* Prices may differ from that shown
This is my, or should I say my family's, first laptop. After our very first desktop computer dying an untimely death, we were very much in need of a new machine. A lot of price and specs comparing ensued as we (especially my dad) wanted a laptop that will not only have good performance, but also last for a while.
Apple products at the time were quite expensive in my home country (they still are, really), but the cost absolutely justified the quality product. Now, 5 years later, it has turned into our 'desktop' computer as the battery life is almost non-existent, but it's still going as strong as ever.
2.2 GHz Intel Core2Duo
2 GB RAM
NVidia 8600 M GT (128 MB GDDR)
15" Glossy Display with a resolution of 1440x900
160 GB HDD
First let's talk about the hardware. This machine was top notch in 2007 and even in 2008, when my parents bought it, it was still in the high end class of notebooks. It features a dual-core processor with 2.2 Ghz and a dedicated graphics chip from NVidia. I'm still very happy about the last part, because it enables this now slightly dated machine to run the latest Mac OS X Mountain Lion. The memory and hard drive were performing well enough in the beginning, but with newer Mac OS X versions more RAM (4 GB) was needed and the hard drive was replaced as well for more storage (500 GB). The display has very good viewing angles, great colour accuracy and what was back then a rare feature, LED backlighting. Even nowadays those specs give this machine ample performance and allow advanced tasks such as video editing and alike without any problems, although it is of course slightly slower than a modern notebook with high-end specs. On the only downside was always the battery: nowadays it's almost non-existent after more than 500 cycles. At least you can easily replace the battery in this model like in any other laptop, but an original Apple battery sadly doesn't come cheap.
In terms of build quality this laptop is amazing. The aluminum body is sturdy and survived a drop on the edge with only a little dent. Normal plastic laptops would have cracked at that height. Given the price tag, however, you should expect good build quality. The keyboard is great and even after 5 years of use it's still a precise experience. There is, however, one known issue with the frame of the display right above the hinges. And after 5 years the laptop got a crack there. I have to admit, my notebook was always under heavy use and something like that can happen. Nonetheless, it is a design issue.
Another thing which was quite upsetting was the first graphic chip it came with, which simply burnt out. It was a known issue and was recalled by NVidia, so it was replaced at extended warranty for that specific problem. Nonetheless, quite the shock and if not covered by warranty this would be very expensive. After the Logic Board was replaced the notebook ran fine again, but it can under full load still get very hot.
On the software side, I don't think I have to say much, OS X is a great operating system, with powerful multitasking and great performance and memory management. You can install Windows alongside without any problems via Bootcamp and it also works like a charm for Windows-only software.
After 5 years it still performs well. It runs most Mac OS X ported games without problems but usually modern titles in lower details such as Diablo 3. Overall gaming performance is better in Windows on this machine, if playing is important to you. It's capable of HD playback, solid performance in video editors and handling big layer intensive images in Photoshop. Newer machines are obviously quicker, but this notebook still does the job without any issues.
My verdict (and my family's as a whole)is that this is a great machine with wonderful design but also sturdy and reliable. No matter what operating system it's running, it's still a solid performer and handles every normal task without any problems. Five years later, we're still very happy with this laptop.
At university I definitely needed a better and more capable lap top which allowed me to handle more tasks and information quickly as well as protecting me from viruses which have broken my last 2 windows laptops in spite of paying for anti-virus software. That is why I thought a Mac book pro was the perfect option for me. The features were great. I loved the keyboard and the screen adjusting the brightness automatically depending on the lighting, my eyes have appreciated it a lot! The simple style is also a plus and something that makes a big difference, compared with other makes and even with the macbook, it has an aluminium frame which makes it very resistant. I also liked the quality of the webcam for skyping, it is way better than the ones average laptops have.
With regards to the software, I think the fact that it is very difficult for it to catch a virus or any threats is great, I was really sick of dealing with antiviruses, so in that respect it's been great and I can surf download sites care free.
