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153 of 155 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2010
Verified Purchase
I finally made the decision to get rid of my two laptops (an HP envy, and a 13" macbook pro) in favor of this 17" macbook pro with a dual boot setup using Boot Camp. Initial impressions: The best choice I've ever made. Here's the whole thing broken down:

THE SIZE
This thing is pretty beastly, but it's not unwieldy. You definitely feel its size the second you pick one up, or move it around, but you'll quickly get over that once you open it up and turn it on. The keyboard is super expansive, the screen is unbelievable (more on that later) and you can still stay mobile with this thing if you really need to. It's not something you can easily move around with 1 hand from room to room, but if you're like me, and do most of your work at a desk, then this is a great choice to make. (Note: I also own an iPad, which is a fantastic pair with this thing, since it does about 90% of what I do on-the-go as far as mobile computing goes.)

THE SCREEN
So I mentioned already that you'll most likely fall in love with this thing like I did when you open it up and turn it on. It has the highest PPI (pixels per inch) of all the apple laptops they sell and it shows. I actually am considering not even hooking this up to my external monitor anymore, because of how brilliantly sharp it is. Colors really pop and text is easy to read. Also, since it's 17", you get a better-than-HD 1920x1200 resolution. My work is in development, so this is really a major selling point for me. I need to be able to manage all my windows in Xcode and Interface builder without tons of overlap and clicking between browsers, my chat windows and my code.

THE KEYBOARD
If you've used a macbook pro keyboard in the past year or so, you'll feel right at home with this thing. I will say this as a negative, however: It's not super comfortable on your arms right past your wrist, because the sharp edges of the laptop dig into your skin after a while.

THE PERFORMANCE
I copied over my entire OS/settings to this new macbook pro and ran some field tests to see how fast this thing is in comparison to my old macbook pro--and it screams. An iPhone/iPad project that takes 5-10 seconds to build on my old machine (core 2 duo) takes a fraction of that time here. The i5 is most definitely a step up from previous core 2 duos. I finally have a laptop I can stick Windows 7 on that is as good as a dedicated Windows machine can do. (Being able to have this 1 comp to run both environments is great!)

BATTERY LIFE
I will have to come back and update on battery life, but I can tell you that it's worlds better than my HP. That was similarly spec'ed and barely worked 2 hours on the go. This one so far is looking like 6 hours with wifi and full brightness. They have it rated at 8-9 hours, but I'm sure that's with brightness turned down and not full use the whole time. Truthfully, anything better than 2 hours with this kind of power is great for me.

TOUCHPAD
Again, if you've used a recent MacBook Pro, this is essentially identical. The biggest change here is that you can now use "inertial" scrolling, so that you can just flick your fingers to scroll long pages, and it will keep scrolling until it slows to a stop. This is very similar to the iPhone scrolling of long pages, or if you've used a Magic Mouse, it does the same thing.

Also, of note, is that of all the new copy cat glass track pads, I haven't used one that works as well as these. Even inside Windows, it performs real well and you feel productive with it. I've used other PC's with the no-button glass touchpad, and it makes me want to throw them across the room after a few minutes..

OTHER THOUGHTS/CONCERNS
While I'll keep this at 5 stars, this isn't necessarily a perfect computer. I have a few gripes with it, but they aren't really deal breakers and all the other pros make up for them so well that I'm okay with it. For starters, this has three USB ports (the 15 and 13 model only have 2) but unfortunately they are literally all lined up next to each other. If you have any kind of a fat usb device, you're out of luck for placing anything next to it.

Also, you'll most likely need to buy the mini-display port to HDMI converter because while Apple loves mini-display port, the rest of the world is just now using HDMI as its standard. You can find one here on amazon for real cheap (<$10). I take this as a con simply because you'll need to (most likely) always carry around an adapter or two to hook up to most projects or tv's or monitors.

