The redesigned trackpad in front of the keyboard is huge. It is so big, in fact, that it now supports one-, two-, three- and four-finger touch gestures, and they all work beautifully. For example, sweeping four fingers across the surface switches between running applications without even a hint of delay. Gently pressing downwards on the trackpad itself produces a click; tapping gently with two fingers produces a right-click. The trackpad feels responsive and rock-solid, as indeed it should: it's made of glass.
The clickable trackpad responds to a range of multifingered gestures
My one serious complaint is that the unit is so thin that Apple is unable to provide as many connectivity ports as I'd like. All the ports are ranged down the left-hand edge, so there's only enough room for a couple of USB 2.0 ports in the mix. Frankly, I'd have happily sacrificed the Firewire 800 port for a third USB port - preferably USB 3.0 - but there you go. That said, you do get a handy SD card port (shame it doesn't work with x-D, MMC or Memory Stick media without adapters), a Gigabit Ethernet socket and built-in wireless 802.11n support.
But since you've got me started, the lonely Apple Mini DisplayPort is a bit of a disappointment too, since anyone wanting to connect the MacBook Pro to a projector or other external video device, whether analogue or digital, will have to purchase one or more of Apple's £21 video adapters. As if you hadn't spent enough on the computer already! And there's no HDMI!
As with all new Macs, Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6) is the latest flavour of OS X installed, along with the iLife suite. The latter provides a fully integrated presentation and authoring package for all your music, photos and videos. The music composition application Garageband has come of age, providing music lessons as well as its usual features including riffs and loops in various genres, audio effects and visual podcast production. The stalwart offerings of iMovie and iPhoto continue to support an ever-expanding range of cameras.
Despite everything I just wrote about connectivity, the fact is that new MacBook Pro 15in is a gorgeous notebook to use. You can show me better benchmark results, without doubt, but in the real world this machine boots up quickly, runs smoothly, responds to commands instantly, operates quietly and performs slickly. It looks stylish in an understated way, and heads will surely turn when you place the machine on a boardroom table. In emotional terms, it's the computer equivalent of stepping into the Cannes sunlight on a hotel balcony facing the sea while wearing a casual Armani suit, no tie. You're telling yourself "I paid way too much for this" but you love every second of it. ®
Thanks to Square Group New Oxford Street for the loan of the review sample.
More Apple Laptop Reviews…
Apple MacBook Pro 13in
MacBook Pro 15in
MacBook Pro 17in
Apple MacBook Pro 15in
Thanks, but no thanks.
You certainly can buy a 'similar spec' machine for £599, but it'll be 2kg heavier, 2cm thicker, have a 2h battery life, a miniscule trackpad, no firewire, and a plastic-fantastic case.
You get what you pay for.
As a proud owner of a 13" MBP I can happily say it's the finest computer I've ever bought. Worth every penny.
Buy one of those then, no one cares!
Mac's are a luxury, it's not about spec vs price! It's about the whole user experience - they're beautiful machines to use. Mac OS X is almost flawless and in the 5 years I've been using them, I've had about as many crashes, none of which required a reboot.
I work as a third line network systems administrator with Windows servers and workstations, and trust me, it's worth having a Mac to go home to after tearing your hair out all day with PCs. They just work, it's true.
It's worth it
I have the previous generation 13" Macbook Pro (actually quite similar to this generation's 13" MBP which didn't get the Core i5 processor either) and all I can say is, they're well worth the extra. The aluminium unibody design makes them look great, but it also makes them more solid and better built than pretty much anything else you can compare them to - typing on one of these is an absolute joy, since they've absolutely zero creak or give - the keys all have nice feedback, but beneath them you're typing onto a slab of solid aluminium. Similarly the trackpad has the same positive, solid feel - although it's capable of much more fluid and flexible gestures than most.
Saying nice things about Apple computers invariably leads to some kind of holy war, but once you've used one for any length of time - and made the effort to learn the ways of OS X and main Mac apps - it's easy to see why people passionately defend them, and less easy to see why anyone would champion cheaper PCs. Sure, if you're on a tighter budget the average PC will do many if not all the same things, but then a Vauxhall Corsa will also drive you anywhere you need to go - that doesn't make it the best car, or the only one to consider.
Magsafe Plug Removal
If you push down on the top corner near the cable then the plug will ease off quite nicely. You'll break the magnetic seal more easily this way rather than trying to pull it off in one go.
Corvette vs Ferrari 475 (See Top Gear)
The Corvette is very slightly faster and has more "toys". The Corvette is plastic, the Ferrari is all metal. The Corvette costs less than half the Ferrari.
Which would you choose?
Not all consumer choices come down to a game of top trumps specs.