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385 of 398 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Switching from PC to Mac
When I purchased this MacBook Pro, most reviews seemed to be from existing Mac users who were comfortable with the device. There are a lot of reviews talking about the technical specs of this Mac, so I'll spare those coz I myself am still coming up the curve on them. My review is based solely on my experience from the perspective of a PC user for the past 16+ years...
Published on September 22, 2011 by FreeSpirit

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135 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well "balanced" release
Apple always knew the way of maximizing profit: 2010 model were a step up but drawn back on the CPU, 2011 model had a huge step up on CPU, but drawn back on its graphic.

2010 model overview: 2.4ghz Core 2 duo, gt320m
2011 model overview: 2.3ghz Core i5, Intel HD3200

The graphic card went from a discrete graphic card to a on board graphic, which...
Published on February 28, 2011 by Computer Enthusiast "from...


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385 of 398 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Switching from PC to Mac, September 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
When I purchased this MacBook Pro, most reviews seemed to be from existing Mac users who were comfortable with the device. There are a lot of reviews talking about the technical specs of this Mac, so I'll spare those coz I myself am still coming up the curve on them. My review is based solely on my experience from the perspective of a PC user for the past 16+ years. Hopefully if you, like me, are considering making the switch, you will find this at least partially useful. I mostly use the Mac for Office and Adobe applications and don't know much about computers beyond that as far as technicals are concerned.

Set up - Set up is as straight forward as it is with any Apple device. They make it intuitive and a breeze to set up their devices. Absolutely no issues there.

Updates - One thing that really bothered me about Windows was that it was constantly updating itself - I mean I bought a brand new PC and Windows took a good 10 minutes to "update" (huh?). This slowed down my PC, and shutting it down took several minutes as Windows did its thing. No such complaint with the Mac. Even if it does automatically update, the process is not visible and does not slow down the speed of the Mac.

Compatibility - I really only need the Adobe Suite and MS Office on a daily basis. I purchased these 2 suites and setting them up was easy. Transferred all files from my PC through a shared network and the process was seamless. Apple's interface is terrific for the entire initial set up process.

Programs - I have been able to run pretty much all programs that I ran on my PC. The only two programs I am currently having problems with are Google Talk and WINRAR. Google Talk seems erratic in iChat. It will log in at times, while most of the time it will give a username/password error. This is an issue Google seems to be aware of but haven' fixed it yet. WinRar doesn't work on Mac as far as I know. Stil looking for a compatible file compressing software that can open RAR files. Other than that, all MS Office applications run the same. The differences are minor - Excel has a very sparse shortcut key menu on the Mac, one of the main things I greatly miss about having a PC. Same applies for Outlook as well - I could work in both programs without having to touch my mouse, but with the Mac, I really need to rely on the mouse.

TouchPad and keyboard - Plain and simple - Mac's touchpad and keyboard is the BEST. Typing on the Mac is such a better experienced - the quality of the material and overall layout of the keys is more ergonomic and well thought out. Toshiba, Dell and HP laptops that I have used in the past have a more crammed keyboard. Scrolling on the Touchpad is phenomenal. Even if I did consider going back to a PC, this feature alone would probably keep me glued to the Mac. It's hard to use a regular mouse after using this touhpad. With my previous HP laptop, the TouchPad was problematic because the left click would get pressed even if I was simply scrolling. Haven't had a single accidental click on my Mac for over a month of use.

Browser - Safari works great, but I was so used to Firefox, I just downloaded Firefox for Mac and it runs absolutely fine. One thing I am still trying to figure out is how to switch between various Firefox Windows on the Mac (similar to ALT+TAB on the PC). If any one know the answer, please let me know!

Goodbye Norton!! - No more pop-up windows, no more slowing down of the browser as websites try to gather information about you (happened on my PCs every single time), no more worries about crummy viruses that have on one ocassion rendered one of my prior PCs useless, no more buying expensive Norton software and having to renew every year!

Support - I had to call Apple's support line only once for some basic questions. I was on hold for about 5 minutes and all my questions were appropriately answered by the reps. Excellent overall support.

Downside - the one downside of owning an Apple product is the list of accessories and their expense. A PC doesn't require a case or screen protective film. With a Mac, you can choose to leave it bare, but given how beautiful this device is, you will likely be tempted to accessorize it for protection. Any other Apple accessory you might need (power adapter, software, superdrive, etc) are all expensive. I have only bought a case, keyboard cover, and a screen film, and I am already out a $100! I need to buy another AC charger for my office and that will run I think another $75-80 right there.

Upside - well, a Mac does have a cool factor to it!

Online forums are a beautiful thing. If I had any questions or doubts about using the Mac, some previous user had already posted them and others had already answered them on the forums. I found all answers with a few searches on those forums (MacForums is fantastic!).

