Remember the Apple PowerBooks? They were pants. Of course, I didn't know this at the time. It's only now, having had the chance to play with Apple's latest MacBook Pro, that I realise that everything that came before it was so dreadfully ordinary. Apple MacBook Pro 15in Apple's MacBook Pro 15in: now with Core i5 or i7 CPU …
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.
Yep.. 85% FAIL
I appreciate "Apple" branding has a premium, but that price is daylight robbery.. You can buy a similar spec machine for £599.
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.
It's not about the branding
You might get the same or similar processor and memory, but you won't get anything like the same product. If you're happy spending £599 on something else then more power to you, but don't be so surprised if Apple still sell a few of these to other people (and yes, Macs have been steadily increasing their market share, even through the recession).
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.
Provide a link for an equivalent laptop for £599 please.
If you price up a Windows 7 Dell with the same spec and equivalent software it's usually about the same price.
Yep you fail...
So that machine would include a mutli-touch/gesture trackpad like the iPhone, a backlit keyboard, magsafe power connector, auto-graphics switching, solid aluminum case, slot CD/DVD drive and an 8 hour battery?
Where is this magical machine?
How to remove the MagSafe connector
It is almost impossible to pull the MagSafe connector directly away from the computer - the magnet holds it very securely.
But it's not necessary to pull it straight out from the computer like you must with, say, USB connectors. Just push it gently up or down, and it comes away easily, even if you're just eaten fish & chips.
I hate myself for saying it but I want one!!
The Reg will be getting accused of morphing into a bunch of fanboi's at this rate!
But however much I hate the premium pricing - I do like the style and I do love OSX and I love all those design touches (which are clearly not essential but are soooo niiiiiice). All of which just tempt you to reach for your wallet "because I can and because I'm worth it".
Some people buy Skodas, some people buy Ferrari's - But if I could afford it, I know which one I'd get.....
Cue commentards from the Peoples Popular Front for the Assasination of All Things Apple!
Paris? - Same logic - too expensive and lots of unecessary adornments - But if I could - I most definitely would!
That's why Apple stores have such big windows - so they can see the mugs coming from a mile away.
Strong Magnetic Clasp
presumably not more than a foot or so from the HDD. Is this really wise?
I'm not saying that to bruise the fruit (I thought that wouldn't sound so bad as "bashing the apple", but on second thoughts...) but just wondered generally. I've also no idea how this would affect the display. I know CRT were vulnerable to the odd bit of guass. Perhaps someone could illuminate me on this one for modern displays.
I wish I had the money for one of these, I'd like to try an alternative to Windows, but before someone starts, I dont like buying "bottom of the range" and my boss is too tight to fund experiments.
The MBP doesn't have a CRT display. Ergo, no (magnet susceptible) electron beam.
Re: Strong Magnetic Clasp
Apple have been using the magnetic clasp for years on various models, and there's been no problems. In fairness, I'd say it's something they thought about before they put it in.
People always seem to worry about a small magnet being anywhere near a hard drive - they forget that inside that HDD casing is a magnet of far higher stength required as part of the mechanics...
What's inside the HDD though?
If you've ever broken one open, you'll find there's usually a pair of chunky permanent magnets in there.
I reckon the field around these is way stronger (and closer to the platter) than that from the Magsafe adapter
Sorry but were the comparison to non-Apple laptops
Look i dont particularly care how this runs in comparison to other Apple laptops (maybe some Fanbois do?), what i want to know (as someone who is looking to buy a new laptop soon) is how this laptop compares for speed, HDD, connectivity, battery life etc compared to your standard HP, Acer, etc laptops.
You can talk about the software suite you get with it and all that (which is important as well), but the main comparison for someone like myself should be to do with which machine is the fastest, has the best graphics and the best battery life and has the all-round best features. The test youve run show me that this is fast and with relatively good batteries comapred to other Apples but thats not particularly helpful. Ok if i end up buying Apple i'll buy this, but whats to make me choose this over a PC when looked at from a performance point of view alone?
If you cant perform the standard PCMark (or an equivalent test) then this review is of no use to me. Sorry.
