back to article Apple MacBook Pro 13in

Shock horror – Apple laptop in so-so review scandal. The latest MacBook Pro with Retina Display may be setting a new standard at the top of the range, however, this modest update for the standard 13in MacBook Pro looks rather like it’s resting on its laurels. Apple MacBook Pro 13in mid-2012 Apple's MacBook Pro 13in: …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old Hat Book

    They should just come round to calling it that. Along with the MBP 15", which I just received today, this model will tide Apple over 'till the retina displays manufacturing has come online for mass production, allowing prices to drop and availability to increase. But then, as soon as Apple fits Retina display on an Air, what use for the 13" MBP? Apart from it being quad core, there's nothing really to set it apart.

    If I were in the market for a new portable Mac, I'd wait for a year and then I would simply buy one of the new MBAs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MacBook Go (..the way of the dino..)

      That was exactly the decision I took last week: why spend more on a MBP than the MBA? OK it scores 20% higher on the GeekBench, but on about all the rest it's about equal -- bit better or bit worse.

      It's like the situation a good year ago, when you could upgrade the basic MB to a-bit-worse-than the basic MBP, but at a higher price --- so there was no reason for the MB anymore, and it disappeared. So is the same going to happen with the MBP, become obsolete and disappear?

      As a desktop replacement that will travel a few days a month, and will see computationally light work the rest of the time, there is no justification for the MBP: yes, too few ports on the MBA, but even with the MBP I'd have a USB hub on my desk. And a USB DVDwriter I've got lying around here if needed (used it a grand total of thrice in two years with my wife's netbook)... So I walked away with the 13" MBAir.

  2. ABee
    Joke

    75%??

    Look into my Apple Logo, look into my Apple Logo, the Apple Logo, the Apple Logo, not around the Apple Logo, don't look around my Apple Logo, look into my Apple Logo...and you're under.

    This is actually a fantastic laptop and is rated at 95%

    Three, two, one... You're back in the room.

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Look into my Apple Logo"

      Very amusing - the down-voters should get a life.

  3. thesykes

    At just shy of a grand, I'd expect at least a 7200rpm drive to be in there, they don't cost that much more than 5400 ones.

    And can anyone tell me what use indicator lights at the back of the laptop are? I'm sure there is an explanation.

    1. Lis 0r
      FAIL

      That's the side, not the back. The back is all hinge.

    2. DaveyDaveDave

      They're on the side, not the back, and they're not enormously useful, except in the case where you just want to quickly check how much power your battery has without opening the screen - "I'm just popping to the coffee shop to pretend that I'm writing a novel, will I have enough power, or should I take my charger?"

      1. thesykes

        ahh... makes sense now.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    If this is a pro why isn't it retina, I thought the whole point was all pros now had retina?

    Also, "only just managed 30fps" doesn't exactly sound a hardship. Integrated graphics playing a modern 3D game at 30fps is pretty wonderful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Retina MBP 13" is rumoured to arrive in October:

      http://www.tuaw.com/2012/07/11/13-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-appears-in-geekbench-benchma/

    2. Lord Zedd
      Thumb Up

      Retina

      Because it would have competed with the 15" model and stole its thunder. A 13" retina is ready to be released if you have watched the Mac news sites.

    3. Dave's Jubblies

      You missed the point I think... that being not about integrated graphics hitting 30fps, but a £1000 laptop 'only' hitting 30fps... As pointed out, a cheaper dell beats the arse of it in that respect...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: modern 3D game

      Huh? Far Cry 2 is f**king ancient.

    5. Maxson

      The annoying part is he didn't state what settings the game was at...not that Far Cry 2 is a modern game.

      1. Ammaross Danan
        WTF?

        If...

        If you're "gaming" on a MBP 13", you've already failed. And since when is a $1000 laptop "entry level" as quoted in the verdict? A $500 gateway laptop can run circles (gaming wise) around this MBP.

  5. jason 7
    Facepalm

    Oh god no!