Hope this helps. This is no way meant to be a technical or thorough review (I couldn't even write one to save my life), but I hope this will helps others like me when deciding whether to make the switch to a Mac. My advise - make the switch, you'll love it!

UPDATE - 10-06-11

After having spent a few more weeks with the Mac, I have truly come to appreciate the beauty of this outstanding piece of technology. It runs significantly smoother than my previous laptop - the experience of browsing, typing emails, just doing anything is truly a breath of fresh air as mentioned by one of the reviewers. I had to power up my laptop earlier today and I noticed how loud it was (feels louder now after having used the Mac). Even if I was doing nothing on the laptop, the drive still used to be running with a humming sound (maybe it's a fan or something, I don't know). It just made me realize how quiet the Mac is.

Truly a phenomenal product, and one of MANY products that are now part of Steve Job's legacy - the greatest innovator that ever lived.
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451 of 472 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Computer Gets Faster, February 24, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I stopped by my local Apple Store the morning this MacBook Pro was made available to the public and bought one, replacing my over two year old unibody MacBook. These are premium computers, and well made. My old computer, which looks very much like this one, still looked great after two years, with a little scratching on the bottom, and an unfortunate denting of one corner. I do not regret for one minute paying more for a device I use several hours a day, and from which I derive my living.

The strong point of this computer over previous 13 inch unibody MacBooks is the processor. It is noticeably faster at computationally intensive tasks. For example, I have a large application written in the C++ programming language which Xcode on my late 2008 vintage MacBook could compile in 16.5 minutes, this MacBook can do the same task in 8.5 minutes, a nearly doubling of speed. Similiarly, converting a 10 minute MP3 file to AAC in iTunes used to take 21 seconds, now it takes 14 seconds. Unsurprisingly, computer processors have gotten faster. The new processor does tend to heat up fast under full load, so be prepared for more frequent fan noise.

The weak point is the stock hard drive, a 320GB 5400 RPM Hitachi laptop drive. Any operation depending on hard drive throughput is not going to be much faster on this computer than in years past. If you do not have large capacity needs, you may be better served special ordering a model with a smaller but much faster solid state drive (SSD), they do not come cheap, but will result in a much more balanced computer that does not leave its high performance CPU idling awaiting data. I would do so, but the higher capacity SSDs cost as much as the computer alone.

If you were to upgrade to an SSD, be aware that while this model has one type III SATA port, you might have trouble using one of the new type III SATA SSD drives in it. [Update: online reports indicate Apple has started shipping these laptops with the optical bay also using an SATA III port.] I tried to install a 128 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 into the hard drive bay and the operating system installer failed to install. Online forums indicate people are having troubles with type III drives, and whether the problem is with the drive used, a bad cable, or firmware is in dispute. You might want to wait on a type III upgrade until this settles out. In the meantime, I've purchased a bracket allowing me to replace the optical drive and put the SSD on the type II port formerly used by the SuperDrive.

This and the new MacBook Air are the only laptops Apple sells without a discrete graphics processing unit (GPU), instead relying soly on the Intel integrated 3000HD GPU. Intel has previously not been known for its GPU prowess, but space constraints and Intel's design restrictions, and improvements in performance finally pushed Apple into going integrated only. I would have preferred a discrete GPU, especially in a premium laptop, but I am not a gamer, and will make do with the much better CPU. I'm sure Apple would have preferred a discrete GPU, as their strategy for performance improvements is to use the GPU for general purpose computing using the OpenCL framework.

New to this year's models is the Intel Thunderbolt connector superseding the Mini Display Port connector. This flexible port will likely become more and more useful as hubs and peripherals become available to make use of its fantastic speed. Adaptors and docks will be available to use this one port as a USB, DVI, Firewire, Ethernet port simultaneously, making one data cable for easy desktop docking. But, I don't have any use for it now. Media reports indicate Apple will have this port to itself this year, although Intel is insisting that other motherboard manufacturers could start to include it, and I hope they do. Whether the port is a marketplace success is not a foregone conclusion, but I look forward to syncing and charging a future iPad over this speedy port; sadly the iPad 2 does not have this port, but someday.

I am glad to have a standard FireWire 800 port, and an SD Card reader, neither of which were found on my previous non-Pro laptop. I'll be able to charge my iPad at maximum speed with the 2 Amp USB ports, something I couldn't do before. The FaceTime app for OS X comes pre-installed, you don't have to buy it from the Mac App Store.

Little luxuries include the backlit keyboard, the MagSafe power cable, the firm responsive keyboard, and the big multitouch capable trackpad. The display is bright and has a good, but not great range of viewing angles, certainly worse than an iPad, but better than most cheap laptop monitors Yellows are a bit saturated while using the default color profile. I'm sure many would prefer a higher resolution than 1280x800, but I'd prefer a jump to very high resolutions combined with support for resolution independence in the operating system and applications. Maybe someday. The high resolution iSight camera surprised me with its clarity and size when doing a FaceTime chat.

