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255 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I guess I am a Mac after all...
I recently made the switch from PC to Mac, and I can say that I'm not sure why I waited so long. Considering that I have only had my computer a few weeks I can't say much about the durability and longevity of the hardware, but I can say that the operating system (mine shipped with Lion) and software is top notch.

I labored for a long time trying to decide...
Published on December 9, 2011 by H. A.

versus
91 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Switching to OS X from Windows 7 ?
Please note that this is a review for the February 2011 model but I am posting it here since the configuration is almost the same. (also because more people could read this before buying a MBP)

I have been a Windows user since I started using a computer and I never used a Mac OS X till I actually bought a MBP in May 2011. So, this review would really help...
Published on February 23, 2012 by R. Kavuri


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255 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I guess I am a Mac after all..., December 9, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I recently made the switch from PC to Mac, and I can say that I'm not sure why I waited so long. Considering that I have only had my computer a few weeks I can't say much about the durability and longevity of the hardware, but I can say that the operating system (mine shipped with Lion) and software is top notch.

I labored for a long time trying to decide whether the 13" MacBook Pro (MBP) or MacBook Air was the right choice for me. I liked the form factor, screen resolution and weight of the Air, but couldn't get comfortable with the comparatively small hard drive and the RAM fixed at 4GB. Considering these factors along with the significant price premium for an Air, I decided that the MBP was right for me.

I also thought long and hard about whether to go with the base model with the 2.4Ghz i5 processor and 500 GB HDD or the 2.8Ghz i7 processor with the 750GB HDD. after looking at reviews and benchmark tests I decided that for my uses, the less expensive model would be perfect and that the incremental added performance of the more expensive model is not worth the additional cost. When large solid state drives become more affordable I will probably switch my HDD out, but until then 500GB should provide plenty of storage.

I opted to get my computer locally, but purchased the Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 Memory Module (CT2KIT51264BC1339) from Amazon for a great price. Once I got my computer home I installed the RAM in 10 minutes, start to finish. If you are planning this upgrade just be sure that you have the right Phillips head screwdriver.

After using this computer for the past few weeks and carrying it on weekly business trips I am very pleased with my choice of computers. It handles the Microsoft office suite flawlessly, and the added ram allows me to open and view very large pdf files without any lag. I have done minor video and photo editing on this computer and it performed very well. The added weight compared to the
Air hasn't proven to be too noticeable, but I am a big guy at 6'4" and 210 pounds.

So far I am pleased with this computer and my Mac experience overall. The process of learning a new OS and overall user interface was daunting at first, but Apple has done a great job creating a system that is intuitive and easy to learn.

I would recommend this computer to anyone looking for a new laptop that they expect to have for awhile and would like to be able to customize to fit their needs.

UPDATE 5/29/12: I have been using my MBP for six months now and couldn't be happier with it. I may have been lucky enough to get a great unit, but during the time that I have owned my MBP I have NEVER needed to contact technical support. I use my Mac for my primary business computer every day and have traveled extensively with it.

Aside from its performance and reliability the feature that I like most about my Mac is the multi-touch trackpad. By using gestures on the trackpad I can be very efficient, and I'm not sure that I will ever be able to go back to a regular mouse or trackball.

One addition that I made was to get the Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter MB570Z/A to attach a second monitor when I'm at the office. This allows me to use both my MBP monitor and an external, which provides me with much more area when using Excel or other programs and also allows me to keep my mailbox visible when working on other things.

Considering how pleased I am with my Mac, I have a feeling that I will be buying a lot more Apple products in the future.
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165 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MD 314LL/A 2.8 GHz, 750 GB HDD, November 13, 2011
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD314LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The reviews here are for the MD313LL/A, yet the computer is actually MD314LL/A, which has a faster processor and bigger hard drive.

The MD314LL/A features a 2.8 GHz i7 processor, integrated Intel 3000 graphics and a 750 GB hard drive. I've never owned an Apple laptop before, so there was a little bit of a learning curve. Now that I'm getting the hang of it, I'm beginning to like OSX Lion better than Windows. Programs can be run on separate virtual desktops, and the computer never misses a beat when several programs are active. Switching between different desktops or open programs can be done by merely sliding three fingers forward on the large touchpad. Control-clicking on words or phrases in Safari brings up a context sensitive menu which allows the user to select to view a dictionary, Wikipedia, or do a Google search in a pop-up window in the browser. You can also ask the computer to speak the word or phrase, if you have any doubts about pronunciation. Safari also includes links to a library of plug-ins at extensions.apple.com, which includes a plug-in for Flash, so you can now watch free Hulu videos and other videos online. The network preferences window makes it far easier than Windows to set up a list of public DNS servers to bypass the sometimes slow, glitchy ISP servers.

