The other day a blogger that I regularly read was wondering about which laptop to buy and I ended up briefly giving him my favourite laptop sales pitch. I thought I would do Steve Jobs a favour and put it up here too.
I have been using a Mac for five years and for graphics, stability and elegance, I would never switch. And unless you are into high-def computer games, there is hardly a PC program now which does not have a Mac counterpart. On my Mac I have Pymol, Chemdraw, SciFinder, Mercury, iNMR, DeepView, all the standard media players, Adobe software, Google programs, and of course the three MS Office programs. On the other hand, Keynote as a counterpart to PowerPoint is super. iPhoto is a terrific photo organizer. I find Safari as a web browser to be perfectly adequate and there's also Firefox. On the new Macs, the tiny pinhole serving as a high-res camera is really neat. MPlayer is a general purpose media player that works with almost any format. The one long standing gripe I have is about Yahoo Messenger which has not upgraded its Mac version yet and still exists in its Middle Ages form. But that's of course Yahoo's fault.Don't the words just effortlessly gush out when you like something so much?
I also second the comments about long battery life and virus-proof OS. With a fully-lit screen I get 2 hours, with a dimly-lit one about 3.5-4. Do use the battery often otherwise it may die rather early; don't keep the machine plugged in all the time as I once did. I do have a slight problem with heat but it's not that big a deal. I have never found compatibility with projectors to be a problem, although for the new Mac you *must* not forget the attachment.
Two years ago, my Mac in a backpack fell rather violently from the seat to the bus floor when the renegade driver braked too hard. Didn't cause a single discernible problem.
The only off-putting feature is of course the price and that would be an issue for you if as you say you just want a second computer. But you can get a 13.5 inch for 1099$ or 1299$ which is quite an adequate size and price. Until now I have not met one person who used a Mac for any reasonable amount of time and wanted to then switch to a PC.