* Prices may differ from that shown
When I wanted to get a new laptop after my old one broke down. I decided to pay a little more to get the Apple Macbook Pro, and boy did I make the right choice. The first thing that you notice right out of the box it definitely the high quality and really cool look of Apple's products. The real reason I bought Apple was because of the battery life. I could take my computer to class all day and never have to run back to my dorm or use a charger to keep the battery life. The keyboard it absolutely awesome compared to most other laptops. The keys feel really well put together, not cheap and plastic like most.
One of the biggest problems most people have is that they have used a Windows/Microsoft computer their whole lives, and they are worried that they won't be able to adjust to the Apple software. Let me be the guy to say this is completely not true, Apple has designed a software that is easy to learn and is down right fun to learn.
I use this for everyday stuff, but occasionally Ill do some hard logistics stuff, and the Macbook works absolutely perfect for both of these.
To start off with, I didn't like Apple products up until I had bought the Apple MacBook Pro. I was a little cautious about using the keys as I am used to typing without looking on PC computer's. However, I had gotten used to the software and the system processor in no time. Considering that I have always used Microsoft I thought that I would never be able to get used to the Apple MacBook Pro. The software is very unique comparing it to Microsoft. However, it is very snappy in terms of the speed that the laptop works; it also saves money in terms of the Apple product coming with an anti-virus system integrated into the laptop, this works because if anybody was to try to hack into the the laptop then it will alert Apple and it will automatically kick the hacker out of the laptop. The screen size is unbelievable along with the weight, I could not believe in the weight of the product, to me it is light but if this was to be bought for a younger individual then it could be classed as fairly heavy but this is well worth the investment especially if you are thinking about attending college for a graphic design course or even for an accountant.
The Macbook Pro 13.3" is one monster of a machine. As I use it to write this review, I can honestly say it is the first Mac I've ever had and I will never go back to PC. It's that good. I've even switched to an iPhone so I can use cloud with my Mac.
Converting to Mac can be a bit tricky at first if you're stuck in your ways with PC. I have to admit I didn't even know command was the same as control at first. But after a couple of hours playing with absolutely everything it had to offer (app store, facetime, itunes, photobooth, garageband, bluetooth, super high quality HD picture for games and movies, best sound system i've ever had on a laptop, the layout of the dashboard and finger swipe action which is much cooler than PC). I'm a student, so when I bought this laptop I knew I needed something extremely durable, with long lasting battery life that I could use for long periods of time without it slowing down and carry easily. As for durability, the man that helped me pick it out told me that you could drop it off a building and as it's titanium it won't break. I don't know about dropping it off a building, but I've dropped it a few feet quite a few times now and it's still going strong. With the battery life it's supposed to last for 10 hours and you're able to check how many hours are left with the handy button and lights on the side. However even with a full charge mine only lasts around 5-7 hours. This is still much better than any other laptop i've owned. The internet in regards to safari loading is extremely fast and no matter how many applications are open it doesn't slow down or freeze like PC. No more control-alt-delete situations.
I find the 13.3" screen to be the perfect size and even though it's metal it's still very lightweight. The light up keyboard is a great feature if you happen to be computing in the dark.
I can recommend this laptop to anyone, it's the best laptop you'll ever buy. Well worth the price although I wish it would be cheaper as now I want a big screen desktop Mac.
Buy this laptop!
This is what convinced me to permanently change from PC to Mac. Everything about it is just better than the various PCs I have owned over the years. It's made from higher grade materials, aluminium instead of plastic, for instance, giving it a real premium feel. The internals are the best they can possibly be, rather than being built to a price, I get the impression Apple build to a spec, then decide the price afterward, it's a much better philosophy. The fact that Apple design and produce both the hardware and software means everything, and I'm going to use that classic Apple cliche here, "just works". You don't need to defrag every 5 minutes, you never see a Blue Screen of Death. You tell it what you want it to do, and it just does it. The backlit keyboard is a great idea, makes it much easier to use in low light situations. Of course, to save battery, it can be turned down, or off completely.
I am running Mountain Lion, the latest version of OS X. Make sure you download it, as it's amazing. So much slicker than the hashed Lion it replaces (Lion really was Apple's own Windows Vista), but by far the most used feature on mine is AirPlay mirroring. It'll show the entire screen, and play any sounds, on an HDTV via an Apple TV box. Brilliant for watching longer videos online, or if you just fancy using a bigger screen.
