203 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressive
I'm not a gamer so this review may not be helpful to those who want a computer to play games.
I have worked as a professional software developer/architect for 17 years. I started with MSDOS 2.0 and have ridden the Microsoft wave all the way through Vista 64 and I had a few years with UNIX. I have personally owned or worked with computers from Dell, HP,...
Published on December 10, 2008 by R. Layne
123 of 142 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, The Bad, and the Shiny
The new MacBook Pro has some significant advantages over the old one. The new case design is attractive and solid. The keyboard is crisp and responsive. The hard drive is as easy to access as on every other notebook on the market (as opposed to requiring complete disassembly of the machine with the old model). The new NVIDIA 9600 graphics adds a lot of 3D...
Published on October 27, 2008 by Robert M. Brown
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203 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressive,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB471LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)I'm not a gamer so this review may not be helpful to those who want a computer to play games.
I have worked as a professional software developer/architect for 17 years. I started with MSDOS 2.0 and have ridden the Microsoft wave all the way through Vista 64 and I had a few years with UNIX. I have personally owned or worked with computers from Dell, HP, Compaq, IBM. I have heard of Apple products but for the most part dismissed them as more toy than tool. (I was not alone in this perspective.) I like Microsoft but after working with it for the better part of 20 year I decided to look at something different.
I never thought I would purchase an Apple yet here it is. I am impressed to say the least and I see Apple as a serious tool that also makes a cool toy.
Lightweight - Probably the lightest laptop I've ever worked with or owned
Solid - Normally when you get laptops at 15.4 or larger, chassis flex becomes evident as you can see them bend and they creak. Yet because of its single piece construction and light weight aluminum the MacBook feels good when you need to move it. I doesn't creak and there is no noticeable bend when lifted.
Battery Life - It just keeps going, and going, and going... Actually I am seeing up to 4 hours life on the fully charged battery. My previous computer never surpassed 1.75 hours.
Size - It is very thin and carrying it around is very comfortable. I had a 17" and while I like the large display its uncomfortable to carry like a book.
Magnetic Clasp - When closing the lid the owner is rewarded with a very solid thump instead of a "creak" "clack" that you hear from so many other laptops that use a plastic display and mechanical clasp. Opening the monitor is equally a pleasing. You place you thumb under the lip and lift. The laptop may slide a little on smooth surfaces but the lid comes up smooth and controlled.
Keyboard - This is a great piece of work. Does it have "Home", "Page Up", "Page Down", the legendary "Any" key? No. Doesn't need it. A little research and practice and you will find that these "missing" keys are functions of the keyboard and I don't miss them at all. Secondly the keyboard "key-float" (that rattle you hear when you lightly stroke your finger back and forth over a laptop keyboard) is almost completely non-existent. So when you're typing it doesn't sound like your wadding up crinkly plastic and you don't annoy your neighbors. The key throw is short but very pleasant. Another thing I like about the keyboard is that you don't feel like you will break the keyboard if your touch is a little heavy.
Display - The display is a work of art. No only does it look good, but flex has been reduced to almost nothing. It feels very solid and you don't feel you need to worry about tilting the screen from the corner. The glass cover over the LED lit LCD display is awesome. You can actually clean the screen without LCD screen colors distorting. Not to mention that is automatically dims in low light and the key board lights up in the same low light conditions. that's a nice touch. The display brightness is every bit as bright as my desktop LCD display in strong light.
Touch Pad - Any who has tried to use the touch pads on other computers (I hate them generally) will love this touch pad. It works like the iPhone (except scrolling is reversed for obvious reasons - you're not actually touching the screen). The touch is light and very smooth. Making the entire touch pad the button is brilliant, it took me almost no time to get use to it and now I nearly push a hole through the Dell touch pad before I realize I have to click the buttons. I have no trouble with inadvertent touch that moves my cursor away from where I'm typing.
Quiet - I have yet to hear the fans. It makes me wonder if they ever work.
DVD Superdrive - Finally! No cup holder comes sliding out of the side of my laptop. Just simply slide the disc in and your done. It operates like the CD player in a car. It is easy to eject from the screen or a key on the keyboard.
Fit and Finish - The best I've ever seen. The only thing I've seen is a very slight misalignment of the Express Card/34 slot door. But you really have to look close to see it.
Operating System - WOW. Fast, no anti-virus, stable: it just works. I won't get too much into the OS but I will say that once I understood how Apple likes things done OS X is very appealing. Not to mention that it sleeps and wakes up faster than anything I have ever worked with. Open the monitor and it's sitting there saying "come on, I'm tired of waiting for you".