VIDEO PERFORMANCE
I haven't yet tested any games or anything but it'll run HD videos so smoothly and they look *fantastic* on this screen. Seriously--I thought my old macbook pro 13 looked good running HD, but this computer puts it to shame. I can't wait to try out some games on here. (Valve is coming to the mac soon! And of course Blizzard makes all their games for mac os as well, so what more do you really need? :) )

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you're looking to spend this amount of money on an apple, and don't mind the bigger size of this thing, then go for it. You won't regret it. I'm so happy to be using this coming from the two laptops I had to previously carry around everywhere. Having everything in 1 device, with this much power, and with this great of a battery life, is a blessing.

UPDATE - JUNE 10, 2010
I've had this laptop for some time now, and thought I'd go ahead and update on some of the things I promised I would earlier in the review. As some other reviewers have pointed out, I'm not quite sure how Apple managed to get 8 or 9 hours out of 1 charge, unless they were using it with all its wireless signals off and on very low brightness. But the battery life is still good--I can stay unplugged for 5+ hours if need be.

Computer games on here run really well. Valve is indeed on the Mac now, and here to stay. The games work and look great! If you're a casual computer gamer, and like to play things like Half Life or Portal, Civilization, etc etc, then this computer will easily suit your need.

Finally, I don't know how I missed this is in my first review, but the sound is really very good. It comes with a subwoofer inside, and can produce incredibly loud sound without distortion.
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2010
This is my second 17" MacBook Pro. I had the last generation in a 2.93GHZ CPU. My first one had a SSD drive, this one does not. I updated my first one to 8GB of RAM, this one still has 4GB, and I won't be in a rush to update it. BTW, my first MBP was stolen.

If you can stand the weight, and don't let the other reviewers fool you. Yes you get a nice 17" full HD display, but it is very heavy. I'm 6'4" and have a Brenthaven backpack and Brenthaven carry all. You will need some protection for this thing, because if you drop it, it is heavy enough to break itself. The folks at Brenthaven were great. After my first MBP was stolen they sent me not one but two replacement sleeve at no charge. Did I say it was heavy? It is really heavy. Try to carry it around all day and you will start think that small is beautiful.

We have two 13" macs in the house. A unibody MacBook--the best selling laptop ever, and the newer 13" MacBook Pro--fast becoming the most popular laptop ever. Both of these are outstanding computers--probably better machines. They are lighter and more fun to use.

Let me say a few words about speed. I love fast machines. But get serious, even the slowest Mac is fast as heck. The only reason for getting a really fast machine is if you do video editing, and perhaps professional graphics people who deal with huge photoshop files--if you don't then don't delude yourself into thinking you need a really fast machine. Even so, these other machines will do whatever you want.

I would have bought the new 13" or perhaps the 15" if I didn't have all the accessories for the 17". While this 17" is good for what I wanted--Video editing in the field. It is not very good for every day use. I'd recommend the 13" or 15" or even the MacBook Air for most people. I compromised and bought this and a new iPad. So I have something for general use to carry around, and a blazing fast laptop.

I bought each machine with the glossy display. I like the rich colors and most of the time I don't use it in places with lots of reflections. I could have changed to a mat display and did not. Mainly because I felt the glass display was mechanically stronger, and I don't intend to lose this laptop--I'll have this one for ten years or more.

What else? Well so far in general use, I don't find it to be any faster than my older one. I have not tried ripping a DVD to MP4 yet, that will probably be faster. The truth is, this MBP and the last generation are both darn fast machines. Either will blow your mind with how fast they are.

I did not get a SSD drive this time, because on my old machine, it was lightning fast when I bought it, but not much faster than a hard drive after a year's use. Why pay for something that will just keep getting slower? By the way, I do not recommend the APPLE SSD's. I love SSD's. I'm hooked. I'll just wait and try to find one that works better than the stock Apple Toshiba SSD's.

As for the extra memory. Unless you are a power user, the 8GB or ram is a bit of overkill. I'll probably update my memory when I have some spare cash and another machine to move the present 4GB of RAM into. I do think the combination of a fast SSD and 8GB of Ram will prevent swapping from taking place which will probably improve the longevity of a SSD.

