iOS, Me & My Life, Tech

Buying a Computer

The one thing my blog needs is an editor to write the titles. Other than that, I’m sorted.

I’m going to university in less than 3 weeks1 and I need a computer. What should I get?

I’ve known for ages what I want2, but I keep thinking whether or not it’s right for me. Do I even need my own computer at university? Yes, I would use the fuck out of it and it would make many things in my life easier. Should I buy a desktop computer or a laptop? Whilst a desktop gets you more power for your money3 and is less stealable, I want the portability. I want to be able to easily take my laptop with me when I go back home or stay with family members, and I might even take it into lectures on the odd occasion I attend4. I also love computing in bed and outside – whilst my iPod touch is great for stuff like that, it can’t do everything that a ‘proper’ computer can.

And it needs to be a Mac.

I like Apple and I like Macs and I don’t care what you call me5. They just words, bruva. I find that Macs allow me to focus on what I’m doing better. – there’s less ‘battling’ with the OS. I think they run more smoothly and reliably too. That’s just my opinion, but that’s all that counts at the moment. I understand the comfort that comes with familiarity of Windows, but I’ve had enough of it. Of course, I’ll still install Windows on my Mac – probably as its own partition, or in a virtual machine if it runs alright – and I’ll have the best of both worlds6.

Well then: MacBook or MacBook Pro?

This is my most difficult decision. For two similar products of almost anything else, I would choose the cheaper one over the better quality one7. However, I think that’s the wrong approach and I’m trying to change it. More expensive doesn’t always represent worse value. I used to think this was something rich people said to justify spending ridiculous amounts of money; now I realise that I’m starting to agree.

Actually, I don’t think this discussion really applies here – I think the MacBook and MacBook Pro are probably of equal build quality and performance, yet even with the nearly equal specifications, the aluminium one costs more. I’ll be honest: I just want aluminium because it looks nicer and is, at least in my mind, more rugged and sturdy. I think I’ll feel better when I use it. I’ll be using the damn thing for at least a couple of hours a day, every day, and when I look at it that way, I’ll be glad to have spent an extra ~£50 on something that I feel happier using. My sisters both bought the white MacBooks in 2007 and after seeing how they are after 3 years of wear-and-tear… I’d rather have a metal one.

I’m buying it from Apple themselves, with an educational discount.I didn’t realise how good the educational discount when buying as a university student was. Seeing as I’m not yet at university and buying in that way requires being on the university’s network, I had to phone Apple. Now, I hate speaking on the phone, so I’d been putting it off for a while; I was even considering buying one from Amazon for £886.80. But when one morning the Amazon laptop had a dispatch estimate of 1 to 3 months8, I got off my ass and called Apple.

I fairly quickly got through9 to a guy called Nigel – I think the call centre and all of Apple’s UK activites are based in Ireland. Once I had told him what I wanted (just information for now) he was very helpful, quoting me prices and telling me about special offers. I was wondering whether there was a difference between the normal educational store prices and those on the specific university stores. There is! I can get a 13″ MacBook Pro for £858, compared to a normal educational price of £938, or £999 at full price! The plastic MacBook costs £729.

I also asked if I needed to prove that I was a student? I do, and they normally ask for a photocopy of your student ID card. As I’m not at university yet I don’t have one, I said. He said a letter from St Andrews university confirming my acceptance of my place would be fine. Of course this will turn out to be a problem – St Andrews don’t even send mail, just email, and I’ve no idea if a printout of an email will be acceptable. I also don’t know how that proof (or lack of it) would affect my order. Let’s see.

This is where my difficulty is though: there’s a back to school iPod offer, and there’s a printer offer too. Both are rebates, meaning you buy the product at full price, send off some shit and you get a bit of money returned. Surely there’s going to be some trouble with that. The printer is simple – I’ll buy a £70 one which will be free after the £70 rebate. But the iPod is more difficult – the Back to School offer finishes on 7th September, but Apple is possibly releasing new iPods today, on 1st September.

As I write this I am watching Apple’s keynote on 1st September to see what happens with the new iPods. I highly doubt that new ones will be available within the back to school offer10 but why would risk it? Tomorrow, providing everything else is ready, with my MacBook Pro and printer, I’ll buy either a 32GB 4th gen iPod touch if that is possible, else I’ll buy the cheapest iPod touch11.

Nigel gave me his extension so that I could buy from him12 when I’m ready to buy.

Tomorrow, I will be ready.

  1. Jesus FUCK. []
  2. Except for unlimited money and unlimited everything else that I want. []
  3. And they’re more power, full stop. []
  4. LOLOL, just kidding, I’ll never miss a thing. []
  5. FANBOI! []
  6. I’m quite looking forward to digging my teeth into Apple’s developer tools. I’d love to make a million pounds selling diarrhoea apps on the App Store. []
  7. Particularly food and clothes. []
  8. This particular stock issue has now been fixed. []
  9. It was a toll free number, by the way. Nice. []
  10. It would be unfair on people who have already taken Apple up on the offer by buying an ‘old’ iPod, and the whole point of the Back to School offer is to get rid of old iPod stock []
  11. Which after a rebate will cost just £19. []
  12. So he gets his commission. []

Add Your Comment