Look i dont particularly care how this runs in comparison to other laptops (maybe some Fanbois do?), what i want to know (as someone who is looking to buy a new Macbook soon) is how this laptop compares for speed, HDD, connectivity, battery life etc compared to your standard Apple laptops.
See what I did there?
I'm sure you could perform a standard PCMark test on this machine if you dual-booted into Windows and ran it as a PC, but that would be completely missing the point of buying a Macbook. If your *sole* criteria for a review of the machine is its performance as a PC, then this probably isn't the laptop for you in the first place.
For those of us already interested in a Macbook or other OS X computer, then the comparisons in this review are a lot more interesting, and probably a lot more meaningful.
Don't know if this would help...
...Not sure whether they do PCMark comparisons and don't have time to look, but these folks might be a good place to start:
If you're just buying (or not buying) a Mac based on benchmarks, this is NOT the computer for you. Simple as that.
Macs perform quite well, but that's not their primary selling point. That would be Mac OS X and the bundled software (which is quite powerful).
Honestly, can you tell the difference between a 1% performance improvement without a stopwatch or frame rate counter? What about 2%? 5%? Probably not. If you are, you are a savant and probably don't need a computer.
That's comparing Apples with... other things
define your terms, particularly "all-round best features". I'd say a better yardstick is which machine allows you to do your work most efficiently: everything else is specsheet willy-waving.
I wish it had a Trackpoint
That is all.
Have you tried using the MacBook trackpad? Does everything a trackpoint can and more besides.
Cue the Mac-haters
oh yes, you know it's coming...
- too expensive
- too few ports
- too "locked down"
- we hate Steve Jobs
- an oblique ipad reference
- some complete bollox which makes no sense
C'mon you lot...if you won the lottery, just be true to us and yourself - you'd spec it to the max, then install 64bit Win7(or another non-OSX OS) on this in a heartbeat.
Just like when you'd trip down to the BMW garage with your lottery winnings, and spec a v12 X5 with all toys, and all your rants about chelsea tractors clogging your street would be long forgotten.
C'mon...you *know* you would. So get off the high horse.
Christ it *is* expensive though. Ouch.
I would buy it.
I hate Steve Jobs - despite my loathing of Apple - I actually have a mac, due for replacement ... so .. yes I will be watching reviews on this for the next few months.
This needs a matte screen though
Hi-res matte screen is an option
For a mere £120 you can upgrade to a 1600x1050 pixel antiglare screen. Like the rest of the computer-- not cheap, but gorgeous.
Having home/end/pageup/pagedown as single button presses is a must have for me.
Also, I don't care about the look or weight, so I can find a cheaper laptop elsewhere.
I don't like OS X's UI in the slightest and it's total lack of reconfigurability loses a user in me where it might otherwise find one.
What I will say on the price is this: Apple laptops are always middle of the road in a lot of things. For example, you'll always find 2, 3 or maybe 4 of these, but never all: Cheaper, lighter, better/bigger screen, longer battery life, better CPU, more RAM, better graphics, more ports, bigger/better HD.
So, you pick what you want and go with it. I personally found a (much) cheaper laptop with a better screen and more ports when I bought mine (around 2 years ago) than any mac option could produce. CPU, graphics and RAM were the same, but it weighs a ton and I suspect wouldn't please the aesthetically wanton mac crowd (personally I think Macs aren't that attractive anyway, give me a plain matte black laptop any day).
Also, El Reg, please don't have slavering mactards review macs. There's far too much positive with a token paragraph at the end for some minor downpoints.
What about the missing keys on the keyboard? What about the inability to change the battery? (unless you can on this model? There's no mention of it) etc, etc. It's a nice machine but an unbiased review requires someone who doesn't go doe-eyed when looking at a picture of Jobs.
Matte (anti-glare) screen is available
The higher resolution 15.4" screen option is 1680x1050 and is available in glossy and 'anti-glare' but you'll be paying £80 and £120 extra respectively. Not sure why anti-glare costs an extra £40! When I bought my 15" Mac Book Pro in 2007 the anti-glare option was no extra cost.
