back to article Apple MacBook Pro 15in

The new MacBook Pro may not be the total revamp that the renewed MacBook is, but it’s an attractive – and intriguing – update nonetheless. The aluminium chassis has been slightly modified – curved edges similar to those of the MacBook Air make it marginally slimmer and give it a less rectangular look. The display's new glass …

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Jobs Halo

Reflections of...

It would be really interesting to get some comments on the reflectivity of the screen for both pro and non-pro versions. The new 24" desktop Mac's have great graphics; but I find are too reflective to do much photographic editing :(

OK most semi-pro photographers will use a separate screen; I have a one with DVI input; but it would still be interesting for reviewing in the field.

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Jobs Horns

Hmmmm.

There must be a real good reason why Apple put two graphics processors in this range of machines. One hours extra battery life can't be the only reason.

Apple are known for testing the water by sneaking some feature onto a product as a minor tweak, only for it to become a major feature in the future on the same or another product.

So, any guesses where Apple are going with this?

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Coat

Screen Res

Seems a bit poor to me for a "pro"-type device. Currently running a Dell D830 @ 1920x1200 and loving it. Not sexy but from the Dell Outlet, cheap.

Mine's the rather shabby, unfashionable one with big pockets and a hood.

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Bronze badge
Jobs Halo

High Price?

I don't think that Apple ever relied on fancy design to justify a higher price. The fancy design was merely a pleasant by-product of the quest for perfection. Apple relies on having a decent operating system to justify the price of its systems.

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Paris Hilton

MBP Pricing

Couldn't agree more on the pricing.

When I needed to replace my old Sony Vaio Z1 last year (cost me over £1700 when I bought it. Lordy), I needed a laptop with similar screen res (the Vaio was 1400 x 1050). For some reason, Sony only seemed to do low res glossy screens unless you went for a 17" -- I needed my laptop to be vaguely portable.

Looking around, the only company that had laptops of similar spec and general quality charged the same or more. This was without factoring in all the actually useful free software you get with OS X (with Windows it's a huge amount of difficult to remove 'trial' software, and 60 days free of useless anti-virus). And this is before we get onto the fact that you'll need to spend even more money to get the same performance due to Vista being a resource hog (or go through the hassle of an XP upgrade, trying to find those esoteric drivers!).

I was pretty surprised, assuming like everyone else that Apple laptops were more expensive. So, I bought an MBP thinking that if I didn't like OS X, I could always install XP. I even bought a copy of Parallels to virtualise Windows so that I could run all those useful Windows apps. Thing is, a year on, I still haven't installed Parallels, or Windows.

I'd love to get one of these new MBPs, but I'm ont going to. My MBP is only a year old. But, if anyone else out there is considering one, but feels they're too pricey, or they'll lose their favourite Windows apps, I urge you to consider the Macbook Pro. I certainly didn't regret 'switching', and I hope you don't either.

Paris, 'cos she's cheaper than she looks too.

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V

Screens

This review manages completely to avoid all reference to the hideous glossy screens of the new MacBook Pros - matte screens are no longer an option - which rules them out for a fairly large minority of long time Mac users.

Strange that a dedicated Mac site like Macintouch should take a rather more acerbic view of the new glossy screens (albeit in the context of the new Macbook) than the Reg's slightly breathless - nay - almost gushing - take on the MacBook Pro.

Primary I/O is keyboard/screen. The keyboard is - an acquired taste - and the screen exhausting to look at for extended periods if you are working at it, rather than watching DVDs.

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Euphemisms

"Designers who need to use Photoshop or other graphics software will certainly prefer the larger display"

Sure, they do, for stationary work. They also prefer a screen that can be properly color-calibrated in that scenario. Try that with a high-gloss unit. HAA-haa!

"Long-time Mac users who noticed the lack of Firewire in the new MacBooks will be relieved to see that the MacBook Pro still has a Firewire 800 port. This provides almost twice the data transfer speed of an ordinary USB 2.0 port and there are lots of designers and video editors who use Firewire disks in their work, so this remains an important option for many Mac users. For these guys, that alone will justify the £250 price differential."

You mean "justify" as in "extortion", right? Heaven forbid you buy a truly mobile full-featured (well, just like a Mac, you know?) 12/13" machine and hook it up to a properly big display for serious work. Both of the new Apple laptops say "go away, we don't want your business" to large chunks of Apple's loyal core clientele. It won't pay, Apple, it won't pay.

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Thumb Down

keyboard

Where are PgUp, PgDown, Home and End keys? How can you work without them? Or is there something I do not know?

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Thumb Up

keyboard

>Where are PgUp, PgDown, Home and End keys? How can you work without them? Or is >there something I do not know?

