Take a sideways look at the slim profile and you’ll see all the machine’s interfaces and connectors sitting in a neat row on the left-hand side of the unit. There are three USB 2.0 ports and a Firewire 800 port, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, digital audio input and output, and an ExpressCard 34 slot.
A really big - 5in - trackpad
Oddly, though, the thing that we noticed most about the outer appearance of this model was that it has a really big trackpad. It has the same button-less glass trackpad as the other new aluminium models, which allows you to ‘click’ items simply by pressing down on the surface of the trackpad itself, rather than using a separate button. But on this model the trackpad measures a full 125mm (5in) diagonally – an increase of 39 per cent, according to Apple – which means that you can click on it with one finger to select an item, and then still have plenty of room to use another finger to drag the item around the screen.
It’s one of those things you have to try for yourself to appreciate properly, but we felt that this works particularly well with the increased size of the trackpad. The same applies to the option to set aside one corner of the trackpad to act as the ‘right-click’ button, as there’s less chance of accidentally tapping the right-click corner by mistake now. The slightly concave shape of the keys on the keyboard feels very comfortable too, and you’ve even got the ability to adjust the brightness of the backlit keyboard when you’re in a darkened room or aircraft cabin.
The most eye-catching feature, of course, is the 17in display. This LED-backlit screen certainly provides admirable image quality – bright, sharp and colourful - “60 per cent more colour!” Apple’s executives told us gleefully, though on further questioning it appears that this was a reference to the display’s colour gamut - and it has the glossy, reflective finish that is now standard across Apple’s laptop range.
Earmark a section of the trackpad for right-clicking
We know that this drives some people to distraction – though we’ve never been overly concerned by it ourselves – and also annoys some professional users for whom colour consistency is an important issue. Apple used to provide an ‘anti-glare’ screen option at no extra price, but it claims there has been relatively little demand for it and now charges an extra £35 to have it installed.
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.