As for this product or any of the Apple products, what sold me on these machines, is the touchpad. I had enough of pushing my pointer over to the side to find a scroll bar and move down the screen--it is tedious. The Apple touchpad interface ALONE, is the worth the purchase of one of these machine. It is so fast, so easy, so natural--so "got to have it and can't stand the old way any more".

The other essential feature is a backlit keyboard. Don't get a Mac without that feature.

Battery life. I was getting 5-6 hours on my old 17" MBP. I can't say how long the new one will last, supposedly it gets 8 hours. That great, but rarely will I need that. Just be glad that Mac batteries last longer than you will need them.

I was a long time Windows user and computer builder--since 1983. I've been working with computers since the PDP-11 and used DOS, Windows, Unix, Linux, and OS-X. I've built dozens of computers for myself. I paid $1000 for one the first 386 motherboards!

While the new versions of Linux come close, no one has a better operating system than Apple. Anyone who has switched will agree with me. I switched over when Apple went to Intel CPU's. These have been some of the happiest years in my life. No more viruses. I rarely have to reboot my machine. My Apple desktops have been running without rebooting for many months. My Mac Mini have not been shut off more than three times in three years.

Rebooting? Once in a while you will have to reboot this system for an Apple update. Never will you have to reboot for any other application. You might have to shut down Firefox, or some application to update hat one application--but you will not have to reboot to update an application or most Apple updates. How great is that? The one time I thought my system was locked up--guess what it was? My cordless mouse needed new batteries. This kind of reliatble computer problem I love. Apple computers don't have problems.

OS X is a customizable as you like, or leave it alone right out of the box--it is nearly perfect.

So think about what you want. If you want a good laptop--get the 13"; need a bigger screen, get the 15". Think you are big enough to carry the 17", or using it mostly at home--get the 17" but be wary. I tried using my 17" in bed and found it uncomfortable. It is heavy enough, even with a folded up blanket under it, to hurt your chest if stood in edge to see the keyboard. It is too big for 95% of the people. If you get one, you will start thinking about getting a MacBook Air or iPad. You will be happier with the 13".

One final thing: Get AppleCare's extended warranttee on eBay for half the price.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2010
Date purchased: April 15, 2010
Price paid: $2,199.00
Vendor: MacConnection

HARDWARE:
There is no denying the solid design and appealing aesthetics involved with the MacBook Pro's construction. Simply put, the look, feel, and refinement of the laptop's aluminum unibody enclosure is second to none. I was drawn to the portability and stated battery life (more on this later) that the MacBook Pro offered. It is thin, light (for its size), and it feels durable/sturdy. The 17-inch LED display delivers crisp pictures and an enjoyable video-viewing experience. Furthermore, the resolution (1920-by-1200) provides great real estate that should be well appreciated by users who require or enjoy organizing multiple windows and applications on the screen simultaneously. Unfortunately, Apple opted not to implement an IPS LED screen for the 2010 hardware refresh but that is simply nitpicking on my part. The keyboard is top-notch. It is comfortable and it supplies a decent amount of feedback while typing. The multi-touch trackpad is absolutely brilliant. It is a joy to use and its convenient functions streamline the overall UI experience and almost rids the need for a mouse. The three USB 2.0 slots are sufficient (but irritatingly close together) and the FireWire 800 port is snappy for backups/transfers. The lack of a Blu-ray optical drive was not a big deal for me but I understand it could be an issue for other people considering the price of the laptop.

PERFORMANCE:
A majority of other reviews I have read centered on the Core i7 processor rather the Core i5. It is safe to say that the Core i5 is more than enough for my needs and, most likely, a majority of other users'. It smoothly and effectively handles multiple applications and activities. I experienced no performance degradation while carrying a video chat, jamming to music, checking e-mail, browsing the web, and chatting online at the same time. Moreover, I encoded video and music files with ease while working with other applications. For users who regularly use processor-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Aperture, the Core i7 would be more suitable. The speakers dispense reasonable quality sound. I do not play computer games so I will not discuss the Intel HD graphics or GeForce GT 330M in that respect. All I can say is that it does the job perfectly well when watching high-definition video clips, movies, or Flash-based video. The 500GB hard drive is great for storage but the 5400-rpm specification is underwhelming.

