Apple 17in MacBook Pro
How much battery life? How big a price tag?
Review When Apple overhauled its laptop range towards the end of 2008, the 17in version of the MacBook Pro got the short end of the stick. While both the consumer-oriented 13in MacBook and the more expensive 15in MacBook Pro were revamped with Apple’s new ‘unibody’ aluminium design, the 17in model was left with the same ‘titanium’ design that it's had for the last few years.
Apple's 17in MacBook Pro: a unibody, at last
There were some minor improvements: the screen resolution was bumped up from 1680 x 1050 to 1920 x 1200, while the Ram was increased from 2GB to 4GB and the hard disk from 250GB to 320GB. Those relatively minor changes resulted in a price increase of about £100 over the previous model, yet the machine’s 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo processor was left unchanged, as was its aging GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor.
In contrast, the 15in MacBook Pro models boasted a new graphics system that includes both an integrated GeForce 9400M and a more powerful – and battery-hungry – GeForce 9600M GT with its own 512MB of video memory.
It was fairly obvious that the 17in model was due for the full unibody upgrade treatment in the near future, but Apple simply wasn’t prepared to commit itself to a date.
Now, three months later, the 17in MacBook Pro has finally received the proper overhaul that we’ve all been expecting. The unibody design is present and correct, and its minimalist style makes the unit look about as neat and compact as is possible for a 17in notebook to be.
DisplayPort in, Firewire 400 out
It also allows Apple to shave a tiny amount off both the size and weight so that it can claim that the 24.5mm (0.98in) thickness and 3kg (6.6lbs) weight make this “the world’s thinnest and lightest 17in notebook”. You still need two hands to lift it – or at least we did – but it’s certainly a more compact affair than our 17in Dell XPS laptop.
un-paid product developer
One thing that many fail to consider when comparing products is the tendency of PC manufacturers to "lowball" products with a lot of "trial ware", if you will. I bought a 2006 Toshiba A205-S4587 for under $800. Of course, you couldn't find a Mac anywhere close to that price. Great deal, right?
Well, the first thing I noticed was that it just didn't seem that fast considering the processor it had when compared to my older Compaq running XP. The newer machine runs Vista, of course. Well, that set me off on a quest to "fix" my dual core intel Toshiba. I started editing the register regarding running processes and start-up programs. And I had to re-install the OS to even get it to up-date correctly, most up-dates failed to install at first. None of the software that came on the machine works now because it was trial-ware! If I paid what Microsoft wanted, the price would then be equal to the Mac I didn't get!
I feel I did get the Vista to perform satisfactorily, though, except for the Vista bugs that are causing Microsoft to rush out another OS because of all the richly deserved bad press it has gotten!
I finally did buy a Macbook. It was a refurbished unit I got just to see what all the fuss was about. It's roughly comparable to the Toshiba, hardware-wise. It has 3 different office suites installed on it, though, and they all work! They all print (wirelessly) to an old (2003) HP all in one printer. Every time, not just when it feels like it!
Never have to worry about jammed printer queues with items that won't print and won't delete (like on Vista). Never have to worry about constantly keeping up to date with the latest and greatest anti-spy, anti-virus software, either!
I've been working with PC's since the first Pentium, before windows 95, at home and at work. Work is one thing, you get paid (hopefully). At home, it should be different because don't get paid. Unfortunately, that doesn't make any difference to Bill Gates. It seems he would like us all to work for him at home, too (as unpaid product developers)! I've seen it with all the windows products, and even now, I see no signs of change.
In my opinion, Apple makes good hardware. The value of a 17in Macbook Pro should not, however, be limited to just a hardware comparison, it's the software it runs as well. One needs to consider the price and the utility of the applications they will be running as well.
Oh, granted, you can put an open-source OS on that Toshiba, I had a dual-boot Linux-Vista system since the first year I bought it. Still doesn't work like Leopard, though. I'll take Safari over IE6,7,or 8, Firefox, or Opera, too.
Microsoft Office? Expensive! You can put Sun Microsystems Open Office.org on your PC. It works a lot like Microsoft Office, and it's free. It's not as easy to use as Apple's IWork, though.
The point is, how are you going to compare a Macbook to a Dell or a Toshiba?
Even running the latest Linux they still won't be as "polished", as integrated as Leopard. Yeah, they'll be better than Vista, and if you want a hobby, they might be OK, but for 99% of the stuff I do on a computer, there is no comparison.
Only if Apple releases OS X for PC's like they have Safari (not a hackintosh) would you really be able to make such a comparison.
I do believe...
Another AC and Rod proved my point entirely.
@AC - leave poor Rod alone
People normally type straight out and then post it. It's a post to an article not a 'kin essay. Jings. Plus the youngsters weren't beaten when they got there grammar wrong like you were.
There is a market for this.
That's pretty much it, and it's a big market, ask any photographer, designer, animator, flimmaker, etc.
A lot of the industry is freelance and people are often paid more for being able to use their own hardware, and prefer using their own rig anyway, so whatever they use needs to be powerful and portable, with firewire for camcorder input.
Pricing in this market depends on how much money the gear will save you... I personally spend £1500 on a cintiq graphics tablet and it's genuinely saved me more than that in wages over the last year or so in terms of time saved = money earnt.
Can't see why anyone would want to buy this for non-professional reasons or even just for showing off... the air fills that niche better.
"The lowest price I could get was 900 quid _with_ a educational discount".
Noticing the poor grammar all the way through your post, I suggest you try obtaining an education first.