40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macbook Pro 17-inch (Mid 2009)...fantastic desktop replacement
Simply put, the best laptop I've ever owned. I configured it through Apple with the 128GB SSD and apps install incredibly fast and launch instantly. The screen is a marvel, 1920 X 1200 with LCD backlight. I opted to go with the glossy, so there are some reflections but only when using directly in front of a bright window, otherwise its not a problem (for me...
Published on July 3, 2009 by Greg L. Stewart
108 of 138 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great in OS X, but dismal support for XP, Vista and BootCamp
One year ago, disgusted by dismal experiences with multiple PC manufacturers (Dell, Acer, among others) in terms of their terrible support for Windows (along with poor hardware reliability issues and very poor servicing of hardware), I took the plunge and decided I would buy a Mac. I basically have to have windows XP because it's required to interface with various...
Published on December 18, 2009 by D. F. Watt
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macbook Pro 17-inch (Mid 2009)...fantastic desktop replacement,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)Simply put, the best laptop I've ever owned. I configured it through Apple with the 128GB SSD and apps install incredibly fast and launch instantly. The screen is a marvel, 1920 X 1200 with LCD backlight. I opted to go with the glossy, so there are some reflections but only when using directly in front of a bright window, otherwise its not a problem (for me anyway).
Bear in mind, this is a BIG laptop...its a tray table...but very sturdy and NO flex in the chassis. The trackpad is also very useable, although I still opted for a mouse (Logitech M555b Bluetooth, highly recommended also).
It doesn't heat up much and has incredible battery life...if I switch to the 9400M integrated graphics (which is fine for most uses), I can get 6 hours on a charge no problem, with WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness at about 60% and the SSD as the primary HD. With a different config YMMV, but I'd bet 5-6 hours is the norm for this machine.
All-in-all, a great laptop. I'll have this 2-3 years no problems.
38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never back to PCs,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)This is my second Mac, an upgrade in size and disk capacity from my first Mac, a MacBook Pro 15 with Intel processor. There was nothing whatever wrong with that old Mac - after 3 1/2 years I just needed more area on the screen for my work and did not mind the much greater disk capacity of the new model The most telling aspect of my first Mac had been that it never "crashed", unlike generations of PCs I had used. If I managed to do something really "naughty" to my Mac, it sometimes closed a software program - but without noticeable loss of data. In stark contrast to my PC days, I never had to scramble to recover data. The worst I ever did was to inadvertently delete some ancient email messages. They proved easily recoverable from the external backup. Yes, initially it took a few hours to re-learn keystrokes that are different on the Mac than on PCs. I saved that back in no time, then received big dividends because my Mac never crashed. It just always works as it is designed to do.
The most amazing experience with the new Mac was the transfer of my "stuff" from old to new Mac. I went at it with some trepidation because it had taken seemingly endless hours to migrate "stuff" from old to new PCs. By contrast, everything had migrated from old Mac to new Mac in less than one hour via firewire - and all worked perfectly. By 'everything" I mean not just all data - files, records, contact information, photos, calendar, etc.- but also all software I had installed on the old Mac. And, everything was exactly where and how I was used to it, and everything worked as it should on my brilliant and larger new Mac. It is now backed up by even greater memory and processor speed, and runs on Snow Leopard - which is just as flawlessly reliable as the previous operating system but faster and more efficient, with a few neat new features strewn in.
I can still hardly believe that it took years, no decades, before I got fed up and dumped PCs and their flawed operating systems and incompatible software and data bases for something that works. A student in my family just "took the plunge" to Mac when she inherited my first Mac - she is thrilled. Before that I had loaned it to friends - decades long PC users - who promptly made me a nice offer for it and who have since bought new Macs from the local Apple Store. They are extremely conservative and frugal folks - but it did not take them long to figure out that one Mac every decade that always works is better than a new PC every three years that frequently "crashes". Macs serve their owners and serve them well. PCs work sometimes and expect their owners to serve and service them.. Who is master and who slave? There is never a doubt with a Mac!