This computer is completely silent. I wasn't even sure it had a cooling fan until I downloaded a utility to monitor the fan speed. This computer is super fast, and the base plate never gets more than lukewarm. The light weight, small footprint, lighted keyboard, crisp screen and speed really make this computer shine.

The attention to detail is really outstanding. The cooling vents on the back of the base are completely covered by a sliding plate when the lid is closed, keeping dust out of the innards. The power supply has flip out legs for winding the cord for storage and the prongs can be removed so it can be used as a brick type supply with the supplied AC cord. The computer also has a green LED battery status gauge built into the left side of the base, which is activated by a flush button. The lid snaps shut quietly even though there are no cheesy stick-on rubber bumpers, and it is held closed by magnets. The built in light sensor shuts off the keyboard backlighting and brightens the display in bright ambient light. The computer also has a 3 axis accelerometer to protect the hard drive from damage. The attention to detail is why Macs are more expensive than the various PC clones.
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177 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No More Windows for Me!, December 10, 2011
By 
J. Ferris "tunawish" (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I waited a month before writing this review to make sure my initial impression would hold up & it did.

MacBook Pro's -

1. Track Pad (Fantastic!)
2. No Trial Software (everything installed is fully functional - no more nag screens)
3. Battery Life (I get around 5 or 6 hours on a charge)
4. Incremental Backups with Time Machine (You can use almost any external HD instead Apple's expensive Time Capsule)
5. Support is Awesome (Nuff said)
6. It's Just Plain Sexy (No more Windows bricks for me...)

MacBook Con's -

1. No HDMI out
2. USB Ports too close together
3. Steve Jobs is Dead

If you're a long time Windows user; ask yourself if this story sounds familiar?

You've got a girlfriend/boyfriend who annoys you on a daily basis, but you stick with her/him year after year because you don't want to spend the time learning the ins & outs of a new one?

Then one day, a sleek, sexy chick/dude catches your eye & you start hanging out with her/him & pretty soon you're kicking that old broad/bum out on the street.

That's me & Microsoft.

I started; decades ago, as a DOS user with an 8088 machine & continued all the way up to Windows 7.

I've got a new girlfriend now & she blows the old one away.
The old one just blows.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No longer an apple hater, December 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Packaging:
Very impressed with the packaging. I was very impressed how well this thing was packaged. A well thought-out design protects the content and minimizes customer dissatisfaction.

First impression:
I am sure everyone who are interested to buy this product, has gone to best buy and played with it a bit. well, the new MBP right out of the box is 90% more impressive and attractive than that of the store. It is a good looking piece of machine.
It came with a charger, extension cord for the charger, instruction book, screen wipe, and nothing more that I needed. I took the cord out, and started charging it. A full charging is highly recommended before use. after a few setup screens, I am up and running.

Upgrade time:(Make sure you shut down your machine first)
I ordered this machine with a 8GB memory upgrade (DDR3-1333) from Crucial. I did not want to pay a premium for the apple upgrade. Instead, I bought a dual channel kit separately for $39.00. I highly recommended Crucial brand as they use Samsung memory chips and for one more reason I am telling you next. I will not go through how to change the memory(a lot of youtube videos available). when I took out the existing memory out of the MBP, guess what chips they use on the memory sticks? yes, guessed it right, samsung.And I also have reasons to believe that the RAMs are OEM version of crucial memory judging by physical similarities. but, that is just my opinion, not a fact.

User Experience:
After the upgrade, turned on the machine and few beeps and clunks later, it started flying. I repeat, it is flying and my machine is currently running over 600 threads without any sign of slowing down. virtual box? NO PROBLEMO! this little beauty is a little beast in performance. I have installed over 50 applications, running dozens simultaneously, 10 more browser windows open, and it just happy. I can't say enough about the multi-touch gestures. No other laptop I have ever used that had such ease of switching between applications, scrolling, searching, sliding and navigating. I have never used Mac OS before(not more than a few minutes of playing around at best buy), and I felt it was very intuitive to use and learned fairly quickly. I still don't know a lot about the OS, but it has not stopped me from doing what I need to do.

