A:To be honest, I didn't really want to switch to OS X. I had to because they came as standard on MacBooks and I knew that I wanted a MacBook as my next laptop (no BootCamp yet). I've owned an IBM Thinkpad, Compaq laptop, and an Asus W7M. Why did I decide to get a Mac? It's simple: it's hard to find a PC laptop that matches the overall quality of this product.
MacBook Pros are very well made, especially when I compare it to my plastic-feeling Asus. On my MacBook Pro 17, the aluminum unibody rarely gets warm. This wasn't the case on my PC laptop. It would heat up very quickly. The MacBook Pro is quiet and dissipates heat fairly well. I like numeric keypads and you can usually find one on 17-inch laptops. This isn't the case for the MacBook Pro 17, but it hasn't been an issue. The backlit keyboard is a very nice addition. Typing late at night is no problem with this thing.
By my estimate, the '10 17-inch MacBook Pro is only a pound or so heavier than my Asus 13.3-inch laptop from 2008. That's a lot more computing power for a little gain in weight. The bigger MacBook Pros comes with two graphic cards, which is a neat feature.
One of the most important reasons why I did get a MacBook Pro 17 is the battery life. At the most, with my other laptops, I've had about 4 hours of battery life. My wife, with her '09 MacBook Pro, has got about 4-5 hours at the most. She hasn't calibrated her battery much. With the MacBook Pro 17, I get about 8 hours when I'm constantly working on it. I've tested this by switching off the Energy Saver Preferences. During these 8 hours, it doesn't go to sleep. I timed it a few times when I first got it. First to test the battery and to calibrate it. This is with the brightness almost maxed out. When I do enable the Energy Saver Preferences and allow it to go to sleep, it can go between 10 and 12 hours on a single recharge. That would probably go up to 14-16 hours by lowering the brightness of the screen. That's almost as long as some netbooks last, if not longer. If you're careful with your MacBook's battery, it will last you a long time. Apple says that it will retain at least 80% of its charge for at least 1,000 cycles. I've had mine since Christmas Day and have gone through 4 cycles.
Lastly, the glass trackpad that now comes standard with all MacBooks blows PC trackpads away. I've never liked trackpads. I always use a mouse when I'm using a laptop. With the MacBook Pro, this has barely even been an issue. This is because the Apple trackpad can recognize gestures, multi-touch, and can be customized to respond to various inputs. This can have a steep learning curve, but once you get down to it, they become intuitive. Power users will enjoy the Better Touch Tool to further program the trackpad.