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141 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
First, a little background. Aside from a TI-99 we had when I was a kid and the Apple IIc computers at my middle school, I've always been a Windows guy. I feel very comfortable in the Windows environment and have been building my own PCs for about 15 years. I don't hate Microsoft. But when the need for another laptop became clear, I decided to focus my search on the higher...
Published on March 8, 2011 by Edubya in Texas

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Motherboard/Graphics display problems
This is the second Mac Book Pro I have purchased from AMAZON, this model purchased in early 2012, and another 15" MBP model 3 years earlier. I seem to be having repeat problems as the Mother Board in this one is diagnosed as faulty, related to the graphics card. AGAIN!!! I had this problem with the last one, and after it served me 3 years I thought it was due a...
Published 16 months ago by Judah Bharath


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141 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, March 8, 2011
By 
Edubya in Texas (Kerrville, TX, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
First, a little background. Aside from a TI-99 we had when I was a kid and the Apple IIc computers at my middle school, I've always been a Windows guy. I feel very comfortable in the Windows environment and have been building my own PCs for about 15 years. I don't hate Microsoft. But when the need for another laptop became clear, I decided to focus my search on the higher end machines. I wanted good horsepower, but I especially wanted a nicer form factor than the creaky Dells I had become accustomed to. As I had fallen in love with the interface on my iPhone, I decided it was time to give MacBooks a try. I kept my Windows desktop in case I ran into compatibility problems.

The short version of that story is that I quickly dismantled my PC and now use this laptop as my only machine. I am fortunate to be able to do so because my work as an attorney requires only Word, Excel, and an internet browser. As a bonus, my copy of Lightroom 3 also installed on the MacBook. I'm trying not to sound like a Mac zealot, so let's have a list:

-Aluminum unibody is no marketing gimmick. It's sturdy and feels great with no flex and no creaking. Looks nice, too.

-Keyboard is well-engineered. The key travel and spacing between keys feel just right for my taste. There is no flex here, either, which I often find disconcerting on other laptops.

-Trackpad is a marvel. It really is. It's very large, but I've yet to feel like it's in the way. And the finger movements are intuitive and work very well.

-The screen is bright, clear and has great color. The reflectivity is sometimes an issue in bright locations, but I find tilting it a little solves most problems. Otherwise, you can custom order the anti-glare screen direct from Apple.

-The lid closes with a magnet, so there's nothing to break.

-It is very fast. In my experience, Mac OS X starts up and shuts down far faster than a comparably spec'ed Windows machine. I have yet to feel a need for 8 GB of RAM, but an upgrade would only cost $90 if you know how to do it yourself. Otherwise, I have no issues running lots of standard programs at once.

-Comes with Time Machine. As an attorney and amateur photographer, I have lots of stuff that needs to be backed up regularly and reliably. Time Machine works so well and so seamlessly that I can't imagine how I survived before.

-Spotlight is brilliant. Type in any word, and Spotlight almost instantly gives you results from your entire hard drive, including INSIDE your searchable documents, preferences, web results, and even definitions of words.

-Seven hours of battery life is very possible, even on wireless. I can sit in Starbucks for hours unplugged and still have plenty of life left. The caveat is that you really can only surf and use programs like Word. I also have Flash installed, which is a huge battery drainer, so I grabbed a Flash-blocking program that let's me choose which Flash files to activate. Nice solution.

-HD webcam. Nice quality, though I haven't really done more than messed around with it.

-The magnetic power cable is slick.

-As a former Windows user, I find the Mac OS X interface to be really nice and intuitive. There's obviously a learning curve, though I've found it be surprisingly short. Lion is anticipated to be a nice upgrade, too.

-PRICE! Well, a lot of people complain about the Apple premium, and it definitely exists. I found this laptop to be a few hundred dollars higher than the really nice Windows laptops with mostly similar specs, although I don't think comparing raw horsepower between two different operating systems is always an accurate benchmark. I live on my computer, so I'm willing to pay a little more to get what I want. It's like buying a BMW because you have to spend three or four hours a day in your car. Whether that value equation works for you or not is up to you and your checkbook.