A few things have gone downhill. It takes the removal of 12 screws to swap out the hard drive, my old MacBook had but 1. There used to be a dedicated microphone port next to the headset jack, but that has gone the way of the dodo, and I never used it anyway. Charge time for going from dead battery to 100% is a bit more than 3 hours, which I think is worse than it used to be.

I chose to purchase my own 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) named brand memory from a favorite online vendor and saved quite a bit of money over Apple's charge for 8GB of RAM (2x4GB). Installation was simple enough with the right sized Phillips screwdriver, although it is odd that we are expected to change the RAM while the battery is still connected. Still the installation went without incident, and is certainly simpler than most other laptops. I was a bit disappointed that the added RAM didn't appreciably improve my Xcode compile time, slicing at most 20 seconds off the 8.5 minutes, but hopefully it will help when multitasking multiple applications.

This is a refinement to previous generations, and I would bet likely to be the last for this series of machined unibody anodized aluminum enclosures, as elegant and perfect as they seem to be. If you wait a year or more, you might get such changes as awesome Liquid Metal cases of fantastic shapes, Retina Display monitors, touch screens, standard SSD boot drives, 4G cell networking and the loss of the optical drive. But I couldn't wait, I needed the horsepower now, not next year.

As a Mac Developer, I've been running OS X Lion 10.7 on this box as my primary operating system for several weeks prior to the official release and I recommend upgrading to Lion if it didn't come pre-installed. Quick and solid, although you should prepare to train yourself with the more intensive use of gestures brought over from iOS and which make a perfect fit with the built in trackpad.

Compared to other Macs.

Owners of recent vintage 13 inch MacBooks will have to make an informed decision to stay pat or move up. Many will get better value for their money replacing their spinning hard drive with an SSD, something I was tempted to do. Seriously, a Core 2 Duo with a separate NVidia GPU and an SSD will run great under OS X Lion in a few months, so think about just doing a hard drive upgrade instead of the whole computer. Having said this, this model has much better battery life than that of a few years ago, and a better set of ports, along with the backlit keyboard, much faster CPU and a higher resolution camera. Another advantage against my late 2008 model is the maximum RAM, this model has a maximum capacity of 8GB, the same as last years model, but higher than my old capacity.

Versus the 2.7 GHz i7 version of this same screen size, which also comes with Intel integrated graphics. Online reports give the i7 version an overall speed improvement of perhaps 10-15%, which is pushing being even noticeable. I preferred to do what I did, spend the money on putting in a moderately sized boot SSD in the former optical bay. The difference in random disk access is amazing, and very noticeable. If money is no object, you could do both.

Between this and the new MacBook Air. The new Air is approximately as fast at processing as this Pro, but has an extremely fast built in SSD drive; in practice it will feel turbo charged next to the base model of the MacBook Pro with it's spinning disk. The Air is also lighter and the 13" model has a higher resolution display. Basically I recommend getting the Air unless you absolutely need one of the following: more than 256 GB of hard drive space, a Firewire port in the box, more than 4GB of RAM, or an Ethernet port. I am planning on purchasing an Air for my wife, coupled with the new Cinema display which comes with USB, Ethernet, and a Firewire port, it will be a flexible, albeit extremely expensive combination. I, however, need the hard drive space so I'll be sticking with this MacBook Pro for this round.

Between larger MacBook Pros. As I carry my laptop back and forth to work daily and prefer to work with it on my lap, I've never had any urge or wish for the 15 inch, much less the 17 inch version. But they do have real discrete GPUs, and i7 processors, so for people with large display and maximum horsepower needs, they are an excellent option. One lemonade out of lemons advantage of not having a discrete GPU is a more consistent battery life; the discrete GPU should only be in use when the horsepower is needed, but sometimes it becomes unnecessarily active resulting in decreased battery life of perhaps an hour less, something 13" owners don't have to worry about.

Compared to PC Laptops

Obviously, if you need a Mac, you're choices are limited, but some people buy MacBooks for use as Windows 7 laptops. There is the extra expense of buying Windows 7 for System Builders separately, but basically, Apple's Boot Camp makes any Mac into an excellent Windows box. My wife has been running Windows on a 4 year old Mac Mini for years without major issues. Alternatively, you could buy third party virtualization software like VMware Fusion and run both OS X and Windows simultaneously. The question is why would a Windows user bother.