And indeed you shall have a matte screen, Cinderella
if you plonk down the £120 it costs to fuck up the aesthetics
Why not Phil..?
It seems that they allow slavering 'wintards' and slavering 'freetards', as well as other slavering 'mactards', to post comments on articles about Apple. Look, you disagree, that's fine, but accusing someone of being a 'mactard' or a 'fanboi' simply because they perhaps like something that you don't shows you to be a little puerile. Accusations of bias because the reviewer doesn't share your views on the importance of the PgDn/PgUp keys is actually quite pitiful. Thing is Phil, most consumers simply don't give that much of a fuck.
I've dealing with a number of these recently - clients really like them.
My only real issue is that the two USB ports are too close together. I cannot plug two sticks in at the same time unless they are those tiny PNY units.
Contrary to the reviewer, I'm glad the FW800 is there.
You're possibly not using the MagSafe connector properly
I think you're attacking the MagSafe connector incorrectly when unplugging. AIUI you don't pull it out - which seems to be your problem with lack of grip. You break the connection by "bending" or "snapping" the plug downwards, upwards or sideways - remember it's not really plugged in, hence the quotation marks! Essentially you just lever it until the magnet loses its grip and you can pull it away.
No need to actually grip the plug very hard or pull against the magnet, or put any strain on the cable.
Nice job, one problem though
Launch Skype, or Chrome, or iPhoto, or any iWork application. Don't do anything, let one of those apps run minimized. Only THEN measure battery life.
It will be 3-3,5 hrs only. Why? Because launching one of those apps makes MBP impossible to switch down to the integrated graphics, and 330M is a real energy burner.
Looks like a software issue, waiting for the patch for Apple.
Price vs score
Surely your reviewers aren't vulnerable by the veblen effect?
While I'm no fanboi, neither do I hate Macs passionately. However, you could buy TWO better spec'd (non-Mac) laptops for this price so I can only assume that cost isn't a factor when scoring reviews? Unless of course it's a non-Mac product, where they routinely get marked down for excessive cost,
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.
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.
Perhaps if I wanted a crap display, a cheap hard drive, a plastic case, and Windows 7 I could save money. I could save grocery money and eat cup noodles every day as well. But, like most of us here, my computers are the most used devices I own, and the center of much of what I do every day, And silly me, I like to ENJOY the experience.
In the end, reliability and user experience count the most. If you don't believe me, look at the stock market. I have a recent budget "if you can call $1200 a budget" 13 inch Macbook Pro. My battery life is 5-6 hours of web browsing with the screen at 50% bright. And even with my onboard Nvidia my gaming experience is good. And of course the fact that in three years I'll still have at least 50% resale value does not hurt.
If my budget line machine is this good, I'd be awestruck how well this has to run. What has to hurt is England's "Apple tax". The only feature I can't justify at all.
Shiney plastic magsafe connector?
Not on my i7 15" - its a brushed aluminium connector and very easy to detach. Its actually a bit fiddly to attach as it doesn't orientate itself to the magsafe port as well as the old plastic design.
Re: shiny plastic magsafe connector?
Likewise, I got the new model connector with mine too. Apparently the new connector is designed to better relieve the cable stress (and also with a stronger, more robust, PVC-free cable). But there's some debate on whether it disconnects quite so easily.
The higher-res 1680x1050, "antiglare" display option - or non-shiny, as normal people would call it - is very nice. They've opted for a silver, recessed surround finish - which might even be what is actually underneath the glass of a glossy version - and the lettering picked out in Black. It hurts that they charge an extra 40 quid, though I suppose it's a charge to pay someone to remove what's already been assembled, and perhaps to cover a higher wholesale price if they know they're going to sell less of that panel.
I do love Apple design -- they do make lovely, albeit slightly* expensive -- products! However, since I also need to use a bunch of "normal" PC keyboards, I find I really miss not having Page-up/Page-down/Home/End keys. And I also don't like having to use an "International" type layout rather than a proper British layout.
* "slightly" because you can't compare a MacBook[Pro] with any regular Windows laptop. You need to compare it with a product with all the same features *plus* nice design, at which point you'll notice that actually, an Apple is just a bit more expensive!