-Anything I dislike? Not really. I'd like maybe one more USB port and a CF card reader. I'd love to start seeing cheaper SSDs in these things, but that's really not Apple's fault. Decent SSDs with any size are still expensive for everyone. I was a little nervous about having a 5400 RPM HDD. I think transferring large NEF files from the card reader might be fractionally slower. The tradeoff in battery life is probably worth it. Will Thunderbolt be worth it? Who knows? I don't care just yet, but ask me next year.

I know there's more to say, but I'm running out of steam. I'm happy to discuss anything in the comments.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Notebook New Era - Quad Core Processors, February 27, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The update to the 15-inch MacBook Pro in February 2011 was significant. Indeed, significant may be an understatement when it comes to the increase of processor performance offered by the updated machines. Quick thanks to Amazon and Apple Stores for having these immediately available at launch.

The primary upgrade to this revision? The processor! Intel has a brand new architecture called Sandy Bridge, and these MacBook Pros are the first Macs to feature this technology. Some have called it some of the most significant changes to Intel architecture since Pentium 4 was introduced. These 15-inch MacBook Pros as well as its big brother, the 17-inch, not only take advantage of Sandy Bridge, but the Quad Core i7 Variant. Quad Core processor in a notebook Mac! Wow.

I actually chose the 13-inch model for my personal use (only Dual Core on the 13-inch), but a 15-inch is replacing an aging iMac at the office to save space and leap over its performance. These Quad Core Chips are amazing. Early benchmarks are showing this entry-level 15-inch, 50 percent faster than the upper end i7 15-inch MacBook pro from a year ago. A dramatic improvement. This higher end model is even better. Furthermore, if you're still on a Core 2 Duo machine such as the iMac I am replacing, the performance is as much as 2.5 times faster and 3x faster with this higher end model. At least in terms of the processor. This is most beneficial in processor intensive applications, for consumers such applications are iMovie and Garageband. Professionals will see the new processors beneficial in any professional photo editing, video, or music work.

This model also includes a fantastic dedicated graphics card with 1GB of graphics memory. 1GB of graphics memory is a a first for Mac notebooks.

One downside is that due to cost, the machine still comes with a spinning hard drive standard. In this case, the standard drive is a 5400 RPM 750 GB drive. That offers plenty of storage, but is slightly slower than a desktop 7200RPM drive and much slower than a new, solid state drive. You do have options. You can special order the machine from Apple with a 7200RPM drive, or Solid State Drive. However, what I have decided to do, is simply, when I'm ready, swap out the drive myself. Other World Computing sells solid state drives compatible. It might not be easy for every user, but for those with some computer experience, it is a fairly easy swap. Then I can install a faster solid state drive, when the more acceptable capacity drives come down a bit in price. You might also choose to do the swap yourself because you can then put the hard drive that was originally in the machine, into an external enclosure, and use it as an external drive for backup. Of course, any damage you cause to the machine would not be covered under warranty. Therefore, if you have any concern, you might want to see if you can special order from Apple online, or in many situations, you will find the standard hard drive to be acceptable.

After the processor advancement, Thunderbolt is the other great new technology included in this revision to the MacBook Pro. Thunderbolt looks like the Mini Displayport that was already included on the MacBook Pros. Indeed, it will still function perfectly as a Mini Displayport, for connecting an external display. However, Thunderbolt is more importantly a new interface to connect external devices in the future, such as, external hard drives, HD camcorders, and perhaps even iPads, iPods, or iPhones someday. Data would then transfer many times faster to and from these devices than it does currently. These devices were not available at the time of the MacBook Pro's launch, but we have already heard that external drives should be available later this year with Thunderbolt connectivity.

iSight camera has been upgraded to HD resolution and Face Time pre-installed on the computer. This gives you the ability to video chat, easily, with other Macs and notably, iPhone 4s and the newest iPod Touch with front facing camera.