Built-in Accelerometers - Not sure what they're good for, but they're cool. Like the iPhone the MacBook Pro has three accelerometers. There is an Stanford Laptop Orchestra uses MacBook Pros to make music using these accelerometers.
No Fresh Air Openings - I really dislike fresh air ports on the bottom of laptops. They are easily plugged and they suck fuzz and dust into the heat sinks. With my previous computers the fresh air ports were placed underneath the computer right where it sets on your legs. The result was you ran a big risk overheating the computer. The MacBook Pro pulls the cooling air through the keyboard and therefore has a smooth bottom making it far better to place on you lap.
Chassis - While it is a brilliant piece of engineering there are a couple very minor issues.
One: Always pick the computer up with both hands. While this is true of all laptops you want to last, it's a little more important with this one. The metal around the ethernet port has been machined very thin which was necessary to fit the large jack in the rather narrow side of the laptop. So if you have the monitor open and grab the laptop with you left hand and your thumb over that jack you could dent the metal around it. It doesn't warp or twist the whole chassis, it's too strong but you could see a small indention in a otherwise straight piece of metal.
Two: The metal in the Battery/Hard Drive Cover is very thin and sometime appears to hang below lip of the chassis. You really have to look to see it and it isn't all the time. I don't think is is warped or bent, but just the natural flexibility of aluminum.
Touch Pad Click - While I absolutely love the touch pad (in fact I only use a mouse anymore when I am programming on it because of the nature of the software). If you try to click at the top of the pad (nearest the screen) the force required to click goes up quite a bit.
Price? - Not really a Con. Some have complained about the price. Three and half years ago I paid $5700 for a Dell 9100 laptop (All the bells and whistles, Window XP Pro, Office Pro, the works). It has been a great computer that has been put to pasture and my family uses it. I've only had two problems with it. The dreaded mexican jumping keys (a key flies off the keyboard after you press it down while typing; AKA broken key) Dell replaced the keyboard without any trouble and the hard drive crashed and needed to be replaced. The Dell computer when new cost more than twice the MacBook Pro does today and the only thing it has over the Mac (old age and technology not withstanding) is it's 1920 x 1200 pixel display compared to the Mac's 1440 x 900 display. If I were to order the most power 15.4 laptop Apple sells today, I would still pay half the price of the Dell and the Apple does much more and has better quality overall.
To summarize this is an accomplishment that the engineers, designers, and developers should feel proud. There is some room for improvement but these improvements are at a level that other laptops have to improve a great deal just to achieve Apple's shortcomings.
I could go on further but I think this is enough. Apple has truly developed a great product in both hardware and software and I recommend it highly.
146 of 165 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Extra Money Compared to MacBook,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)Apple's site and other reviews provide the essential information on what was upgraded in this new MacBook Pro (two graphics systems; machined from solid aluminum; new industry-standard DisplayPort video out; new trackpad; other minor changes/upgrades).
But why get this computer rather than the much less expensive MacBook that appears almost identical?
1. The MacBook LCD display is poor. It is not just a smaller version of the MacBook Pro LCD display. It has washed-out blacks, poor contrast, limited viewing angles, and less vibrant colors. This is a huge difference. I confirmed this with a side by side comparison in the Apple Store (and the store staff member agreed), and you can find further discussion at gizmodo dot com (gizmodo.com/5063492/macbook-and-macbook-pro-dual-review).
2. The MacBook Pro's excellent new graphics chip (NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT) can be used to speed up all operations (not just graphics) when the new Apple operating system (Snow Leopard) is released in January. This is not confirmed, but there is substantial discussion online suggesting this is the case. The 9600M is essentially a 32 processor computer (running at 120 gigaflops). So, a MacBook Pro will actually gain in speed over time. The MacBook does not have a separate graphics card that can work this way.
3. MacBook Pro graphics are twice as fast as MacBook graphics, so if you do anything visual with your computer (digital photography, video, games, etc.) then everything will run much more quickly and smoothly. Some games that are just barely playable on the MacBook become fun and seemless on the MacBook Pro.
4. The MacBook Pro has a firewire port (omitted from the new MacBook).
5. The MacBook Pro has an expansion card slot (really handy for adding a memory card reader or 3G roaming internet).
So, for the extra $400 (MacBook 2.4 GHz vs. MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz) you get a lot of extras that you will notice and use. And you will avoid the poor LCD on the MacBook. You are still stuck with the highly-reflective glass screen (if my eyeglasses can get anti-reflective coating, then why not this computer screen?), however, so it's only four stars until they solve that problem.
