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back to article Apple MacBook Pro 13in Core i5 laptop

Guilty, your honour. In mitigation, I would like to assure the jury that I do not automatically adore everything with Apple branding on it, nor have I any intention of jacking off over a Steve Jobs biography. I just happen to like the current range of Apple MacBook Pro notebook computers, that’s all. Is it such a crime? Apple …

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Trollface

Looks quite chunky

Entry level ... £999 ... Bwahahahaaa!

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Flame

Exactly, far too expensive

I mean basically dropping a k on what he finished by saying it's one of the best computers he's used. He's qualified it with "entry level" but it's still not very damning!

Also he's referenced how he HAS to give it a negative review or risk being flamed (flame on Garth, flame on Wayne)! How dare he point out this most obvious of truths, heresy I say! Burn the witch!

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FAIL

Oops, you seem to have confused me with someone who didn't tune out from the review after two lines and come straight to the comments page to hide under the first likely-looking bridge.

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Facepalm

Double Fail?

You said: "confused me with someone who didn't tune out" - so therefore you did tune out and I collared you on being a troll. Double negative = double fail or face palm!

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Um, thanks for the laugh there, but I did actually say exactly what I meant. If you think about it for a minute or six.

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Headmaster

Well if you said exactly what you meant then I didn't confuse you at all in my earlier post. I was hoping that I had but unfortunately not. Both my posts still stand on the fact I collared you for trolling with the first and then explained my reasons on the next which you then confirmed was correct. Cheers :-)

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Holmes

You're right you didn't confuse me, but you do sound a little confused yourself. Either that or I was off that day in troll school where they taught us that an earnestly sarcastic reply was the same as being "called out".

What gave me away? Was it the troll icon? Shucks, hope I have better luck next time.

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Facepalm

Seriously?

So let me get this straight, I furthered your trolling post with an earnestly sarcastic (as you so eloquently put it) troll post and then you say I've confused you - referring back to your fist reply:

"Oops, you seem to have confused me with someone who didn't tune out blah blah blah."

Now you say I didn't confuse you (by that it means I was not confused by what you were doing) - see "You're right you didn't confuse me blah blah blah", but that I am confused?

Jeebus save me.....

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Trollface

I think you may be confusing the 'confusion' sense of the word 'confused' with the 'mistaken' sense. Easy mistake to make.

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Facepalm

lol

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Silver badge

It is indeed a very fine looking piece of kit but.....................

........................" I can forgive the shared-memory graphics and the lack of USB ports, perhaps also the fairly average processor performance..................."

At £1000, no I most certainly could not. At that price I expect the full works with regard to connectivity and storage and nothing but the full works - end of. All the styling and the build quality in the world is let down by those kinds of omissions. That, IMHO makes it about 15 - 20% overpriced. Without getting into a discussion of the os the most I would pay for that machine would be £850 - max.

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Anonymous Coward

That small screen.

The problem is that the 11 inch Air has a 1366x768 screen and the 13 inch air has a 1440x900 screen but the 13" MBP has 1280x800 and that's the reason I didn't buy one.

Yours faithfully,

an aspiring but disappointed fanbois

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Silver badge

Plural

Fanbois is the plural of fanboi, though both are pronounced the same: "fan-bwah", from the French.

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The 13 inch Pro is lagging at this point.

Looking at the low end models, the Macbook Air has a slower CPU (1.6GHz against 2.4GHz), but the same graphics, a better screen, an SSD rather than a HDD, and is much thinner and lighter. The Pro has an optical drive, and a tad more expandability - ie you can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive. That SSD is going to actually make the Air a better performer for a lot of tasks. Unless you need the optical drive or more storage when you are on the move, I can't really see the point of getting the Pro. If you are going to do complex graphical or computational "Pro" tasks, the 13 inch Pro just isn't going to cut it: you are going to need one of the 15 or 17 inch models with better CPUs and graphics. You can buy the 13 inch Pro with an SSD rather than an HDD, but that makes it more expensive than the Air.

Apple needs to turn the 13 inch Macbook Pro into a genuine Pro machine. That means quad core CPUs, a screen at least the equal of the one in the Air, and decent discrete graphics. If the power, heat, and space constraints of the current enclosure do not allow this, it needs a redesign. One option might be to cut out the optical drive to make space. For those rare occasions when you actually need one, an external USB drive does the job fine.

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For me higher pixel densities are just meaningless as long as the UI can't adapt to it. If you're really working with such a thing staring 10 hours a day on microscopic fonts and icons is just a pain and 1280x800 on 13" is much better for your eyes and your sanity. The 11" and 13" Airs are already borderline for me. It's OK for an hour or two, but then it gets just painful.