The consumer software you expect to be included by Apple is once again here. The latest version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (operating system), iLIfe 11 including iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie, iDVD, and iWeb is all here. OS X always includes Safari web browser, iTunes, and Mail applications too. The average user would be good to go out of the box. You might pick up Microsoft Office for your office document needs, or simply purchase Apple's iWork applications (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) from new Mac App Store on your computer.

The new MacBooK Pros, thanks to Sandy Bridge technology are fast. They will save you time, when using processor intensive applications. Time in business, saves people money and frustration. The average consumer might see less gains with this update as physically the MacBook Pro has retained it identical appearance, size, and weight. Nevertheless, under the unibody, improvements have certainly occurred which result in a much faster notebook. The fact that these 15-inch and 17-inch models now include Quad Core Processors standard is really extraordinary. This is putting recent top of the line desktop performance, into a sleek and attractive Mac Notebook. A breakthrough. Recommended Product!
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best!, March 3, 2011
By 
Robert Green (Foothills of the Cascades, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop

I have spent months reviewing different laptops. I've gone through at least 10 laptops in the last year looking for that one laptop that I will be pleased with and keep for more than a year or two. I've had Acer, HP, Compaq, Asus, Sony, Toshiba, and others. Sony was the only laptop that didn't go FUBAR within a year or so.

So, I thought I would give Apple a shot and I was not disappointed. I first tried out a 17" dual core that was super but the resolution was just too small for my eyes and I returned it. But I was so impressed with the quality of the case, the screen (albeit the resolution too small for my eyes), the quality of the innards (no cheap stuff under this hood), the quality of the power cord, the very fast 800 firewire, the backlight keyboard, the ease of typing on the keyboard, and the mouse pad. The mouse pad on this laptop was the first one I have not had to disable while typing. I have no idea why we have been stuck with those stupid PC mouse pads for so long when the solution was so easy! On the Apple laptop you push the pad down instead of tapping it. This means the cursor does not move to some abstract place and you find yourself typing three pages back!

But, then Intel released their new Sandy chips. I figured that Apple would not use these chips for some time so I started looking at PCs again just for the new chip. I couldn't bring myself to buy a PC after owning a Apple. Fortunately Apple did release these new Macbook Pros with Intel's new chip with increased graphic memory and the new Thunderbolt. Plus Apple increased the speed of the memory.

I just could not help myself and I purchased this MBP 15" with the 2.2 i7 Sandy Bridge with the 1G memory. I am very glad I did. This laptop is fast. Its unibody case makes this the most solid and durable laptop on the market. The innards are easy to access to upgrade memory and the hard drive. Everything inside this machine is neatly arranged and is of top quality. The battery is rated for seven hours which is pretty accurate. The Mac OS is written to take advantage of the quad core chip, memory, etc. The LED screen is crisp and clear, and with the regular 1440X900 resolution I can easily use this laptop without any eyestrain.

I only have one puzzling complaint about this new laptop. Why in the world would a company build one of the fastest top quality laptops in the world and stick a hard drive spinning at 5400 RPM? Yes it is a 750 gigabyte drive, which few people including myself could never fill. But running at 5400 RPM? I just cannot understand this.

You can order the drive spinning at 7200 RPM or opt for a SSD on the Apple online store. The strange thing is that the 7200 RPM drive is the same price as the drive spinning at 5400 RPM. But that is not the point. Yes, most people will never notice the speed difference between a 5400 RPM and a 7200 RPM drive unless you are doing some pretty intensive media editing or are a avid game player. The point is why build a top of the line laptop and stick in a old busted down 5400 RPM hard drive like an afterthought. I fixed this discrepancy by installing a new Intel 160G SSD (solid state drive).

