My year with a MacBook

I'm primarily a .NET developer but for a year I worked exclusively on a MacBook using Boot Camp to run Windows 10.

Like many software companies the one I work for provides its development staff with options for their working computers. My options were a MacBook Pro or a Dell. I'd used three different Dell laptops in my career and I disliked every one of them so I went with the MacBook. I've used OSX in the past and I despised it. I had no interest in using it as my primary OS so ran Windows 10 on the MacBook hardware using Apple's excellent Boot Camp. Here's the pros and cons I encountered after a year of dedicated use with a MacBook running Windows.

Pros

  • Physically solid. The MacBook just feels well constructed. Every aspect of it's design indicates precision and quality.
  • Amazing screen quality. The MacBook has a Retina Display screen. Its screen quality is well beyond anything I've ever experienced with a laptop.
  • Good hardware resources. Intel i7 (4 core), 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD
  • Attention to detail. Apple's design details are top notch. The MackBook has many elegant and functional features, e.g. the small bevel on the top edge of the screen frame which allows the user to easily open a closed laptop.

Cons

  • Hardware virtualization issues. The process of getting hardware virtualization working with Boot Camp Windows 10 is painful. Unfortunately, hardware vitalization is required to run Docker for Windows. This impedance to running Docker is what finally drove me to give up the MacBook.
  • Touchpad too "grab" happy. I routinely grabbed files/folders I'd only meant to select. This caused me many headaches with accidentally moved files.
  • Screen maring. I cleaned my screen with desalinated water and a micro-fiber cloth and still it was permanently marred. I discovered this is not an uncommon issue with the model of MacBook I had.
  • Power button placement. The MacBook power button is simply the top-right button on the keyboard. Every laptop I'd ever used had a power button that was separate from the keyboard proper. I can't count the number of times I meant to hit delete and instead shut down my machine. It still occasionally happened after a full year.
  • Battery life was not good. When new I'd get ~4 hours of battery life while coding. That dropped over the year to less than 3 hours.
  • Remote desktop issues run amok. RDP always had DPI issues and connection issues requiring reboot to solve.

I enjoyed much about the MacBook in the year I used it. I think Apple did a fairly tremendous job with Boot Camp and if I'd had a more reliable experience with Docker this post might be something very different. In the end I always felt a little like I was paddling upstream trying to run Windows on a MacBook. I guess that's not really a surprising conclusion. Perhaps someday Boot Camp will provide a more complete experience for Windows on a MacBook. For now...I've accepted a Dell as my primary work computer. For me that about says it all.