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You leave my optical drive alone!!!! The only reason I have my MBP 13" from mid this year is that it had an optical dive in it!

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So give me the option. Some people don't want sharp screens, others do. The screen on the 13" MBP isn't bad, but it's awful after using my 11" Vaio that had 1366*768 - if it wasn't for Sony removing the optical drives from their 11" Vaios my broken one (I dropped something on the screen - f**k) would have been replaced with another.

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Happy

looks nice...

but so does a super model. the super model also has the same problem: I can't (or better won't )afford her.

just last week I bought an asus laptop (6GB, I5 2430m, 750GB, Gforce 520mx) including an USB 3.0 port.

for... HALF THE PRICE. HALF. one time again: HALF. did I already say it? Half. the. price.

I could literally buy 2 K53Sc's for one macbook pro. 2.

same cpu. more memory. more Hdd space. usb 3. bigger screen. better graphics. 2 hours work time? also check.

but...No apple logo. is that logo really worth 500 pounds?

your end conclusion is very, very correct: "it’s so very, very expensive."

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Silver badge

Spending £1000 on a computer is soooo 1998

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WTF?

It may be half the price...

... but it has a lower resolution display, (so only physically bigger: you'll get *less* actual stuff on it in use); an ancient webcam (seriously: 0.3 mp?!), NO Thunderbolt expansion port—hardly future-proofed, then—and it ain't a unibody case either. (Yes, you really can tell the difference. No creaks. No groans. No flex.)

Oh: and I've run my MBPro 17" for *six hours* between charging. I understand the 13" models can get about 4-5 or so. (Admittedly, I did upgrade the hard drive to an SSD, which made a massive difference to performance too. But oh, so worth it!)

Also: it's an Asus. A company not known for its great QA and awesome customer service. I've supported some of their kit in the past, and my sister-in-law's Asus runs hot, whistles like a kettle and gained a dodgy screen hinge after just 16 months of not-particularly-heavy use.

To cap it all, she was told by Asus' own customer support (after a full *hour* of waiting on the line), that the whistling was "normal" for that model—strange, it wasn't mentioned in the publicity material—and the hinge problem was considered "normal wear and tear" and thus any repair would be chargeable. Classy.

Their customer support was utter, utter crap. Seriously. They're as bad as Acer and Dell (consumer). And I've dealt with most of them. The only Windows-centric company whose products I'd recommend is HP. (I do feel they f*cked up royally in dropping their WebOS tablet so quickly. The software was great; they just needed another iteration to nail the hardware.) And their customer service has been very good in my experience.

Say what you like about Apple's air of smugness, but their customer service really is truly excellent. At my age, I value that and am willing to pay a bit extra for it.

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But what screen?

And I don't just mean resolution. But pixel density, and general screen quality. I love Asus kit, and in fact from 2000 to this year brought almost nothing but Asus.

However... I would never dream of buying a 500GBP machine as the quality is just terrible - screen and build quality. No matter the brand! My Asus machines make the Apple look cheap (actually I have the apple for working on the train as it gave me the best screen / optical drive combo for the money - there is a way to annoy the Apple fans I know; tell them you brought a MBP because it was the cheap option!) but they have lasted years and have pin sharp screens with lots of desktop real estate and are wonderful for editing photos.

My sister in laws cheapo laptop is awful though - you can never see the whole screen in good quality as the viewing angle is so poor that either the top or bottom is washed out and the pixel density and colour reproduction is just a joke.

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Gimp

And half the quality?

I never wanted to be a mac fanboy, really. As a teenager, I thought macs were terrible: fanciful, oversimple - for idiots. But then as a 'proper grown up', undertaking a fair amount of laptop repair, I came to realise it: macbooks are the best built laptops you can buy. They really are rock solid. Whereas the vast majority of the PC laptops I've ever repaired have been plasticky things full of parts included for their low cost rather than their quality or durability.

Yes some of the 'apple fee' is partly a premium on a 'trendy' product. But the rest of it is due to the fact that you're getting some top-notch hardware.

(Written from my macbook - running xubuntu, naturally!) ;-)

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Looks, build quality, but innards need to be user upgradable

Ive owned MacBooks and MacbookPros. I love the build quality. I love the look, but two things, both controllable by apple ensure i will not own one of these:

1. Battery Life with windows. Its half that of this laptop with OSX. And before you start, dont tell me its because windwos is a besat. I can get 8+ hours on my Vostro with both Windows 7 and Server 2008R2. Battery life with windows sucks because apple want it to suck. Im guessing its down to drivers that ensure hardware only runs at full throttle. Its a low blow and anti competitive in my opinion.