108 of 138 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great in OS X, but dismal support for XP, Vista and BootCamp,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)One year ago, disgusted by dismal experiences with multiple PC manufacturers (Dell, Acer, among others) in terms of their terrible support for Windows (along with poor hardware reliability issues and very poor servicing of hardware), I took the plunge and decided I would buy a Mac. I basically have to have windows XP because it's required to interface with various hospital systems, but I thought if the Windows partition went down (a virtual guarantee with Windows XP at some point), at least I would have a reliable Mac system as a backup. I expected a far better experience, given the customer service ratings of Apple, which are far better than any PC manufacturer. Little did I know what I was getting into.
The XP partition blue screened on a regular basis, from the first moment it was created. Microsoft of course makes it anything but easy to figure out why XP is bluescreening - part of their effort to duck and cover around the OS being a buggy mess. (Any misbehaving driver will bring it down.) And Apple's position on this consistently was that "this is not their problem." Adding insult to injury, I was charged for support by Microshaft (despite this partition being built from a new copy of Windows XP professional). Well, what else is new - this is standard PC fare, and the primary reason why so many people are switching to Macs.
What was a revelation was to discover (after using a great little program called BlueScreenView that not even Microsoft was aware of) that the driver causing ALL the blue screens was Apple's proprietary mouse driver for the touchpad/mouse. Even more stunning, I found out that Apple apparently was aware of this all along (12+ months), but failed to contact users, and failed to correct the mouse driver issues for over one year, despite numerous complaints on the part of numerous boot Camp users about the mouse driver causing major problems. Apple's position on this is that all Windows issues have nothing to do with them. That might be true . . . except for the small fact that Apple was writing the XP driver software for the mouse that was causing all the problems. This kind of "it's not my responsibility" attitude is something you expect from Microsoft, or perhaps from Dell, but you don't expect from Apple.
After roughly one year of difficulties (blue screens almost every day or every other day, bringing down the system and causing loss of work and endless grief along with two corrupted C drive partitions), I was able to find a fix for this, no thanks to Apple. It's been a shock to see Apple operate the way that every other big corporation in America appears to operate. The Mac side of course works just fine, but I bought this system to use it primarily as a PC (with Mac OS X capability as a backup). If you are never going to use as a dual OS system, this is a fine computer and OS. However, I would strongly caution anyone against buying an Apple laptop or desktop system if they intend to have serious dual boot capability and intend to use some version of Windows more than 10% of the time. What you'll find is a serious lack of support and a position of complete denial of responsibility by Apple for anything that happens under boot Camp. Although they finally provided a viable mouse driver (hence I upgraded this review from one to two stars), they could have not stonewalled me for a year, and simply admitted that their driver was buggy and crash-prone, but they didn't.
Given that this dual operating system capability has become one of Apple's strong selling cards and responsible for a significant fraction of sales, this position by Apple has to be seen as egregious, and totally unacceptable. My discouraged conclusion is that if you intend to use this system to operate any version of Windows, you have to be aware that you will be on your own. Microsoft will regard all OS issues under BootCamp as Apple's problem, Apple will regard them as Microsoft's problem, and in the final analysis, they are all going to be YOUR problem. Watch out!! (and unfortunately the virtual emulation of Windows under Parallels or VMWare is no solution either - earlier versions were massively buggy!!)
I am confident that this review will be unpopular with the Mac faithful (leading to poor ratings!) - attacking Apple is about like insulting someone's mother in some people's eyes. Such loyalty is admirable, and speaks to some of Apple's strengths - which make this experience all the more puzzling. But for anyone that has struggled with an XP, Vista or (soon) Window 7 partition on a MacBook, this experience should be a MAJOR caution. For those who will never cross into the unreliable and buggy world of Windows on this hardware (a most fortunate majority of owners spared all the headaches of the PC world), this is probably a five star system. But it is striking to see such disparity between Apple on these two sides of an issue (OS X support vs Windows support), and it's really a shame. I had hoped for far better.