Mainly because MacBook Pros are premium laptops, and most laptops sold by non-Apple manufacturers are economy models. Apple ships more thousand dollar plus laptops than anyone else, and it has the economies of scale to make expensive laptops cheaper than other manufacturers--see for example the Dell Adamo. Take the enclosure, a single block of aluminum machined by robot into a lightweight yet rigid piece and anodized to resist most scratches, with a reliable hinge that keeps the monitor closed when closed and opened at your angle when opened. Possibly the best enclosure in the world. Other manufacturers don't do this or don't do it as cheaply because they don't make a million premium laptops a quarter. Similarly, I wouldn't know where to find a PC laptop with a Thunderbolt port, mini-Display Port, Firewire 800, optical audio out, a MagSafe power connector, and 7 hours of claimed battery life. On the other hand, any reasonably priced PC laptop will have a Blu Ray drive, and might have USB 3. The MacBook Pro market for Windows 7 users are those consumers with the money and the wish for quality, which isn't being met in the PC marketplace, not for people who are on a tight budget, or who's computer isn't a big deal to them, or who just dislike Apple for whatever reason.

Windows laptops targeting the same general consumer need would be the Lenovo Thinkpad X220, and the Sony Vaio S. Windows users should be sure to compare these models and other Sandy Bridge chipset based 13 inch laptops.

In summary, this is an excellent, computer if a bit pricey. I expect to get a couple of years of service out of it, and then hand it off to a relative for many more years of useful life. These things are built to last.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MBP 13 GOOD!, March 11, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The Macbook Pro 13 has just been updated on Feb 24th 2010. There are some upgrades and a few major changes between this years model and 2010's model, detailed below.

The UPGRADES are

1) The MBP 13 base model now has a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor which is a massive upgrade over the outdated Core2Duo processors in last years model. These processors are great for multitasking and content creation (video and audio encoding/decoding )

2)Thunderbolt port. This is a super fast data transfer port now included in the MBP 13. Data transfer speeds (in daily use) are supposed to be as fast as USB 3.0 and firewire 800 if not more. As of now, no thunderbolt compatible products are available at retail but should be available soon. The TB port also functions as a Minidisplay port. For connecting your MBP 13 to an external monitor, you'll need a Syba High Quality Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter If you want to connect it to a tv, you'll need a Kanex iAdapt MDPHDMIV2 HDMI V2 - Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter with Audio Support

3) iSight HD Camera - The camera now can make 720p resolution videocalls with support for facetime.

4) 320 GB hard drive - up from 250 gb in last years model (a small 70 gb difference)

5) SDXC card slot - the XC stands for extended capacity so you'll be able to add SD cards of extremely high capacities.

STANDARD FEATURES carried over from last years 13 inch model are

An Aluminum unibody,
1280 x 800 resolution Glossy LED backlit screen,
8x slot-loading SuperDrive dvd burner
4GB ram

Large glass multi-touch trackpad
Backlit keyboard with comfortable chiclet keys
Magsafe power adapter (with redesigned tip to reduce stress on the cable)

1 Firewire 800 port,
2 USB 2.0 ports ,

Stereo speakers and subwoofer.
Wi-Fi - 802.11n ; 802.11a/b/g compatible, Bluetooth 2.1 and Gigabit Ethernet -10/100/1000.
7 hours of battery life.

So some key changes, including a transition to Intel's 2011 processors, a thunderbolt port and a HD webcam make up the list of upgrades for the early 2011 model. The processor is much faster than last year's Core 2 Duo model and editing photos and videos is a lot snappier.

Apple continues to include integrated graphics in the MBP 13's and these models have Intel's Integrated.Graphics 3000 graphics processor. Which is not really an upgrade. Most benchmarks reveal that the I.G 3000 is worse or at best equal to the Nvidia 320m integrated graphics processor in last years model.

The machine still has 4gb of ram, which is great for multi-tasking. You probably won't need more unless you're really into running virtual machines or editing super large graphic files or images.

It also comes with a 320gb 5400 rpm hard drive, which is not that great capacity wise and probably contributes to a somewhat degraded user experience (as applications will take longer to launch due to the slow rotational speed of the hard drive) Apple needs to realise it's selling a "Pro" product priced at a premium and the user experience should reflect that. (In totality, not just through the software) Luckily, its quite easy to upgrade the hard drive by yourself and doesn't void the warranty unless you break something (so be careful)

Apple now advertises the 2011 MBP as having battery life upto 7 hours. As I mentioned in my 2010 MBP review, the battery life of the MBP 13 was closer to 5 to 6 hours instead of the impossible to achieve 9 to 10 hours Apple advertised. The reduction in the 2011 MBP 13 battery life is not a downgrade, it's just Apple being honest. The battery is still inbuilt so once it's exhausted, you will have to take your machine back to an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for replacement. However, Apple states that the battery will hold 80% of it's charge for up to a 1000 charges which means approximately 3 to 4 years of daily use. So it should be a while before you have to go in for that battery replacement.

Software included is OS X 10.7 "Lion" and the iLife 2011 suite of content creation tools (which include iPhoto, Garageband, iWeb and iMovie).

A 1 year warranty on parts and 90 day telephone technical support is standard.