108 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New macbook, new hardware, awesome,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)Apple is notorious for constantly updating their products, more or less to keep up the status quo on their products. The new Macbook Pro is no exception. This beautifully constructed laptop is a work of art in many ways in which i will detail.
The MBP has had a beautiful screen for as long as i can remember and this new model is no exception. LED lit means that it is "instant on". when you open the lid, there is no warm up time like there is with other screens like LCD ect. The colors pop and are extremely vibrant and true. If you have seen an older MBP screen, you've seen them both, kind of. The new screen is all glass. The glass extends to the very outer edge of the lid, leaving no empty space. Simply put, you can't find a better screen, not even on a Sony machine (and i love sony also).
The new MBP has an updated keyboard. The first thing you will notice is that the keys are black as apposed to the old silver. The black adds a nice touch because it accents the silver case. If you ask me, the old MBP had too much silver. EVERYTHING on the machine was silver aluminum. Don't get me wrong, i loved the old MBP, but this is just one step up. The Keyboard is also backlit so when you are in a darker environment, the keys light up, helping you see anything and everything on the keyboard. The Keyboard is absolutely beautiful on the machine and adds a nice touch overall to the look.
I find it weird that i can put an entire section on a review about a laptops trackpad, but this is undoubtedly necessary. The new trackpad is ALL glass and there is no button---per say. In reality the entire trackpad is the button. They took off the button on the bottom and extended the trackpad down to give you more real estate. Apple spent months designing this trackpad and i have to give them major credit for that. recently me and my friend were looking at laptops at Circuit City, and one thing we did was go through every single laptop and look at it's trackpad. It is absolutely amazing how much time and effort company's DON'T put into designing their trackpad, when in my book, it is a HUGE factor. The coefficient of friction on this trackpad is exactly what it needs to be. not too rough, not too smooth, just right. I absolutely love the MBP trackpad and think it is something apple needs to be commended for.
Apple and NVIDIA joined up and came up with a new video card for this MBP. The MBP actually has 2 graphics cards in it. One that is integrated, and one that is dedicated. The integrated graphics is NVIDIA instead of the old intel, so it is immensely better. The dedicated card (which can be easily switched on) is a powerhouse and almost puts a MBP in line with other gaming machines, almost. Needless to say, this notebook will do just about whatever you want it to do graphics wise, gaming, video editing, photo editing, you name it, it will do it pretty easily. no worries here.
overall this laptop is at the top of it's class and you might be wondering why i gave it 4 stars and not 5.....first and foremost, money. I have to say that this is still overpriced. You are paying for a collection of things like the operating system, graphics card, high end components and things like that, but come on apple, 2000 dollars is a lot to drop on any laptop, no matter what it is. Is it worth it? without a doubt yes, and that is why apple can jack up their prices, but at the same time, it seems like they are kind of taking advantage of us, especially in the economic slum we're in right now. Maybe i am just cheap (which i don't think most people would classify me as that) but that seems a little high to me. And another thing. what is up with the new display port? i have a 46 inch samsung tv and i will be hooking it up to my MBP but the cable is 100 dollars!!!! and that is just to dual link dvi----i still have to buy a dual link dvi to HDMI adapter after that. Ugh. apple (along with other company's...cough cough monster cables) is completely ripping us off on their cables and that makes a difference in my outlook on the big picture.
The new MBP is absolutely stunning in every aspect of its design. Apple continues to wow us, and they will also continue to prosper and grow. I will be enjoying my new Macbook pro and i hope this review helped you in any questions you might have had. It is an investment that will live for a long time and will be greatly enjoyed every day. good job apple.
123 of 142 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, The Bad, and the Shiny,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)The new MacBook Pro has some significant advantages over the old one. The new case design is attractive and solid. The keyboard is crisp and responsive. The hard drive is as easy to access as on every other notebook on the market (as opposed to requiring complete disassembly of the machine with the old model). The new NVIDIA 9600 graphics adds a lot of 3D horsepower.
There are some significant drawbacks as well. The video output for connecting an external monitor is only compatible with one monitor at the moment. Connecting to the kinds of monitor that people actually own will require the purchase (and carrying) of an additional $30 adapter. Or two, if you need to connect to both VGA and DVI monitors.
The new MacBook Pro actually has two video adapters; the NVIDIA 9400 and 9600. The system uses the 9400 by default, which is less powerful than the 9600 but uses less power. The 9400 is an integrated adapter without its own memory; it uses 256MB of the system RAM. The problem is that it uses that 256MB RAM even when the system is using the 9600 adapter. In other words, these laptops effectively have 256MB less RAM than the previous generation.
