Goodbye MacOS, hello Windows
I recently bit the bullet and switched from a Macbook Pro 2013 to a Razer Blade 15. It was a very difficult choice, filled with hours of research, and watching youtube reviews. I ended up making the decision based upon the following criteria:
- Must be good for software development
- Has a nice trackpad
- Powerful enough for casual gaming
# 1. Must be good for software development
Macbook Pros are very popular in the developer community because they have linux at their core, giving you a fantastic terminal experience. However, Microsoft has changed the game recently with the Windows Subsytem for Linux, or WSL, which they released a few years back and have been refining ever since. To put it simply, you're getting a full-blown linux environment running inside windows.
# WSL is Amazing
After using Windows daily for a month, I can wholeheartedly say I don't miss the Macbook. WSL still isn't quite as fast as native linux yet and there are caveats (random npm permission issues with vs code), but once WSL2 comes out it is safe to say linux in Windows will be on-par with Macs.
# 2. Portability
The Razer Blade 15 is very slim and light for how beastly it is, with dimensions and weight being just slightly above the Macbook Pro 2019 16-inch. The battery life isn't the greatest, you'll probably get 6 hours on a good day, so if you're on the road alot this may not be the best choice.
# 3. Has a nice trackpad
On Macbooks I prefer the trackpad over the mouse other than when gaming. It just feels more efficient not having to move your hand from keyboard to mouse just to navigate your code.
That said, the Razer Blade's touchpad is nearly as good as the Macbook's, and my only gripes are the scrolling UX (mostly a windows issue) and the lack of a three-finger drag (again a windows limitation).
# 4. Powerful enough for casual gaming
The Razer Blade's Geforce RTX series graphics cards are serious powerhouses. I mostly play games like Path of Exile and Diablo, and I can run them at slightly below max settings with a solid 90-100 fps. I'm sure fortnite and other 3d games will have no problem being run at medium to high settings with 60 fps.
# "What if you didn't care about gaming?"
Honestly, Windows has come a really long way for developers thanks to WSL, and I'd say it boils down to which OS you prefer and how much you're willing to pay. Sure, theres the extra hipster cred for carrying around a Macbook, except on average the Macbook will cost you an extra $600 - $1,000 for similar specs.
Apple products are certainly a cut above the rest in terms quality, but if you're looking to just get a solid development machine there are plenty of fantastic Windows options out there.
We'll see how things play out over the next few years. So far I've been very pleased with my purchase.
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