What could be better:
Not that I cared much, but the standard power cord is a little short. I bought a sleeve to keep it safe, and it does not allow room for the extension cord that comes with it(big and bulky).
It has good speakers that play nice sounding beats. But the 15" plays them better.
The outer shell is aluminium, but don't think you can't scratch it. I spent a sleepless night just cause it put a small scratch under it by accident. But, I am over it now.

Advice to the people who wants to take the plunge:
I felt like it was the best $1100 I spent on a laptop. I could not justify it before using it as I always thought that Mac is more style than performance and usefulness. I admit that I was wrong. This machine offers more features and performance per dollar than I thought. This is a well-built machine that would serve me longer than any other laptop ever has for me. I have half a dozen windows machines in my house including a 990X extreme desktop that I built 4 months ago. I love windows, but I have learned that I can like both (Macbook pro and PC).
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MacBook Pro: Think Different, January 30, 2012
By 
Steve Jobs had returned to Apple, which had been a struggling company, and it was time to align it once again with world of creative users. In 1997 an ad was run with actor Richard Dreyfuss reading the voiceover, which began with: "Here's to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently." Think Different... that was the 1997 slogan and theme for Apple's comeback to the world of serious computing after the return of Steve Jobs, and perhaps it was a cynical reference to IBM's famous "Think" slogan. Whatever it was, this was the ad campaign that restored Apple's reputation under the leadership of the late Steve Jobs.

Take this MacBook Pro review as one from a dedicated Windows PC user who made the switch awhile ago, with time enough to put it through its paces, to do side-by-side comparisons. I've owned a Mac before, back in the day of the Macintosh SE, and though I found it to be extremely useful for desktop publishing in the days when Aldus PageMaker reigned supreme in that area, I saw things blend as Microsoft slowly got its act together, for the most part. When it came time to upgrade back then, I stuck with the Windows PCs... until recently, when I found the need to diversify a bit.

To make this easy for those who just want to get to the facts quickly, I'll list the positive and negative points that I've personally found with the MacBook Pro first, then elaborate with details a bit further on. Please also remember that these are coming from a satisfied Windows 7 PC user, and one with multiple computers.

◆ MacBook Pro Positives:

+ Well thought-out packaging, easy out of the box setup
+ Excellent build quality, unparalleled detail in workmanship
+ Superb aluminum unibody chassis construction, has a good solid feel
+ Sharp 13.3-Inch backlit display, first-rate 1280-by-800 Resolution
+ Screen display has excellent color resolution and contrast for photos
+ First class backlit keyboard, easy to use in low-light situations
+ Very fast boot up even with password protection enabled
+ Proven Mac OS X operating system; based on UNIX (like a server)
+ Built-in SD card slot; great for transferring photos to computer
+ Responsive ergonomic multi-touch trackpad; no buttons, excellent cursor control
+ Well-engineered 60W power adapter with decent cable management system
+ Automated incremental backups with Time Machine, works with almost any external HDD

◆ In Between:

± Claimed 7 hour battery life; 5-6 hours is more like it, depending on the apps that you're running

◆ Negatives:

- No built-in HDMI or VGA output, adapters must be purchased separately
- Only 2 USB 2.0 ports, and they are too close together

◆ The Details:

We each have our reasons for the computers that we own. Mine were primarily to have a compact yet sturdy platform for word processing, accessing the Internet, and digital photo processing. That stated, there's little to not like about this MacBook Pro. The Intel Dual-Core Processor is fast and efficient, and even better than the Pentium Dual-Core 2.20GHz processor on my Windows 7 notebook PC. It's one thing to see it in the store, but when one gets it home and takes it out of the well-designed box, it's apparent that this is a better grade computer than might have been anticipated. The first thing that is noticed once it's unwrapped is the workmanship. The unibody main enclosure, constructed from a single block of aluminum, is proof of this attention to detail and it helps add to its durability.

The 13-inch backlit LCD display is sharp, and has the excellent color resolution and contrast that I need, especially when working with photos. The glossy screen actually helps to see images with their full clarity. Using both Adobe software apps and Nikon Capture NX 2, having clear and sharp resolution is an absolute necessity, and this MacBook Pro offers that. The backlit keyboard is a pleasure to use, and quite functional in low-light mobile locations. I'm also very impressed with the quick boot up, even with the password startup screen enabled, a security necessity when at some mobile locations.