The new display is very clear and sharp, at least as good as the previous generation's screen. It is also covered with a pane of glass and is very, very shiny; much shinier and more reflective even than the previous generation's 'glossy' screen. If the lighting conditions in your work environment are exactly right, the screen looks wonderful. If there is any light behind or above you, the screen acts as a mirror and the glare and reflections can be very annoying.
The new MacBook Pro is a wonderful computer, but it is not a clear upgrade from the previous version and the mirror finish of the new screen means that no one should buy this computer without actually trying it first.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PC to Mac Convert and lovin' it!,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB471LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)I am a long-time IT professional with enough certifications (mostly Microsoft) to make a large can of alphabet soup, and this is my first Mac. I had played with a few of them here and there years ago, and never saw what people liked about them. The closest I ever came was back in the late '90s when I was tempted to run Windows on a PPC, but just about the time I was going to do that, Microsoft pulled their support for it from Windows, and that ended that.
So, I was anti-Mac for quite a few years. All that has changed. I began to believe in the OS when Apple began to base it on Unix. A solid, time proven technology that I trust. The big thing that changed it all for me is VMWare. For 70 dollars, I have the ability to run Vista Ultimate, XP, and Ubuntu Linux on OSX. My Vista Ultimate is my previous Dell (not a slouchy box, either). It's a complete clone of my old computer. Windows still shows it being a Dell! Spooky. Windows had it a 3.6 rating, and a retest of the VM on my Mac shows a 3.6 rating. That alone earns 4 of the stars I give this machine.
Now, here's another reason why I'm so happy. I put Office 2008 on the MBP, and I seldom have any reason to even start the Vista VM anymore. The last two times I did, it was only because I miss the great Vista solitaire game. That earns the fifth star -- I'm not "homesick" in the least. I think I'll be staying right here on planet Mac. As a matter of fact, I got a MacBook for my wife, I liked this MBPro MB471LL/A so much! Bought her the MB403LL/A.
I use it with an external monitor about 90 percent of the time, so the glare of the glossy screen hasn't been an issue for me. The built in screen is gorgeous, and I've not been in a situation where glare became an issue.
This machine is truly desktop horsepower in a gorgeous carved aluminum notebook chassis. I'm a very happy camper.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
I'm absolutely delighted with this purchase. Everything just works. Although I'm still finding my way around in some areas, I am reveling in the joy of a human-use-oriented user interface. I installed VMware fusion based on my comparisons between it and Parallels, and on my experience with VMware on other platforms. I exported my work machine with VMware Converter and imported it into Fusion. Works great. Performance is at least as good as it was on the old machine (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM)--and stability is much better. Integration of Windows apps into OS X is excellent using Fusion's Unity mode. I have not had to revert to my work-issued HP laptop even once since making the jump.
The only challenge I had, and it was minor, was installing the RAM upgrade. I bought 4 GB RAM at the same time as the machine because I wanted to have the full memory capacity, especially for business apps and VMware Fusion. The upgrade isn't difficult (unlike the Mac Mini!), but it does take some care and two sizes of small screwdrivers to complete. Eight screws have to come out, and four of them are quite small. Take care to keep from dropping any of the smaller screws into the machine when you're reinstalling them. Cover alignment is also important to get just right, or the battery/HDD hatch doesn't close properly. As with any project, put all the screws in before tightening any of them.
Unlike other reviewers, I have not found the high-glare, glass display to be a big problem. Glare is sometimes an issue but reorienting the machine slightly minimizes the inconvenience. The display is gorgeous, very much in keeping with the overall product design and quality. The glass trackpad is excellent, with intuitive, tunable multitouch features. The MacBook Pro runs much cooler, and quieter, than any laptop I've used over the last 5 or 6 years as well. The milled aluminum case is both rugged and attractive, as well as providing a great heat sink for the high-heat components.
In the wish-list department, I would appreciate having more than two built-in USB ports, although I can migrate at least one device to FireWire to take advantage of that port. Also, the front edge of the base is slightly uncomfortably sharp for resting my hands or wrists. Lastly, I find it annoying to have to buy a $20+ adapter cable to connect an external VGA monitor. The adapter cable is also too short--but this isn't a review of the cable. All that said, these issues are not enough to drop my rating below five stars. This is an outstanding laptop. I like OS X enough that I have already added a Mac Mini as the family machine, to rave reviews among its three primary users. How can you beat that?