Speaking of which, if you use other Apple products, everything works together like a dream. I have an iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and Apple AirPrint enabled printers, all hooked up to an Apple AirPort Express router. And they all work together seamlessly. iCloud means that I could start writing a document on the laptop, then finish it on the iPad on the way home.
Size wise, 13" just feels right. Perfect size to haul around Uni all day, yet not too small that you can't use it productively when you're there.
All in all, the perfect laptop, I can't think of any reason you would choose anything else at this price point.
I bought my MacBook Pro, at Easter 2011 and has been my most prized possession ever since, yes it was expensive relative to other laptops of comparable specifications I feel value for money wise it can't be beaten. I feel there is no point going into all the masses of technical details, safe to say this laptop is fast enough to deal with anything I've thrown at it, as Apple themselves in their advertising rather focus on the things that make their products feel special. Below I shall highlight those features of this laptop that make it special for me and hopefully anyone else buying one.
First of all, this laptop feels reassuringly solid, the construction of the aluminium unibody is very precise and ensures when you first pick your laptop up you realise that this feels and looks premium. It also seems to provide the internal components with bonus protection as an accidental drop on to a stone floor caused no ill effects. It may be sad to describe a laptop as beautiful, but the MacBook Pro truly is.
Multi-tasking gestures are fantastic on the glass touchpad and allow interactions with your software that are so natural you hardly feel like you're using a computer - this is where I feel Apple has truly put PCs to shame. Using PCs after using one of these will just feel clunky and awkward!
The battery life is very impressive for a laptop and I have often eeked out over 7 hours - much, much more than I ever could manage with my old Dell.
Overall this is a fantastic laptop and won't let anyone down who makes the financial leap of faith to obtain one.
After using Windows on laptops and desktops for my whole life I was at first deterred to purchase a macbook because of the alien layout and operating system that I would have to get used to. However, once my new macbook arrived I took to it instantly - the ease of using the system coupled with its sleek design were nothing like any window's computer I had used before, and it only got better and better.
Some what are the advantages?
Operating System - The Macbook operating system has run as smoothly from the first day I got it with no information on it to now with over 100gb worth of files - it doesn't falter. The days are gone when I used to be typing up a word document or on my music programs and the typical windows error message would come up - 'this program is not responding' - and if you hadn't previously saved all the work it was now lost. Now the only one program I have on my macbook that does jam occasionally is 'Windows Home Office' - it sort of sums up the situation.
Viruses - A lot say Macbooks are immune from viruses completely, this is not entirely true. Recently there was the Malware that infected a few Macbook computers, but Apple were quick off the mark to release a new system update of Java to stop it. However, true to the statement I have never known anyone ever get a virus on one - they are a lot safer than a windows PC, and no anti virus is required.
Support - One of the best things about owning an Apple device is the very helpful customer service on the phone and the option of taking your whole computer into the Apple store and they will do everything they can to help you if you are having a problem. For example, in the unlikelihood the device breaks, in the very unlikely event the device gains a virus - they will sort you out.
App Store - One of the most simple things for the Mac is the use of the appstore. This, instead of a windows PC, you can download straight to your Mac from the store - no cd's required. Whether it's Logic pro or Photoshop the store has most items for sale for downloads within seconds for you to be using.
Overall, the macbook has relieved the stress that I have had from owning a Windows computer. The days of jamming and losing information have gone. The elegance and sleek design show off the great machine you own. The graphics on the display, the quality of sound produced from the speakers are both MUCH better than top of the range Windows models (I have compared them side-by-side).
The only downfall of the computer is the price tag - at £999 it is not cheap. However, everything in this description doesn't come without a price - it is well worth the price. I had owned windows computers that had gone down with viruses before and had to send them or get computer repair people out to them to wipe them or remove the virus - this costs at least £50 for a callout alone... Now that is one bill you will save from owning one of these. Similarly is the opportunity cost of saving information (no more crashing), the speed (again no more jamming or crashing) and the build quality allowing Apple computers to last for much longer than their counterparts, therefore owning one of these devices only gains more advantages.