It's hard to fault OS X in any way. This operating system is UNIX-based, and therein lays its strength, along with its ability to run 64-bit applications. It works right out of the box without fiddling or tweaking. It's far better than Mac OS 9 and its predecessors, and the security while on the `Net is reassuring.

The tiny built-in SD card slot has proven itself to be good for transferring photos from the digital cameras to the computer. I've also used it to transfer other media files and documents between computers in a pinch. It took awhile to get used to the trackpad, with its so-called "multi-touch gestures," but once mastered it's easy to use. Must admit that I do revert to using a mouse when using the computer at home... call it years of conditioning.

This computer really shines with the inclusion of the Time Machine application, and I was happy to find that I could use a reasonable priced off-the-shelf hard drive to do automated incremental backups. I have a Toshiba 500 GB USB Portable Hard Drive, and all I did was reformat it to HFS+ Journaled file system to use the Time Machine backup software. It works like a champ.

The external 60W power adapter is well engineered and keeps my computer running cooler than PC notebooks with internal power supplies. I appreciate the magnetic DC connector as it pops off easily if some klutz trips on the cord, necessitating a costly repair as I found out when someone did that to one of my PC notebooks. The LED in the connector head helps: amber it's charging, green it's charged; very simple and effective.

◆ Other Notes:

The battery life being less than advertised I can live with. I would have expected HDMI and/or VGA output to be built-ins with a computer of this quality. But I have yet to buy the adapters. But to have only two built-in USB 2.0 ports is irritating, and those are too close together. Problem solved with an external 4-port ISB adapter, so that issue is closed.

I have had issues with laptop carrying bags in the past, and now carry my MacBook Pro in a ThinkTank Artificial Intelligence 15 V. 2.0 Laptop Bag. I picked this one over many others from heavy experience with photo gear, and know that Think Tank makes exceptionally good pro gear. It protects my computer from the elements quite well, holds more gear than I can explain here (I have reviewed it), and can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to protect their MacBook with the kind of case that it really deserves.

Browser note: I've used the included Safari browser, but my de-facto standard remains Google Chrome. Safari is a decent browser, but because I find it necessary to synchronize my email on the Mac, the PCs and even one older Linux-based notebook (it's a geek/support thing), Chromes just works better, and I find it faster. Your experiences may differ, so try whichever works for you.

I'm running Office for Mac 2011 and have found its interface to be even better than Microsoft Office 2010 or 2007 on the PC. Didn't know if the implementation of Outlook for Mac 2011 would be better than Entourage, which was buggy, but Outlook turned out to be excellent, and it's become my mainstay over the PC version.

Heat is an issue that I had heard of by some, yet I have not experienced. The heat level is better than my old HP, Compaq or Dell, and far better than my VAIO (which was very bad). The only one that has been better heat-wise is my current ASUS notebook running Windows 7, but not by much. Had been tempted to get a keyboard skin for general protection in the field, but heard that these interfere with the ventilation, so that idea has been tabled for the present.

◆ Future:

I may upgrade to 8GB of RAM, which has been recommended by a number of people if and when system performance issues arise. The RAM upgrades are quite reasonable, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it runs with the standard 4 GB at this point.

◆ [Updated 3/10/2014]

This MacBook Pro has been in continuous use for over two years now. In the summer of 2012 I did the memory upgrade to 8GB of RAM using the Crucial 8GB (4GBx2) Kit in anticipation of the OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) release. Detailed notes of what I did can be found on my review of that Crucial 8GB kit, which my be helpful to first-timers. Have also been doing the OS X upgrades, usually about 2 - 3 weeks after they were released to see what bugs may have been encountered. Currently the computer is running the OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks) update, and though I went through some hiccups with the initial OS X 10.9 release, OS X 10.9.2 has been running fine on this computer.

Am using the Time Machine backup software application in conjunction with a Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive which has been partitioned; one segment is for automatic backups, and the other segment is reserved for manually saving photo, MP3 and video files. The main thing is to let the Time Machine do your backups automatically as a security measure.

◆ In Conclusion...

I could say more, but the best advice that I can offer is that if you get a MacBook Pro, regardless of which model, take it out of the box, plug it in and charge it. After that, turn it on and see how easy it can be... the MacBook Pro just works, as you'll see. Think Different is a reality, and this one proves it.