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go With The Pro!,
I didn't get it from Amazon, or order it. I wanted to look at the computer before I purchased it. From reading all the horror stories on the web about people receiving damaged, or broken laptops from both the Apple Store and other retail stores. I would also recommend if you are going to get a mac, go to the Apple Store itself and get one if possible. They are so helpful, and usually give you some kind of deal when purchasing one. They will also set it up for you, but transferring all your information to your new computer is very easy to do by yourself.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Switching From a PC to a 17" MacBook Z0G5 128GB SSD,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB604LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) (Personal Computers)As of this writing, I've noticed that Amazon is mixing all MacBook Pro reviews together, regardless of the model you searched on to get here. This is for the Z0G5, which is really just the 2.66GHz MB604LL 17" with the 128GB Solid State Drive option. Although I have used Apple/Mac products over the years, this is the first time an Apple has been my number 1 computing device. I'm including details for those used to the PC environment, so those already familiar with Apple, please be patient, as I wanted to help weigh the pros and cons of switching from Windows.
This, quite simply, is the nicest computer I have ever owned or used since starting with them in 1979. It is not for everybody, if only because of price, but if there is something you are used to doing on Windows XP or Vista, this will probably do it, and do it faster and more reliably.
* Bootup/shutdown times - benchmarks are somewhat relative, but my 6 year old HP ze5400 P4, and 5 month old dv7-1130 core-duo, both will boot XP Pro to a usable state in just over 4 minutes, including effects of anti-virus software and initial browser launch. Using the same licensed copy of XP Pro for this MBP, it boots in an incredible 25 seconds, every time. This latter time is a full boot-up -- no hour glasses to wait through. Shutdowns average around 4 seconds on the MBP, compared to around 30 to 45 seconds on the above mentioned Windows laptops. You can also run Vista32/64, Linux, Unix, Sun and other OS using VMware Fusion, which runs within the Leopard OS -- this is absolutely terrific software, and if you set it to full screen, you will be hard pressed to tell if you are running a pure Windows OS, although Fusion will only devote one of the two Intel cores to Windows. This latter point is quite amazing, when you read about how fast Vista boots on other MBP's (see other Amazon reviews in April 2009). You can allocate the majority of the included 4GB of RAM and almost as much as the hard drive/SSD to these guest OS' as you want. For just Leopard, the native OS, boot and shutdown times are comparable, and of course, that's for just that OS -- it has nothing to do with Fusion or guest OS's.
* Screen - having just come from a near-new HP dv7-1130us, which also has a glossy 17" screen, well, there is simply no comparison. I'm not being an "Apple snob" here. The MBP offers a much sharper and more colorful image. Personally, the occasional glare is a worthwhile trade-off for the image quality, but I spent almost 2 hours in a local Apple store comparing the glossy vs. anti-glare side-by-side, and I almost picked the anti-glare, extra $[...] cost notwithstanding. Unless you are really concerned about the final few pixels of 130dpi resolution which the glossy screen seems to bring out, or the pop-out color of the glossy, the anti-glare is just as good, and almost fully eliminates any trace of glare. I could have been happy with either. Also, when running XP in VMware Fusion, you can set the screen resolution to a ridiculous 5210 x 3200 ! (not native of course, but the even the 1920x1200 is better than any WSXGA+ screen I'm aware of)
* Battery power - I've only run on battery for 4 hours at a time, but I would estimate usable power for up to 6 hours, with occasional wifi use and uninterrupted word processing. I do think it's POSSIBLE to get the 8 hr time, particularly if you get the flash hard drive and 2.66GHz processor, but you have to allow all power saving options, reduce screen brightness to absolute minimum, etc, so that practically, this is just a laboratory spec. However, I have never owned a laptop that did better than 3 hours -- so this doubled that.
* Keyboard - I have come to really like the keyboard in only two weeks, although I do miss having a backspace key. Apple die-hards may know something I don't, but without backspace or an 'end' key, I find I am re-positioning the cursor a lot. However, the track pad almost compensates for this. When set for single-tap, this is the best track pad I've ever used. I never accidentally select or click items anymore. Right click is done with two-fingers, and is less effort than actual 'right-clicking'. Windows hotkeys, such as alt-tab, ctrl c, ctrl v, etc. work when running XP. I dislike the sharp edge towards the front of the laptop, and I'm a little surprised that Apple picked form over razor-blade-function by not beveling this. But, this thing is a MacBook Air wannabe - it is very thin, and the pressure on the wrists still isn't as bad as other laptops I have used. Too bad they didn't round it like the bottom edge.