2. Not user upgradable. If i put in an SSD, i void the warranty! so i have to go with the apple SSD, which i know nothing about ( on the apple site it just says "add SSD" or something like that. I need to know the make, model, throughput etc etc to ensure im getting a Good SSD. Also, for their "generic" SSD you pay about 200 bucks more than you would on crucial!

I like both OSX and windows, but where as I need Windows for work, i only used OSX for fun (Photoshop, garrage band etc). went with what was necessary , Windows.

For about 150 euros more than this Macbook I ended up with a Vostro 13" (3350) with 8gb RAM, i5 processor, Crucial M4 256 SSD, USB 3.0, HDMI and a battery that allows me to work for 8+ hours on single charge. Its not as pretty but due to the ability to add my own SSD its magnitudes more capable than the Macbook.

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Warranty

>If i put in an SSD, i void the warranty!

I don't think so, actually. The unibody models have upgradeable hard drives and user upgradeable RAM. I have never heard of a case in which Apple has refused to honor the warranty due to such an upgrade, and I know of many cases in which they have honored it. The earlier non-unibody Macbook Pros did not theoretically have user upgradeable hard drives, but even then Apple would generally still honor the warranty if you had clearly done the upgrade carefully and had not damaged anything when doing it. (Amazingly, Apple replaced a faulty motherboard for free on my non-unibody Macbook Pro despite my having previously replaced the hard drive myself, and despite the computer being out of warranty. I am still awed by this).

You theoretically do void your warranty if you replace the SSD on a Macbook Air yourself, but that is a price of the extremely thin form factor. It is still possible to do, assuming you can find a suitable SSD using that non-standard modules that go in the Air.

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Silver badge

Not a very persuasive argument

"It performs worse with Windows, this is probably a driver issue, therefore Apple did it on purpose because they hate me and have no respect for the marketplace"

Does the same conspiracy logic apply to every supplier that produces flawed driver software? It's just that the evidence of iTunes and of Apple's direction generally would appear to make it much more likely that they're just not very good at producing code for Windows.

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Thumb Up

Hi mate,

I've had my MPB since Oct 09 and took a 3 year warranty on it.

Since then I've spilled wine on it, bashed it a couple of times and tore it apart piece by piece to replace only the keyboard which is built into the unibody - this actually resulted in me seperating the screen from the laptop itself. I also swapped out the Hard disk and memory.

However, I recently took it to an apple store due to the battery health deteriorating very quickly, they happily said - no problem, we'll swap it out immediately for you, come back in an hour and a half and we'll have it ready.

Job done - brand new battery.

They also resent me a free replacement snow leopard disk because I lost mine.

Additionally they gave me a brand new ipod touch 4g when the screen started playing up on my own - no questions asked - straight swap at the Gbar.

Apple service is truely fantastic, I commend their outstanding support and so far they have been very helpfull - I'm glad I pay the apple premium.

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Silver badge

Expensive?

Just looking at the ones you compared it to:

Travelmate £678.21

Sony £1,239.97

Ethos £999.97

I don't reckon its a bad price for what you get.

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it's not expensive

The Lenovo X220 is a PC with comparable spec: 2.5Ghz processor, smaller 1366x768 screen, smaller 320Gb disk, and that's for sale with the special web price of £1,022.79. Creaky plastic chasis included free of charge.

How'd you like them apples.

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Anonymous Coward

Only one of you?

Good of you to register with The Register to share that.

Astrotuuuuuuurf to the rescue!

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Silver badge
FAIL

Yes it is.

I got those specs for £320, but without the creaky plastic chassis (if it's so expensive, why did you buy it? Or are you only guessing that the chassis will creak? I'll guess that an aluminium chassis gets unbearably cold in the winter. Would you like to be offered up as a fact?).

To call something inexpensive you have to show there are no similar products at a cheaper price. All you've done is show that another product is even more expensive.

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since when....

was a £999 laptop entry level? you can get a gaming spec laptop that is much more powerful for less and a powerful none-gaming for a lot less.

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JDX
Gold badge

Pro?

I find the whole concept of extending the Pro range to 13" versions a bit bizarre, to be honest.

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Anonymous Coward

Mutt's nuts?

Shiny screens are bollocks, if that is what you meant.