JW ▪ 1/30/2012; Updated 3/10/2014
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91 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Switching to OS X from Windows 7 ?, February 23, 2012
Please note that this is a review for the February 2011 model but I am posting it here since the configuration is almost the same. (also because more people could read this before buying a MBP)

I have been a Windows user since I started using a computer and I never used a Mac OS X till I actually bought a MBP in May 2011. So, this review would really help someone who is considering a Mac for the first time and wants to use it either at school or to remotely connect to work. This article summarizes what you would love and what you could be missing.

I previously owned a desktop, a HP laptop and a Compaq laptop before I bought a MBP. Also, I still use Windows machine at work. One of the major reasons I bought the MBP was because it was available on a eBay deal from Macmall for $950. I assumed that if I did not like it, I could always sell it for at least $850 on eBay or Craigslist.

Before reading the next part, please do understand that MBP and OS X come together. Things you need to know --

**OS X

Switching between applications - This is one of my biggest quirks with OS X. Windows 7 does an awesome job in switching between applications. When you want to switch between the applications, you use ALT+TAB in Windows 7 and this would shift the focus to the next application. In OS X, you can switch between applications by using CMD+TAB but it does not automatically bring up the other application, it just changes the active application in menu bar (if the application was minimized). I never understood the reasoning behind this, why would I just want to see the menu bar of the other application, I cannot imagine doing anything just with a menu bar.

After some search on the internet I found the work around to do this in OS X. The answer is to press CMD+TAB followed by the option key (just before releasing the CMD key) to switch between the applications perfectly. You can also scroll your four fingers on the track pad to bring up all the applications and then highlight the application you want to choose to change the active application window. It is simply irritating to switch between keyboard and the track pad when you are typing some document or email. You can also use one of the function key buttons instead of using the four fingers but at the end of the day Windows 7 does a great job here.

Please do note that you can only switch directly between applications but not directly to the active window of an application when you used CMD+TAB, for example you cannot switch directly to a second excel workbook, you have to bring up the application first and only then switch to the second workbook. I am aware that there is software available (namely Witch for $14) to do this but I already paid for the machine and why should I go through all this trouble and change the system registry entries to simply switch between applications.

-->UPDATE We can also use spaces and assign some shortcuts to spaces(like option+arrow) to make the switch between applications easier but you need to assign a different space to every application and this could be tedious after some time. Also the animations could make you dizzy after a while.

Switching within an application - To switch between the various windows of the same application, the answer is to press CMD+~, it works but what if I have 3 open excel workbooks. Same answer as above, scroll the four fingers or press the function key to see all active windows.

Taskbar could be a big deal - It is irritating not to have a task bar in OS X. You can never actually know that you had two open excel workbooks or two separate browser windows at a glance. To put this into context, try working in Windows 7 grouping all your applications together all the time, in Windows 7 the users have the option to ungroup individual windows by selecting "Combine only when taskbar is full" in the taskbar properties. The problem with this approach in OS X is that you will never know all the application windows unless you display all the active windows or highlight the application in the docking bar.

Also, the docking bar still occupies a substantial amount of screen space even in its minimal size , in Windows 7 the taskbar is comparively small. Due to the screen size and resolution constraints we usually tend to hide this docking bar on the 13" MBP so that we can see the applications in the maximum available screen space. So either compromise on seeing the active applications in docking bar or full screen mode for applications.

Again, the app Witch is the answer for taskbar but it will display these active windows only when we press CMD+TAB.

Full Screen - I am addicted to see everything in maximized window mode in Windows 7 machines, I could never be satisfied with the default resized small windows, so I installed a free application RightZoom to address this issue. So far, so good.

Microsoft Office - The experience of using Microsoft Office on OS X is pretty subpar in comparison to Windows 7, may be it the fault of Microsoft but it is simply pretty hard for someone to transition from Office 2010 in Windows 7 to Office 2011 in OS X. For example, I am used to zooming in and out of Microsoft Word using Ctrl+Scroll Up(on trackpad) and Ctrl+Scroll Down but this option is not available as shortcut in the OS X version of Office. I wanted to type a formula for a cell in Excel and cannot find the formula bar. May be someone can help me if they know a way around enhancing this experience.

Quick Links - The docking bar essentially acts likes the quick link shortcuts in Windows 7. CMD+W closes the application and CMD+Q quits the application, you have to be careful enough not to press Q instead of W.

Delete button - There is no substitute to Shift+Delete in OS X(CMD+del). Deletion followed by emptying trash is the only way to do it, if you are someone who is addicted to deleting the file at once there is no shortcut.