BATTERY LIFE:
Let's just start with the numbers. I get about 4-6 hours (well, 6 hours if I am very battery conscious) on a daily basis. This involves general tasks such as e-mailing, chatting, music listening, and web browsing with the occasional video viewing. The screen's brightness is usually between 45-60% and the keyboard backlighting is not used. Now, these are commendable numbers by any means considering the size of the laptop. However, it is an absolute letdown when Apple claims one can squeeze up to 9 hours on a single charge. I even emulated the "test settings" Apple used to achieve those battery life numbers. I barely squeezed out 6 hours with about 4% remaining.

VERDICT:
Great personal laptop with a few subjective issues concerning the purported battery life and price-to-hardware/performance ratios.

OFF-TANGENT RECOMMENDATIONS:
If you decide to purchase an AppleCare Protection Plan to extend your MacBook Pro's warranty/support, look on eBay (SEE MARCH 6, 2012 UPDATE). You can easily find a legitimate AppleCare for less than half the price that Apple lists. If you are looking for a backpack to carry your MacBook Pro in, I highly recommend the Incase Nylon Backpack (CL55092 09).

---update// (September 8, 2010)
So far so good. I have grown accustomed to the Mac OS X operating system (quite user friendly) and the computer continues to run very well. The battery still churns out 4-6 hours on a daily basis. Most importantly, there have been no reliability issues even with heavy usage and traveling. One issue, however, is the amount of heat this computer can generate during intensive use such as watching video (i.e. online video, flash-based video, movie files). It can get very hot.
---

---update// (March 6, 2012)
I attempted to cancel my AppleCare to receive a prorated refund of the remaining coverage but Apple does not provide refunds for AppleCare warranties not sold by authorized Apple retailers. This is just a heads up to those who decide to take the risk of purchasing (any) AppleCare coverage from a non-authorized Apple vendor.
---
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2010
Verified Purchase
I purchased this after agonizing over weather or not to get the 15" i5 or the i7. I could not decide. In the end, I ended up going with this MBP for the following reasons:

* The i7 is not worth the extra price performance wise
* I wanted true HD resolution
* The 17" is not as massive as some make it out to be. I carry it with a Lenovo T400 through airports weekly, no problem
* This MBP has 512 video RAM, which is awesome
* I kinda wanted matte, but after using glossy, it isn't the nightmare some make it out to be

The deal from Amazon was actually cheaper than my company corporate [...] discount. Sad but true. And with overnight Prime shipping, you cannot beat this deal. I have finally whittled down to one personal computer (still have the work Lenovo). I put Win7 on this MBP through Fusion and it works great. Very fast computer and the best I've ever owned.

Highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2010
I feel a little humble writing this review. I am not an IT expert, nor do I have any expert knowledge about technology is general. In fact, I don't even own a cell phone. Our family's main television is analog, I don't know how to text, and I am that person who goes to teenagers for technological advice. Not to say that I'm backwards or unaware of current high-tech trends. I just don't feel like my life needs to be enhanced by fancy gadgets. Well, that is until I entered the World According to Apple!

Just yesterday, I purchased my first MacBook Pro and am wondering what took me so long. About two months ago I attempted to replace my (perfectly serviceable) 2006 Dell laptop with a netbook. I reasoned that 1 GB of memory would be adequate for my needs; I have never been more wrong in my life. That ill-conceived purchase helped me decided that it was time for me to move to the forefront of computing and buy more computer than I would ever need. Right now, I feel like a little kid seeing snow for the first time or experiencing my first roller coaster ride. I have never used something so intuitive before.

