The best Apple MacBook laptops for every budget

It’s pretty easy to buy an Apple laptop: You pick one on the Apple website or store that fits your budget, and you buy it.

But if you dig a little deeper into a laptop’s product page, you can find customizable options for certain specs, like the processor, storage space, and RAM. It’s perfect for tweaking a laptop’s specs to better fit your needs and budget.

Apple macbook pro 6Apple

For example, you can tweak the cheapest MacBook Pro with extra performance specs that propose great value against more expensive models. Going into those tweaking details isn’t for everyone, so I’ve done it for you!This guide should help you find which Apple laptop fits within your budget according to what kind of user you are, whether you use lightweight apps, have several open browser tabs and apps, or you’re a power user who needs the top performance. I also propose budget options, as well as “full-fat” models that make less of a compromise on performance and features.

You can even buy certain models from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store if you want to save some money. Don’t balk at the word “refurbished.” My experience with refurbished Macs from Apple has been fantastic. I saved a bunch of money on my refurbished MacBook Pro , and it came in pristine aesthetic and working condition.

$3,000 – $4,200: For uncompromising performance and little regard to budgeting.

$3,000 - $4,200: For uncompromising performance and little regard to budgeting.

You can max out the processor of the most powerful $2,800 15-inch MacBook Pro with an even more powerful 7th-gen 3.1GHz Core i7 processor for $3,000.

The top, most specced-out MacBook Pro with the aforementioned processor and two terabytes of storage will set you back a whopping $4,200.

$2,300 – $2,800: For power users who don’t mind spending extra for more power.

$2,300 - $2,800: For power users who don't mind spending extra for more power.

Powers users who don’t mind spending to get great performance can opt for:

– 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) with 256GB of storage, 7th-gen 3.5GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM upgrades: $2,300

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) as standard (256GB of storage, 7th-gen 2.8GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, dedicated graphics card): $2,400

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) as standard (512GB of storage, 7th-gen 2.9GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, dedicated graphics card): $2,800

The 15-inch machines will also suit video editors and Mac gamers, as they come with dedicated graphics cards.

$1,800 – $2,000: For busy users willing to spend a little extra for performance, or power users on a budget.

$1,800 - $2,000: For busy users willing to spend a little extra for performance, or power users on a budget.

For busy users who want a better performance guarantee, or budget power users who use more advanced apps, your best options are:

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar) as standard (256GB storage, 4th-gen 2.2GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM): $2,000

– 13-inch MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar) with 128GB to 256GB storage, 7th-gen 2.5GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM upgrades: $1,800 – $2,000

– 13-inch MacBook (with Touchbar) with 256GB storage, 7th-gen 3.1GHz Core i5 as standard, and 16GB RAM upgrade: $2,000

For more 15-inch models in this budget range, you’d do well to check out Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store for the 2016 15-inch models with 6th-gen 2.6GHz Core i7 processors and Touch Bar, which start at $1,850. The refurbished 2016 models are a better deal considering their newer specs and better pricing than the aforementioned 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 4th-gen processor.

$1,500 – $1,700: The value sweet spot for busy users with lots of open web browser tabs and/or multiple basic apps running at the same time.

$1,500 - $1,700: The value sweet spot for busy users with lots of open web browser tabs and/or multiple basic apps running at the same time.

The base 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar comes standard with 8GB of RAM, but you can give it a meaningful performance boost by opting for the 16GB RAM option. You can pick that option on the product pages for 128GB and 256GB storage models. It’ll cost you an extra $200 on top of the laptop’s $1,300 – $1,500 price tag, but it will make a huge difference.

RAM is where your computer stores your open apps and browser tabs so you can quickly switch between them. The more RAM you have, the more apps and browser tabs you can run without your computer slowing down. For busy users who usually have lots of open web browser tabs and apps, I’d generally recommend you consider more RAM before processing power, at least when it comes to basic apps and tasks.