The new i5 processor upgrade, 4gb of ram and other design elements such as the large multitouch trackpad and the backlit keyboard make this a great machine to use daily. The MBP 13 is a sleek, solid product, fast enough for most purposes and is more than capable for the majority of daily tasks. Demanding applications like Skype, Photoshop, Lightroom, iMovie run smoothly. Definitely recommended for school / college work, photo editing, music composing, basic video editing and video chat.

If you do decide to purchase a MBP 13, I recommend purchasing applecare also - AppleCare Protection Plan for Portable Apple Computers 13 Inches and Below (Newest Version) along with the notebook.

As Apple uses most of the same parts (hard drives, processors, dvd drives, wireless cards) that other laptop manufacturers use, their reliability is no worse or better than other laptop manufacturers. But when and if a product / part malfunction occurs after the first year limited warranty has ended, Apple charges extremely high fees for repairing and replacing parts (when compared to other laptop manufacturers ) IF you don't have Applecare.

Keep in mind, the A.P.P. only covers hardware failure - not accidental damage so it's still expensive for what you get but it's better than paying Apple's prices for repair/replacement parts.

Another viable warranty extension option that you could buy instead of Applecare is SquareTrade 3-Year Laptop/Tablet Warranty Plus Accident Protection (Laptop/Tablet $1000-1250)(which costs the same as Applecare but also includes damage protection which is a big plus point ). It's better to pay once for Applecare or Squaretrade (whatever you prefer) and be covered for 2 more years after the first year is up than pay exorbitant repair/replacement fees to Apple if a part malfunctions.

Also, in case you're confused between the standard MBP 13 and the higher end MBP 13, it's simple - This is the better buy between the two MBP 13's with regards to value.

Here are some facts to help you make an informed choice. I've posted Geekbench results below - Geekbench is the most recognized benchmarking software for Macs.

Geekbench Benchmark results
Standard 13" MBP 2.3 GHz dual i5 2011: 5948
High end 13" MBP 2.7 GHz dual i7 2011, 6796

There is a difference of 848 points between the standard MBP 13 and the high end MBP 13 - which shows a 12% difference.

If you buy the higher end MBP 13, you'd pay $300 more (25% of the cost of the standard $1199 MBP 13 or 20% of the cost of the $1499 MBP 13 ) for a minor 12% difference due to a 400 mhz processor speed difference (not at all major in any way as seen in the benchmarks) and a 180 gb hard drive space increase. This standard MBP 13 is the better buy between the two models in terms of bang for your buck since every other tech specification and feature is identical amongst the two models.

Hope this helps!
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135 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well "balanced" release, February 28, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Apple always knew the way of maximizing profit: 2010 model were a step up but drawn back on the CPU, 2011 model had a huge step up on CPU, but drawn back on its graphic.

2010 model overview: 2.4ghz Core 2 duo, gt320m
2011 model overview: 2.3ghz Core i5, Intel HD3200

The graphic card went from a discrete graphic card to a on board graphic, which is a huge let down for me, as a fan.

All the new thunderbolt technology is a step up, but think about this. USB 3 or Thunderbolt, I'd say USB 3 will be more popular and more useful. Another let down is the limited connectivity of Thunderbolt.

Verdict:
If you are using this for school, word, internet surfing, general school work. Go for it.

If you are using this for designing, I'd say you get the 15" or above since the graphic card boost in PS and other designing software really do take effect.

If you are using this to show off, GO FOR IT! You will receive envious looks when you take it out.

If you are using this to Game, save your money and get a gaming laptop, not this

If you are using this for music, save your money for HP Envy Beats(although it is recently sold out, but you can get it on ebay). Envy Beats is almost like a MBP copy, its got the feel to it. And the Black-and-Red design grants it a new style. The CPU, graphic, and sound is more well balanced on it.

PS: Yes, I did buy this. The OSX is very well optimised, it is much better than Windows, but there is too many program that I use that does not support OSX, which compels me to dual boot with boot camp.

Side notes: Look into the program called "Crossover". It virtually emulate windows for certain programs to work.
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84 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Upgrade or Not Upgrade? MacBook Pro 2011 compared to previous models, February 28, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Pros:
- much faster cpu (latest Sandy Bridge processors)
- faster memory
- support for fastest data drives (sata III connection)

Neutral:
- same solid construction
- HD webcam
- Thunderbolt port
- Battery life?? UPDATE: tests confirm slightly better battery life (+10%)

Cons:
- inferior graphics compared to 2010 model

Quick take:
The 2011 model is a significant upgrade in processing power over the 2010 model. There are a couple of additional upgrades, such as Thunderbolt or the HD webcam, which may be useful in the future, but currently are not that important. Battery life, which is important for many users, is probably as good or better than the older Macbook Pro, but it is hard to determine how it compares. On the downside, the graphics are actually inferior to the 2010 model, but should work for the majority of users.

UPDATE: Laptop Magazine found the battery life is approximately 10% longer on the 2011 Macbook Pro. Thanks to the commenters for pointing this out.