PROS:
Some have posted that this computer is a "behemoth" or "unwieldy". I find it to be about the same size as the laptop I'm replacing (the aforementioned Dell).

With my Dell and netbook I used a USB mouse. With this computer, for the first time, I actually like track pads. It didn't take me long to realize that using this trackpad is easier than a mouse. The entire pad is a button or you can set it to read a "tap" (which I like better).

The keyboard on this computer is very comfortable. However, as an earlier poster said, the sharp edges that form the front perimeter of the case do cause some annoyance. I'll assume that future editions of MacBook Pro will probably feature softer corners. Please don't take this to be a deal-breaker - it is not terribly uncomfortable, just a surprise from an otherwise sleek machine.

This is the first time that I haven't had to worry about anti-virus software. It feels like a shackle has been removed! Also, my least favorite part of Windows was the unbelievable amount of resources devoted to security. I found it to be clunky and annoying and, in some cases, a hinderance to software performance.

I really can't tell you how nice it is to open a new laptop that isn't covered with advertising stickers. It's even better to boot the computer up for the first time without having to wade through endless ads. This is the first computer I've owned that my first step wasn't finding Control Panel to immediately remove unwanted software trials.

CONS:
I was baffled to discover that this computer does not have a slot to read my digital camera card. It was not a huge deal as I simply used the USB cord that was supplied with my camera. But really? Doesn't everyone have a digital camera with a memory card?

The display cannot be maximized to fill the whole screen. With Windows, I always chose to auto hide the tool bar at the bottom of the screen.

All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons. I will never go back to Windows. My MacBook has an i5 processor which will be more than I ever need.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2010
Recently, I followed my college-age daughter's advice and I walked into an Apple store. The staff had so much fun showing off and converting me to a MacBook Pro 17. They were enthusiastic and so smart; off-the-chart smart.

I believe Apple now builds the coolest hardware and software on the planet: Macbook Pro, i-touch/phone, i-pod, i-pad, i-tunes, OS X, Xcode IDE. They sold over two million i-pads within the first 60 days of its release. They recently celebrated their 10 billionth i-tunes download milestone and reported their most profitable two quarters ever. Their stock growth over the last five years is equally impressive. The trend is clear; Apple definitely rules this industry now.

So, what makes the MacBook Pro 17 the laptop to own?

Screen: 1920x1200 pixel resolution for a 17-inch display. Evenly backlit with LED technology that produces a crisp display. For the 17-inch display, there is a choice of flat or glossy screen finishes. I chose the flat finish to eliminate reflections.

Case: Lightweight, aluminum case. Features (such as microphone, camera, ports, on/off button, DVD slot) that should be small are small. No plastic cases that crack; no creaking lid hinges; no flimsy plastic DVD trays. The manufacturing is first class. It is analogous to being in a luxury car where everything just fits well. The MacBook Pro exudes engineering excellence in its design.

Battery: With a PC laptop, I needed to minimize usage to maintain on time. On a recent 3-hour airline trip, I tried to max out usage on the MacBook Pro as a battery test. Still had plenty of battery charge at the end of the flight. I also impressed the passenger next to me.

Trackpad: Based on multi-touch technology. Two fingers on trackpad and depress is similar to a right-click. Two-finger swipe is a scroll. Very nice human factors technology throughout.

Operation: Very quiet, no fan noise (does it even have a fan?). Fast start-up and login.

OS X (Snow Leopard): Stable, no blue screen of death. It is obvious that OS X has its roots from Unix. One of the features, Spaces, allows multiple concurrent workspaces to be used (Ctrl-arrows navigates through the workspaces). OS X also includes built-in software for folder/file encryption (file vault), version control software (CVS), and development (python, perl, php, gcc, apache web-server).

