I used to be a die hard windows fan. I was always bashing OSx for the usual things (too expensive, too dumb, et cetera, et cetera), and I never really gave it a chance. Windows 7 was my OS of choice from the day it came out, and I used it on many different computers with (or at least what I thought then) good results. It's certainly not a bad OS but...
This past holiday season, I got an Asus tablet PC. I wanted to love it, I really did. I gave it a five star review here on Amazon, and I tried my very hardest to use it to it's fullest potential. It was working fine for a while, until I tried the Windows 8 beta. It was all down-hill from there. Viruses, problems (beyond those that should be in a beta, and a general ugliness drove me absolutely insane, and I decided to move away from Windows, at least temporarily. I bought a Chromebook, and while I absolutely love it and highly recommend it, I wanted more out a computer than it offered.
So, nearly on a whim, I bought a Mac. I have never made a better tech decision. Literally everything about it is better than any computer I've ever used, from the operating system to the hardware.
People typically say that the real reason they love Macs and other Apple products is because of the build quality. While the build quality on this computer is INSANELY good (I feel bad hauling it around with me; I feel like it should be in an art museum), I really think it's the software that makes this a standout computer and computing experience. I've had absolutely zero backround in OSx up until now, and already I am easily finding my way around this computer. Granted, I've had a good backround in Linux and OSx is similar, but the fact that I'm easily navigating a brand new operating system after only one day is quite the contrast from Windows, now that I can look at it objectively. OSx Lion is wonderful. The multi-touch gestures and the multi-touch mouse itself are immensely helpful, and it's because of features like these that make it clear to me that it's almost necessary for a company to make the hardware for a product if they're making the software as well. Everything works extremely well together.
Like I said, the included apps put Windows to shame. With the exception of Outlook (which I personally hate, but my Mom has a Mac and can't stand the contacts App and uses Outlook), I can't think of a single, rational person who would pick Windows software over Apple software when it comes to things like media, photo/video editing, and email. To be perfectly honest, it's ridiculous how well all this stuff works. I downloaded the iWorks office suite (which is not free, though significantly cheaper than Microsoft Office), and they also work like a charm. I really don't create a whole lot of spreadsheets or slide shows so I can't guarantee a qualified opinion on Numbers (Excel) or Keynote (PowerPoint), but the Pages app is lightyears ahead of Microsoft Word. I also downloaded Logic Pro 9 (an music synthesizer/recording studio app) after having used it with friends a few months back, and have spent hours digging into another fantastic piece of Mac Software, and I can say for a fact that it is truly unparalleled in the Windows world.
The actual hardware internals of the computer are amazing. The new Ivy Bridge processors whip through anything I can throw at them, and the 8 gb of fast (1600 mhz) ram makes multi-tasking a breeze. The nVidia graphics card, while not a show-stopper, is completely adequate for some heavy-duty video editing in something like Final Cut or Photo Shop (though I haven't used Photo Shop in about a year now, so I'm not COMPLETELY sure about the latter of the two statements), or gaming (whether you dual-boot or pick one of the games from the increasingly impressive OSx catalogue). The speakers, while not mind-blowing, are much better than what I'm used to from integrated laptop speakers, and the screen, even though I opted for the non-HD screen, is very good; colors are bright and saturated, the pixel density is more than satisfactory, and the viewing angles are some of the best I've ever seen. Battery life is as good as advertised, and the computer starts and runs much more quickly than I'm used to, especially considering that this computer doesn't have flash storage.
I haven't run into a single thing I would change about this computer up to this point. I love the software, I love the hardware, and I love my decision. If you're in the market for an exceptional, powerful notebook, look no further. I can't recommend this computer highly enough.
Edit: While the great things that I mentioned about OSx are all still completely viable and even after several weeks (months, perhaps?) of heavy usage I haven't experienced any problems. Mountain Lion is a great update and even though I don't own an iPhone or an iPad (I'm more of an android guy), I still like almost all of the additions it brings to OSx.
However, I have since installed Windows. Bootcamp is a marvelous program, and in about 20 minutes I had Windows 7 working great on my computer. All the drivers were installed and performance was great. Once I actually started playing games though, several design flaw were suddenly extremely apparent to me, and they were apparent in a very bad way.
I'm not sure if Windows is just a more demanding operating system or if a fan driver was left out of my Bootcamp install, but the cooling of this computer when doing ANYTHING intensive under Windows is absolutely atrocious. The unibody design is gorgeous. It's revolutionary, it's stylish, it's classy, and it has major practical issues. The vents are hidden under the hinges of the screen, and anything but the most perfect of screen angles will block off much of the fans output. Even with the fans blowing full blast at nearly all times while running Windows, the computer gets extremely hot during usage. I use a laptop as a literal "lap" top computer frequently. This works fine under OSx; it's impossible under Windows. The bottom of the computer gets painfully hot during heavy usage (to the point where I literally can't touch it for more than a few seconds), and the metal area (ironically) around the "wasd" keys gets extremely hot as well. I've had the computer completely overheat three times only in the past two weeks. Since I only play online games, this isn't a real issue, but I can't imagine what would happen were someone actually doing something important on a Windows partition and have the computer overheat and shut down. Even with good ventilation (meaning smooth granite surfaces and a laptop stand specifically designed to enhance ventilation), there is no avoiding an extremely hot computer and constantly whirring fans.
Long story short, I'm very glad they improved the fan design in the Retina Display Macbooks, because it is, frankly, very, very poor here.
I'm conflicted on whether I should change my overall rating of the computer though. Even though Macs are equipped (through Bootcamp) to run Windows, they weren't designed to do so, and I certainly haven't had a single issue while running (the far superior) OSx. Considering the fact that I should be basing my opinion of the product on its own merits and not on those of a competing product, I don't think I will change my overall scoring. I do think it is prudent to add, however, that cooling while running Windows 7 is terrible. If you NEED Windows, stick with a Windows computer. They will most likely handle Windows better than this one will.