Footnote April 2010: After finally getting updated drivers from Apple, I have now have four months go by without a single blue screen of death. For this reason I am updating my rating to three stars. I wish Apple had made the updated mouse/touchpad driver widely available earlier, and had informed users of the fact that this driver was very buggy and crash-prone. The Apple side is a five star product, and between that and the restored functionality of the XP/Windows side, I am changing my overall rating upwards. Hopefully Apple learned something that will ensure that future BootCamp users not have to go through what I went through.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)Defnitely the best laptop you can buy. It's almost perfect and hats saying a lot considering how great their products are already. They just keep getting better and better, but this machine is so great it will last me a long time before another upgrade. Bravo!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)The best and the right decision that I made! I used a friend's mac for couple of hours last month (when he showed off) and immediately realised why MAC was a cut above the rest. When I decided to buy, thought as well should go for the best in the MACBOOK Pro range. I had so many Windows based laptops over the last decade but this I can say is a prized possession! No more crashes, viruses, firewalls, messy uninstalls, painfully slow startups, blue (or black) screens, registry headaches etc.,
After using this, I definitely made a decision not to go back to Windows again. If I did want to use Windows for whatever reason, bootcamp gives the option but not sure why would one want to? After seeing me praise the MAC some of my colleagues have either bought or in the process of buying one. The others who have bought it already say the MAC is 'just awesome!'
If you're reading this with a view to whether you should buy or not, don't waste your time! Just go for it - you won't regret your decision.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Showhorse Workhorse,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)For three years now I have been PC free relying on my trusty MacBook Pro for all the heavy lifting. The replacement of my 2.16GHz MBP was long coming. The major problem was that essentially unlike a PC laptop which is functionally useless after two years, Macs can last forever. What doesn't last forever however is AppleCare Protection Plan - For Portable Apple Computers 15 Inches and Above. Even though Macs are extremely reliable, Applecare is a necessary option. All computers, even Apple computers, are mechanical devices and subject to random and expensive repairs.
So hear was my dilemma. I had a perfectly functional three year old MacBook Pro. It had a market value, and I had a buyer. In a month when my Applecare warranty expired repairs were going to be expensive, eating up the value of the computer. Plus the Congress created a 100% business write-off for new computers for 2009, meaning that the government was going to subsidize a new MacBook Pro. So I sold my old laptop and bought this incredibly fast new 17 inch MacBook Pro.
First why 17in? Lots of people prefer 15 inch machines because of weight issues. This 17 inchat a about 6.6 pounds is significantly lighter than my old MBP. A larger screen is more effective for work, particularly when my work requires research and writing. The only option I got is the antiglare screen. It is true that the colors have more pop and sizzle with the shiny standard screen, but I am not a graphic artist. I read and write in black and white and a glare slows me down.
Battery life is another big factor. An 8 hour battery means you can work on transcontinental or even trans-Atlantic flights. Airline power connections are still few and far between in economy.
The 500GB hard drive is far more than I need right now. One option, although an expensive one, is a 256GB solid state drive. There are advantages. Unlike Hard Drives there are no whirling mechanical parts, making it more releiable. But that does not mean a solid state drive canot fail. They can and you will still require Applecare. the best insurance, along with Applecare is a Apple Time Capsule MB765LL/A 1TB which I used to "move" the data,music, photos, videos, applications, and keychain from the older laptop to my new MBP. (Hint: to do this wirelessly takes a while. Figure on seven or eight hours)
So now I have a flashier, larger, lighter version of my old MacBook Pro, soon to be in the loving hands of a new owner. I have no doubt he will be able to use it for several more years. My new MacBook Pro will be with me till the Applecare expires in three years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am so impressed!,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)I own an IMAC 24" which I love but I needed a laptop. After debating whether to go with the 17" or the 15", and pay an extra $ 300.00 for a slightly faster computer, I bought from Amazon this stock 17". I saved a bit money by purchasing from Amazon, rather than from Apple. This computer is amazing. The only thing that I don't understand is the card reader - I think I still have to purchase an actual reader - there is only a slot built in. I also purchased the Apple Care 3 year package and again saved money by purchasing from Amazon. The display is high quality, the machine is fast ( I can't see how spending an extra $ 300.00 for the 3.0 ghz could be a noticable improvement), it's light enough to carry, big enough to watch a movie - I think it is worth every penny. This is a 5 star product!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Machine,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)I am a lifelong Windows PC user and recently bought this Macbook. I've been living with it for a few days now and in those days I have been nothing less than impressed.