From the moment I bought a white macbook in 2008, I was a convert to Apples whole way of doing computing. Everything seemed faster, less complex and more logical than my PC experience. I've almost forgotten what defragging is.
So when I found I needed more power for my Music writing, I decided to go mad and get a macbook pro. I have to say this computer seems considerably slower than my white macbook. I get the spinning wheel an awful lot when web browsing. Ironically, it is fine for high end stuff like running Logic and orchestral plug ins, editing in iMovie - but it seems to struggle in day to day computer operations. I've even upped the memory to 8gb, reinstalled OSX, taken it to the Apple store.
The computer just seems sluggish. Don't get me wrong, it's still better than any PC I've used, but for the money I spent, and because it's Apple, I expect better.
This was the first apple product that I'd owned and I bought it mainly for recording music and editing photos. It took me no time at all to get used to the mac operating system and I'm really pleased with the way that the computer just does whatever you tell it to, without fussing.
I would now be very reluctant to switch back to a windows computer as I've found this machine so much less frustrating and more intuitive to use.
I particularly like the multi-touch features on the trackpad. Twist 2 fingers on trackpad to rotate a photo, move thumb and finger apart and together to zoom in and out. Scroll down by putting two fingers on the trackpad and sliding down together.
All of these features and the lack of highly irritating error messages make this computer a delight to use, and despite the price, I'm extremely glad that i purchased it.
With my old Dell "brick" coming to the end of its life, I decided to invest in a new laptop. And invest it certainly was; it's certainly true to say that these things don't come cheap. Everyone's biggest grievance against Macs is that they are so pricey, and I can understand that; spending between £850-1150 on a device seems extortionate. That said, since buying it, I can honestly say it has been the single greatest product I've ever owned. Straight from arrival it's been easy to use, quicker than any computer I've ever used, well built, stylish, useful, the adjectives could go on. So let me focus my review a little and tell you specifically what I think are the best features, before pointing out the few slight weaknesses.
Firstly, it's superbly made. Unlike almost any other laptop, it's made of metal and this makes it feel significantly more sturdy. I carry it around with me all day in a bag, and I have no worries that such an expensive item will get ruined. That's not to say, don't get a case - do, but it's fallen off my bed before to absolutely no damage. It also looks far nicer than any other laptop; I know some people may be put off by this slightly vain outlook, but don't worry, it's not just style over substance.
The screen is superb; for someone who takes a lot of photos it's brilliant because they come up in brilliant resolution; it's clear, fresh and big. Some people may be tempted to go for a 15 inch version, which I have also used, but frankly, I think it's better to choose this one, at least in terms of screen size, because it's not so significant as to hinder your viewing capacity, but it makes it more portable - it's not much bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. The keys are backlit, which is a lovely feature; great if you're working late or want to browse in the car at night time. But of course, is this really worth a significant amount more than other laptops with similar specs?
The joy of Apple (and something their legal team has worked hard to protect) is that you run Apple software, and you can only do so on a Mac. This software alone is worth the price tag - it's superb. I'm using OS Lion, which, in my eyes isn't as good an improvement as others have been, but it's still the best yet.
My only slightly concern with it is that the battery life seems to have been slightly reduced when running OS Lion rather than Snow Leopard as I was on before. It's not horrendous by any means: I used to be able to get between 8-10 hours, depending on how bright me screen was, and now I can get between 7-9: still pretty damn good, and I suppose the reason I'm ever so slightly disappointed is because I had this high standard before, only so see it ever so slightly reduced. Frankly, had I not pointed it out to people, they'd probably not have noticed; it's only because I use it all day without a charger that I'm so conscious of how much time I have left.
The only other slight weakness with this 13 inch version is the speakers. They're built in between where the screen joins the keyboard, rather than being in the sidebar next to the keyboard. This means that they don't really seem to be facing you, and so the sound isn't brilliant. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but by comparison to everything else, it's not perfect.
Nonetheless, this is a superb piece of kit: if you are considering buying it, do so, I'd recommend it over the white Macbook if you take photos, like to watch films and do stuff at the same time, or if you're lazy and never close programs because it is just that little bit faster and seems sturdier. In terms of ports it has two USBs; perhaps could do with one more, but not a massive issue for me because there is also an SD Card reader which is great. The Thunderbolt port I am yet to try out, because there aren't many products which use it out there yet, but on paper it's very fast, so could be useful if you're a professional importing a lot of data.
