Apple MacBook Pro Review
So I did it… I cracked… I bought a Mac. After years of using PCs and building my career around working with them, I bought a Mac. From the second I purchased it I had the feeling of betrayal from the PCs that have been so loyal to me, but I had to do it. Something about the sleek and minimal design, to the glowing half-bitten apple on the exterior, the ability to describe the device with words like “all aluminum unibody casing” just drew me in. Was it worth it?
Look & Feel
As soon as you open the box you have to admire how efficiently it has been packaged. Apple has obviously payed a lot of attention to detail even for something as little as packaging. Lift off the thin veil of plastic and you now have access to one of the most beautiful laptops on the market. As soon as you hold the MacBook Pro you can feel the build-quality. The entire enclosure is thin and light. It looks polished and refined. It feels very strong and durable. Open the lid and you see the product of what was once a single piece of aluminum, the unibody case.
I must say that I love the feel of the keyboard. It almost makes you want to type just for the sake of typing. I also love how the back-lit black keys look on the aluminum body. The one gripe that I do have is regarding the sharp edges of the aluminum casing. Yes they look amazing, but after typing for a while I have to check my wrists to make sure that they aren’t slit. I would suggest on the next MacBook Pro iteration to make sure that this is addressed.
The touchpad is the most natural that I have ever used. Apple has done it right. No need for a track-point (keyboard-nipple), or multiple buttons to control your clicks. Just one big, smooth, glass surface that clicks, that is multi-touch and that is completely customizable.
I’ve never enjoyed using a touchpad so much. Using multi-touch gestures including swipe, pinch, rotate, and four-finger swipe. When Apple designs something its really simple and effective. Over the years Apple’s devices have crept into my hands starting with an iPod Nano, to an iPod Classic, to the 1st-gen iPhone, and then the iPhone 3G. One thing that drew me to them was how they all just worked. There was no need to read a manual to learn how to configure or use the device. You just clicked it and it worked. The touchpad is just the same.
Look at the MacBook Pro screen and you’ll see nothing but edge-to-edge glass. The LED back light allows for a extremely thin and bright display that looks amazing. It also automatically dims depending on the lighting environment, so that battery life is conserved.
Performance & Battery Life
Now I only went with the entry level MacBook Pro that came with the 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive, and the NVIDIA 9400 GT Video Card. These specs are more than enough for the average computer user, but I had planned on using applications like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Traktor, and a couple of other RAM intensive program. Instead of ordering the machine with the additional RAM, I decided to order it from OWC and install 4 GB myself. Along with that upgrade I also decided to install a larger and faster 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive. Those 2 upgrades made a huge difference in performance and only cost me an additional $200, rather than the extra $400 from Apple.
I haven’t run any official benchmarks on my machine to compare the previous configuration to the current, but the difference is noticeable.
Apple claimed over 7 hours of battery life with this laptop. That is amazing by any standard, but never that realistic. So I didn’t expect that kind of usage from it. Surprisingly I am easily able to squeak 4-5 hours on battery with the display on a dimmer setting, and the keyboard back-light also on dim.
Apple also claims that these batteries are capable of over 10,000 full charges. I’ll be amazed if I get that kind of life out of this battery, but then again that is why I did purchase the extra 3 year warranty.
I love my MacBook Pro. If you are even considering getting one, do it. It is probably more expensive than its PC counterpart but I can guarantee that you will find the added value as you start using it. Apple’s attention to detail is beyond surprising, from the battery status indicator on the exterior, to the little green light that comes on the keyboard when your caps-lock is enabled. The switch from PC to Mac is no where near as hard are you make think it is.