    This review was going okay then went out the window when you said - "although its 1280 x 800 resolution should perhaps have been tweaked to the slighter more widescreen 1366 x 768 that is now standard amongst 13in PC laptops."

    No.

    1366x768 is a total curse in the laptop world. It's the lowest of the low for laptop screen res.

    The screen would be better as a 1400x900 or higher for the price.

    For a device that probably will mainly be used for browsing you don't really want to lower the depth do you!

    1. MGman

      Re: Oh god no!

      Well said.

      There is no excuse really as the 13" Air has 1400x900.

      I'd take the Air over the MBP just for that.

      1. NogginTheNog

        Re: Oh god no!

        Agreed - 768 vertical would be shocking on anything bigger than a netbook (do they still make those??) nowadays.

        1. Patrick R
          Mushroom

          Re: 768 vertical would be shocking

          Shocking but standard. But shocking. But then, standard on most mid price 15". Nowadays.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Oh god no!

        My thoughts exactly- even though the reviewer was asking for more pixels...

        My pet theory is that the top and centre of 16:9 widescreen displays sit lower with respect to eye-height compared to taller displays, not helping the user's working position.

        On a desktop monitor, this is not such as issue since it is adjustable, and the top of screens are usually at the same height regardless of aspect ratio.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    16:10 vs 16:9

    I prefer the extra vertical pixels of this 16:10 display format instead of the 16:9 (1366 x 768) "standard amongst PC laptops". 16:9 is only good for watching TV.

    My desktop Dell 24" monitor is 16:10 as well. Why change it when going to laptops? That makes no sense.

    1. Darryl

      Re: 16:10 vs 16:9

      I'd prefer someone go back to good ol' 4:3 on a laptop

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: 16:10 vs 16:9

      "16:9 is only good for watching TV."

      16:9 is better for Lightroom, Photoshop etc, as they have palettes and tools on either side - 16:9's width gives more room for the photo itself.

      But photo work on the go is a niche market for this machine I'd wager

      Of course 1400x900 as in the Macbook air is better than both resolutions mooted here for photo work on the go...

  7. Captain Underpants
    Meh

    If it had been too shiny, that would've distracted people from the 15" rMBP

    No surprise, really - the 15" rMBP is the big shiny at the moment. Assuming that does well (and it will, I'm guessing, because despite the silly bits that have been removed it's still a 2kg 15" machine with a bleeding-edge display and dedicated GPU) there'll be a 13" version next year, possibly making the distinction between the Air and the 13" Pro focus more on display quality rather than weight.

  8. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Stop

    hold your wallets until october :)

    as other people have said, 13 inch comes in october, my macbook is not "busted" but pretty broken, the screen "whites out" until I wiggle the screen a bit (broken hinge connector I think) and the trackpad I can only use the touch mode now, not the click since it stopped working about 8 months ago.

    but the other month when apple failed to impress me, I put my wallet away, I'll live another year with this one, it's already pretty good, 4GB of ram, everything I need for me job (freelance webdeveloper)

    if in october they bring out a 13 inch retina, I'll look at it again, even more so if they bring out a retina air, then that will practically open my wallet singing and dancing, perhaps even with a cover song from jim carrey.

    but until that happens, my money is firmly staying in my wallet....which it'll do until apple impresses me again.

    1. Dave 3

      Re: hold your wallets until october :)

      In my case (2006 MacBook) the non-clicking trackpad button was due to a swollen battery.

  9. Adam T
    Joke

    But does it have 64bit KEXT?

    Joke icon, only because there's a not a "half-joke" icon.

  10. Badvok
    FAIL

    "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

    Having recently purchased a 15" laptop with more memory, more disk, better graphics for half that price I'd say it is more like absolutely impossible to argue it's still the best (if it ever actually was) by a very, very, long way. The only things this has that my recent purchase doesn't is the Apple logo and the latest Ivy Bridge chip and I'm really not sure Ivy Bridge is that much of a leap over the previous generation to warrant double the price, maybe it's just the logo that makes it worth that much?