Fun stuff: Open the terminal window and type 'say this is a great day to buy a mac' without the quotes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
Verified Purchase
I have had this laptop about a week now and am extremely satisfied. I owned a 3 year year old Macboook Pro prior to this and am very happy with the increase in performance. The machine runs Final Cut Studio and Logic Pro without problems and provides a clearly noticeable increase in performance. The only negative things I have to say are regarding battery performance. I am getting "only" 4.5 - 5 hrs of time using pro apps and this is only about half of what Apple claims. This is still better than about any other laptop currently on the market though. I have experienced no problems whatsoever with overheating even after long days of use.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Not for nothing though, I have good reason to break the streak. You see, if you're even reading this review, you most likely fall into one of three categories: One, a developer. Two, a movie watcher. Or three, a gamer. Most normal computer purchasers aren't streaking towards the 17" MacBook Pro, the so called "Big Mac" of the line. That's not because it's any less of a machine than it's younger brothers; but rather, it's difficult to cost justify unless you are one of the aforementioned roles. To date, I have reviewed the 13" and the 15" (soon to do the Air). I now put pen...err...keyboard, to words and provide to you my honest impressions of this beast. But before that a little background. I am an MCTS, MCSA, work in the IT field. I use and support PCs daily, and last year I rejoined the world of Mac after a long hiatus. I now find myself unable to function without a MacBook Pro which is both entertaining and scary at the same time. The problem is that Apple is incapable of releasing the perfect machine. Each one has some issue that I dislike and I have to work around it. No problem; that's what IT is all about.

You might ask, "why'd you get rid of the 15"? The same reason I bought it, ironically...the extra screen real estate. After working with the base configuration of the 15" for the longest time, I found that I really wanted to go back to the largest screen size. I could have gone for the high resolution 15", but even that wasn't enough. Having come from the world of 1920x1200 on the Gateway P-7805u FX Edition, it was hard for me to go to the 13" when I did, but the 13" was a powerhouse. It never once slouched or failed me and I felt safe with trusting it with all of my work and personal effects. Then I went to the 15" and had a similar, though faster, experience with it...and now I'm at the 17". And as I have noted elsewhere, the 17" truly is bittersweet. Let me start from the top though.

I uploaded some pictures to compare the size of the 17" to the 13". It's readily apparent that this is not a tiny laptop. That said, it's still significantly lighter than comparable 17" PCs by a wide margin. Depending on which direction you're coming from, the Big Mac will either feel significantly heavy or light as a feather. If you're a developer or a gamer, you probably already had a beast of a machine and will be shocked at how much lighter this one is, yet still not sacrificing power or versatility. In fact, I would go out on a limb by saying that unless you were using netbooks or the MacBook Air, the 17" really won't feel that much heavier to you. If the screen real estate is that important to you, you might consider going to an Apple Store and lifting one for yourself. But be sure to buy it from here. Amazon has a KILLER price on this thing.

I did have a few nitpicks. First and foremost is Apple's peculiar addition of the ExpressCard slot. For those that don't know the primary purpose of this slot, it is basically a communications port. You can add cards that add all sorts of functionality to the machine: wireless data from your cell phone company, Ethernet ports, Firewire ports, etc. That's all well and good...but time and technology have passed ExpressCard by, in my honest opinion. Wireless data can now be achieved using mobile hotspots (Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 3G Mobile WiFi Hotspot Modem (Verizon Wireless), for example). The MacBook Pro and every laptop ever released these days (Except the MacBook Air, of course) has a built-in Ethernet port; no needs there. And the MacBook Pro sports a FireWire 800 port, more than sufficient for all. There's just not a need that I can see for this slot vs. the Secure Digital (SD) card slot as with those found on the 13" and 15" MacBook Pros. In fact, even the Apple Mac mini MC408LL/A Snow Leopard Server has an SD Card slot. It just doesn't make sense, and in some cases it's just frustrating. You can get an adapter for the ExpressCard slot that effectively turns it into an SD Card slot, but it's the principle of the thing.