I'll admit that REALLY bugged me for the first few days of owning my macbook, but once I got my head around the Command key (which, in combination with the cursor keys will take you anywhere you want to go) it became much less of an issue. I'm not trying to pretend that dedicated keys aren't nice, but they're not as must-have as you might think once you get to grips with the Mac layout - the Command key is a very useful button that falls easily to the thumb and does a lot of useful stuff, so once you're used to using it generally the navigation just becomes a lot more natural.
Say what you will about Apple, they do have some "innovative designs" and all.
However; this much needs to be said:
HDMI Out! HDMI Out! For the love of Jobs, drop Mini Display Adapter (no two model revisions being the same) and go to HDMI out already!
RE: Similar specced winblows laptop-how many of those ship with 2 separate video cards?
RE: Price complaints. Buy a used previous generation intel based macbook. I've had no problems with mine from work. Even wifey's iBook G3 is a Rock of Gibraltar compared to the Desktop Dells here at work. And, besides that, just like a Car, an Apple computer does have a higher re-sale value.
Anybody else disappointed with the iPad? I was expecting a real netbook from Apple, not a blown up iTouch on steroids.
No middle-of the ground regular Jobs icon, eh? Let's flip a coin, then...
is touchpad ;) that's all i have to say. no more comments needed, happy owner of mbp 13" with 4GB of RAM
So what do folks do.......
......on their Macbooks thats so special or out of the ordinary it actually requires the spend of over £1200 on a commodity item such as a computer?
If its mainly web browsing and email..........
As far as I go, a laptop should just be a cheap £400 item that gives three years of use (maybe four if you are lucky) and then chuck it for a new cheap one after that.
A commodity item?
I use my MBP all day, every day for work. I probably spend more time on it than I spend driving my car, waching TV, in the kitchen, using my camera, listening to music, etc. - combined! Getting a machine that does what I want, that doesn't constantly frustrate me and that I enjoy using is therefore absolutely vital. For the amount of use I get out of it compared to other things I spend my money on the cost is utterly inconsequential.
Soap is a commodity product. Toilet paper is a commodity product. Memory sticks are a commodity product. My computer isn't, is far too important for that.
Firstly you can apply the same argument to any other consumer item, and you'll quickly find it sounds strange. What do people do with their BMWs or Audis, let alone their Porsches or Ferraris, that you can do with an old Ford Fiesta? Answer: enjoy themselves, stupid. Same thing applies here.
Secondly, your cheap £400 laptop will be a PITA to use after the first year, and the bane of your life after three/four years, at which point it will be absolutely worthless even before it inevitably conks out. This Macbook on the other hand will have been a pleasure to use during that same period, still have years of life left in it at 3-4 years old, and have a substantial resale value too.
Not that case.
Been using cheap laptops for the past 8 years. Never had any issues so far. I might do a complete rebuild every two years but I like doing that so not an issue. Cheap doesnt have to mean useless or bad.
As for resale..that doesnt count.
After 4 years I spent £400 on my laptop, I look after them so I might get £50 to £75 for it on Ebay.
Total cost to me say £350.
Your Macbook cost maybe £1400. Your resale after 3-4 years might be £300.
Total cost to You is still £1100.
Resale isnt really a saving if you are still spending substantially more over the same period. It's not negative thing, its just not a saving.
Computers are commoditiy items.
You =! Everyone
You believe computers are commodity items because you're a regular buyer of cheap laptops, and cheap laptops are indeed a commodity item - all built down to the same low expectations, defined by price, branded up under an infinity of names but all essentially the same product. If they work for you, and (perhaps more to the point) if you're prepared to work for them by reinstalling every couple of years and working around all the niggles, that's great, you're saving money, good for you.
But that's not for everyone.
In the same way that not everybody wants to drive a Chevrolet Matiz and not everyone wants to drink Tesco Value Lager, not everyone wants to buy a £400 laptop, or even a Windows laptop of any price. Some people *choose* to pay more for a better product. That's the concept you're going to have to get your head around, because those people aren't about to change.
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