DETAILS:

Full Review:
I use my Macbook Pro as my main computer at work where I have it hooked up to an external monitor. I do a lot of number crunching (i.e. statistics) so upgrading from my 2010 Macbook Pro to this 2011 version with the latest CPU made a lot of sense. It may not make sense for many people who own 2010 or 2009 versions of the Macbook Pro. I list all the pros and cons below.

PROS:

- Much Faster CPU

This Macbook Pro (MBP) update is all about the CPU (i5 "Sandy Bridge"). The 2010 MBP missed out on a generation upgrade last year, keeping the same Core 2 Duo family that was in the 2009 MBPs. This made the 2010 version only marginally faster than the 2009 version. The benchmark scores on the 2011 13" 2.3 GHz MBP are 35% to 40% higher than the 2010 13" 2.4 GHz MBP. That is a HUGE leap in computational performance. It is true that the Core 2 Duos were very dated, but the low end 2.3GHz 2011 MBP is just as fast as last year's high end 15"/17" MBPs which had i5 and i7 2.8 GHz processors! Very awesome. Here are some benchmark scores I got off the web.

Model: Geekbench Score (Speedmark Score)
MacBook Pro 13" i5 2.3 GHz (2011): 5900 (140)
MacBook Pro 13" Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz (2010): 3351 (106)
MacBook Pro 13" Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz (2009): 3137 (??)

MacBook Pro 15" i7 2.67 GHz (2010): 5564 (151)
MacBook Pro 17" i7 2.8 GHz (2010): 5837 (??)

As you can see, this is a significant bump over the 2010 and 2009 models.

- Faster Memory:

This is part of the faster performance observed, but it means that you can't use your memory from your old MBP.

- Support for the fastest SSD hard drives

If you want to upgrade to an SSD this is an important upgrade. The latests SSD hard drives are blazing fast, but require a Sata III 6Gb/s connection to achieve their 500 MB/s reads. (Right now, OCZ's Vertex 3 and Intel's 510 Series are the only drives that really need the higher speed port, but more are coming.) On the downside, it appears that the optical drive connection is Sata II 3 Gb/s. So if you were planning on removing the optical drive in favor of a second SSD, it will be running on a slower connection.

NEUTRALS:

- same solid construction

Not much to report. Still on of the best builds in the business, but no reason to upgrade.

- HD Webcam

Nice I suppose, if you are using you laptop as a camcorder, but if you are streaming video (like over Skype) you are going to have a bandwidth bottle neck so the HD webcam it isn't going to make any difference.

- Thunderbolt

Awesome technology, but there isn't anything out there right now that takes advantage of it. Maybe in six months it will be more of a benefit. It doesn't hurt to get it now though.

- Battery Life

This is hard to determine. One of the marketing points of the Sandy Bridge CPUs are the integrated Intel HD graphics which are supposed to increase battery life. However, Apple changed their battery tests since 2010. The reported battery life is "7 hours" for the 2011 MBP vs "8-9" hours for the 2010 MBPs, but battery life for the same usage may actually be longer for the 2011 MBP. I'm not sure how to tell, but I would guess that battery life is at least as good as the 2010 MBP due to the integrated graphics in the 2011 MBP.

UPDATE: Someone has done an apples to apples comparison on battery life. According to tests by Laptop Magazine, the 2011 MBP has approximately 45min more battery life than its predecessor. Using a web surfing via WiFi based test, they found that the 2011 MBP lasted 8:33. The 2010 MBP lasted 7:48 using the same test. Thanks to those who left comments that pointed out this battery test.

CONS:

- Graphics Performance

The integrated Intel HD graphics are not as powerful as the discrete Nvidia graphics found in the 2010 MBP. Call of Duty gaming tests achieve 26fps with Intel graphics (2011 MBP) vs 33fps with Nvidia graphics (2010 MBP). For me this is a non-issue as don't game and don't run graphics intensive programs (Photoshop, AutoCAD, etc). The most graphically intensive task I have is running a 27" external monitor which the Intel graphics handle without a problem. In theory, the integrated graphics have the advantage of increasing the battery life, but this is not verifiable.

SUMMARY:
In short, if you are maxing out the CPU on your current laptop, then this guy will be a MAJOR improvement. Otherwise you may not see a big difference and you might want to opt for an SSD upgrade instead.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PC no more.....Hello MAC!!!, April 27, 2011
By 
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This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I will keep this short. I used a PC my whole life. Finally I used my brothers mac, and wow I was impressed. So I bit the bullet, coughed up the extra $$$ and got a mac. The one thing that really stands out is how sturdy and well built this MAC PRO is. It's just solid. Runs smooth, and really fast. It's just built different. I'm still getting used to it, it's def a little different then a PC but pretty much the same. Right out of the box the set up is a breeze, maybe takes 5 minutes and it's done. I kid you not a first grader could set this thing up, no joke.