The processor that comes standard with the laptop will handle basic apps just fine, and will even do you proud for lightweight photo editing.

$1,500: For the lightweight user who wants a premium design and the ultimate in portability with little concern about budgeting.

$1,500: For the lightweight user who wants a premium design and the ultimate in portability with little concern about budgeting.

The $1,500 MacBook with a 7th-gen Core i5 comes with more storage as standard than the aforementioned MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. With that said, it offers comparable performance to the MacBook Air for $600 more, at least according to benchmark tests. What you’re paying for here is the MacBook’s extreme portability.

You can find a refurbished model from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store for a small discount at $1,360.

$1,300 – $1,500: For the lightweight user who wants something more premium.

$1,300 - $1,500: For the lightweight user who wants something more premium.

The base 13-inch MacBook Pro with 128GB of storage ($1,300) or 256GB of storage ($1,500) is for the same kind of person who would buy the MacBook Air but wants a premium design, better features, and more “comfortable” performance for basic and advanced apps.

Spending an extra $300 over the base MacBook Air model will get you a significantly better screen and speakers, as well as better overall performance with the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s 7th-gen 2.3GHz Core i5. You’ll also get a giant trackpad, which makes navigating around macOS and apps easier. It’s also not that much bigger or heavier than the MacBook Air.

It also has better future-proofing potential – where it could last longer before you need to upgrade – than the MacBook Air.

Be aware that the MacBook Pros only come with USB-C ports. That means you’ll need to buy adapters, docks, or docking stations to plug in any legacy peripherals, like standard USB mice and keyboards, or non-USB-C monitors that use HDMI or DVI.

As with the MacBook Air, you can get the 13-inch MacBook Pro for less on Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store.

$1,000: The cheapest option for the lightweight user on a budget.

$1,000: The cheapest option for the lightweight user on a budget.

If you must have an Apple laptop but you don’t need much power and you don’t care so much about fancy displays and features like Apple’s Touch Bar, the base $1,000 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air with a 5th-gen 1.8Ghz Core i5 processor is your best bet – and the cheapest Apple laptop you can buy.

You can also get the model with 256GB of storage for an extra $200.

It’s a remarkably portable laptop that can fit anywhere, whether it be the kitchen counter, your lap on the couch, the home office, or while traveling. It’ll service basic apps and tasks – think lightweight apps like web browsers, note apps, tax apps, messaging apps – admirably. It’ll also run more advanced apps for things like photo editing, but don’t expect lightning quick performance.

Something to note: Apple’s MacBook Airs don’t come with USB-C. Instead, they come with a range of standard ports, including two USB ports, a Thunderbolt 2 port (for hooking up a monitor), and an SD card port (to transfer photos from a camera). There’s no need for adapters here. Those who need a simple, capable laptop for basic tasks aren’t necessarily chasing the latest and greatest technology and standards, like USB-C, and these standard ports are compatible with the majority of accessories, which is a good thing.

You can get this laptop for less if you buy refurbished models from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store. At the time of writing, there’s a listing for a refurbished 1.8Ghz MacBook Air for $850 – $50 cheaper than brand-new. And if you need more than the included 128GB of storage in the base model, you can get a refurbished model with 256GB for $1,020 – just $20 more than the price of a brand-new base model.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

Amazon Prime Video Finally Comes to Apple TV

Amazon Prime Video Finally Comes to Apple TV

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amazon Prime Video is now available on tvOS
  • The feature was first spotted on the iOS App Store
  • The app’s arrival is in the midst of a spat between Amazon and Google

Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV is a finally a thing. In a world of walled gardens, it’s the customers who suffer from a lack of choices. And today, they’re set to get more options for their video consumption desires. To recall, back at WWDC 2017, Apple had announced that Amazon Prime Video will be coming to Apple TV as well as the TV app. The deal was also presumed to mean that Amazonwould resume stocking the Apple TV set-top box on its online marketplace. The former has come to pass on Wednesday, but the latter has yet to happen.