    1. ACZ
      Thumb Down

      Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

      I was going to have an outraged moan and conclude by saying "how on earth can Apple put out something with such a low spec at that price?", but I think that we all know the answer.

      The depressing thing is that I've been talking with my wife about replacing her Mac, and I really don't want to go anywhere near this one. Might give it a few months if, as per people's comments, there's a chance of a vaguely better model emerging.

    2. Seanie Ryan
      Holmes

      Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

      You know, you can compare a $2 bottle of wine to a $40 bottle and argue that they are both liquid, both in glass, both contain alcohol, so why waste the money? other people just look and think "uncultured cheapskate"

      i'll bet you are NOT the guy who tell their mates to buy in Aldi, drive a skoda, get everything in the bargain basement, but yet, you will berate others for choosing quality in a computer.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

        It is more like saying you can buy a jack wolfskin fleece or a decent quality non branded one. The one with the branding will cost more - even though the other fleece performs just as well or even better. In this case the mac isnt as good as the price makes you believe.

        On the subject of dells, the XPS 15 range isnt much larger and has far far better components and a decent integrated video card (optimus too so your battery should last longer).

        1. Goat Jam
          Paris Hilton

          Well, that's a first

          "Dell" and "far better components" in the same sentence. What'll they think of next?

          1. Ben Holmes
            Happy

            Re: Well, that's a first

            "'Dell' and 'far better components' in the same sentence. What'll they think of next?"

            If it makes you feel any better, this merely demonstrates how far Apple have fallen, not how far Dell have risen.

      2. Steve I
        Coat

        Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

        "i'll bet you are NOT the guy who tell their mates to buy in Aldi, drive a skoda, get everything in the bargain basement..."

        What he said. Plus when did Lidl have laptops?

      3. EvilGav 1
        Facepalm

        Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

        Now, your argument falls apart completely on your first line. If you take a comparable laptop, it will have the same components inside it; if you compare a $2 wine to a $40 wine, they wont have the same contents, hence the price difference.

        Which would be why everyone thinks Apple are even more of a rip off today than they ever were, the contents of the boxes are as close to identical so as not to matter, but the price is anywhere up to twice that of the competition. Now, the top flight stuff from Apple with it's "retina" displays *may* be able to command a premium, but thats it.

        As for your final, throw-away comment, i'll give you Aldi and the bargain basement, but Skoda ? You are aware that what's underneath was originally an Audi and then a VW, before becoming a Skoda? The A3, Golf and Octavia all share a common floor pan, engines and electrics. Why wouldn't I tell someone to buy one?

        1. DZ-Jay

          Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

          @EvilGav 1:

          First, the hardware components are not necessarily the same. Second, the operating system is not the same as the cheap crap you buy without brand.

          And finally, when you say "everything thinks," you mean "you think," right? Or did you take a poll across the planet?

          -dZ.

          1. Chet Mannly

            Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

            "First, the hardware components are not necessarily the same. Second, the operating system is not the same as the cheap crap you buy without brand."

            Sorry an Apple i7 is the same as even a Dell one. The hard drive is a standard drive. External parts/design are different sure, the debate here is whether those external design components justify the significant price differential - not all of us feel it does.

            I have a MBP 13 running OSX, and OSX is far from bug free, even with 8gb of ram. Again everyone is different, but for mine Win7 is just as stable (with different bugs), more compatible, but not as pretty.

            The "cheap crap" comment obviously shows you're an Apple fan, but lets be realistic here...

    3. Jeebus

      Re: "it’s hard to argue that it’s still the best."

      You don't know the depth of idiocy of the iTards.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but still only just managed 30fps when running Far Cry 2

    That's fairly meaningless, what quality settings had to be compromised (all of them at a guess, since they weren't mentioned)? Having integrated graphics in something priced in this bracket is laughable anyhow, but just how bad are they?