Fn key + Cursor Keys

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MacBook

Again a comprehensive review but still no mention of the issue relating to wifi using a Macbook pro and using a macbook. I had the mbpro and my partner has a mb.I work abroad alot and try and jump on someones wireless connection but the macbook has far better range than the pro.When asked the apple people in my local apple store they confirmed the aluminium case takes something away from the range and the lesser macbook is in fact better for range.SO i come to my point if that was the case i like the look of the new macbook but does this now fall into the same issue of having range reduced.if so why do apple not try and resolve and why have the register not picked up on this issue.,thanks

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Anonymous Coward

Re: keyboard

Apple key + cursor key

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Joke

@Vaidotas

And Jobs did say that thou does not need Home, End, PgUp and PgDn, and lo, it was so that the faithul did not.

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Glossy screen ony? You must be kidding me!

I just don't get it. Is it a PRO hardware or a fancy shiny toy?

I am considering to switch to mac, and was waiting for macbooks line to update. And now when it released I am very disappointed with lack of matte screen option. I badly want a Mac OS notebook, but HATE reflective screens.

I still may buy a previous generation notebook which might be an option if it would have an adequate price .

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Jobs Halo

A few points...

"although the screen alone wouldn’t be enough to justify the extra expense" - Coming from an original MacBook Pro (Core Duo 2.0GHz), I bought a MacBook as it seemed like a baby MacBook Pro which suited me more for portability. However, the screen quality of the MacBook is very poor (well, it's probably fine for a consumer laptop, but it was a definite downgrade compared to my previous MacBook Pro's glossy screen). I tried it for a few days but in the end I was straight into the Apple store to exchange it for the new MacBook Pro. The difference is mindblowing, even compared to my old MacBook Pro. The colours are amazingly vivid, the contrast is fantastic and the viewing angles are excellent. I thought the screen was worth paying the extra for alone, the dedicated graphics chip was a bonus.

Just a nitpick though... "For these guys, that alone will justify the £250 price differential". It's DIFFERENCE. DIFFERENCE! Unless you're a mathematician or engineer performing differential calculus, the word you are looking for is DIFFERENCE. This North American habit of using 'differential' when comparing something as trivial as a football score has got to stop. Now.

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Law
Alert

RE: keyboard

I didn't notice them gone either on the previous macbook pro until after I'd bought one and sat down first day in the office to do some work.... took some getting used to, but there are shortcuts that mimic them. It's the same with the hash key - notice that doesn't exist too?? You have to use alt+3 to get it... took google search to find it, as it's not exactly obvious ... and all the other normal symbols are there, but in "wrong" places... for a few days I thought Apple had messed up my order, as I stated UK keyboard layout, not US... it does have a learning curve, but within a week or two it was instinctual again.

I was a heavy home/end/pgup/pgdown button user before, it was really slow programming without them, but once you get used to the shortcuts it comes naturally...

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Bronze badge

9600 vs 9400

Just out of curiosity, did you also try Doom 3 using the 9400 integrated graphics and, if so, was there that much difference in performance between the two? In the sense that the 9400 would be "decent enough for gaming" or "don't even bother"?

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@ keyboard

You press fn with the arrow keys.

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@Vaidotas Zemly

Been using macs for 15 years and never missed those keys - whatever they do.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Vaidotas Zemlys

There is something you do not know: it involves the Fn and cursor keys

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Happy

2 GPUs

Regarding the dual gpu quesion from Kenny Millar, they're getting ready fro the next version (Snow Leopard). Specifically, the OpenCL functioanlity http://www.apple.com/macosx/snowleopard/ check the botom of thep page.

Do a search around WPA being rendered obsolete when using GPU's to accelrate the brute forceing attempt to get n idea of the impact of the general availability of general GPU acceleration will bring...

eventually.

Reqwrites will bbe necessary.

OpenCL is open source so will be availabe on Linux and Windows. also. I'm looking forward to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCL

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Anonymous Coward

Firewire vs USB.

To say that Firewire 800 "provides almost twice the data transfer speed of an ordinary USB 2.0 port" is a gross simplification.

For sustained data transfer even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2.0 because USB 2.0's touted 480Mbps is burst sped not sustained.

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Boffin

Under the battery panel...

The battery and hard drive are under the panel (eek, one screw and someone could pinch your hard disk!), but the memory slots are buried inside and you have to unscrew the back of the machine to get at them.

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Happy

Worried about firewire?

Those that are worried about the loss of firewire on the new Macbook could do worse than check the refurb section of the online Apple Store. (Go to the store and search for 'refurb').

That's what I did - now I have a (previous generation) 15" Macbook Pro in new condition, complete with matte 1440x900 LED display, backlit keyboard and multi-touch trackpad with a real button, and not forgetting the FW400 port plus a FW800 port should I ever need it. Also, DVI with dual screen support and Expresscard 34 slot. Cost:£849, shipping free. Best. Buy. Ever.

You'll need to be quick on Wednesday mornings though, if you want to grab one while any are left.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screen Res (@Arnold Lieberman)

@Arnold, re: Screen Res

The 17" MacBook Pro has 1920x1200 resolution.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:screen res .

the 15 mac pro should have at least 1680x1050 , even my POS HP 8510-p has that , with 1920x1200 as an option . Mac being for media should have wsxga at least for the 15" model . Not everyone wants to carry a 17" laptop around .