Cut + Paste - There is no such option as 'Cut+Paste' in OS X. If you want to move something to a different folder, you have to copy and paste the file into the target folder and then delete the original from the source folder. Or select the file and carefully drag the file from the source into the target folder.

Preview - Preview can be used to view PDF files and image files. Preview can also be used to make some markings in a PDF file, that is pretty cool. But what if I want to see all the pictures in a folder at once using preview, the only option is to select all the images and then right click to open with preview to see the files (In certain situations we can select all images and press space bar and the photos come in a stream slideshow, I learned this recently. Also, every time you open a PDF or an image file the preview application becomes active, I would have preferred the application to quit automatically when I close the image). In summary, it is easier and cooler in Windows 7 to view images.

Software Installation - There is no control panel in OS X. Just drag the file into the trash bin and it is gone. It has traces in your system but essentially it is gone for all practical purposes. I like this easy deletion aspect in OS X.

VPN Connection - Certain (or many?) VPN connection softwares like Juniper cannot be installed on OS X because some of these VPN connections connect using some plugins that are designed specifically for Internet Explorer, which is not available on OS X. I wanted to connect to work using the Microsoft Office remote desktop client but could not do it due to this restriction .

External Applications - All the applications cannot be installed in OS X. There are lots of companies out there that make products just for Windows machines. I had to install StatTools for my course work and the tool could not be installed on OS X, so I had to work from another Windows machine at work on the weekends for my course work. I could have also installed Bootcamp and that comes up next.

Bootcamp - I installed Windows 7 using bootcamp on MBP. I observed that Windows 7 is slow and the hard disk makes squeaky noises when you are trying to open an application in bootcamp, also the track pad experience is not the same despite the various drivers and the keyboard layout is obviously different. You can overcome these problems by connecting the MBP to a HDTV or any monitor and then using a wireless Windows keyboard + mouse but then the whole setup is too much hassle and defeats the purpose of a laptop.

Wakeup time - The MBP is pretty fast on this aspect

OS X Lion - I am still on Snow Leopard and do not see any reason to upgrade to Lion. In fact I observe that a lot of people want to downgrade to Snow Leopard from Lion due to stability issues. The fixes are on their way but do check for performance before the upgrade.

**HARDWARE

Track pad - This is something you would love to use and a big selling point, you can never think of going back to other laptops after using this. I always used a mouse on the Windows laptops but never even felt the need for a mouse on the MBP. The two finger swipe to scroll and three finger swipe that replace the 'Home' and 'End' buttons, pinch and zoom for PDF document and images are pretty cool options. I was pretty amazed at the track pad when I started learning more about the OS X.

Keyboard - Keys are located spaciously. My previous two laptops frequently had dirt stuck in between the keys which used to drive me crazy.

Heat - HP and Compaq laptops generate so much heat that you can use them as a personal heater (I used to do it). The whirring sound made by my Compaq laptop's heat fan used to be pretty embarrassing for me in my class or in the meetings, I hated opening the laptop. In a contrast, the MBP is very calm, the fan does go up occasionally when you run some intensive applications such as office (along with some other intensive applications) or play graphic video games but you will hardly notice it.

Build - Unibody aluminum build with just 10 screws at the back is something you would appreciate only when you have used other laptops made of plastic material that make creaky sounds every time you lift them. The upper lid of these other plastic material laptops tend to wobble a lot over time but the MBP's lid is pretty stiff even after 7 months of daily use (at least 3 hours a day).

Screen - I personally like the fact there is no slight gap between the glossy screen and border of the lid. In other laptops dust gets stuck between the screen and the plastic and it could be really irritating when you cannot remove the dust. Screen quality, there are different manufacturers for the LCD screen, please search for 9CC3, 9CC5 and 9CC7 to know more about this. I have a 9CC3 (luckily) and it is supposed to be the best one available for a 13" MBP.

Ports - HDMI port is not available directly but you can buy a 10 feet long HDMI output cable for less than $20.

DVD Drive - Other laptops tend to have DVD drive as an attachment but in a MBP it is inseparable (at least by the looks of it). The DVD drives on the two other laptops I owned before MBP used to make a quirky sound when I used to wake them up from sleep or do a restart, no such sounds on the MBP.

Battery - The longest battery life out I could extract from MBP was about 6 hours with browsing. That is pretty good considering that other cheaper laptops can only last for 2.5 hours. Of course you can upgrade your battery on the other laptops but you need to compromise on the weight.

