Apple MacBook Pro 15in June 2009 release
Faster and cheaper - whatever next?
Review The recent rapid evolution of Apple’s laptop range continues apace this month, with changes to virtually every model. The 15in MacBook Pro – or, to be precise, the 15.4in MacBook Pro – received a major update back in October when Apple introduced its new ‘unibody’ aluminium design, so we weren’t expecting anything other than the occasional speed-bump in the immediate future. However, there’s more to this latest model than a simple tweak to the processor speed.
Apple's 15in MacBook Pro
The previous model was available in two main configurations, costing £1399 with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM, and 250GB hard disk, or a rather hefty £1749 with 2.53GHz processor, 4Gb RAM and 320GB hard disk. The 2.4GHz model has now been dropped altogether, while the price of the 2.53GHz model has been slashed to £1299 – although the hard disk on that model has been cut to 250GB and it has just a GeForce 9400M graphics processor, rather than the twin graphics processors found in the other 15” models.
There’s also a 2.66GHz model with 4GB RAM and 320GB hard disk that costs £1499, while the new top-of-range model that we test here comes in at £1699 with a speedy 2.8GHz processor, 4GB RAM and 500GB hard disk. All models have a 15.4in backlit LED screen with 1440x900 resolution.
It’s good to see that Apple has paid attention to the reviews – including ours – that commented on the rising prices of the new models that were introduced in October. Mind you, anyone that paid £1739 for the 2.53GHz model in October will probably be spitting blood right now.
As expected, our Mac benchmarking tests show that this model is about 10 per cent faster than its predecessor, making it the fastest Mac laptop we’ve reviewed to date. Like its predecessor, this model is also equipped with two separate graphics processors. For routine computing tasks there’s an integrated GeForce 9400M, or you can switch to a more powerful – and power-hungry – 9600M GT for games and other graphics-intensive tasks.
Closed system: the built-in battery can't be swapped out
The 9600M GT produces good performance, hitting almost 120fps in Doom 3, although the 63fps that we got from the less-powerful 9400M wasn’t bad either. To really put the machine through its paces we decided to use the Mac’s Boot Camp feature to instal Windows Vista and run a few PC benchmarks as well.
Did you upgrade the Firmware to allow for the full 3Gbps SATA? Or were you stuck on the 1.5Gbps?
Superb battery life
I just got a 13" model and I have to say the battery life on these non-user replaceable models is quite something.
After using it in various ways I get no less than 6 hrs frequently getting almost 8 hrs out of it with continuous surfing and a reasonable level of brightness and after a full charge with the brightness right down and it reports 9 hrs even with wifi on.
My work HP laptop is crying at this kind of performance with it's paltry 2hrs if I gently massage it.
I can understand the issue of not being able to swap the field, but as a mostly home user this is a real win (and no longer constantly tied to a wall).
Still, and along with other manufacturers, I still find it annoying that such a robust machine ships with only a one year warranty. Does any manufacturer have the balls to guarantee their machine for longer as standard? It doesn't scream of confidence in their build quality, does it?
RE: Can we get our money back?
I'd keep it: if your machine has an ExpressCard interface you won't get this in the newer hardware except for the 17"