First spotted on the iOS App Store, the Amazon Prime Video app for iOS had received an update on Wednesday that brought it to version 5.0. The changelog clearly mentions that users will now be able to watch Amazon Prime Video on their Apple TV directly, if they download the separate tvOS app – meant for Apple TV 3rd Generation and later set-top boxes. Now, a few hours later, the Amazon Prime Video app for tvOS has gone live on the dedicated tvOS App Store, with users across the world reporting seeing the app. Neither Amazon or Apple have yet to make an official statement about the launch. v5.0 of the Amazon Prime Video app on iOS also brings Universal Search support for iOS search, and iPhone X support.

amazon prime video itunes amazon

Amazon Prime Video app on iOS App Store earlier in the day, with changelog clearly mentioning support

The arrival of Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV comes on the heels of a continued spat between Amazon and Google. Just this week, the latest blow was dealt by Google – the search giant announced it would block the YouTube app on Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV devices. As we mentioned, Amazon hasn’t listed the Apple TV (or Google’s Chromecast dongles) on its online marketplace since 2015. Amazon had explained the move by saying it wanted to avoid confusing customers who might expect its Prime Video service to be available on devices sold by Amazon. However, Google clearly mentions this treatment as its reason for pulling YouTube support.

In a statement, Google said, “Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV,” Google said. “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon reacted to Google’s statement with its own, “Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Watch Series 3 Review

Apple Watch Series 3 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The headline feature of Apple Watch Series 3 is LTE connectivity
  • But the LTE model is not available in India
  • The new Apple Watch delivers improvements in overall performance

Apple announced its entry into the wearables market when it unveiled the Apple Watch a little over three years ago. At the launch event, Apple positioned the Watch as a bit of an all-in-one accessory that could be your comprehensive health and fitness device, but it was also designed to let you “connect and communicate directly from your wrist” using new “intimate ways” like the rather awkward Digital Touch. In many ways, the original Apple Watch tried to be too many things for too many people; a departure from most first-generation Apple products that typically have fewer features than the competition, but rely on execution and attention to detail to win customers over.

The product was largely well-reviewed, though many, including us, questioned whether most people actually need a smartwatch. While Apple has been silent on the number of units it has sold to date, the Apple Watch seems to be the best selling smartwatch by all accounts, with some even saying Apple is now the biggest watchmaker in the world.

Physically, the Apple Watch might not have changed much, but there’s no doubt that both Apple and the consumers now see the smartwatch as a fitness-focussed device, with everything else intended to complement those functions. Apple has admitted this has been in response to user feedback based on how people were actually using the Watch out in the wild.

Last year, Apple enhanced the fitness credentials of the Apple Watch by adding GPS and water resistance, making the Series 2 a better standalone companion for runners, while opening it up to use by swimmers. This year’s big update – called Apple Watch Series 3 – brings optional cellular connectivity, an altimeter, and a faster Apple S3 chip as well as more RAM, all of which pave the way for some cool new features. Note that the GPS + Cellular variant of the new Apple Watch isn’t available in India (yet) as it uses a built-in eSIM that doesn’t seem to be very popular with the Indian telcos. For this review, we received the non-cellular variant (or GPS, as Apple calls it) of the Apple Watch Series 3.

apple watch series 3 back Apple Watch

We noted in our review of the original Apple Watch that the 42mm model is rather chunky and something that will definitely be noticed on your wrist. We also predicted that this would improve as the Watch goes down the path of ‘thinner and lighter’ that’s almost inevitable for most Apple products. A little more two years later, we are still waiting for that evolution, since Apple has stuck to the same design language, and, in fact, the 42mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch Series 3 is marginally bigger and heavier than its counterpart from a couple of years ago.

As we mentioned earlier, since the original launch, Apple has managed to cram a GPS sensor, an LTE modem, and an altimeter into the Apple Watch, while also updating it with faster processors and more RAM, and making it water resistant. Given these additions, we are not surprised that the Apple Watch retains its ‘bulk’, though we believe that a new design might well arrive with the next iteration.