    1. Dave 3
      Happy

      Re: but still only just managed 30fps when running Far Cry 2

      Pretty flipping good, as it happens.

      http://www.realworldtech.com/ivy-bridge-gpu/

      1. jason 7

        Re: but still only just managed 30fps when running Far Cry 2

        Wow what an article!

        Total 100% tech market bumph with zero actual real world results.

        You can write all the tech bumph you like about a product but unless you show what it does with real world apps and hardware it means jack. Look at all the AMD hype about Bulldozer for example. Looked like the second coming before launch day and the NDAs expired, then......

        Flashy tech flowcharts mean nothing. If you are into GPU stuff we've seen plenty of Intel HD graphics reviews and it 99% of games it gets slaughtered. It's better than the last Intel GPU generation but its still 5 years behind AMD and Nvidia.

    2. jason 7
      Meh

      Re: but still only just managed 30fps when running Far Cry 2

      Yes the Reg reviewers might want to take a look at HardOCP's graphics card reviews to see what info we really need for "it just managed 30fps" to be valid.

      So if it just managed 30FPS I guess 50% of the time it was running in single figures then?

  12. Matt_payne666

    howcomes Apple get a full review for every hardware refresh? no matter how small... Dell has done a much larger refresh of the Vostro and Lattitude lines with the Ivy Bridge upgrade, introducing design changes and several new 13" models, but no review inches....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My guess is it's because of people like Seanie Ryan (above), who think anything with an Apple logo on it is a fine bottle of wine (because it has an Apple logo on it, evidently), whereas everything else is just fermented cat piss.

      1. MD Rackham

        Hey, Have Some Respect

        We all have our opinions, but calling Windows "fermented cat piss" is a bit over the top.

  13. Richard Lloyd
    FAIL

    As usual, underspec'ed and overpriced

    It stuns me that this barely revised MBP machine is actually the cheapest laptop Apple UK sell at 999 quid! it is Apple's entry-level laptop and yet is so expensive that its price would be considered almost top-end for any other manufacturer. Am I the only one worried about taking a grand's worth of kit outside the house...ever?

    Several months ago, I advised my sister to get an i3 15.6" Samsung laptop from Sainsbury's. It's inevitably thicker, heavier and less "pretty" than an MBP, but after discounts and cashbacks, it cost 285 quid - less than a third of this MBP, but actually with a bigger screen! I know I'd rather have 3 of those Samsungs than one MBP any day of the week.

    1. mrh2

      Re: As usual, underspec'ed and overpriced

      >> It stuns me that this barely revised MBP machine is actually the cheapest laptop Apple UK sell at 999 quid! <<

      It's not. The 11" MacBook Air is the cheapest at £849. http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_air

      >> Am I the only one worried about taking a grand's worth of kit outside the house...ever? <<

      That's what insurance is for. My hone contents policy covers me for accidental damage and theft for any item up to £3k when taken outside the home.

      >> I know I'd rather have 3 of those Samsungs than one MBP any day of the week <<

      Brilliant. No-one's going to tell you can't have three, four or even five of them if you want. Some of us prefer something that's a little shinnier that that and as it's our money there's no real harm being down to anyone in us indulging ourselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As usual, underspec'ed and overpriced

        If someone makes a conscious choice to pay a surcharge for build quality / asthetics, etc. them more power to them, but I'd imagine that a lot of consumers buying this will just think that Apple == Best, irrespective of the details.

        1. mrh2

          Re: As usual, underspec'ed and overpriced

          >> I'd imagine that a lot of consumers buying this will just think that Apple == Best, irrespective of the details. <<

          Those consumers, as indeed all consumers, should check such assumptions before parting with their money. I choose to by Apple because I like the look, feel and build of their devices. I also prefer Mac OS X to Windows.

          People should always buy what's best for them and look beyond the hype when making any purchase.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As usual, underspec'ed and overpriced

            "Those consumers, as indeed all consumers, should check such assumptions before parting with their money"

            I take it you don't speak to average consumers of IT equipment a lot, right?

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. David Halko
    IT Angle

    USB3 Drives benefit over FireWire or Thunderbolt???

