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Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

More of the same but different

Socket set

Snapping out of my dreamworld, I was disappointed by only having two USB ports and especially that neither of them support USB 3.0. Ah well, my super-fast USB 3.0 portable hard drive remains a PC-only peripheral for a while longer.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

The one-piece trackpad supports a range of gestures that have been extended in Mac OS X Lion

I grabbed the chance to try out the MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt port with Apple’s 27in Thunderbolt Display, and it was impressive to say the least. That is, it was impressive how well an entry-level 13in MacBook Pro could drive its own 1280 x 800-pixel display plus another at 2560 x 1440 pixels from its diminutive Intel HD Graphics 3000 chipset, without a hint of slowdown.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

This recess is needed to help you separate the magnetically closed lid from the body

I plugged two USB hard drives and a Firewire drive into the Thunderbolt Display’s hub, and still the MacBook Pro - driving them all through its Thunderbolt port - carried on without a blip. Yes, this is how Thunderbolt is supposed to work, but I didn’t expect it to run so perfectly on an entry-level notebook... unless, of course, Apple’s entry level is a damn sight higher than everyone else’s.

Benchmark Tests

PCMark 7 Results

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

Longer bars are better

Outwardly, there’s little evidence of entry-level compromise. You still get the controllable keyboard backlight and 74 x 103mm MultiTouch trackpad of the other MacBook Pros. The only defining factor is the 13.3in display which, although I hate small screens, was absolutely first rate in visibility.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

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