Linuxgruven > Hardware > 13" MacBook Review > Update: My New Laptop

Update: My New Laptop

2007.09

At the start of September I saw a sale on a floor-model MacBook at Computer Depot.  The deal was as follows:

- MacBook1,1
- 2.0GHz Core Duo
- 512MB RAM (2x256)
- 60GB HD
- SuperDrive
- WiFi, Bluetooth etc
- $850

Because this was a floor model, it counts as a brand new unit, despite being a first-gen MacBook.  (Apple delivered the machine to Computer Depot in December '06.)  I also purchased AppleCare for $218.  (Academic discount, I work at Queen's.)

As mentioned, the machine is a first-gen MacBook.  As such, it was susceptible to all of the first-gen problems:  Palm-rest discolouration, excessive heat, mooing fans, flickering screens, the works.  Of those, this one "only" had two problems:  A mushy trackpad and a flickering screen.

Unlike the PowerBook, this machine wasn't a well-planned purchase.  It was a deal, I jumped on it.  As such, I could do without the laptop for a while, so I decided to buy the floor-model warts and all.  This was done for two reasons:  It was still a good deal, and it would give me a chance to see how well Computer Depot and Apple did with the servicing.  I'm happy to report that both passed with flying colours.

When I sent my iBook G3 in for a screen replacement in 2005, Computer Depot didn't do Apple service.  Instead, I sent it to Altair.  To their credit, they eventually got the job done and were still preferable to sending the system to the Campus Store for repairs.  Despite this, the repair took three weeks.  The majority of this time was spent waiting for Apple to ship the parts to Altair.  At Altair's suggestion, I actually had to call Apple twice to get them to ship the part.  I deal with Dell, Sun, Toshiba and IBM.  I've _never_ had to call the company to have them ship a part to the service depot.  It was unbelievable.

By contrast, Computer Depot guaranteed that they would diagnose the problem within 48 hours, did so, called Apple and had Apple ship a new screen, keyboard assembly and inverter from California.  The parts were ordered and shipped on Friday, the arrived the following Tuesday, and the system was back in my possession on Wednesday.  Not bad, not bad at all.

I'm not sure if Apple has just improved that much, but I can't imagine that this would be the case.  Rather, Computer Depot made sure that the parts wouldn't slip through the cracks.  For this, I am grateful.  As for the repair:  It's done the trick!  No more flicker, no more mushy trackpad.  I've got a nice new screen and the keyboard assembly is the newer, greyish type that is harder plastic that doesn't discolour.

Back to AppleCare.  As I mentioned, Apple shipped this MacBook to Computer Depot in December '06.  Because of this, Apple originally assigned AppleCare to December 2009.  After a brief and fairly pleasant call to Apple, I had to fax a copy of the receipt to show that I had in fact purchased the machine in August of 2007.  After that, no problems.  I have full coverage until August, 2010.

I've had problems dealing with Apple in the past.  I've often commented that I love their products (faults and all) but hate the company.  Getting this new MacBook - even with its initial "problems" has been the first completely positive dealing I've had with Apple.  They had no qualms giving me full AppleCare even though the machine was discounted, they showed no hesitation replacing the screen and keyboard assembly within weeks of my purchase.  Good news all around.