* SSD speed and response - currently, going to the Solid State Drive (NAND flash memory) is a $[...] premium to a 7200RPM hard drive, and that only gets you 128GB, of which you will have around 93 usable GB after getting your Mac with Leopard, iLife (included) and in my case, iWork loaded on it. I keep photos and large files on a couple of external HDD's, and use an online backup service for really important business files, so trading off speed to lower capacity was very worthwhile. In fact, I'm getting in the bad habit of not shutting down, but just putting the MBP to sleep and stuffing it in my bag while it's saving files -- it doesn't matter with SSD. I've read about benchmarking SSD to HDD, small files vs big files, etc, etc. Frankly, it was all meaningless once using it for real. It's expensive now, but in 5 years, we will all be using SSD.
* iWork and TextEdit - these will open .doc, .xls, .xlsx, etc. You may not be able to edit all the features of Windows productivity software using Apple's own versions on their own, but you can still do many things with iWork, and you can always view any Microsoft-format files. I was stunned at some of iWork's templates in Pages and Numbers.
* You can share files between the Leopard and Windows OS (or any other guest OS) using shared folders. You can also select to share files between different users or not. This reminded me of using LAN shares.
* Blue screen? What's that?? Cheekiness aside, I can lock a Mac if I really try, but I have not done so yet on this or it's guest XP Pro OS. Just a pleasure to use.
NOT AS GOOD
* 2.66GHz vs 2.93GHz for an extra $[...] - I'm being a little less than objective here, but looking at bench marks for the MacPro desktop, and talking with Apple Genius reps, I concluded the 2.93GHz processor only adds about 5 to 7% more usable processing power. Feel free to offer your opinion.
* Occasional lag - this has happened 3 times in two weeks - I think this is due to the guest OS and tear-down of memory ranges. It's not that obtrusive, but after getting used to the normal speed of the laptop, it's a bit of a surprise when it does happen.
* Trash bin - no restore. I have researched this and as incredible as it will sound to Windows users, you must manually restore unintended deletions yourself to whatever folder it came from -- not very helpful if you were typing/swiping quickly and didn't see where you unintentionally deleted something, or you are unfamiliar with Mac directory trees. I have read some borderline-snob opinions about this, but it's a serious oversight that should not be joked about. Most of us can identify with your hands tiring and inadvertently dragging a file or folder to the Trash. Or sometimes small creatures known as children get a-hold of your treasured, $[...] device and use it as a Fisher-Price xylophone set. I've been around some very brainy, Product Development Engineering-Fellow-types for years, and they are sometimes guilty of convincing themselves that removing features like this are explainable, acceptable, and only weak or stupid people would ever complain. I guess I'm weak and stupid. Frankly, I don't care. Stupid people still seem to have a lot of money, (more than average, I have observed) so unless Apple likes perpetual 12% market-share, they should and will have to match certain, select attributes offered by competitors. Again, if I'm wrong, I'd welcome being set straight on the issue.
* Caution: Slippery When Dry - dry hands may not always grasp the super clean, smooth aluminum case, such as when going through airport X-ray security with hundreds of people jostling you. I purchased the 3 year warranty because of this (although damage in such circumstances still may not be covered).
* Warranty - at $[...], it's a little expensive. I didn't know this when purchasing, but if you buy a 24" monitor with the MBP on the same invoice, then the warranty also covers the monitor. Except that, by definition, if you don't buy a monitor, then you're overpaying for a warranty that was priced to include one.
* You may need new hardware and/or software - much of it which is not cheap. One reason why VMware Fusion is so wonderful is you can load Window-based apps like Office and use your existing license. Apple currently throws in iLife, and if using only Leopard, you don't typically need anti-virus software. Some Apple hardware, like RAM, is designed only for Apple computers and does cost more -- even if you buy it from a third-party retailer.
* ExpressCard 34 port - I really will need an eSATA port. Unfortunately, reading some Apple reviews indicate that many commonly-available Express34 eSATA adapter drivers currently do not work reliably with the MBP. I normally don't put too much into a few bad reviews here and there, but this does seem to be a genuine problem with the MBP as of late April 2009. Driver updates may correct.