Power Chord and Charger - One of my friends accidentally tripped over a $1000 Sony Vaio's power chord and the machine fell on the floor with brute force. I still remember how anxious he was till the machine powered up. This would not happen with a MBP, the chord attaches to the MBP with magnet, in case of an accident the power chord would detach itself and nothing would still happen to the MBP. The adapter is light weight and you can carry it in a backpack (no big bundles like the ones you see for HP and Dell).

Function Keys - I use the function keys in Windows 7 machines to close application, essentially which means that I am going to just use F4 for pressing Ctrl+F4 or Alt+F4. I like the Apple's way of function keys, pretty easy to use and only contains what we exactly need. Ctrl+F4 and Alt+F4 are replaced by CMD+W in OS X.

Webcam - 720p & perfect for Skype.

Backlit Keyboard - If you have not used one before you will love this option.

Resale Value - Based on the eBay listings I can say that you could expect to recover 75% of the actual value of a MBP if you maintain it well (if sold within a year of purchase).

Apple Warranty - International warranty for 1 year + easy replacement within 3 months + Apple protection for 3 years for $200 (warranty is international again) is really worth it. I felt that my battery was losing its power quickly and Apple Store promptly replaced the battery for me.

Cons (the only one)
Speakers Sound - Sound is kind of low for me, I really wish that it was louder.

So to summarize I am impressed with the hardware by every bit and I really do not have any complaints about the hardware design.

******************************************************************************

In conclusion, if you are going to use your laptop for Microsoft Office and want to connect to Windows machine through Remote Desktop or VPN, I would recommend not to jump the boat to OS X and instead consider other alternatives listed below. The experience of Microsoft Office, switching between applications and productivity is much better on Windows 7. I am going to still try to adapt to Office 2011 in OS X and if that does not work out I would consider the other Ultrabooks.

I would still recommend a MBP if you want to buy a laptop for casual browsing and simple applications at home, the hardware design is pretty awesome.

Alternatives to consider - Similar hardware design with Windows 7 would be a very good combination and that brings me to Windows Ultrabooks. Ultrabooks are about the same price (or in most of the cases cheaper than MBP), faster with a SSD and are very appealing with Windows 8 soon on the cards. I read on tech websites that HP Envy Spectre 14, Lenovo U300S, Asus Zenbook, HP Folio 13, Dell XPS and Samsung Series 9 are pretty well built like a MBP but run on Windows 7. Currently, HP Envy Spectre 14 has got the best reviews of all the ultrabooks as of now and Asus is about to release their second iteration of zenbooks soon, so thats some good news if you are a Windows fan.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a long time windows user - Excellent Notebook, January 8, 2012
By 
First of all, I am a systems engineer doing systems development for the past 15 years or more. I have used the very first versions of windows until windows 7. I have used all kinds of other operating systems like Android, Linux, Unix, Ubuntu etc etc.

This is my first Mac and I am very impressed with my 2 days of of usage so far. Getting used to trackpad and gestures took a while but I think I am comfortable now.
I upgraded RAM to 8GB (bought Crucial sticks from Amazon). Removing back cover needs some mastery of tools but when I removed the factory RAM and installed new sticks, they were recognized instantly and the macbook became even faster. If you are a normal email/simple app user, there is absolutely no need to upgrade memory. 4GB of memory is more than enough for this OS.

I could configure VPN in minutes (compared to hours on a windows PC) and it works right out of the box. There is no unnecessary software that came with this Mac and no need to uninstall anything. No virus issues as well. Everything simply works. No crashes or freezes so far.

I am an avid Google chrome user but when I saw how fast the Safari browser is, I didn't even think of installing Chrome on this.

When the screen backlight is set to 50%, battery lasts for about 7.5 hrs with light usage. Video/Youtube etc strains the battery a bit more.

Hardware is a work of art and there are no complaints about it. Looks and feels beautiful and very sturdy.

I expect to use this notebook for at least 5 years if not more.

If you are also a windows user and thinking of moving to Mac, just don't think. Do the plunge and you won't repent. I gaurantee it.

