Product Type: Apple laptops
Newest Review: ... are better than PCs. And this computer is an awesome little laptop. This is why: It looks great- sleek, class, you name it. The only... more
Great laptop - if you can afford it!
Apple MacBook Pro MC374B/A
Member Name: wonkybox
Apple MacBook Pro MC374B/A
Advantages: Excellent build quality and innovative features
Disadvantages: Expensive initial outlay and subsequent expenses for OS updates
The build quality of the Macbook itself is first-rate, encased in a durable hard-wearing silver polycarbonate which is much more robust than the plastic many other laptops are built with. The keyboard is set low into the laptop housing and has a pleasing tactile quality.
Apple's notable triumph with the physical interface has been the trackpad. It allows you to control the cursor like most other trackpads but also allows you to zoom, pan and navigate in other ways by using different gestures like a two-fingered pinch or a rotating of the fingers.
This is a great feature when using the Mac OS or applications developed by Apple, but hasn't been implemented widely by other independent developers. Apple are known for closely guarding their API and perhaps they'll lower their defenses in the future to allow everyone to enjoy these intuitive controls when using a variety of applications.
Other nice features include a magnetic coupling for the power lead, which means if you or someone else trips over the lead when you're charging then the chance of something breaking is reduced as it just pops out. There are 2 USB ports and the usual ethernet and audio jacks.
One drawback of the slim design means that if you want to connect to a projector or something using a VGA or DVI input then you will need an adapter as these connector types would have been just too big to fit anywhere on the Macbook.
The battery life is very good, on a full charge it can last nearly three hours running at maximum performance. After six months of using it on a daily basis there doesn't appear to be any deterioration in the battery performance either.
As someone who has to lug a laptop around the country for work one of the advantages is the actual weight of my Macbook. It weighs about half of what a Dell/Acer/HP laptop weighs, which doesn't seem like much but it really makes a difference when you're carrying the thing around in a shoulder bag all day long.
With an Nvidia Geforce 9400M and 4GB RAM the spec is adequately equipped to deal with high-end CAD/BIM packages. Nvidia drivers are more reliable when compared to borderline-experimental ATI drivers so I went for a laptop with and Nvidia card in it.
The Mac OSX operating system is well designed, one of the better additions to the Mac OS over the past few years has been the Dock, which pops up from an edge of the screen to offer you applications to run. This was Apple's answer to the Windows Start menu and taskbar, previous versions of the Mac OS only had a toolbar along the top of the screen and desktop icons to allow access to everything else.
The Macbook Pro is more expensive than a Windows laptop of the same specification, but it does have a higher build quality. After heavy use over several months the display hasn't deteriorated, nor have any of the otehr physical components.
I am a bit disappointed when I pay to upgrade to the latest OS and it has a negligible number of new features. The ones that do exist - such as the 'X-Ray' feature for folders - have to be unlocked through Terminal. This is one thing to consider when buying an Apple product - often you will be expected to pay for OS fixes that other developers will give you for free.
Summary: Excellent value for money if you can afford it
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