The new Watch is powered by Apple’s brand new S3 dual-core processor, which promises up to 70 percent more performance, and in our experience, the Watch delivered on this promise. Apps launch a lot faster than before, and switching between apps via the Dock no longer feels like a painful process. The speed benefits are especially evident when using Siri. While on our first-generation Apple Watch it wasn’t uncommon to have to wait a couple of seconds after saying ‘Hey Siri’, the newest Watch is ready to listen to your command almost instantly.

Processing the commands themselves isn’t that much faster, as we found in side-by-side comparisons with the original Watch, but the entire process definitely feels a lot more responsive, which can be the difference between people giving Siri a try one time and then forgetting about it, and them coming back to it every day. We found ourselves using Siri a lot more with the Series 3 Watch, be it for setting a quick reminder, or to check when Liverpool FC is playing next.

apple watch series 3 siri Apple Watch

Another big change with Siri is that it can now talk back to you, just like on the iPhone and iPad, which is great, as you no longer need to keep staring at the Watch to see its response. If you are not a fan of this feature, or if you don’t want others eavesdropping on your conversations with Siri, you can set it to speak only when you have your headphones on, or to take its cue from the silent mode on your Watch, via the Settings in the Watch app on your iPhone.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also includes an Apple-designed W2 wireless chip that claims to boost Wi-Fi speeds up to 85 percent, while making both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication up to 50 percent more power efficient. While it’s hard to test some of these claims, we did find that the Series 3 Watch did a better job at things like handling calls over Wi-Fi when we were away from our iPhone.

In our review of the Apple Watch Series 2, we pointed out that the lack of an altimeter was a problem for serious runners, as elevation changes during workouts couldn’t be recorded unless you carried your iPhone along. The Series 3 fixes that, with the addition of a barometric altimeter. Not only can your Watch now track elevation changes during a run, but your daily activity summary now also includes “Flights Climbed” data that is being sourced from the Watch itself. If it sounds like this feature isn’t exactly new, it’s because your Watch was earlier capable of reading this data from your paired iPhone, which has included a barometer since the iPhone 6.

We found the flights climbed data tracking to be fairly accurate, and our experience with GPS accuracy and the rest of the activity tracking and fitness-focussed features was pretty similar to what we’ve seen with previous Apple Watch variants. We encourage you to read our reviews of the original Apple Watchand the Series 2 if you are curious about the subject.

The Apple Watch Series 3 ships with watchOS 4, which we’ve covered elsewhere, but it does have a couple of features worth touching upon here. Instead of the ‘boring’ pop-ups that simply updated you on your activity for the day, the Watch now mixes things up by telling you whether you are making good progress compared to an average day, or if you are “usually further along” on most days. Towards the end of the day, it gives even more specific messages such as telling you that a brisk 11 minute walk will close all your rings, which can be pretty motivating. The animations that you see as a ‘reward’ for closing your ring(s) are now a lot more elaborate, something we came to appreciate.

watchOS 4 introduces new watch faces including the Siri watch face, Toy Story, and Kaleidoscope. You also get a redesigned Workout app and a new High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout type. Your Apple Watch (including Series 2) is now also able to automatically detect the kind of swimming stroke you used during a session. This lets you see a neat breakdown with the time and distance you spent alternating between different kinds of strokes; a touch that swimmers will really appreciate.

apple watch swimming Apple Watch

The watchOS 4.1 update also added the ability to stream music from the cloud via Apple Music directly on the Apple Watch. The feature works on both Wi-Fi and LTE variants of the Watch, but in our opinion, it would be a lot more useful on the latter.

We’d like to see watchOS open a little bit more and add support for third-party watch faces, similar to Android Wear. So far, Apple has done a good job of finding the right balance between adding features and optimising battery life, and one wonders if a future Apple Watch will have features like an (optional) always-on display.