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Unhappy

Ah but for the glossy display

If it were not for the glossy display then I might consider swapping my 4+yr old 17in MBP for a new Mac.

Don't get me wrong, it is not only Apple that are shipping all or nearly all of their entire model lines with Glossy screens.

Frankly, I find the usability of such screens pretty poor.

Otherwise, I'd be joining you in the Dungeon.

SAD but not quite a Fail on Apple's part.

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FAIL

Price

JHChristmas. An i5 Dell with 6GB RAM and 640GB HDD and W7 HP is about $650. Apple still playing the premium card shit for no reason.

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Silver badge

No reason - other than the fact plenty of people are still buying them at that price.

Fair play to Apple - charge what the market will bear.

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Unhappy

Power comparison

Why is the benchmark compared to a £399 laptop when this one is £999. If you are comparing 'entry level offerings from various companies' you should at least include price.

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Silver badge

Why?

Why would you choose this rather than a Macbook Air though ? Surely it will chug in comparison with a HDD ?

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Anonymous Coward

'Is it such a crime?'

Yes.

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bex

hardly wort a review

Just a slight boost from the one I bought earlier this year, Waste of the internet

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Anonymous Coward

But....

Expensive and easily bettered on price and spec.....but sell it in a couple of years and large chunk of the 999 will return. By the PC option and it wont. That's one of the main reasons I like apple kit, it holds its value because its desirable and fairly (qualified) robust.

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Anonymous Coward

'Holds its value' needs some qualification - I assume you are not suggesting that selling one of the two year old models of these now would fund the difference between this and a similarly specced Dell (minus the sale value of a two year old Dell) - or are you?

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Anonymous Coward

Can you provide some figures? Would be genuinely interested to compare the sale / resale values of similarly configured two year old models from Apple, Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, Sony etc.

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Silver badge

Low resolution screen, no dedicated GPU, too few usb ports and no usb 3. If the price was a lot lower these might be forgiveable.

What's it like running Ubuntu?

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Still not bad

The fact is that this is "entry level" for Apple products, not for laptops. If you compare the MBP with similar offerings from others, it's not overpriced. And if you factor in the fact that Apple hardware keeps its value very good over the years its outright cheap in the long run (I have a MPB from 2009 and could still sell it for half its price when it was new -- try that with other laptops).

Anyway, these days a Macbook Air would be the better choice if you don't need the optical drive, a large HD or more than 4 Gigs of RAM. IF you need those though, the 13" MBP is still a very sensible choice. And if you're using this thing to earn money ("Pro") for a few years the upfront cost is just irrelevant.

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Silver badge

PCs lose less value

PCs may lose more value as a per cent of the original cost* but they lose less value over all. You've lost 50% in 2 years of ownership of a mac but you can beat the specs of this mac for less than half its cost if you buy a pc. On price and specs there is no comparison. If you compare the functionality of win7 and osx they match up pretty well. So all your money really buys you is some aluminium and a glowing apple logo.

*they don't.

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"You've lost 50% in 2 years of ownership of a mac but you can beat the specs of this mac for less than half its cost if you buy a pc."

But you can't. You don't get similar (or even better) PC laptops for less than half its cost, really. They cost very much the same or more.

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Mushroom

Sorry, Apple loses more value than PC?

Who are you kidding? You can pick up a 2 year old MBP for perhaps 10-20% off their original list price... the ones that are dirt cheap have probably been abused.

I'm on a second-hand MacBook (the last plastic one) and for the price I paid for it I'm very happy... Granted, the fan sometimes goes mental, but then again you haven't heard the Toshiba or Samsung laptops when they are running full tilt either... they are just as noisy.

The spec for this 13" MBP is decent. It is *not* entry-level spec, and never will be. That's what the MacBook (God rest its soul) *was* for.

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FAIL

Weighted average

If you lose 20% off the price of a mac then you lose the equivalent of 60% of the price of an equivalently-specced pc. But PCs don't lose that much value in 2 years, so macs lose more value. You're looking at return on capital rather than total cost of ownership.

PCs lose so little value that I ended up buying a new one when I'd have been happy with a 2nd hand. The price difference was negligible.

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

Yes, it does.

If you paid 10-20% off for a year old laptop, you paid too much.

I've sold my old Macbook Pro (similar to the one reviewed here) and my old Samsung laptop, each after about a year of use.

I've got about 60% of the original price of both. Except, because the MBP was a lot more expensive, in a year I lost $600 on the Macbook Pro, but only $300 on the Samsung.

Both laptops were in perfect shape.

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