    > from a practical point of view it’s the two USB3 ports that will probably provide the greatest benefit in this model as it means that Mac users no longer have to pay over the odds for Firewire or Thunderbolt storage

    Having worked with FireWire400 and USB2.0 - I can tell you, in a heart beat, that the choice of FireWire over USB has little to do with cost, all to do with performance. CPU consumption seems to be consistently lower using Firewire over USB at the same throughput.

    It will be interesting, to see the results of the FireWire 800, Thunderbolt, and USB 3.0 tests. Perhaps, there will be a performance throughput difference with high-end SSD media, I wonder if it will be noticeable with rotating rust?

    There is the added bonus of keeping those two USB ports available for a USB video compression stick and a USB TV tuners - although they don't need USB3.0 throughput.

    Keeping these USB ports available swapping non-firewire cameras on and off will be very important.

    Trying to keep the USB ports free was another reason for using network based printers.

    Since USB 3.0 can't daisy-chain, using these ports for anything important like fixed disks is absolutely insane. This is the one thing that USB 3.0 ports will most likely not be practically used for, by some of us.

    I guess there may be some people who may buy the Macbook who do not do video work, perhaps they will have be able to use USB 3.0 hard disks.

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: USB3 Drives benefit over FireWire or Thunderbolt???

      You missed the "pay over the odds" part for firewire or Thunderbolt.

      USB 3 is orders of magnitude cheaper and more compatible with other machines - everything (non-tablet) has a USB port of some flavour in it, few machines have firewire, even less have thunderbolt.

      Of course if you want to pay higher prices for tech that suits your particular needs then you can, but USB 3 is WAY overdue on Mac laptops

  16. Dana W
    Meh

    I bought one.

    Its better than my 2009 13 inch. But my means are modest, and I'm not sure its enough of an improvement to justify the debt it has left me in. I'm not unsatisfied, but I'm not particularly wowed either. And at these prices, I'd like a bit more wow please. I bought in now to AVOID the Retina 13 inch. I am NOT buying a laptop with a glued in battery. This is NOT a phone. I expect to be able to switch my drives AND upgrade my ram.

    I love the Apple build quality, and yes, that's a good part of the reason I buy Mac laptops. Also, Part of what I'm paying extra for is to not have to run windows. That alone is worth some of the extra cost. But seriously, integrated graphics at $1200, and the new chip runs hot enough that in game grinding it gets uncomfortably warm. "even with SMC fan controller". My 2009 model did not have this issue.

    Incredible build quality and insanely high resale value are a big plus. But my next laptop may well be a Lenovo or possibly an Asus running Debian. I'll keep running a Mac Desktop, as I have no complaints with either of my Mac Mini's for daily use, and I like my Steam games. But as an owner of the above machine, I really think Apple could have done more for me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I bought one.

      I bought one too, the i7 model. I updated it to 256gb ssd and 16gb ram for less than £220, sold the 750gb driver for £50 and the 8GB ram for £30. I guess this is going the last user upgradeable model for a while.

      You're right 1200 for Intel HD gfx is on the pricey side but I'm no gamer so it doesn't affect me so much.

      I would have replaced my thinkpad x201 with a newer lenovo but even their build quality is starting to slide (the keyboard felt too flimsy).

      It's an OK laptop, Lion is OK too. I feel that Snow Leopard is going to be the last good version for a while.

  17. Fuzz

    what is the money for?

    It's not paticularly fast, not that light, not very thin, the design isn't new, screen is standard, hard disk is basic RAM is minimal. So it seems the only thing really good about this laptop is the build quality and yet it costs £999.

    I can't believe people who buy these don't feal like mugs.

    I remember when the reason macbook pros were expensive was because they were the best components squeezed into the smallest, lightest package.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what is the money for?

      for me it was the non glossy screen. Sadly the retinas give you no choice.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Luxury goods

    It's interesting to me that there are many luxury goods that people buy where huge premiums are charged solely based on their design, materials, and build quality. Most people take it for granted that certain "luxury" wristwatches, handbags, luggage, kitchen appointments (coffee makers, wine coolers, etc.), CARS, etc. are sold for many hundreds or thousands of dollars above largely similar competition.