All in all, another brilliant product by Apple; this is the laptop you should aspire to having; this review has only highlighted what I consider the best features; there are many other good things about it; inbuilt camera, fast start up times, great gestures on the scroll pad, something very few laptops have, making it work almost like a tablet or iPhone... I could go on. Anyway, SUPERB!
I am not a technical person. I do not know a great deal about my laptops storage capacity of really exactly what all the icons at the bottom of the screen do, frankly I am pretty scared of laptops in general, despite this I thought that a macbook would be the way forward as apple is meant to be incredibly user friendly and for the whole it is. The software is great, it has taken me a long time to get used to pages and a couple of updates that I installed seemed to make all pages documents unopenable on uni pcs despite being sent in a word format but on the whole easy peasy- even for someone brought up on Microsoft.
The laptop itself looks great and most importantly is really light compared to to my old laptop so easy to haul to the lecture theatre and back again, apparently it weighs just over 2kg, but I think it feels much lighter! It also is very very fast, despite safari crashing occasionally. I mainly use if for word processing and presentations/ surfing the web. I do not use it for much else so I don't think I can really comment on its other features- my flatmates steal it occasionally so I assume it works well!
The only real issue is I haven't been able to access some university resources, apparently macs are a taboo in the IT department and it was really difficult to get any help. You will face prejudice from those who defend the realm of Microsoft.
I got mine with student discount but it still came to over £900 after I had bought all the add ons in store. I am not sure it is worth every penny for what I use it for currently, on the one hand I think if I could turn back the clock I would get a cheap laptop and not have the hassle of having to sort my presentations out (the formatting changes on powerpoint - you lose the sleakness), on the other it has changed the way I work for the better.
The main advantage for me is the battery life, it is outstanding, I can be at uni all day and use it for my lectures without needing to plug in! Hazaa! The laptop also boots up so fast, maybe I am scarred by an old sony laptop but I can't get used to the speed, it is invaluable for lectures.
On a final note I am also impressed by the sturdiness, it has survived over a month with me so it must get some kind of reward!
Thank you so much Apple! I love my laptop! I shall now tell you why everyone loves Apple laptops- from a person who was not a big Apple fan in the first place- until now! I was lucky my first cousin owns a top of the range Apple Ipad and the other a top of the range Apple Imac- they were the ones to urge me to try out Apple before getting a Windows!
Speed; The speed of this laptop is amazing! Honestly whatever you thought was fast think this to be at least twice as fast! The reason for this speed is the 2.4 Hz processor. In a Windows PC this would not be that impressive- however Apple software runs I5 Snow Leopard. This means that you cannot really compare speeds with a Windows and Apple laptops by the figures as there running system is completely different. However after testing some top end Sony and HP laptops, I concluded that the Apple MacBook was allot faster despite smaller figures!
Look + Feel; It was actually the Gadget Show who I first heard raving about the "exquisite" design and look of the MacBook. They mentioned how good the keyboard is at first. I completely agree it is spacious and feels good. I have an eyesight problem and the illuminating white on black keyboard is easy to read. I also love the aluminum casing- I was going to buy the base model but I am so glad I did not because this one looks so much better! I also love the illuminating Apple badge- It looks very smart!
Comfort and Portability; My main priorities in the laptop that I wanted was this:
* High definition graphics- So I could easily read the typing
* Large keyboard- So I can see it
* Light- For college carrying
* Long battery life
I must say that the MacBook ticks all the boxes! It is very light (13.3 inch screen MAKING THE MACBOOK AIR LOOK POINTLESS!!!) Another good point is that it is not to light- as in you know it has not been stolen as of yet! (Good thing I have insurance for that- I learnt my lesson with my Iphone) the keyboard is a pleasure to use as it is spacious and of high quality.
Robustness and durability; I have not had this laptop for long and it is still not scratched- (Then again Have mercy to the person who scratched it if it was to be) The MacBook came with a 1 year warranty with 90 day Apple support. I have been told that Apple customer service is the very best and if it were to break down it would son be replaced! It also came with a free Apple case which is fully padded incase one drops it.