The downside which can become very annoying, is how hot it gets with regular use. It literally gets boiling and untouchable. I took it to a apple shop and they told me it is the processor and the graphic board that makes it heat up that much. With most laptops but more-so with macs, they are extremely expensive to get repaired out of warranty so I'm kind of stuck with a laptop that I can't use after an hour or so, or I have to position an external fan towards it to try to cool it down - not ideal. I think the new mac laptops don't have this problem.
Other than that, I think it was a good choice and I even look forward to get the new models. Mac is still way better than PC!
There is much well-deserved eulogising on these pages about Apple Macintosh computers, so I will try not to repeat what others have written. All the technical specifications are readily available too, so I won't recycle those here either.
Suffice to say that this Macbook Pro (MBP) is a truly astounding machine, especially for those who want to use a portable computer for some purpose other than learning how to get a portable computer to work properly. As a professional trainer I work on my clients' premises and often have just a very few minutes to get everything working with my laptop. Almost two decades of using Apple Mac desktop computers led me to hope that the MacBook Pro would just do what was asked of it, without it making unwelcome adjustments to my blood pressure at the same time.
The MBP came out of the box, I pressed the power button and 20 seconds later it had started up and was ready to use. Fantastic - and so it should be, at about £1300 this is one of the most expensive 15" laptops you can buy.
The "five star" ratings here reflect my experience with this computer, but maybe it's more helpful for me to be unreasonably critical, and focus on the few things that could be even better:
Apple has packed so much into this slim machine that they didn't leave themselves a lot of room for the built-in stereo speakers. The grilles look big enough, but they actually have to house two light sensors, a microphone and the power button too, so the resulting sound quality and volume is not so good - and the left speaker seems worse than the right, on my machine and others! This is easily fixed with a pair of Logitech's excellent V20 laptop speakers, which I have reviewed elsewhere.
First things first: the built-in display is of fantastic quality - crisp, sharp, ultra-high-resolution, big enough, and with beautiful colour balance. But on my machine odd pixels are going out (i.e. turning black) here and there. You have to look for them, but they're there. At this rate, it'll be getting pretty obvious about eight or ten years from now!
Apple Superdrive (optical disk drive):
Mine failed after 10 months. This is a complicated optical disc drive that plays and records all sorts of different CD and DVD formats.
Again after 10 months, I noticed that the battery discharge time had fallen from about four or five hours to just two, or maybe three at the very best.
These last two faults were fixed under warranty without argument by my friendly and helpful local Apple dealer, who replaced the entire Superdrive and fitted a new battery.
I said I wouldn't join the "eulogisers", but there are a few things that especially impressed me about the MacBook Pro, so I will mention them briefly:
This machine seems to be able to connect to almost anything, so (for example) syncronising the addresses on my Nokia mobile phone, TomTom Satellite Navigation and the Macbook Pro is utterly seamless and completely automated.
Another example: plug in a data projector and switch everything on. You'll find it just works, without having to madly stab at "Ctrl-F5" (or whatever it is on a PC to get it to run an external monitor). What's more, the Macbook Pro attempts to optimise the resolution setting on the data projector if it can, and sets it's own screen resolution to match. Unplug the data projector, and it sets itself back to the earlier resolution that you'd chosen. In my line of work, I really do value that kind of "zero drama" performance.
The first time I moved the MBP into a softly lit room, the screen brightness faded smoothly down, and the keyboard lit up - wonderful!
I could go on. Everything on this machine seems to be painstakingly and intelligently thought through and just works beautifully. If that's made it quite a complicated feat of technology then so be it.
Using this machine is a bit like driving a thoroughbred Italian sports car for the first time; once you've done it, everything else is going to feel somewhere between distinctly ordinary and laughably inept. If someone offers to lend you one (the car or the Macbook Pro) say "no" politely, because you'll probably end up falling in love with it and having to buy one...