    But when Apple chooses to sell a laptop that largely differentiates itself from the competition by having superior design, materials, and build quality, and charges a few hundred dollars extra for it, people cry bloody murder. Maybe the problem is that Apple products also DO something instead of just tell time or keep wine at a certain temperature, so people are better able to compare them to the competition and notice that MacBook X has slightly less RAM than DellBook Y (even though in real-world use it probably doesn't matter to them at all)...

  19. Richard Cartledge

    The MBP is worth the premium just to have that large multi-touch trackpad in the middle instead of some pokey vinyl square set off to the left.

  20. uhuznaa

    A bit behind the curve now

    ...but still a decent machine. I'm still using the very first iteration of this (late 2008 unibody MB, with no "Pro"), and despite daily abuse it still works and looks as new after nearly four years. I still would buy a 13" MBP without hesitation.

    And yes, it may be pretty mundane inside but everything else you can't buy elsewhere at all, cheap or not. Great keyboard, best trackpad ever...

  21. Jeebus

    The astonishing naivety of people purchasing these is staggering, in the quest to diversify the IT crowd it has cost it the expertise and intelligence to see through these glasshouse offerings as what they really are.

    The Apple generation are dumbing down the entire industry.

  22. DEAD4EVER
    Thumb Down

    sorry apple

    but i will never touch anything that is called apple in terms of computers not fruit lol. simple reason is there overpriced and over hyped for what your get ten, there's nothing wrong with windows in my eyes, sure its old but least programs work and you can play games on it. apples huh forget those wouldn't touch em with a barge poll. plus there expensive non recyclable plus you cant open them up to upgrade parts you have to get apple to do it. rip off in my eyes forget apple they suck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean like most of the engineers at Google?

      If you're a power user, it's nice to use an operating system that plays well with unix-y OSs, open source, and also has an attractive and unobtrusive user interface.

      1. Mike Flex

        > If you're a power user, it's nice to use an operating system that plays well with unix-y OSs, open source, and also has an attractive and unobtrusive user interface.

        So, one of the Linuxen then.

        1. Shingo Tamai
          FAIL

          >> If you're a power user, it's nice to use an operating system that plays well with unix-y OSs, open source, and also has an attractive and unobtrusive user interface.

          >So, one of the Linuxen then.

          Yeah, you can choose between Gnome and its moving panel icons in the top bar (a 2 years old unresolved bug) or its overlapping icons on the desktop (1.5 years) or the dumbed down Gnome 3.

          Or maybe you like KDE and its and its "I'll give you the option to change this as well" philosophy.

          Oh, oh and let's not forget the spinning cube... :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sorry apple

      You do get an integrated spell-checker for the money though. Maybe you should save up.

    3. Dana W
      Meh

      Re: sorry apple

      Been upgrading my Mac laptops for years, back under your bridge troll.

  23. Shingo Tamai
    WTF?

    It's not about the price...

    I am writing this from an HP NC6400 which is now 5 years old. It is a wonderful business laptop, but after five years it started developing cracks on the case near the hinges, not to mention the various creaking noises on the top fascia.

    You mentioned you could buy a Dell for less money? Good luck wit that too...

    I've bought a Dell M101z which I have carried around like a sacred relic, yet the plastics around the bezel cracked in 6 months.

    When the laptop came back from the outsourced repair service centre, the arse in charge of the repair managed to break or chip every single piece of plastic on the laptop, almost perforating the back screen panel after using the wrong screws. The webcam module was also destroyed, and the screen assembly was poorly... reassembled.

    The end result was so sub-standard that Dell sent a technician onsite (not a standard option on this class of product) to replace the whole case and screen (the only original pieces I was left with in the end were the keyboard, and the inner electronics and hard drive).