Come on apple , offer some decent screens for that price

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Anonymous Coward

@ Simon

The wireless antennae have moved from the sides of the screen into the bottom of the hinge area, where they have a much larger plastic window to suck up the radio waves. Presumably this is an improvement, although I haven't yet read any article making a comparison of WiFi performance between the two machines.

In any case, the new Macbooks have exactly the same design, so presumably will perform to the same level, whatever it it is.

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Re: Keyboard

Fn + arrow keys..... I've been wondering how to page up and down.... Thanks.

Any ideas how to re-assign them to the actual page up and down keys on my keyboard?

Been using a mac mini for a bit of development for a couple of months. OS X is ok. Prefer Vista though. Things just work... like the page up and down keys....

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Re: Re: Screen res

Richard, the 1920x1200 res is a(n overpriced, ta Apple) cost option on the 17", the standard res is 1680x1050.

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Anonymous Coward

Does it come in black?

I will be waiting until it does, I don't want to be seen with a girl's laptop!

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Happy

keyboard revisited

Thanks for all the answers. I did know about Fn+Cursor keys, but that was not the answer I was looking for. I use these 4 keys too often, so to use two keypresses instead of one, seems a bit of an overkill (and yes I know it is not hard to get used to it). Pity that there is no option to have these keys. For me their omission is the same story as swapped Fn and Ctrl, which I noticed is present also.

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Law
Jobs Horns

RE: keyboard revisited

"For me their omission is the same story as swapped Fn and Ctrl, which I noticed is present also."

You think that's bad - wait until you realise they replaced the Windows key with something called "cmd"!!!! ;)

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Re keyboard revisted.....

After writing my last comment, I thought I'd have a search for a solution to bind the page up/down actions to my keyboard keys and I found this article:

http://www.tipsfor.us/2008/09/20/home-end-key-bindings-in-os-x/

Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising.

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Thumb Down

Gloss screen

How long before someone posts a DIY solution for ripping out the glass cover and replacing it with a brushed perspex sheet? :p

Bad Apple. Stupid Apple. My next laptop is a Dell. :/

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Happy

@ Law

I am a creature of habit. I started with Ctrl when there was no FN, or windows key or anything else besides Ctrl and Alt (there were no other computers besides PCs where I come from). So I can make my peace with the keys between Ctrl and alt, which I rarely use, but not with Fn instead of Ctrl, because my muscle memory says, the key at the far left is the Ctrl (I am glad that I came across Suns late in my life, and thanks to Linux, I was prepared). By the way, I keep in my mind following layouts: US, Lithuanian numeric on US, Lithuanian standard, Lithuanian standard on US, French, Lithuanian standard on French, my custom Lithuanian on French, so one key renamed will not make me more confused. Nor missing, or swapped keys (type mama on French layout using US keyboard and you will be surprised). However one must have draw the line somewhere. For me the line I realised is the position of Ctrl and Fn keys and Home, End, PgUp and PgDown keys in a nice column at the far right of the keyboard.

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Matte Screen optional?

On the Apple Store webpage, under the purchase options for the MacBook Pro 17", there is a matte screen option. I have not gone the extra step of actually ordering it, because I just learned from this article that a newer 17" MBP might be coming out in a couple of months.

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Boffin

@Kenny Millar, Sena Gbeckor-Kove

If I understood it correctly, the dual GPU was a bit of an accident which happened because the chipset they used already includes the 9400 GPU They wanted something a little more professional for the MacBook Pro however, so they added the other. Since they now had both GPUs in the machine anyway, the design team figured they could just as well find a use for both and decided to put in the power-saving option.

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Silver badge

Social status

That looks like a typical Mac to me. Social status accessory. Nice piece of design that can also be used as a computer. There is one major problem with this one though. That's the dual video card thing. It's so-oh-very-badly implemented. Let's see what you wrote about that...

"You don’t even need to shut the machine down to do this – although you do need to log out of your user account, and then log back in again. Alas, it's not an automatic process.

Still, logging out and in again only takes about ten seconds, but it does mean that you’ll need to shut down any open applications and save your work before switching between the two graphics processors. However, that’s a very minor inconvenience when set against the power-saving advantages of this dual graphics processor approach."

I beg your pardon? If I have to plug (or unplug) the thing, save all my stuff, close all applications, log off and log on again, shurely I could spare two more minutes for a reboot. If I can't spare two more minutes, I probably don't want to save and close everything, log off and log on either. Unless the darn thing needs 10 min to shutdown and 10 more minutes to boot up. But Leopard isn't like Vista, is it?

This feature is a major FAIL. Now if it could switch seemlessly, it could be interesting. I must go, I just tried to think of a way to switch graphic cards without closing the applications using them and got a major headache.

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Silver badge

@ Pierre

"Now if it could switch seemlessly, it could be interesting. I must go, I just tried to think of a way to switch graphic cards without closing the applications using them and got a major headache."

It's easy in theory: clone the whole session -but with the new graphic settings- in a virtual console, then close the original session. Now you go and implement that.

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