Windows running on the MacBook Pro can only use the 9600M GT graphics chip, and this performed pretty well in our tests. It certainly matched most of the PC laptops we’ve reviewed recently, with the exception of the high-end Toshiba Qosmio X300 gaming laptop, which costs well over £2000 and is equipped with an SLI graphics rig.
Dual GPUs allow for battery life/performance trade-offs.
The disadvantage of using the 9600M GT is that it knocks about an hour off the battery life, compared to the less power-hungry 9400M. It’s also more likely to get the fan running which is virtually unnoticeable, and the unit only warms up underneath, which is typical for Apple laptops. However, the most important new feature of this model is that it now has the same Apple-designed battery that was introduced in the 17in MacBook Pro back in March.
For this model, Apple claims that the new battery lasts for up to seven hours. In practice, we got almost exactly four hours and 30 minutes when playing some H.264 films off the hard disk using the 9400M graphics chip. That’s an increase in battery life of 50 per cent compared to the previous model, and you’ll get another hour on top of that for more routine tasks such as surfing the web or running Microsoft Office.
That’s impressive performance from the new battery, but the downside is that – as with the MacBook Air and 17in MacBook Pro – the battery is sealed inside the unit and can’t be replaced with a spare to extend the battery life on a long journey.
Apple’s argument is that the new battery effectively allows most people to get a full day’s work out of the laptop, making spare batteries unnecessary. There’s some merit in that argument but, for some people, the mere idea of a non-replaceable battery will be yet another sign of Apple limiting consumer choice.
An SD card slot replaces the 'unused' ExpressCard 34 interface
Another option that’s been taken away is the ExpressCard expansion slot. Apple claims that less than one per cent of MacBook Pro users actually used the ExpressCard interface in previous models. Consequently, it has now been replaced by an SD card slot, which can be used to insert memory cards from your digital camera.
Next page: PC Benchmarks
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"
...shame about the price, OS and fanatical mouth foaming devotees.
I needed to buy a Mac as around half of my work is native Mac based. The new Macbook Pro IS a lovely laptop with plenty of power and great hardware, it runs Windows beautifully.
Now the people that sneered "Uh, WIN DOOOOZE....." and rolled thier eyes at me when I pulled out my trusty Toshiba now greet me warmly as if I've all of a sudden achieved enlightenment.
I'm full of praise for the hardware, can't stand the unintuitive OS though.
If I put a USB stick with some music on it into a PC, Windows asks me if I want to play it (using whichever apps will play it) or open the folder to view the files. In MacOSX, it asks me if I want to import them into iTunes and when I click "No" it assumes I'd rather do nothing at all with it....
Same with pictures. Import to iPhoto? No? Ok, I'll do NOTHING!!!
So much for "It just works".
RE: Can we get our money back?
I read somewhere else (an Engadget comment, I think) that Apple Stores will replace what you bought (and charge/refund you the difference) if an updated version comes out within 14 days of your purchase.