Pros - It's fast, sleek, beautiful picture, good camera, and you can use it outside in the sun and it's still pretty clear. It just runs like a clock. You can literally feel how smooth this laptop is. Also it's almost impossible to get a virus!!! That was unheard of with a PC.

Cons - Although not a con for me, I can see spending another 100-200 bucks be a con for you. That's about it. But, in my opinion you get what you pay for, and spending a little more for this machine is well worth it......

Think long haul, the reason I always get new laptops is because all the viruses I get, and the performance decreases with PC's I've owned in the past. Obvioulsy this is a pretty new laptop but, I have a good feeling it will last. Oh yeah the battery is way longer then 7 hours, it's more like 9 hours, I put it to the test. It charges pretty quick to.

Finally, and I am going to write this in CAPS because I just can't believe it happened......

I ORDERED THIS LAPTOP EASTER SUNDAY AT 10AM, SELECTED THE OPTION "SAME DAY SHIPPING" (never thinking it would ever reach my house until the next MORNING AT THE EARLIEST)
AND I RECEIVED THIS MAC PRO BY 4PM THAT SAME DAY, EASTER SUNDAY!!!! COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!!! I never heard of the shipping company but, none the less I was in disbelief that I could order something on a sunday and receive it later on that same day. Not bad, not too bad at all......
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review and Comparison of macbook pro., April 27, 2011
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This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
This is the latest from apple. This review will be a comparison of several different computers in the same price point to this hardware, to show you what is best for your situation. Let me start by saying this computer with a dual core i5 Sandy Bridge processor is powerful enough to handle just about anything, minus maybe running Final Cut Pro to edit and export 1080P HD video, or some other very processing intensive task. If your doing anything else (word processing, browsing, editing photos, playing games...) you will be absolutely fine. If you are a serious gamer and depend on a serious graphics card, go with the 15" 2.2Ghz with the nicer graphics card. But, the casual gamer won't need it. Now, onto the comparisons.

Macbook - If you are considering a macbook instead of this, stop. It is worth the extra $200 for the aluminum enclosure alone. I have owned 8 macs, and the polycarbonate bodies get worn pretty easy, but the aluminum will last longer than you will want to keep it. For an extra $200, you get the aluminum body, 4GB of RAM (instead of 2GB) and and SD card reader.

Macbook Air 13" - If you haven't compared these two computers yet, you better start. The Air costs $100 more, but it uses Solid State memory (I think its 12x faster than conventional memory - think of the instant on you get from iPad and iPhone). To upgrade the Pro to solid state will run you $300 more. The Air has the exact same screen size, but it has the same pixel count as the 15" Macbook Pro. Perfect combination. And, there is the fact it is just 2.9 pounds, and it is one of those gorgeous devices like the iPad. If you are willing to lose the CD Drive, backlit keys, a few ports like firewire, and some processing power - the Air is perfect for you. I use it as my only computer now, and don't use the Macbook Pro. If you need the extra processing power, built-in CD Drive, or firewire, then you should probably pick the Pro. The stock Air has enough processing power to handle pretty much everything, except exporting HD video. That takes a little longer. If your on the ball on this one, spend some time thinking about what you do on your computer, read more about "Macbook Pro vs Macbook Air" because its all over google and the net, and (most of all), go to an Apple Store or Best buy and see them both for yourself.

Mac vs PC - Windows 7 is a great operating system. And you can get a comparable PC for about $700. But, there are some things PCs at this price point always miss. Firstly, you miss the wow-factor. Most PCs are simply ugly. They aren't nearly as durable as macs, because they lack a unibody construction. If you trip over the power cable, you lose your computer, because there is no mag-safe adapter (As much as you avoid this, it is bound to happen...). Speaking of battery, you'll be lucky to get 4 hours out of a PC, but macs run 7 hours. You'll need to spend money on virus protection, and time maintaining that protection too (Running scans... Updates... Errors) The resale value on macs are incredible! Two years after I bought my last macbook pro, I got 75% of what I paid on Craigslist! That means it cost me $300 upgrade TWO YEARS later. $500 savings isn't worth it in the long haul.

