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Which Laptop for Blogging?

A regular reader of ProBlogger, Mark from The Rock and Roll Report, has asked the following question that I thought I’d open up to all readers for discussion.

‘I am looking at getting a laptop that will primarily be just for my blog site The Rock and Roll Report. From writing my posts, to working on the design of the site to researching over the net to listening and downloading online audio and video content, this laptop will do it all. I want it to be wireless capable and high quality within a reasonable budget ($1500.00 or less). My heart says iBook (I do not currently use a Mac) but my head says a Windows based laptop for extreme flexibility. It will also be used for a potential podcast. What should I do? ‘

I personally have been a fan of Macs since I started blogging. I find them to be well worth the money, easy to use and a lot of fun. There are a few things that you need to consider though – the main one is that there are some products unavailable on Macs (there are others that you can’t get on PC though) and that you’ll probably have to buy the Mac version of some of the software that you already have.

Having said this – Macs come with some amazing software built in (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie etc) which are a big feature.

I had an iBook (12 inch version) up until 6 or so months ago and didn’t have many problems with it. The only reason I upgraded to the powerbook I now have is that I wore it out (I’m on it 8+ hours a day many days). I also found the 12 inch size was getting a little frustrating.

If you want to follow the journey of another blogger who has just made the switch to a Mac you might like to check out Arieanna’s recent posts on the topic.

What do others think? Help Mark out with your opinions in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Mark says:

    I, too, am a recent convert (one year) from a PC to a Powerbook! I have the 12-inch version and use it primarily for blogging, newsreading and general surfing. My only complaint is screen real estate — although the OS X expose feature certainly helps, I’d rather have more space.

    I can’t live without NetNewsWire for RSS reading and MarsEdit (from same developer) for posting!

    If you happen to be a student (with ID), you can definitely come in under $1500 with Apple’s education discount. Right at about $1500 without.

    Good luck!

  2. WR says:

    His blog must be doing very well to warrant a $1500 purchase of a laptop for such specific (and simple) purposes. Why not just stick with what you’ve got?

  3. Rachel says:

    WR I wondered that too.

  4. I highly recommend the x Series of ThinkPad laptop. I have an x24, but I ache for the x41.

  5. Smart Money says:

    I use a thinkpad…and WR, being a geek myself, let me say that it doesn’t take much to justify the purchase of a new laptop ;)

  6. eckes says:

    Dont get a Dell D600, it is a pretty decent computer, but the keyboard really sux (especially if you have it in every day non office environment (food jammed keys).

    Darren, I bet this post is one of those pre-canned “ask the audience something while you have no time to blog”. And personally I think this is really not doing good. I mean come on?! What Laptop for Blogging?!

  7. Darren says:

    Actually eckes if you check my ask ProBlogger a question post you’ll see Mark left the question this morning and as I’m not a very techy guy (and I’m Mac biased) I thought I’d open it up for others to answer for me.

    I’d also point out that I’ve posted 4 posts already today – so its not like I was looking for a post! :-)

    Sorry if it didn’t scratch your problogger itch.

  8. Andy says:

    I’d always recommend a Mac because, IMO, it lets you get things done – period. iBook or PowerBook – well it depends on how much expansion you require. The iBooks are just amazing value, though as with any computer I’d recommend maxing out the RAM as soon as you can afford to. I love having my iBook on the move, I can just plug in my camera when I need and edit a photo on the fly…

    But of course, you can do this with PCs too. My wife just bought a 17″ Fujitsu-Siemens laptop (sorry can’t remember the model or the spec) but it was sub-£500 (about US$80)) which I think is pretty good value for a laptop.

    If you have a lot of paid software for PC already, then the cost of switching apps will be bigger – but there’s a lot of decent shareware that can be had in the Mac world that will keep your costs down.

    One thing for web design to bear in mind is that it is worth having a PC on standby for checking designs – sometimes what looks great on the Mac doesn’t work on the PC, and vice-versa. Check out your design in all the major browsers on both platforms to ensure you aren’t cutting out a section of your audience through site problems (don’t get me started on how different browsers can screw up your CSS design. Ack I feel a rant coming on – but been there and done that – and going off-topic!)

  9. Ugo Cei says:

    I’m a Mac fan too. It gets the job done, is beautiful to use and behold, and you don’t need an antivirus program for it :) Don’t be scared by apparent lack of software, that’s absolutely not the case. I have the already mentioned NetNewsWire and MarsEdit for blogging and they rock. It will eat multimedia for breakfast. If you’re on a tight budget and want to travel light, get a 12″ iBook.

  10. Duncan Riley says:

    I’m a Mac fan, but a PC user, and for me it’s always come down to cost, I presume you’re talking $1500 USD because you’d never by a Mac laptop in Australia for $1500 AUD, let alone $2000 I’d think. My other job provides me with a Toshiba Satellitte, top of the range thing (I think they retail for about $3500-$4000) and it’s never skipped a beat. I’ve recently helped a friend of a friend with a laptop purchase, they ended up buying a Dell for about $1200 AUD and it did everything you’d need for blogging at a much better price (it came with XP, I installed Firefox, Thunderbird Open Office 2 beta, and iTunes for the Pod, and they are as happy as larry and it does everything they want it to). At the end of the day, you don’t need the fastest and the best for blogging, a good, solid windows machine does do the job, even if we all secretly know Mac is better (but it is significantly dearer).

