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Is there an alternative to the beloved MacBook?

Follow our client service & operations director, Matt, through the pain of separating from his MacBook after 10 years, the difficulties he’s experienced since, and his SOS for a good alternative.

Is there an alternative to the beloved MacBook?

On 16 January 2018, I made one of the most fundamental changes to not just my professional life but my, um, life-life by switching from a MacBook to a non-Mac laptop.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, there’s first world problems and then there’s THIS, Matt,” you may think. You’d be very right. BUT, for those who have made this transition, particularly those that have used a Mac for a while – in my case, 10 years – it was tough.

Let’s put this into perspective… I estimate that in the last 10 years, I spent 2,500 working days using a Mac (I also used it for personal use which I’ve subtracted for the purposes of this blog). This equates to around 100,000 hours using one very particular, distinct product.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers, he repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way for a total of around 10,000 hours.

Whilst scientists have debunked this theory, if you humour me for a second and take this as a rule, I’ve done my 10,000 hours ten times over during my tenure on my Mac.

I’d never heard the term muscle memory before I made the switch. Since then I’ve bored the Y-Fronts off everyone in the office about the key theory that sits behind the difficulty I experienced making the transition to a PC laptop.

Muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that you build up over time with practice. Essentially, the more you do something, the more the brain becomes accustomed to instructing your muscles to perform that act.

So, whilst most people try and improve muscle memory, I was frantically trying to unravel it as I sat behind my new device, grinding teeth, frowning deep, holding head in hands, along with a few choice words thrown its way.

My poor Surface tablet was a little like Moyes replacing Fergie in the hot seat at Manchester United. A bit of a poisoned chalice. But, unlike United and Moyes, I’m aiming to give my Surface tablet a full calendar year in the role before brutally sacking it and turning to a shinier, sleeker, more attractive alternative. It’ll be one year as of January, and I’m counting the days.


Don’t get me wrong, there have been some positives – mainly the fact that the Surface tablet is lighter and easier to move around – but it’s also encountered a lot of problems with software and accessories over the last year. Nothing against the Surface tablet (although the team may chuckle when they read this, given the hell I gave it at times).

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s basically a: ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ situation.

I just don’t think it’s fit for purpose for what we do here in a digital marketing agency. For those of you who work in similar environments, we totally hammer computers, push them to their limit. Steam off keyboard, pilling into multiple tasks, actions, files, emails and notifications throughout the day. We need something that’s quick and reliable.

We’re working on the move; in the office, in a meeting, on a train, in the passenger seat of a car. Once even on the toilet, but that’s a different story… In summary, we need something versatile.

We arguably use our laptops more than any other physical item along with our beds, so we want to be proud of how it looks, what it says about you and the type of company you work for, and feels enjoyable to use.

My preference would always be to move back to a Mac. I have one for personal use, so why not go back to a Mac? Good question, me. Partly because of a business decision to move everyone onto Windows products and partly because now that I’ve made the move, I’m interested to know what else is out there.

So, I need some help… What would you recommend for my next move? I need something fast, reliable, mobile and on point.

Help Matt in his hour of need



Matthew Bowell – head of client service and operations

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