I have been using laptops since 1991 when they made great paperweights when they died. This is the best laptop I have ever owned. Do yourself a favor and try one. Even if you don't like it you can always return it. I don't think you will, but you do have that option.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars true desktop power, high-res screen, great battery life, April 1, 2011
By 
Paul Christensen "gadget geek" (West Chester, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I've been a power Mac user since its introduction in 1984, and have owned various portable and desktop configurations since then. Frequently, you will see major leaps in desktop performance, but it is rare to see dramatic improvements with laptops (you typically see 25-50% improvements). But I have to say, in all the Mac laptops I've owned since my very first PowerBook G4, this is the most dramatic leap in performance I've ever seen. Not only is it 2.8x FASTER than my mid-2009 2.66GHz Core2-Duo 15" MacBook Pro, it is slightly faster than my 2008 2.8GHz dual-quad-core MacPro!

I bought my 2011 MacBook Pro (2.3GHz quad-core i7, 15" high-res screen) as an upgrade from my mid-2009 15" unibody MacBook Pro. I wasn't expecting to be LITERALLY blown away by the raw computing and graphics performance of this update. I have run every standard benchmark suite in comparison not only with my 2009 MBPro, but also against my 2008 dual 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Xeon "Harpertown" MacPro. And to my surprise, this little wonder beats BOTH machines in CPU and graphics performance. Imagine carrying a laptop with true desktop power. My real-world tests (iMovie, Aperture, Photoshop and Nikon Capture NX) simply validate the benchmark results.

Here's what my tests reveal:
- Geekbench: 10450 (vs. 3722 for 2009 MBPro vs. 9533 for 2008 MacPro)
- Cinebench 11 CPU: 5.56 (vs. 1.53 for 2009 MBPro vs. 5.76 for 2008 MacPro)
- Cinebench 11 GPU: 36.38 (vs. 13.77 for 2009 MBPro/nVidia vs. 26.51 for 2008 MacPro/ATI 5770)
Now THAT is impressive!

Even though the Intel "SandyBridge" core i7 processor in this Mac is advertised as quad-core, each core supports 2 simultaneous threads (8 operations), which you can literally see when running Cinebench. If your computing needs don't support multiple cores, the i7 can bump the speed of a single core up to 3.4GHz (TurboBoost) as well.

To truly match/replace your desktop environment, you'll need to replace the built-in hard drive with an SSD, because 2.5" hard disks, even in 7200rpm configurations, are much slower than their 3.5" desktop counterparts. I bought my SSD through OWC, and I'm seeing anywhere from 3-40x(!) faster performance for I/O intensive operations such as booting, working with VMWare/Parallels virtual machines, and processing large files (images, video, etc). It is simply the best investment you can make, if you can afford it.

Beyond the raw power, there are a number of incremental improvements over the 2009 model:
- integrated Intel 3000 graphics, and ATI Radeon 6750M (dedicated graphics with 1GB VRAM)
- 1.33GHz memory backplane, supporting up to 16GB of RAM through third-party modules
- new Thunderbolt interface using the Mini DisplayPort connector (super-fast 10Gbps interconnect for up to 6 devices, although no Thunderbolt devices are available yet)
- Mini DisplayPort supports digital audio and video on a single cable (including HDMI with suitable third-party adapters)
- higher-resolution FaceTime camera
- SD slot now supports SDXC
- updated optical drive (ingest mechanism is less finicky for me)
- better battery life

The high-resolution screen in this model REALLY makes a difference over the standard screen (which I had on my 2009 model). The 1680x1050 resolution is the same as my older 21" Apple Cinema Display. I was afraid the higher resolution would make it harder to read (the text is smaller), but the brightness and wide-angle visibility makes this one of the best displays you can get in a laptop form factor. If you work in heavily-lit or outdoor environments, you might want to consider the anti-glare (matte) screen which is available in Apple's build-to-order configurations. Both dual and mirrored display configurations are possible - simultaneously supporting full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of color. Interestingly, in my configuration, I was only able to get an external HDMI display to operate on the high-performance discrete GPU only.