  11. Duncan Riley says:

    I should add it came with McAfee anti-virus and firewall as standard, I usually put AVG Free on an XP machine which does a mighty fine job at a great price.

  12. Darren says:

    Actually Duncan you can get the base model apple ibook for $1599 (cheaper at educational price). here it tis

    This is the machine I had for 18 months and it was a beauty – although I trashed it working around the clock on it :-)

  13. Leon says:

    I got an IBM X40. Nice and compact type of laptop which I can carry anywhere to do coding, blogging and web surfing. My main considerations of purchasing a laptop is light and small enough for me to carry around, and of course wireless has to build into the machine. Heating is also an issue for me because I don’t want my laptop to burn my leg! Overall, X40 is a good machine however the price is outside of what Mark is looking for.

  14. Ken Musante says:

    I use a Fujitsu P2120. It’s small, super light, has incredibly long battery life, a cd burner, built in wireless and a wide screen. The new version is the P7000. The Celeron version starts at $1,399.00, but I’m sure you can find an older P2120 or P5000 on eBay for cheaper.

    P7000D

  15. Ken Musante says:
  16. Andy says:

    Pls never say that you don’t need a virus scanner for the Mac – we aren’t immune. Security is everyone’s responsibility. Mini-rant over.

  17. I asked the same question only yesterday. But I was asking from a public relations practitioner’s point of view. I have always used PCs, but I was wanting to test the MAC water. Mainly due to the die-hard MAC fans whom swear by them.
    I also recently viewed a report by the BBC’s Click Online programme on the new Tiger OS. If you would like to view it:

    http://www.prblogger.com/?p=50

    P.S I think I’m going to stick with my PC!

  18. Marc James says:

    Get a Powerbook! I find the 12″ too small, so use an external monitor if you can (make sure the Powerbook has a DVI port). I love my 15″ so much I got a 20″ cinema display. This is the life. :)

  19. Andy says:

    How do you find the 20″ display fits on the train Marc?? Just kidding. I haven’t hooked mine up to a monitor yet – I’ve got used to the smaller display.

  20. For those saying “stick with what you got” the main reason is simple: I do not want to be chained to my home office and want the mobility and freedom of a laptop. That and competing with my 9 year old son on the same computer is causing some issues! My blog is a hobby, pretty much the main reason I use my computer. I have calculated that my current revenue from my blog would cover most of a monthly payment on a Dell Inspiron 6000 so I figure it would be just another hobby expense, and not that much out of pocket for me.The search continues.

  21. Swissfondue says:

    It really depends on your requirements. If you want a small and yet sturdy and light-weight laptop with a long battery life, which also comes with a cd/dvd combo unit and great software, then the I would defintely go with the iBook. Macs are also great for podcasting (sound processing): “Dawn and Drew” use an iBook with Garageband. Adam Currry started podcasting on a powerbook.

  22. Chris Sharpe says:

    I am currently using an old 12″ powerbook I bought for $100 from a friend. The logic board was out at the time, but I found out it was covered by an extended warranty. So I sent it in and it is like a brand new computer.

    Interestingly enough, I sold the exact same model earlier this year to get a flat screen iMac. But I missed it so much I just had to get a new one. He upgraded to a 12″ Powerbook and he is loving it.

  23. I would assume that the laptop doesn’t have to be too powerful since blogging itself is not resource heavy but it will be used extensively for listening to streaming audio and downloading MP3s and podcasts. For me the main thing is wireless capability. It has to be able to access both my home network and WiFi hotspots. I want to work on The Rock and Roll Report from Starbucks and my backyard once and awhile! Macs just seem to work whereas Windows machines require a bit more care and feeding in my experience but they make up for that in maximum flexibility. I am already resigned to the fact that whatever I buy will be obsolete as soon as the sale is final! Thanks for all the help. This is a legitimate question by the way for those of you who may hold doubts.

  24. Mike K says:

    I think it’s a great questions, and I just went through the purchase process a few months ago. I started HackingNetflix using a (now) 5 year-old Pismo Powerbook, but it was slow and had a rather small hard disk. I debated between a Dell 700m and Powerbook G4 12″ since I have a 5-hour commute 3 days a week to NYC and a bad back.

    I went with the Powerbook G4 and I’m in heaven. No, you don’t need a fast, new computer to blog but you should reinvest a small portion of your blogging revenue on something that makes it easier (or more fun) to blog. This is a lonely job and this is our primary tool. The old Powerbook was almost double the weight (the new one is less than 5 lbs).

    Now I’m looking for an LCD monitor to hook up to the Powerbook when I’m docked at home. I like having several windows open at once, and lust after an Apple 20″ display (but will probably go with the much cheaper Dell 20″ on sale).

    This is our primary tool (and expense) so if you can afford to, reward yourself with the best tool for the job.

    - Mike

  25. Mac Lifer says:

    Personally, i’m using an iBook G4 1.2ghz 12″ and LOVING IT. It’s super easy for me to blog with and to just tote around due to its small size. The wireless is flawless and works over great distances (much better than Powerbooks) and i’ve got no complaints at all. And with the addition of Tiger, I have no complaints whatsoever. This is the best Mac yet that i’ve purchased (bought in February).

  26. The warm feeling I get when someone is thoughtful enough to say thank you for having been helped far outweighs the empty one I get when there’s no feedback at all.