Apple claims all-day battery life with the Series 3, and the Watch constantly topped that expectation during our review period. We easily got two days of life out of each full charge, with tons of notifications popping up on our Watch throughout the day, but with admittedly limited workout sessions, so we weren’t really using GPS for the most part. Our long-term experience with the Series 2 and the original Apple Watch shows that even after one and two years respectively, you should get at least one-day battery life without any problems even if you lead a more active lifestyle.

The process of untethering the Apple Watch from the iPhone started when the Series 2 added GPS functionality, and it continues with the Series 3 bringing in an altimeter and LTE, though the latter isn’t available in India yet. Starting at Rs. 29,900 for the 38mm model with Aluminium Case and Sport Band (the one pictured above is the Anthracite/ Black Nike Sport Band) and Rs. 31,900 for the 42mm equivalent, the Series 3 Apple Watch isn’t exactly cheap, but the launch prices are lower than that of the previous generation. As with earlier models, you will need to have an iPhone to set up and use the Apple Watch.

If you lead an active lifestyle and fitness-focussed features are the main attraction, the latest Apple Watch is a great pick. Apple also still officially sells the slightly less expensive (but slower) Series 1, but you would miss out on features like GPS, altimeter, water resistance, and Siri that talks, so you are better off buying the latest model if you can afford it.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Improved performance
  • Altimeter
  • watchOS 4 adds useful features

Cons

  • LTE version not available in India

Ratings

  • Design: 4
  • Performance: 4.5
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4.5

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iPhone 8 Plus Allegedly Splits Open While Charging, Apple ‘Looking Into’ Reports

iPhone 8 Plus Allegedly Splits Open While Charging, Apple 'Looking Into' Reports

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Only two cases have been reported so far
  • iPhone 8 Plus battery being blamed
  • Apple is “looking into” the issue

Apple is said to be investigating two reported cases of iPhone 8 Plus ‘splitting open’ thanks to swollen batteries, which have been circulating on the social media. The news comes merely few days after the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus went for sale in several markets. Reports have emerged from Taiwan and Japan.

Apple has confirmed that it is “looking into” the two reports where the iPhone 8 Plus casing opened up, according to The Independent. For now, the Cupertino-based giant declined to further comment on the issue. It’s not certain what caused the problem, and it’s being thought to be a battery failure, which causes it to swell up.

A Taiwan-based report by ifeng, shared by The Next Web, last week claimed that a iPhone 8 Plus unit cracked open while charging, possibly due to a swollen battery.

ifeng claims that iPhone 8 Plus faulty battery was reported by a woman named Wu, who renewed her phone contract and bought 64GB Rose Gold iPhone 8 Plus. Wu noticed the swollen battery five days after purchase when the handset was plugged for charging. Notably, the faulty iPhone 8 Plus battery issue has been reported by Wu who was using the bundled charger and adaptor. The report adds Wu noticed the front panel bulging out just after three minutes of charge, and it finally came completely off from the device. The report claims that the iPhone 8 Plus unit was replaced and has been sent to Apple for investigation.

In another similar incident, a Japanese iPhone 8 Plus user noticed the screen eventually detaching from the chassis possibly due to swollen battery issue. The Japanese user shared images of the faulty unit on Twitter which attracted over 14,000 retweets.

For now, there are just two reports of isolated incidents, so it’s best to wait for the results of the company’s investigation into the issue before jumping to conclusions about the iPhone 8 Plus, and possible similarities with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled last year due a fire hazard related to the battery.

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Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Rs.72,899
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Insane performance
  • Vastly improved cameras
  • Portrait Mode is great
  • Wireless charging
  • Assured, timely software updates
  • Bad
  • Same old design, ungainly
  • First party apps not great in India
  • Fast charger not bundled
BUY AT
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Silver, 64GB) –
    Rs.72,899
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Silver, 64GB) – OFFER
    Rs.73,000

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]