Another pleasant surprise for me was the battery life of this new 2011 model. Even with all that processing power, I'm consistently getting 6-7 hours of usable life (lightweight not heavy work). One big tip for saving battery life is to install the freeware gfxCardStatus utility, which lets you choose integrated only (much lower power), automatic, or discrete/ATI graphics. Apple's own Energy Saver system preference only lets you choose between automatic or discrete. And when you're running on the battery, this can be problematic because simply launching some programs (eg. PhotoShop) can force the discrete adapter. Like earlier designs, the battery is built into the unit and cannot be swapped or user-replaced. In practical use, I don't find this to be a problem because I'm getting the same extended runtime that I got on earlier MacBook Pros with 2 battery swaps.

Rounding out the compliment of ports (on the left side only) is Gb ethernet, FireWire 800, 2 USB 2.0 ports, audio out and audio in (both supporting analog and digital/TOSlink connectors). If there is any weakness, it would be nice to have a right-side USB port, or at least enough separation between the USB ports to not force you to use a short USB dongle cable with your 3G wireless card (if you want to use both ports).

As with Apple's other MacBook Pros, this model is built on their "unibody" construction, where the main case is crafted from a single piece of aluminum. This makes the laptop amazingly rigid, and also allows it to be lighter weight, thinner, and better at dissipating heat than more traditional laptop designs. Apple makes it easy to upgrade the memory or hard drive (you just need a fine #00 phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on the bottom plate).

One last note on this MacBook Pro - Apple bundles a special build of OS X 10.6.6 which you will want to immediately upgrade to 10.6.7 using Apple's Software Update mechanism. (You can't apply the 10.6.7 combo updater since this version of 10.6.6 is later than the standard build). The "OS X 10.6.7 Update for Early 2011 MacBook Pro" includes an important fix for the discrete graphics processor under heavy workloads.

For those of you (like me) who still have older PowerPC software that hasn't been updated (Quicken!), this will most likely be the last generation of Apple notebooks to run on OS X 10.6.x "Snow Leopard". The next release of OS X 10.7 ("Lion") has removed support for running PowerPC applications (Rosetta). This alone was worth me upgrading to this model.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MBP... where have you been all my life?, April 7, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I can sum up my review in one word:
Superb. No, Extraordinary! No, Awesome! No... well, you get the idea.

Maybe i'm over reacting, but i do love this little machine. Its just over the top, the quad core processor breezes through anything i throw at it, and the 4Gb are very capable (though i'm considering upgrading it to 8gb soon). Something that really rules is the video card. So far i've installed several games on it, and ALL of them it runs on very high settings.

This is my first Mac, so i had to suffer a slight adaptation period. A very slight period. It took me all 15 minutes to get used to it. It's just so natural!

I love tweeking configs and personalizing my computers, and though Mac OS is more rigid with respect to the themes one can put up, its a marvel when it comes to comfort. If you get down and dirty, Exposé and Spaces will rock your world. And the dock is just so much more practical than the standard issue windows bar.

Now, compatibility wise Mac OS can seem problematic, however this is just an illusion. This particular MBP packs so much punch that you can literally run windows on it simultaneously without even a hiccup. Virtualization, however, is a must for anyone that needs specialized software (specifically anyone with a CAD oriented program repertoire).

Im running Parallels 6, with a Windows XP virtual machine, and it runs all my Engineering programs beautifully (Staad.pro, MathCAD, Civil 3D, Revit Structure, MS Project). There is a Mac version for AutoCAD, but if you already have the windows license, the virtual machine will run it beautifully too. With tools such as "Coherence" you can be using Windows and Mac simultaneously without having to deal with the typical Windows problems.

Something i'm loving is the stability. Now, i have been pumping this baby with hard hitting processes since day 1, and it has responded well. Now, don't get me wrong, it did have its standard hangs on certain apps, however the hangs are very "contained", as the OS on a whole remained perfectly stable during these hangs. The apps that would hang, could easily be Force Quit and reopened with no data loss.

I've been using video converters for a long time, since i do have preffered formats for video, and this little piece of heaven really cuts down conversion time. There is this little open source app called Handbrake that handles itself pretty well for conversion. Its one of the only apps that i've found that can handle the quad core resources almost seemlessly.