Value For Money; Ah. Hmm I can't soften the blow on this one. It will cost you £999 excluding the extras like Microsoft word £70, Apple Magic mouse £40, security lock £20. then you will want to install loads of applications from the Application store costing more £££. Then you will need to insure it for around £50-£80 per year. That is very expensive I admit. However I do believe it is worth the money. It looks great you are well looked after by Apple and it is very professional- I love photography and go on holiday allot- and this laptop is allot better to edit photos than on a normal desktop computer! You also get a large range of free applications too! Another big selling factor is this Apple MacBooks DO NOT GET ANY VIRUSES AS THEY RUN DIFFERENTLY TO A WINDOWS COMPUTER. It is lovely to know this when you are on the Internet! So really the price tag is worth it!
Memory and Capability; The world is your oyster on a MacBook! Remember you have access to a HUGE application store. So if you're a gamer or a photographer (like me) it has you covered! You get with the MacBook Mc700B/A 320 GB of hard drive. Should you run out of hard drive you can upgrade it to 750GB! You can also upgrade the RAM too! So there is no need to worry about memory at all!
Ease of Use: I have used Windows desktops mainly- So this laptop does take some getting used to because of the operating system. I strongly advise to buy Microsoft office for around £70so you get PowerPoint, Excel, Word and Outlook because it makes life allot easier! After a week however you will never look back!
Features; There are so many features that i love about the MacBook! One of the best things about it is the touch pad. It is so clever! With one finger it runs like any other touch pad (apart from you can click anywhere on the pad) However when you use two fingers you can zoom in and scroll around the screen. It is simple yet such a great idea! Top marks for the Application store too! This means that there are THOUSANDS of features that you can add to your laptop! You can watch HD DVDS on it as well as perfect our photographs. To get an understanding on how good it is you simply have to buy or test it to understand how good it actually is!
Instruction manual; I actually got people in PC world to give me a demonstration on the laptop before I bought it. So there is no need for an instruction manual. When I did look at it the print was quite small- but it was easy to get the hang of it so it never mattered!
Aftercare: Typical Apple standard! They were very friendly when I asked for advice. They gave me a 90-day technical support system too- when I can phone if I have any queries or problems. You also get 1-year Apple warranty too!
Verdict: Rob a bank! Do what ever you can to get one of these! They are fantastic! I also know why everyone loves Apple Laptops
TIP; I noticed that John Lewis is offering a 2-year warranty for the same price as Apple sell it! So if you do buy it buy it from them!
BEWARE Once you buy this laptop- expect allot of envious people to ask you if they "can have ago" I find that even if you do not like and vise versa they will still ask and hassle you until you tell them were to shove it (or give in) Be very careful when carrying your laptop because it is a very noticeable laptop and is a favorites with thieves!
Happy Apple picking!
Also on Ciao (jjcross)
A lot of people talk about how great macbook pro's are. I have one and their average in my opinion. It all depends on what you want to use it for. At the moment mine is nothing more than a glorified dvd player. I am an artist and I use a PC for all my designing because it's more powerful and can handle multiple programs at once; I also paid £500 for my quad-core PC and £1000 for my macbook pro 13".
If you want something that will keep your organised and allow you to surf the web, watch films and perform the most remedial tasks then i'd say go for it and buy a macbook. But for that £1000+ price tag you often wonder what your paying for. Like most apple products you pay for the name and the look; nothing more than a fashion statement at the best of times. It will not be your saviour when you have work deadlines, but it will allow you to fit in while your drinking coffee in starbucks.
The battery life is absolutely terrible and it heats up very quickly if you use it a lot; I usually get about 2-3hours at the most out of a fully charged battery. Also expect to go through your fair share of chargers and gadgets; what you'll really end up spending is £1300. I'm currently on my 2nd battery charger in 10months which cost £50 every time you want to replace it.
Apart from all the bad things there are some good points about the Macbook:
The operating system is great and has many little settings that you'll fall in love with; Its like a fantastic car with a rubbish engine. The 13" screen is big enough to do the job but it's a nightmare if you have to multitask and need more than one window open side by side. It's one of the lighter laptops around, which makes it easy to cary; but after paying £1000 for it i ended up cradling it like a baby wherever i take it. One thing that apple does have over most other machines, is that when the battery goes flat the machine starts up exactly where you work and you don't use your work; love this feature. It has multiple mouse features that allow you to navigate through the system easily.