    Even if you do not want to consider Apple's build quality, after all metal does not disintegrate after 6 months of light usage, you may want to consider that some users, me included, would very well spend 150£ more just to be able to run OS X over the bloated Windows 7. Apart from the fact that I dislike Lion because of features like "autosave" and "versions" (I also own a Mac Mini late 2006 which I have updated to Lion and later downgraded back to Snow Leopard).

  24. Dave559 Bronze badge

    Still no essential screen resolution upgrade, but still the least worst laptop out there?

    The right size/weight for a laptop that you intend to be carrying around with you (backpack on your person, rather than the boot of a PowerPoint-pusher's car; eg, for conference or train use, where portability and battery longevity are essential) is about the size of a sheet of A4, and Apple are one of the very few mainstream manufacturers to offer such a product (several, in fact, if you include the MacBook Airs).

    But go into any shop and yet for some reason the shelves are filled with lumpen size-15 craptops which despite their increased size almost all manage to offer even worse screen resolution, almost non-existent battery life, no Bluetooth (do Windows users not have mobile phones?), and horrid knock-offs of the MacBook "liquorice allsort" keyboard (which I'm not very keen on myself, but at least Apple's does have solidity and works well for speed typing, unlike the horribly squishy knock-offs).

    And that's another thing that Apple offers (which I've not seen from any other manufacturer), the choice of a decent keyboard layout: a left-shift key that hasn't been tortured and stunted (did nobody stop to think that most people have their right hand on a mouse (when using a desktop) and therefore right-shift is the lesser used?), and your programmers' symbols in the right - and logical (eg, ' and ") - places, unlike the embarrassingly thrown-together mess of the "standard" UK keyboard layout. All you need to do is specify "US Keyboard" and option-3 for £ is a very small price to pay.. (And you can type all kinds of other letters and symbols without needing to use a compose key (compose works for me, but ordinary folk don't know about it) or that numpad unintuitivity that Windows folks have to put up with).

    However, count me in among the disgruntled: if the MacBook Air can have 1400×900, why on earth is the MacBook Pro still stuck with a lousy screen resolution? Would a screen res bump have been too much to ask for?

    A MacBook Air would be tempting otherwise except for the major fail of having no ethernet port. Wireless is not always available, appropriate or desired. Admittedly one of my use cases of a MacBook Pro at work may be somewhat atypical, but when you're guddling in a server room and need to have a computer on-hand that you can flip between searching the web for answers (or copy/paste between terminals ssh'ed into various hosts) and testing network cables for connection problems), I need that ethernet port.. I don't want to have to buy an ugly, sticky-out, breakable ethernet dongle when any sensible computer has it built-in (funny how Apple's design aesthetic falls apart whenever anything port-related is involved (MagSafe an elegant exception): it's sooo great to have to carry ugly video-out adaptor cables with you..).

    It worries me that this will be the last chance to get a usable Apple for myself, and it's not much of a last hurrah. Sure, the "retina" model to come may have the better screen res we've all been demanding, but with no ethernet port or optical drive (yes, we all use them far less now, but they do still have their uses), it'd be one step forward but two steps back, unfortunately..

    Now, if only Apple would put the menus back into the app windows and implement focus-follows-mouse, otherwise if I buy one it'd be dual-booting Linux.. ;-)

  25. Dazed and Confused

    Looks kinda chunky

    but at least it has a Ethernet port

  26. Joerg
    FAIL

    How much Microsoft paid you to bash Apple? Really?

    And now you will release tons of 99% reviews for lame Microsoft Windows8 MetroUI.

  27. the-it-slayer
    Gimp

    This forum stinks of fandroids and M$-gits...

    Bring on the thumbs down to this post so at least it attracts some attention. People are so glued to their suspicions that Apple are here to rip you off. Hardly if you look at the detail.

    Is there another laptop made purely of Aluminium and is hard as nails? No.

    Is there another manufactuer that provides you with the first year of warranty with the ability to just walk in a shop, get some help and possibly get a replacement with no fuss and within the price? No.