Bootcamp is a must if you do heavy gaming. I installed Windows 7 on it and it runs like its native... Better even. I've installed games such as Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Deadspace 2, Starcraft 2, and Just Cause 2. They all run on full graphics without a zinch. I've been really pushing this machine, and so far im extremely satisfied.

I've been reading other reviews, and i cant understand some of the complaints. Maybe they got bad units, but then again Apple will replace any defective unit in a flash so it's not really an issue. I dont have any complaints with respect to battery life, i can get the advertised 7 hours, and even push out 8hours if i bump out Airport whilst im using text processors. However when using resource hogs, the battery drains quickly (for instance when running XP simultaneously the battery life goes down to around 3-4 hours. Graphicly demanding programs also drain the battery quickly.

If you are looking into this particular model (15" 2.2Ghz Quad Core 4gb Ram 6750 AMD Radeon), then chances are you know your way around computers. My guess is you are probably into graphicly demanding progs as well. So i can vouch for it, and say that it has answered elegantly to any vulgar attempt i've made at maxing it out. If you are not looking for a powerhouse though, i STRONGLY recommend getting one of the mid ranged models.

The price tag on this baby was the only cringe-factor... but now, 3 weeks into this enterprise, i can say its definitely worth it. If you can afford it, and you will actually use it at its potential i absolutely recommend it. If you are a casual user, however i recommend something less expensive.

Windows users don't be afraid. There are more ways to run windows on a mac than you can shake a stick at... but DO NOT buy this computer just to run windows on it... just get a PC, its cheaper :P

So in short, this laptop is over the top, i strongly recommend it for anyone looking for a powerhouse, but i strongly advise against this particular model for anyone looking for just casual computing. Anyway you go about it, Apple won't let you down. I finally understand why people say "Once you go Mac, you never go back".

:D
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great machine, May 30, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I've used a pretty wide variety of both PCs and Macs, both for personal use and for work. I've used them for gaming, development, and run-of-the-mill tasks. However, my last two machines (three counting this one) were all Macs. I'm still a believer in the PC for hardcore desktop gaming, but as far as laptops go I'm pretty much sold on Apple. Why? Quite simply, Mac laptops are just a lot less fuss. They don't break down or exhibit weird quirks as often as PC notebooks, generally last longer on battery power, and take up less space. For my latest machine, I decided to splurge a bit and get something that can actually play games- fully intending to take advantage of Boot Camp to run the loads of Windows titles I usually play on my monster desktop gaming rig. The 15" 2011 Pro with 1 GB video was the obvious choice: not so big I can't carry it around, yet with enough muscle to run anything in my library. Was it worth the huge price tag? In a word: yes.

Pros:

Case design is superior, not just elegant but functional as well. It's actually somewhat water resistant (don't ask) and very easy to clean. The form factor is slim and handy- easy to carry around.

Hardware layout is well thought out, and design is excellent. Speakers are positioned so the sound is crisp, almost as if you had externals. Camera is sharp. Trackpad is huge and very responsive.

Mac OS X is still the best OS out there. I must say, Windows 7 is a whole lot closer than any other previous incarnation of that franchise, but OS X still has it beat in many ways: no defragging, doesn't degrade over time (especially when used for software development), more stable, boots up and shuts down faster, and generally speaking more intuitive in UI layout. You'll also have a lot less to worry about as far as malware and spyware are concerned.

Screen quality is great, and the backlighting for both the display and keyboard are excellent. Note: I strongly recommend paying the extra for the high-res 1680x1050 display upgrade, unless you're always going to have your machine hooked up to an external display. It is totally worth it. Second note: if you do get this upgrade, don't bother with the anti-glare, as it's equally totally NOT worth it (you can get a third party stick-on that does the same for a lot less, and is removable).

Has enough power for pretty much anything. RAM/hard drive are easily upgradeable- buy it yourself and install it yourself; it's about as hard as loading VHS cassettes. This model straight out of the box can run most current games on max settings.