In summary: I'd shop around for another laptop unless someone else is paying for it; in which case i'd say get it.
you could buy two sony laptops for the same price.
The spec for anyone interested:
Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
Width: 12.78 inches (32.5 cm)
Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
Weight: 4.5 pounds (2.04 kg)
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
SDXC card slot
Kensington lock slot
13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors
Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities
Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory5
A sleek aluminium casing makes this product look premium out of the box. Once you get started using, the user interface is simple and pleasing on the eye. Performance wise, I can run iTunes with my 15Gb music collection, watch a dvd in a window and browse the web, with no lag.
Many will say that you can't play many games on the Mac, and that it's hard to program or customise. This is true, but those are not reasons I bought a Mac. It works every time, is fast and powerful, and looks great.
If you need to run a Windows program, you can emulate Windows using Bootcamp (preinstalled) or download and install Wine: a program that allows WIndows programmes to be run without the consumption issues generated by emulation.
Connectivity is good: 2USB ports, firewire and ethernet and optical out port.
Screen resolution is excellent, with good blacks and greys and vibrant colours.
As a downside, unless you use Garageband or iDvd, these programs take up large amounts of disc space, but can be removed easily.
Installing or uninstalling programs is quick and easy, without any nasty registry issues connected with using Windows.
An external hard disc can be programmed as a "Time Capsule" making it a backup disc. No lengthy or complex programmes needed: the software is pre-installed and once configured, you simply plug the disc in to make a backup. It's really that simple.
In short, any saving in cash you make by purchasing a Windows PC are negated by the Mac's ease of use and power, functionality and style.
The macbook once again is updated with newer better specs. Instead of the core2duo now you can get it with an i5 processor which is suppose to be even faster. There are now 4gb of ram on it instead of 2gb on certain models. The hard drive is not much different but it can easily be upgraded. I can not really tell in a change in the graphics, but I know that they are better. The design has remained the same which is good since there was nothing wrong with it, the metal body was why i bought it, it makes it feel firm and yet it is lightweight. The best thing I likee about that mac is how easy it is to transfer and edit videos, there isnt much to say since the software made for mac is easier to use in my opinion and almost everything i need is just a click on the bottom of th screen. The battery life is excellent like all apple products.
This is an excellent laptop for a student, even though it is pricey, it will last for a good while
There are a lot of Macbook's on here, but I'm pretty sure this is the one I've just bought. DooYoo have graciously listed the tech specs in their description which saves me a job. Let's get on with it then.
I'll start off by telling you why I bought it. Essentially, I owned the standard white 13" Macbook and then managed to break it beyond repair. My insurance coughed up the dough and I found myself in the market for a new laptop. Looking at the specs of my old laptop and then the price tag to get a new one (£867 at the time of writing but slightly cheaper for students such as myself),
I figured that I could get a more powerful laptop for around £300 less. I began to look around at different laptops which would exceed the specs of my humble old Macbook but which would encompass all of it's features and possibly more. I was looking for something lightweight and portable with no bigger than a 13" screen, Intel i3 processor at least, 4gb of RAM, 250gb HDD and a 6 hour battery life.
Sure I managed to find a couple of OK machines but they were clunky with poor build quality and atrocious battery life (we're talking around 200 mins). The cost of a Macbook is huge when compared to other notebooks of it's size but the unfortunate truth is, they're worth it. In the end I caved and decided that I'd had a Macbook all this time and with my student discount I could upgrade to a more powerful Pro version and reap the rewards. This is a consumer review so let me tell you how I've been consuming my new Macbook Pro.
Once you open the sleek looking minimalistic box your eyes will widen at the sight of your new shiny Macbook Pro. The laptop is made of aluminum with for a seriously premium quality feel. The only laptop's which I understand rival the Macbook Pro's for their design are the HP Envy range, although I've never seen them in the flesh (or metal ... whatever). What I liked too was that they give you the luxury of a black screen cleaning cough with the pro models but not the standard one. I guess Apple must think that the masses of poor people that buy the standard model are going to make it grimy no matter what so a cleaning cloth would just be a waste of resources. Oh well, look at me now world I've got one! Also in the box is the standard Magsafe AC adapter which I think still has a 'cool' factor when you first assemble it. Then there's the standard documentation and restore CD etc blah.