This is an impressive machine. It's a "mid 2009" model MBP, and this one is the top 17-inch configuration featuring a 17-inch LED backlit LCD screen with a native resolution of 1920x1200. The display is absolutely gorgeous! It's HD resolution makes videos and movies look fantastic, and it's perfect for gaming, 3-D animation or CAD work. Like all the late model MBPs, this one has Apple's "unibody" chassis, which is machined from a single piece of aluminum, which is unlike any other computer I have ever used. Others have plastic and sheet metal chassis that have some aluminum cladding, but the MBP is made entirely of aluminum, both the main body and the screen's lid. The machine has great heft, is solidly-built, and because it's one piece, there aren't any seams aside from the 10 screws holding on the bottom plate. Even the screws seem to be machined from steel billets. The screen is a single sheet of glass with a rubber seal around the perimeter to seal and cushion it to the body when the lid is closed. The lid closes shut very solidly and the hinge system is a single piece that's very strong and sturdy. The downside to the aluminum construction is that if you drop it on a hard surface, it will dent and deform, which is pretty much unfixable. If you want it fixed, you have to buy a new chassis which is $$$.
Dimensionally the 17-inch MBP is pretty big. it's wide, and long, but it's thin...really thin! The whole machine with the lid closed is under an inch thick, no kidding. It's also hefty, which to me isn't really a huge problem because it gives stability to keep it from sliding or getting pushed off a table. Most laptop PC's seem fragile and very breakable to me, but not the Mac. It feels robust and sturdy when I pick it up. It' not super-heavy though, about 7 lbs, so it's not hard to carry around in a case throughout the day. Like all the late model MBP's, this one has the standard LED backlit keyboard which I really liked. It has adjustable brightness as well, so it can be so dim it's off, or very bright. It's also missing the 10-key pad, which I was really happy about, something which is pretty much a give-me on other 17-inch machines. Way to go Apple! There is also a huge trackpad. It's made of a single sheet of etched glass and is programmable with zones for different functions. It's multitouch compatible just like the iPhone and Android mobile devices with pinch to zoom in and out, three and four finger gestures for switching between windows and apps, tap to select and drag, rotate/flip, and 2-finger scrolling. The pad itself is one big button as well that can be physically clicked for selections. It's very responsive and is calibrated so it requires a firm touch, which is smart because it can be easy to click the wrong thing (which can be very bad, especially in IT). There was a learning curve to get used to it and the missing 2 button Windows PC configuration, but I really like it.
There are no visible grilles for the cooling system either as they are hidden within the hinge recess. The fans themselves are magnetically propelled sort of like the pumps in fish tank filtration systems, or the maglev trains. There's no brushes or commutators or armatures here, just a single stator surrounded by magnets with alternating fields that causes the stator to spin at high speed, driving the fans (there are two of them). Since there's no moving parts aside from the impeller itself, they are very quiet and hard to notice unless you are doing some heavy computing and they speed up. I did notice (and this seems to be common among the early C2D MBP's) that it got very hot when running CPU hungry programs like Netflix when it was on my lap. It didn't get as hot when on a flat surface though.
The 17-inch MBP comes with an impressive hardware set. This model has the Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 CPU at 2.8 ghz, a 6MB L2 cache, 1066 mhz. front side buss, 4 GB of DDR3 dual-channel 1067 RAM, dual graphics cards, an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated card with 256MB shared system memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB. The GPU's are powerful enough to play high-res, graphic hungry games like Diablo 3. Granted, you can't play it fullscreen with the graphics turned up, but this isn't a high-powered desktop with dedicated graphic cards.
The hard disk is 500GB SATA 5400 RPM. These together make for a fast machine. There are others out there with better specs for cheaper, but the Mac is just as fast because the system is optimized for all of them to work together. My machine had upgraded RAM to 8 GB and a 1 terabyte WD Scorpio Blue HDD, and I got performance similar to a present-gen. Core i5 2.4 ghz with 4 cores. It was only when doing graphics intensive computing that I could tell a difference. Otherwise, the two are pretty comparable. Granted, it won't keep up with a quad i7, but again, this is a 3-year old machine running outdated technology, a testament to how important system and hardware optimization is.