Dual boot is easy to set up. I'm running Win 7 64 alongside Snow Leopard for gaming purposes. Boot camp sets up all the drivers with little fuss. The only issues I've seen are that the graphics card switching doesn't work on Windows, which eats up battery a lot faster, and right clicking with the trackpad is a bit awkward. The latter is easily solved by hooking up a 2-button mouse.

Magsafe is awesome. I'd probably be out a few dozen machines from tripping over the cable if not for this simple yet brilliant feature.

Battery life is great. It doesn't usually last for 7 hrs as advertised; 5 hrs is more typical when doing various tasks. However, even that is huge compared to most similarly specced laptops.

For a laptop of this size with this power, it's really light.

Apple's customer support is top-notch. If you're in the US their stores are pretty much everywhere, and you can get same-day repair service in most cases. Try doing that with Dell or HP sometime...

Cons:

The mini displayport/Thunderbolt connector means you'll need an adapter for pretty much every different video device you hook up. They're a bit awkward to hook up and can get bulky if you have enough of them.

If you run 3-D intensive apps like most games the big video card turns on, and it runs pretty darn hot. When the fans kick in, it gets pretty loud.

Compared to some older unibody platforms, it's harder to get at the innards. You have to unscrew the whole bottom plate and remove it to even access the battery. For most users, though, this shouldn't be too big a deal.

It's considerably more expensive than a similarly specced Windows laptop.

Doesn't have a blu-ray drive, if you care. Most Windows machines in this price range do.

Is this machine for everyone? Probably not if due to the price alone, but I've found less to complain about than just about every other laptop I've owned. I'm still a fan of the regular MacBook for non-gaming/coding tasks due to its smaller form factor, lower cost, and lighter weight. However, it doesn't have the power to do anything more serious than video playback. If that's all you're going to do and ease of transport is a priority, then go for it. If you're planning on replacing a desktop or want some serious mobile power, then the Pro is a better choice.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive power, but I'm having a problem with this machine, March 8, 2011
By 
DK (United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I purchased the new Macbook Pro 15" (from Amazon, thank you) the very first weekend it was released. I produce videos for my company and felt like this was a super upgrade in power for me.

The machine is now having problems with hard freezes when I try to render video. The system fans start to rapidly build to around 6000 rpm and the machine goes into a state where the only option is a hard reset. The machine is REALLY hot too. At this point, I have noticed other postings on the Apple forums which suggest that this is a problem others are reporting about the new line.

I realize I'm not offering much background at this time but I wanted to make it known in case anyone is considering a purchase. Here is my immediate take:

1) If you feel you can benefit from the horsepower, I would definitely recommend this machine.
2) If you don't need it TODAY, wait about 30 days before purchasing and see how this plays out in the forums.

I have an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar and I fully anticipate they will want to replace it. Despite this issue, I still LOVE my Apple gear and will always recommend them.

UPDATE: I noted in later postings below that I have learned a little more about my issue. As a result, I am revising my rate to be 5 stars since the problem appears to be related to a non-Apple application.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great computer, March 8, 2011
By 
Chaya (La Jolla, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The other reviewers went into the technical specs & construction, so I'll go with some real life experiences. I've been using this computer for over a week now and wanted to wait till everything was connected and all software tried out before commenting.

My configuration is with the hi-res anti-glare screen & upgraded to 8 gigs of memory. The screen is breathtakingly sharp and the colors intense. If you are thinking of buying the computer, the extra $100 is definitely worth it for the hi-res option. Glossy or matte is a religious preference, so that won't be covered. The resolution is the same as a 20" cinema display but in a 15" package.

Speed - yes! A 3d file I tried to render on my old MBP would have taken 24 hours. On this computer, it took less than one hour including anti-aliasing. This is a combination of the increased processor ability, better graphics card and more memory. How much upgrading you do will depend on the software you are using. If you are doing processor-intensive graphics, don't even hesitate before buying. In Photoshop, it opened a 34 MB RAW image immediately and a variety of filters were then applied, each without any processing delay.