Setting Up the Laptop is a breeze, as soon as you power it on for the first time (it's ready to go out of the box with around half a charge already in it) you're greeted by a multi-lingual flashy video which leads you neatly into initial setup. You'll be asked to choose your language settings, so make sure you choose BRITISH rather than US English. That's a pet hate of mine but there we go. You then connect to the internet and register an Apple ID for use on the App Store, ITunes etc. Then you're in, you can start using it to do as you please. I was a little unnerved by this the first time I set one of these up. Being used to windows I'm used to my laptop/PC being chatty and confirming every single last detail with me but the simple setup is definitely welcome and I think Microsoft can learn from this.
The laptop is very nippy due to the inclusion of it's Intel i5 processor which can handle anything general users can chuck at it. You'll be able to use Photoshop too and other applications with similar resource demands. The 4gb of RAM helps out here. If you want to do heavy video editing / recording then you'll be looking to go for the i7 model but then I doubt you'd be buying a 13 inch notebook for these tasks anyway. Battery life is a big one for most people and the Macbook range is famous for it's great battery life, they quote 7 hours of general use. I find I can get longer out of it to be honest by dimming the screen (on it's brightest it's too bright IMO) and keeping it offline when I don't need a connection. I'll get around 8 hours use out of it in a day which is awesome!
My Macbook Pro came with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard installed but I understand that a free upgrade will be offered next month (July 2011) when 10.7 Lion is released. I find it a joy to use due to it's heavy focus (and about to get heavier with Lion) on multi-touch gestures which make navigating around the screen easier than it would be with a mouse in most cases. For example you do not need to click on the scroll bar on the right of the screen, simply use 2 fingers instead of 1 and you'll be scrolling. To view all of your open windows and select the one you want to focus on you simply swipe 4 fingers down on the trackpad. I think my favorite feature has to be Spotlight though. No matter what you're doing, you can press CMD+SPACE to be presented with a text entry field. In here you can search for applications, files, folders, do basic sums and get dictionary definitions. Being a student this is an excellent feature and one that I couldn't do without after being spoiled by it for so long. I'd recommend this as a general use laptop and by that I mean don't expect to be playing many games. Although the new Intel 3000 chip is a great improvement on old integrated graphics, it still can't compete with a standalone card found in the bigger models. Also this is a Mac and they aren't known for their great game releases. Saying that it handles videos really well so you can watch as many of those as you please.
I'll talk a little bit about the hardware on offer here. The screen is the perfect size for what I need to do and it looks incredibly vibrant when set to maximum, for general use this will be overkill. A nice feature on the pro range is the backlit keyboard which has adjustable brightness depending on how blind you are (in my case it's very blind). They've bunged a new camera in there too so you can now make HD video calls. Some reviewers have flamed the camera for not being much improved and while it hasn't been improved 'greatly' it's still noticeable and I find it looks great in well lit environments when compared to the older model. I'd imagine it would perform quite similarly in the dark. Just open a blank webpage in the background and set your brightness up for extra light on your face. Apple have been pushing the new fast Thunderbolt port as a key seller`` but in reality there are very few peripherals available to use with it, I can't imagine I'll be using it at all.
I do wish the speakers on it were a little better though. I know the HP Envy range features the 'beats' technology or something like that. Those laptops sound awesome even with their tiny little speakers. Unfortunately you're getting the standard laptop speaker experience here which isn't so bad. This is a laptop after all, just get yourself some speakers or headphones and you'll be sorted.
Perhaps worth a mention is that for limited time when you're a student, you can get a £65 Itunes voucher when you buy a new Mac and that's on top of the 15% discount you get for being in higher education. I'm not a sales person, I preferred it when they offered a free IPod but I'll take what I can get ;)
Right then I think I've covered the most important points. I've let 1 star go because of the price, they could be cheaper if they wanted them to be! If you want to know anything else and value my humble opinion then feel free to comment and I'll do my best to answer. Stay cool.