Thanks,
Sam.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Product, December 15, 2011
I have been a Pc user for all my life. I am an art major and I needed something that runs reliably with some of the heavy software that I would be using. I had used a iMac at school to finish up a a project with Photoshop (this was a public computer) and it worked amazingly. The first thing I noticed was the fact that there is only one clicking button, not the left and right click that you would see on a PC. The stability of the OS X 10.7.2 is amazing. I have never used such a quick computer before. The computer comes beautifully packaged and the shape of the laptop is just remarkable. I don't know how they were able to fit such a fine mechanism into such a drastically aesthetic design. It's like Apple thought carefully about ease of use, neutrality in color, while also being fully aware of the software. The finger swipes are addictive. You CANNOT do anyhing like this on a PC that I know of. The trackpad is revolutionary in my mind. It is just one solid gray square made of glass. It feels your fingers swipes and seemlessly manages to switch from window to window, screen to screen. The camera is high quality. There is no random, no-name software in here either. This is one of the main things that really almost brought be to tears. I didn't have to uninstall all the useless junkware. The computer turns on, welcomes you, and prompts a few start up questions. Then you have the desktop. I don't, in any way feel pretentious about having this computer. This IS a very expensive computer, but I know that it is a high quality computer, well worth the price. I spend very little time on forums, trying to figure out how to use it. I don't have to call up the geeks to do the things I want, which is nice. In the long run, I may end up spending less money on repairs. I am fotunate that this device is within my grasp, but the truth is, if I couldn't dish out this kind of money, I would have had to settle for a PC.
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59 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Value for money, October 31, 2011
Mac Book Pro 13 (early 2011 and late 2011) are excellent laptops. It works really well. The pricing is very competitive. You will fall in love with it in no time. If you could stretch by a few 100 dollars I highly recommend you should replace your Windows laptop with this one.

My review mainly talks about the difference I have felt between an early 2011 and late 2011 mac book pro.

I bought mine from Apple Store the day it was released as Amazon didn't have it yet.

Processor - When compared to my 3 week old Early 2011 edition there I barely experience any difference in performance (2.3 GHz v/s 2.4 GHz).

Hard disk - The new editions gives you more hard disk space (500GB instead of 320GB) but time has taught me never to trust an internal hard disk. I always use a backup hard disk to store important files at all times. So, the hard disk capacity really doesn't matter to me.

Issues I have encountered so far on the Late 2011 Edition (new one):

Fan noise: The fan made a constant hissing noise in the background. So, I took it back to the apple store and they narcissist genius bar staff) fixed it by resetting the fan at boot up.
(Beware, their staff could send you back making you feel that only they know what a computer is. I had the staff telling me older version did not make the fan noise cause it is a "different" computer. Yeah, of course smarty pants "fix it now")

Software - Compared to the early 2011 edition I did see inbuilt applications crashing and it prompted me to send the report to Apple (which I promptly did).I think this will happen to any new version of computer/phone released and I need to wait for the next set of updates to have all of this fixed. I will be patient for few months.

Overall,at this point I feel for 100 bucks more you will get a newer hardware but it is not drastically different and you will not miss anything if you want to save some money and want to stick with the Early 2011 edition.

Enjoy your mac book pro !!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apple vs PC, February 1, 2012
I purchased this computer for my wife about a year ago. From the moment we turned it on we noticed the true difference between a PC and a MAC. PC's are truly built for the Techy and MAC's for the rest of us. That is not to say that MAC's are only for people that have no idea how to use a PC, they are built for those that don't know how all the code works. Currently, we have two PC's and one MAC. The Mac cost quite a bit more than the PC, however, we haven't had any software or hardware problems with the MAC and a host of software problems with the PC. Furthermore, the touch pad on a MAC is superior to that on a PC. There is no struggle to scroll down, right click, drag and drop and so on. Also, when I purchased the MAC, it came with a free wireless printer. The PC desktop wouldn't load the printer through the Windows auto feature because it couldn't find a suitable driver. I had to use the disk that came with the Printer. Not a problem, but when I started loading the software on the PC I figured I would see how it worked on a MAC. The MAC asked me two easy questions, asked for permission to go to the HP website for the software and printed it's first test page before the PC loaded three of nine items from the disk.

Overall, the MAC is superior in everything so far over the PC, but most importantly is the Operating system. MAC's operating system seems flawless. Quick start up and blazing speeds to include shut down or waking the system up. Plus Apple thinks of little details, like a keyboard that knows it's dark so it lights up and then allows you to set the brightness. You will pay more, but I think money is less important than time and the extra bucks are worth the savings in patience you will need with a PC and Windows. However, if you are truly looking for that ability to figure out code and love to wait for Windows to consistently update and crash, save some cash and buy a PC. You can tuck away the savings you will eventually need for relaxation therapy sessions after purchasing a PC.
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