    Is there another laptop that has an OS that actually works, easy to use, and pretty much runs continously without problems and is upgradable for a very small price? No.

    There's 3 things there that are key to the MacBook compared with anything else on the market. I admit the current MacBook series is starting to look tired in design, but they're workhorses in comparison to the rest of the laptop market.

    Anyway, stuff USB 3.0. Who's caught up with Apple to adopt Thunderbolt which is even faster, allows daisy chaining and is future-proofing the product regardless of the limited amount of devices out there currently? Apple did that over a year ago.

    Some of the above is opinion yes, but in comparison; most Windows laptops suck (minus the Sony Viao range I'd personally pay for if I had to).

    1. Dana W
      Happy

      Re: This forum stinks of fandroids and M$-gits...

      They come pouring in whenever a non Microsoft solution is praised. They thought the 90's were going to go on forever.

  28. vazadouro

    Why?

    I don't agree with the Skoda/ Audi or 2$/40$ wine comparisons. The hardware is not that much better. I use a MacBook and an HP laptop about 50/50, and I can't say the quality of the build is any better. Screen, disc, graphics, memory, ports, no way do they justify the price difference. Yet still, I want my next laptop to be a MacBook. 100% because of the software. I will pay over the odds on hardware in order to be able to use MacOS because it is much less hassle and is a pleasure to use, that I can put in the hands of people with less IT capability.

    It's more like buying a car that has the same equipment as everyone else's (costing half as much), but it can drive in exclusive lanes which are nicer, cleaner and safer. Of course some professional drivers prefer a car that is "demanding" to drive, that needs to be dominated, that feels dangerous, that they can take apart, but other people want to get from A to B safely, without even having to worry about the car, because they have other things to do. And they pay more for this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      I think the wine comparison is good. Both will get you pissed, and it's mostly about image/snobbery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        The wine comparison doesn't really work. Usually the more expensive the wine, the plainer the bottle and the higher quality the inside. This would seem to be the opposite (fancy packaging, but insides not too impressive for the price).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Of course most of the core parts in a MacBook will be no different than a PC--Intel processor (although typically one of the premium SKUs), same RAM, same hard drives, same screens, etc. A less-informed consumer will see the specs of these components and not understand the value added. But there is a lot. The giant glass trackpad for one. Might seem trivial but it's one of the parts of the computer you interact with the most. Apple also uses different screen filters and coatings, so while bargain-basement PCs with the same panels look washed out on the top or bottom regardless of the angle you have them at, the saturation/brightness/etc. is even on a MacBook. Apple designs their own lithium polymer (not lithium ion) batteries such that after 1000 cycles they still have 80% capacity, whereas "normal" PC laptop batteries are usually almost worthless after 2-3 years. The MagSafe connector is easier to use (I unplug/plug-in my laptop several times per day so it might as well be as easy as possible) and I've had PC laptops where the power connectors came loose and had to be soldered back on, which wouldn't happen with a MagSafe connector. Pointing the vents at the screen/screen-hinge means that you never have to worry about blocking them regardless of how you hold the laptop or if you put it on a couch, pillow, etc. And there's the usual song and dance about the unibody aluminum chassis. Anyway, after owning many PC laptops and finally a MacBook, I would never go back to PCs.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just bought a Samsung laptop

    Quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, BluRay, USB3, 17", for £749. So I'll leave this one I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

      Well done. Your medal is in the post.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

      17"? Guess you couldn't afford anything smaller?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

        I wanted a big one, it's replacing my home desktop.

    3. the-it-slayer
      Happy

      Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

      Watch it break in 6 months and then when you cry to Samsung, they'll just tell you to send it to the middle-east and wait 2 months to get repaired.

    4. Dana W
      Trollface

      Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

      Enjoy your plastic case and sleeve bearing fan.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I just bought a Samsung laptop

        So the case isn't as fancy as a Mac, it's still a damn sight better than an Acer.

  30. young wild and free

    good for everything besides gaming (like Diablo, graphics card can't handle the game)

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