* Price - it has to be said: This is still just a computer. Once you add truly comparable hardware, the price difference is not quite as disparate as many believe...perhaps $[...] for a premium, all-flash, all-day-battery Windows laptop to a $[...] MBP. It's easy to fall into a trap of just counting USB ports, of how much DDR3 RAM you get, but I'm also referring to native screen resolution for a portable device, or color balance, stability, security vulnerability, etc. If the MBP advantages are worth it to you, chances are you already know. I just broke the TFT display on my 5 month old HP dv7-1130us laptop, which also had a dual-core, 4GB DDR3 RAM, etc., which lead to this MBP purchase, but believe me -- and I'm not trying to jump onto an anti-Vista kick here -- the PC was painful to use. Slow, alarmingly buggy, and poor legacy support. Even after downgrading it to XP and upgrading to a 7200RPM HDD, performance was still slow slow - slower than an old single core, P4 with 1GB DDR RAM. Specs aren't going to show you how fast this MBP boots.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
Use the MacBook Pro a little bit, and it grows on you all the more. It seems different, but familiar hot keys, print screen, display and wifi settings, etc. are all still there.
Apple still reminds me of how computers used to be in the 1980's -- things are already laid-out for you, and you do it the Apple way, and if you don't like it, get used to it. PC, which really was a semi-open standard that began with Microsoft OS running of IBM PC's and PC clones, could be configured many ways. Like so many things, what makes it open also makes it complicated, with clashing interpretations of standards. Testing keeps systems reliable, but it is always the most expensive part of developing anything (I know, I can thank my career for it). As a result, testing is usually where cost-cutting must be performed. Next time you curse Vista, remember, Microsoft engineers cannot solve issues due to third-party designers. They will always be in reactive mode because Windows is relatively open.
Apple chose to make the day-to-day settings for you, and telling many peripheral designers "here's how your printer WILL talk to our computers", etc. It's potentially less flexible, and will slow third-party software and hardware development because it is more expensive to design and test with Apple. Ironically, this is disorienting to us Windows users. We are so used to controlling and setting everything, that an Apple computer seems too simple, and even that control is lost. This really isn't the case though. Virtually everything you can set in Windows can be manually set in a Mac. But what I've found over the last 2 weeks is, why would you want to keep adjusting anymore? I know it's their current slogan, so apologies, but the Apple really "just works". There's no need to get into setup menus -- set once and forget.
The last time I used iMac G3's or the original MacIntosh, I enjoyed them and remembered a few of my former PC-peers who said they would never switch back to a PC. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to say that yet, but the MacBook Pro 17" is the first Apple computer I'm willing to test that notion on.
UPDATE: Sept 15, 2009
This is just a fantastic computer. This is what impresses me almost daily:
* Speed. Same boot-up/turn-off times. It does not gradually slow down with use like Windows. Leopard and now Snow Leopard respond very fast. Running XP in the virtual is awesome because I almost never shut-down....I just suspend it. In doing so, XP basically restarts in seconds.
* Display -- Love using screen capture (command, shift, 4) -- much better than Print Screen.
* RapidWeaver, Pages, Numbers - awesome templates. Nice alternatives to the familiar ones we've seen for 10 years.
* Ease of updates - fast, automatic and they do not bog machine down while loading. They also are not co-dependent or prerequisite. They just all download and install at once.
* Battery life. On just Leopard, 1/2 brightness screen, working on say a website while listening to iTunes, I get an honest 6 hours. You probably could get 8 hours as I once got 7, but that's the dimmest setting and running only 1 app. Still, I never take my adapter for the day. The batteries outlast me.
* Time machine is actually pretty cool. I quite a back-up hound, and had just done what I always did with manual dragging of files to an external drive but TM works very well.
Occasionally, there are problems, though in all honesty they do not cause much grief...but in the interest of disclosure, here's what I've found:
* About 1 or 2 times per month, I have to Force Quit something. Problem is usually seems due to a 3rd party driver or app.
* Creating a new folder places it at the root of the directory tree, not in a subfolder you've highlighted.
* No FW400 port. I'm not sure...maybe there's an FW800-to-400 adapter. But I could have used this a few times now.
* Could not find a way to reverse the data series on a Numbers graph. Geniuses at Mac store couldn't figure it out either. There might be a way (in fact, it's there buy greyed-out...why??).
* I dont' like iTunes lack of Realplayer-format support like .ra and .rmj, and greatly wish I could just see a directory tree of songs that I can shift-right-click and select.
