More controversial, though, is the 17in Pro's the sealed-in, non-removable battery. Apple’s argument here is that the various latches and other components required to house a removable battery take up extra space inside the chassis that could more productively be devoted to a larger battery. Getting rid of those components from the 17in MacBook Pro has allowed Apple to produce its own custom battery design that packs an admittedly impressive 12,820mAh capacity.
Stonking battery life
Apple claims that this battery can last for as much as eight hours, although that number comes with all the usual caveats that PC manufacturers rely on when quoting battery life. Even so, we had to admit that we were impressed by the battery life that we got from the machine. With wireless networking turned off and the screen brightness lowered to a perfectly watchable 70 per cent of maximum, we were able to play almost exactly five hours of H.264 video.
Less demanding tasks such as browsing the web and running Microsoft Office allowed us to keep going for just a couple of minutes short of seven hours. Those tests were conducted using the GeForce 9400M graphics processor, and you’ll cut a good hour off those times if you switch to the more power-hungry 9600M GT, but it does seem as though there’s some method to Apple’s madness on this occasion. We also noticed that the base of the unit gets warm but not uncomfortably hot, so there’s no noisy fan needed to keep things cool.
This isn’t the first time Apple has locked the battery inside one of its laptop machines. The MacBook Air started that particular trend - and was roundly slated for it. However, the 6-7 hours of battery life provided by the 17in MacBook Pro is a much more attractive proposition than the 3-4 hour battery life of the MacBook Air. If, for some reason, you do need the ability to stick in a spare battery from time to time then the non-removable battery in this model may simply be unacceptable. But if you’re merely looking for a powerful desktop replacement machine then the battery life of the 17in MacBook Pro will be more than adequate.
A price tag of £1949 is enough to make even the most diehard Mac fan think twice. You could certainly get a similarly specified PC laptop for less – although features such as the Firewire port, twin graphics cards and the long-lasting battery do make direct comparisons difficult. If you just want a powerful Mac laptop then the 13in and 15in models undoubtedly offer better value for money. But then the 17in MacBook Pro is a niche product aimed at a relatively small number of Apple’s creative users who specifically need that big screen display.
The real question, therefore, is whether this new model will tempt those users to upgrade from their existing machines. On that score, the new 17in model will probably succeed, as the twin graphics cards and unibody design correct the most obvious omissions in December’s somewhat pointless update. The new long-lasting battery might also help to swing the decision if people think that it will genuinely allow them to get more work done when they’re on the move. ®
More Mac Laptop Reviews...
White MacBook (Early 2009)
MacBook Air (Late 2008)
MacBook Pro 15in (Late 2008)
MacBook (Late 2008)
Apple 17in MacBook Pro
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.