In closing, the Macbook Pro 13" is a great all-in-one computer! It has a 7 hour battery, weighs 4.5 pounds, has ports for everything you need, has great resale value, lasts forever (thanks to unibody aluminum and magsafe), fast (thanks to the i5 Sandy Bridge Processor and 4Gb of RAM) and holds everything you need. If you haven't compared this to the Air, you should definitely check out the comparisons online! (Just google macbook pro vs macbook air). All in all, great computer for everyone. if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge, just leave a comment!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Laptop, May 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
It's my first Mac and I am pleasantly satisfied with it. By using it you feel you are in front of a machine built with detail, quality and good performance.
Strong Points
- Attractive design, solid appearance, good materials.
- Excellent keyboard and trackpad.
- Portability, ideal size to carry anywhere.
- Operating System, friendly and intuitive.
- i5 Sandy Bridge processor, faster for most applications.
- Battery life.
Weak points
- It could improved graphics capabilities and the resolution of the screen, but still very good.
- No Blu-Ray.
Definitely one of the best in its category, is excellent, but if you're a fan of the games or your needs are graphic design and photography I would recommend take a look at a laptop with i7 quad core processor and dedicated graphics card.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Premium Laptop, March 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I always had an urge to try an Apple product. I've heard only great things about them, especially their brand of laptops and the infamous iPods. I had a year old Lenovo Ideapad Y450 and was looking to upgrade it. I started inquiring about getting a Macbook Pro around in January. I started my search before the newest Macbooks came out and when i decided to buy one, they had just released the new 2011 models, to my utter delight. I waited a few weeks to decide if i should get a refurbished one, a used one, or bite the bullet and get this model. Well I decided to treat myself and get the newest model available. If your gonna get a macbook pro and shell out $100s or even $1000s, you might as well and get a new one.

As soon as i got it i was delighted. My first Macbook Pro! I went with the 13" primarily because of the price (I want to upgrade to the 17" sometime later this year however). Before i even booted up the machine for the first time, i put in Kingston Apple 8GB Kit (2x4GB Modules) 1066MHz DDR3 SODIMM iMac and Macbook Memory (KTA-MB1066K2/8G), maxing out the machine to 8GBs (So i could run Windows 7 via Parallels with ease). The ram install didn't take long and soon i had my machine booting up nicely. I went through the initial boot setup and then i was at the desktop. I began to notice that the colors were a bit odd and became worried that the screen was defective but after a little digging into the System Preferences i changed the color profile and the colors now look normal. After downloading some essential applications i began to transfer my files over to the mac via an Ethernet-to-Ethernet connection. I was able to transfer 100GB+ worth of music, video, pictures and documents in less than 2 hours thanks to the built-in gigabit Ethernet ports on both machines. After getting my new laptop setup the way i wanted it i did a backup with Time Machine to an external WD drive.

I'm very satisfied with my purchase and the fact i decided to get it from Amazom.com (Cheaper to get it here, even with Apple's educational discount and got it the next day via Amazon Prime's $3.99 shipping). I used OS X before (Hackintosh) so the learning curb wasn't huge. The trackpad is nice. It says that its made of glass but honestly i can't see or feel any glass. Its smooth, i know that. I also bought Speck Products See-Thru Case for 13-Inch MacBooks with Aluminum Unibody/Black Keyboard (Clear) to protect my investment. There are already tiny scratches on the case, a sign that the case is already paying for itself because those scratches would have ended up being on the macbook instead.)

One gripe i do have is that the battery life isn't really all that different from my previous laptop. I know that the advertised 7 hours is based on light web browsing, screen brightness on medium and whatnot but i at least expected to get maybe 4-5 hours with the browsing, music playing and brighter screen settings. I seem to only get about 2.5-3 hours but again that's understandable i guess.

EDIT: I figured out that the battery life was reduced because of running Windows 7 with Parallels. I'm able to get around the advertised 5-6 hours when i'm not running Parallels. I mainly run it alongside Snow Leopard cause i use MediaMonkey (I can't use iTunes on mac cause it doesn't sync with my Sansa Fuze player.) Guess i'll have to make a hard decision soon regarding that..
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldilocks' laptop, April 15, 2011
By 
Gauteng (VA, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I have owned my Mac Book Pro for about nine months now and I couldn't be more pleased. I have taken it on numerous business trips and a couple of long vacations. One of my favorite features is its construction - the case is so strong that picking it up by one corner causes no deflection in the laptop body. This means that a lazy grab from the hotel night table or the kitchen island is no problem. The next best feature for me is battery life - it is superb at about 8 hours. This means that with periodic charging it always has enough juice for working for extended periods while not plugged in. Wireless networking works extremely well and I have accessed the Internet effortlessly in airports, hotels and vacation homes. While the Apple OS and certain apps may present minor compatibility issues for some, I have installed Office for Mac 2008 and Adobe Acrobat and I have no problem working with typical business documents. Additionally, the breakaway power cord adds some piece of mind for those situations where the cord might get snagged. This 13.3 inch version is light and compact and fits vertically in the seat pocket of a typical economy class widebody seat or in the hotel safe. It also packs easily in a carry on bag. The lighted keyboard makes working in darkened spaces easier (night flight, in bed...) and all the common media/connectivity options are available - USB, SD, DVD/BR. DVDs and Netflix streaming play beautifully on the bright detailed screen. This has become a serious and reliable tool and a treasured travel companion. While the price may represent a premium over other similar laptops, I think in my case that it is justified by the premium experience.
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