I don't know how Windows 7 will compare yet. While it's still important for me to have the legacy support of XP on VM Fusion, I find that I'm using it less and less, almost completely relying on speedy Snow Leopard, Numbers, Word, TextEdit and Preview. Dialog boxes are also rare (mercifully). If you are really watching money (which would include 99% of us), obviously you'll have to wonder about those $[...] HP laptop blowouts you see. However, after just playing around with the dv7 or my friend's HP d8000, I would really recommend you try a small MBP 13.3 or 15" and at least compare, although it still does take time to learn certain keystrokes and features if you're only a Windows person. Personally, though, I'm hooked. I don't think I could go back to a plastic, bendable and slow laptop again.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macbook Pro/Leopard convert,
First things first: it just works. No clutter, no unnecessary backgrounds running in the background, simple and definitely sleek. I'm still getting use to the file management since it is different but otherwise, a lot of the programs I've used on Windows are available on Mac.
It's really light for a 15" laptop! And definitely thin too.. although it's not a cutting edge Macbook Air thin, it's definitely thin enough for easier transport. The all aluminum design is stunning. It's solid and feels sturdy. The keyboard is just right with its chiclet style keys and has enough tactile feedback.. not too loud either.
It's glossy and yes there is glare. Since I do photography, it's probably not the best screen to edit on but the colors and text and all is really good. It's a bright screen and makes pictures just look good.. too good as a matter of fact [opinion shared with another photography Joe McNally].
It's weird at first but it's really like a regular trackpad.. you place your hand as if on old trackpad and you'll naturally figure it out. Nothing really different but the space of the trackpad is really generous and I'm sure other manufacturers will follow suit.
I've yet to get bogged down after running Photoshop CS4, Lightroom, iTunes, and Firefox at the same time. So I have no issues just yet and will see later on if I'll need to upgrade to 4gb since I have the standard lower end version of the Macbook Pro.
Overall, I'm glad I made the purchase and i'm sure this will last me quite a bit since I've had my Gateway [tablet] for over 2 years.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful computer, some mixed feelings,
So why do it?
Here are MY reasons. 1) I needed MAC OS X to port some of my applications to the Mac, maybe go into iPhone development too. 2) I needed *some* laptop (for mobility) to replace my historic trusty Dell Inspiron 8000. Most of my work happens on a custom built desktop. 3) I am not much of a Windows fan and I am a bit tired of Linuxes; I wanted inspiration from something I haven't used before: to learn and expand knowledge/experience horizons.
So that's where I am coming from...
After 3 weeks of usage I can say the following (you will notice the mixed feelings from the title of this review)
This is a computer of *stunning* beauty! It is a work of art: the screen, the keyboard, the body; it belongs on a permanent exibition at the MoMA. As such it is a joy to use and have around, it brightens my daily experience. And yet... why such a small screen resolution (1440x900) for a 15 inch screen?! Even my historic Dell from 2001 sported 1600x1200, great for working with text and hi-res photos. For this kind of money we should be getting higher resolution. I am not talking about numbers for numbers' sake: the font characters (even as I write this) are far from print quality, issues with anti-aliasing software may have something to do with this. Within the first couple of hours I practically decided to return the laptop because of how text looks 70% of the time. It is difficult to understand why Apple is saving on pixels here and impairs an otherwise great product. Is it because higher resolutions are reserved for even pricier models? Apart from the not-so-great-a-resolution (you may google around for other people's opinions on that), pricing is somewhat annoying too (and also discussed in many places on the Web). To connect an external monitor you need a $30 or $100 additional cable. To upgrade to a much more reasonable 4GB of RAM you'll need $100+ (or $300 if you want this commodity to have Apple sign on it :-) )
But... I decided to keep the laptop. It is too beautiful, and I find MAC OS "Leopard" intriguing and a good experience. Then there are other pluses: the keyboard (back-lit w/ smooth key action), great network connectivity, convenient weight and dimensions, glossy screen (I don't have issues with reflections other reviewers mention). From the developer's perspective, I learn some good things and some not so good: apparently I can't just download my Java from Sun (say 32-bit Java 6); I have to live with what Apple endorses :-(
Amazon/UPS delivery was fantastic, packaging is beautiful too: they both made for a very pleasant and exciting experience.
Summary: I am not returning the laptop, I enjoy its beauty and functionality, but if I didn't need MAC OS for my planned work, I would have stayed in the higher value priced PC-land (eg. Lenovo + Ubuntu) where you can customize parameters better and avoid hefty margins.
A FEW DAYS LATER: With MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter (another $30) I connected the laptop to my 1600x1200 Sony LCD monitor. The text characters can still look pretty bad, eg. equals sign = with grey area between the horizontal segments. The bad news is that the higher resolution did not heal the issue: the good news: perhaps this is a software issue to be solved with a system update -- I hope.
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