There's nothing outdated about the battery though. It's a high-density lithium polymer cell, not the standard lithium-ion cells most laptops use. Lithium polymer cells pack more energy density into a smaller space. Physically it's huge, taking up a big chunk of the space under the rear cover, but it's thin, a lot thinner than a lithium ion cell with individual cells configured together. It's also more powerful and will outlast a traditional lithium ion battery. Apple says it will last for 1,000 charge cycles, and I can validate that. A friend has over 300 cycles and his battery is still holding a 4+ hour charge. With 12 amp hours it will last a long time. Apple claims it will go for 7 hours, but under the least amount of power consumption I only got 5 to 5- 1/2 hours. Disabling the always-on graphics card will save a lot of juice, but system performance is a lot better when it's on, so I keep it on. The cell has a chip built in that monitors the cell's temperature, capacity, charging and discharging rates, power, and health, so you can keep tabs on the condition of the battery. The bummer is that Apple says it's not user-servicable, meaning you can't take it out and replace it when it eventually becomes flat. You can replace it yourself, but it voids the warranty and Apple won't fix it.
The display is gorgeous! The colors are bright and vivid with great contrast and saturation. It has high pixel density as well so pictures and movies look awesome. It is also LED backlit, which helps with brightness and brighter colors with darker darks. There's absolutely no light leaks, dead pixels, and the LED lamps will last for tens of thousands of hours while consuming less power. My Mac came with the glossy screen, which reflected everything like a mirror so that was annoying when using it outdoors or indoors next to a window.There is an anti-glare option available, but for a glossy configuration it would require replacing the whole display.
I also really enjoyed the Mac OS X. It came with Snow Leopard, but I upgraded to Lion and I like it as much as Windows. I think it's just as easy to use, maybe even more user-friendly, and I haven't had a single problem with it. The menus are nicely laid out and organized, and the "dock" is a welcome feature. No more cluttered desktop and start menu to dig through to find the program I want. I also like the menu switching feature that uses three or four finger gestures to switch between multiple windows and applications. In Safari, you can use the finger swipes to move between previous pages. Like an Android or iOS based phone, you can have multiple home screens with different applications on them. The Core 2 Duo handles multiple applications easily on its own, and the upgraded RAM and HDD make it even better. If you run Windows in dual-boot (Bootcamp) or a virtual machine with Parallels or VM Ware, you'll be surprised Windows actually runs better on the Mac.
It's sort of a bummer that there's no SD card or multi card reader slot, which I did use a lot on my PC, but you do get an express card slot so you can add a card reader or solid state drive if you wanted. The Mac also has the standard USB ports (3 of them, but USB 2.0), a FireWire 800 port, gigabit ethernet, digital audio S/PDIF in and out, digital display port (for Apple's cinema screen or for HDMI adapter). You get Apple's 8x super-multi optical drive that reads and writes just about any "silver" discs out there (CD's and single/dual layer DVD's, no Blu-rays though) as well. On the left side there's also a battery level indicator with tiny green dots that illuminate when you push a button.
Designed for the professional
Solidly-built all aluminum chassis
High quality construction
Super quiet cooling system
Fast with multi-tasking
Fantastic, bright and sharp 1920x1200 LED backlit display
Dual graphics processors for 768 MB video RAM
12 amp hour lithium polymer battery 5+ hours runtime with heavy loads
Standard LED backlit keyboard with adjustable brightness
Huge programmable trackpad
Able to run Windows alongside OS X
Expensive when compared to similarly or better-equipped Windows PC's
Aluminum body dents and buckles if dropped
Gets uncomfortably hot when under heavy sustained load
Overall this is an excellent machine, top-notch and unmatched in build quality, materials, design, and hardware optimization right out of the box. If you had a mind to it, crack it open and you really get an idea of how much thought and meticulous engineering went into this machine. This really is the Rolls Royce of computers. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, and now Samsung are all making some pretty impressive machines, and they keep getting better. It's hard to argue on paper with a machine with similar or even better hardware for 40 percent of the cost, but for what you are getting it's top-notch, and nobody does it like Apple. HP and the others could all learn a thing or two from Apple on how to make professional grade computers. If you can swing it, get a Mac. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, best price, super fast shipping,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)Fantastic laptop, love the 17 inch screen and larger keyboard. I am using this computer to replace my Windows desktop, didn't plan it that way, but it works so well, goodbye Windows!!! Great service from TLinc!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apple MacBook Pro,
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)First Apple computer and I love it. So much better than Microsoft PC's. Highly recommend it. The only concern I have is if the battery ever needs to be changed. There are no local service providers where I live and I would not want to mail it off.
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