With the MacBook Pro running Intel chipsets and Radeon Mobility X1600, the buzz is essentially that the MacBooks should perform virtually identically to their PCs. I mean, the hardware is the same and whatever advantages that the MacOSX can offer via its UNIX architecture are going to be offset by the added time and experience that developers have had when it comes to optimizing for Windows. The real question is usability.
The benchmark for quality in a Windows-based notebook has always been the IBM Thinkpad line. Built to legendary standards and with a fan base just as dedicated as Apple’s, IBM Thinkpads have always set the standard for quality. With their simple and industrial design, the Thinkpad is a system that proves that form follows function. The quality of the IBM Thinkpad can be easily recognized in this following random fact. On the four flights I took last week, 100% of the notebooks being used in the first class cabin were IBM Thinkpads. Now, I know what you’re thinking about paying extra for first class, but you’re missing the point. Anyone who flies first class is either wealthy enough where money isn’t an issue and they truly can buy the best notebook they want, or it’s someone who has racked up tons frequent flyer miles where their laptop needs to have rock-solid performance to ensure that they can achieve whatever business deal they need to make.
The core of the Thinkpad mystique has always been its keyboard. From the original Thinkpad to the “butterfly design,” to the current keyboard in today’s IBM Thinkpads from Lenovo, the Thinkpad keyboard has always been considered a reference for notebook quality. Keyboard quality is virtually paramount for all notebook buyers – it doesn’t matter whether you’re the businessman relying on Microsoft Office, the programmer writing code, or the Typing of the Dead fanatic.
So how good is it? Well, I fired up typingtest.com and gave the MacBook Pro a half dozen runs. I did the same with the Lenovo IBM ThinkPad Z60t. I was new to both keyboards so neither system had an unfair advantage. The Z60t was chosen for several reasons – it was the closest competitor to the MacBook Pro in weight and represents the newest model currently shipping from IBM/Lenovo. The Z60t was also the last of the Thinkpads to be designed before the Lenovo buyout.
The MacBook Pro did remarkably.