphasmart person, but the battery life plus little weight were reason enough for me to try … Still, it’s a strange feeling to cough up 300 Euros for a device with a 33 Mhz Dragonball processor … like it’s 1999 all over again.

I seriously considered getting a Neo or Dana for a long time, but in the end I went with the MacBook. Why? Scrivener, basically. I’ve just become so attuned to the power Scrivener gives me while writing, that writing in anything else feels excessively archaic. The lack of Internet access is important to me, too. So I like that I can just turn off WiFi and I find that if it isn’t immediately available, that is enough to keep my mind off of it. As an added bonus, I get all of the other tools that I am familiar with, such as the excellent Oxford dictionary that comes with all Macs, and Tinderbox. I keep my laptop very writer focussed. I’ve only put the tools on it that I need to write, and I make it a point to only hook it up to the Internet to get software updates and so on. I might eventually decided to use it as a photography hub. It would be nice to be able to off-load flash cards while I’m out shooting. But I haven’t installed Photoshop or Aperture, and intend to use it simply as an extended storage mechanism.

Amber, do you find Scrivener in Full Screen runs crisply on a MacBook? I’m using a 1.43 gig MacMini, and when typing in Full Screen there’s a very slight sluggishness to the response.

It’s very similar to the way it feels typing (in any program) when I have my 20-inch cinema display rotated vertically. The sluggishness then has to do with the MacMini’s low-rent graphics card. I’m wondering whether Scrivener’s Full Screen mode puts a similar demand on the card, and whether that’s solved in the MacBook.

I’ll have to check specifically for that. I’ve been collecting material lately and haven’t actually had a chance to do any serious full-screen work yet (just got the laptop a few weeks ago). While the MacBook has a pretty weak graphics card too, I’m guessing that the response will be significantly better. Unless that is all graphics card driven, because even the lowest-end MacBook (the one I got) is a dual-core 2.0ghz processor. And while the graphics card is nothing special, considering that it has a smaller screen to run, I doubt that it would ever be an issue unless you tried to run games on it.

Have you made sure that “Hide main window” is checked in the full screen preferences? That can make a big difference on slower computers.

Well, well. That does indeed make a big difference. I’d completely missed that.

Many thanks, Amber, you’ve just made my Scrivener experience 100% better.