The cons:
- battery life has been overstated. I've been using the computer for two hours now - only doing web browsing and email, and the battery is almost half drained. Other days when running Parallels, games or graphics programs, it goes down a lot quicker. This isn't a surprise, but you need to know you can't fly cross country using the computer all day - it's not an iPad.
- display issues. There is a problem being the first one out the gate with new hardware, and I am having issues when connecting to an external monitor. Apple engineering is already working on it, and it may only be some configurations, so you may or may not want to wait before this is figured out.

Migrating from an old Mac - this is the first time I've done this using the Migration Assistant software. Wow. Instead of spending a whole day recreating my customizations, they were all there the minute the computer started up. Word of warning - before you do this make sure you can connect both computers via Firewire (you'll need an adapter if the old one is still firewire 400), because it took 5 hours for the migration to happen over ethernet. Worth the wait - everything is there: the screen saver, browser history, preferences, etc. Even the printer worked without having to search for and install new drivers.

In spite of the cons, I still give this computer 5 stars because one is a given (battery) and I'm sure the other will be worked out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet review, March 25, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The new Early 2011 MacBook Pro 15" is an incredible leap in performance. I deal with new Macs every day, and most of the time a performance increase is not that great. This new line is a HUGE leap in performance, both in processor (quad core vs dual core) as well as graphics (discreet). I bought the low end 2 GHZ model and increased the RAM to 8G. I give VMWare 2 processors and 4G of RAM...Windows screams!!! For Adobe CS5 work, much, much faster than dual core.

Don Montalvo, TX
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Pricey but a fantastic laptop., July 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC723LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I just upgraded from the 2011 15 inch 2.0ghz MBP to the 2011 2.2 mostly because of the graphics card upgrade to a full gb. I also installed a new owc 240 gb mercury extreme pro 6g ssd along with 8gb of memory. To me it didnt make a whole lot of sense to spend that much money on extras and not go for the higher end model 15 inch.

Ill be honest the 2.0 ghz version with 256mb of vmemory was more than enough and performs very well in comparison to the 2.2 version. Most people would never know the difference if they took the pepsi challenge.

I am a label whore however and I couldnt sleep at night knowing there was more out there.

The smart move and most cost effective however wouldve been to upgrade the 2.0 version mbp with probably the most stable and most reliable ssd in my opinion on the market and thats the samsung 470. it has a 3gbs data transfer rate so its not as fast as those in sata III and at 6gbps but again the difference in real world computing scenarios is negligible. It isnt however apple friendly and neither are the firmware updates if you have a mac.

I wanted the fastest while still conserving some reliability so an OWC ssd with a five year warranty and excellent customer service and the latest firmware included before shipment was the obvious choice over an OCZ. Both ssds are sata III and have a 6gbps data transfer rate.

No other upgrade will make a bigger difference in the performance of your computer than an ssd. Dont waste your money on a substandard apple offering though, there's a lot better offerings in both ssds and memory out there.

I will also never purchase another computer through anyone other than Amazon.

My first 2011 mbp in 2.2 ghz showed up after riding around in a ups truck in 115 degree Phoenix heat all day...I dont know how hot the inside of the truck was where the cargo is kept but the computer on arrival was nearly too hot to handle with my bare hands, I knew there would be issues.

The display was loose and unstable when opened and the battery took a health hit showing just 90% health...unacceptable for a brand new 2000 dollar computer.

I had zero problems getting a replacement and a morning delivery time. It was sent and arrived in one business day, and before I could send UPS's goof back to amazon...I was already using my new one. The reliability, discount, plus zero tax always makes me wonder why anyone would buy anywhere else. Any way just my thoughts hope they may help someone.

I did take one star for price and the cost of the apple name and like I said I wouldve been just as happy with the performance of the 2.0 ghz version if i werent so neurotic.

Just one more quick edit...the free upgrade to lion from apple's website couldn't be easier.
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