Another minor issue is with the trackpad. IF you've used the 13" MacBook Pro, you know that it has a very soft, muted "click" sound to it. For some reason, as the MacBook Pro screen sizes get larger, so does the "click" get louder. The 17" is the worst of them all. I actually cringe every time I have to click the trackpad, because it's so darn loud in a quiet room. I can't stand tapping on the track pad because of misfires that happen when browsing or navigating, and prefer the click as full confirmation that I want to do something. Having to then deal with an overly loud and cheap-sounding trackpad just isn't fun.

Finally, and this is likely just me, the Apple logo on the lid is now lit according to the brightness setting of the screen. I really can't tell you how annoying that is. With the 13" and 15" MBPs, I distinctly recall the logo being lit full steam regardless of brightness. Maybe I'm seeing things though. IN any case it bothers me and I really can't tell you why.

Some bullet points to consider (PC --> Mac Converts):

- Lighter than all but the lightest PCs, netbooks, etc.

- The specs in the machine are pretty strong, yet it maintains a solid battery life of up to 9 hours (real world, you'll get around 7 or so with casual use, maybe 5 with some development work, a little less for VMs and so on).

- The screen is sharp and vibrant, but not too difficult to read. Snow Leopard includes all sorts of zooming options so you're not constantly straining to read the text on the screen.

- Once you've used a MacBook trackpad you won't want to go back to a standard one. It is a bit of a pain to have to map a right click function instead of keeping the two buttons for converts, but you'll get used to it once you find a option for you. The inertial scrolling is a keeper though.

- At first, the battery life is going to take some getting used to, especially if you're used to laptops that have up to 3 hours of battery life in ideal situations.

- Realizing that the MacBook Pro never needs to be shut down will also be a bit of a culture shock.

Some bullet points to consider (smaller MacBooks to the 17"):

- You should expect comparable, but not identical, battery life out of the 17" from what you're used to. The only exception is the 2010 13", which has a staggering 10 hour max battery life. For that crowd, you'll want to adjust to a smaller battery life, definitely.

- You can change the resolution down to something else, but know that Snow Leopard will get fuzzy. Screen resolution optimization is not a Snow Leopard strong point.

- The difference between the high resolution 15" and the 17" is a matter of opinion. For me, I couldn't justify paying the price for the HR 15" when it was a few bucks less than the 17" which had a better resolution to it AND a stronger processor.

- You can see from the pictures how much bigger the 17" is than the 13". For purposes of carrying, the 17" feels about as heavy as a decent sized book. It's probably not the most practical in a school classroom; for that I would lean towards the 13" as it's the most space friendly. But if you're a developer, writer, gamer, or anyone else who needs to do a lot with a little, the 17" will blow your mind.

- Strictly my opinion...get AppleCare if you buy this laptop. Reason being: At its current price, it's really hard to justify, but replacing it out of warranty will be even more of a pain if something goes wrong.

- Add a Solid State Drive or a 7200 RPM drive at least. You'll appreciate the added performance.

So...is it recommended? If you're one of the roles above AND can accept that there is a premium on this laptop, absolutely. It's overpriced. I'm not going to lie to you. The components in the laptop don't add up to the price Apple's asking. But it's still a solid machine and well worth a look if you want the top of the MacBook Pro line.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
This is my 2nd Macbook Pro. I average a 4 year replacement cycle since features I need determine my upgrades rather than what ever latest changes may bring. I had a Powerbook g4 1gig, then the MBP C2d, and now the MBP Core i5. I should have opted for the i7, but didn't want to push it when work was picking up the tab this time. This machine can do it all. I run bootcamp, and parallels for instructing in the use of PC and the occasional PC game that needs all the processing power/Ram it can muster.
I teach and extensively use digital photography and videography. The machine is the brain of a floor full of f800's LaCie externals connected via daisy chain. When I need flat out performance using external I use the express card 34 slot for eSATA (Now Bootable via express card port) lightening fast transfers and editing. The better performance comes with the upgraded internal 7200RPM 500GB, and the 8Gigs of RAM. The full HD display is very nice with the super bright LED backlight. You can push performance with an SMC fan control download to allow you to run full fan speed before it gets to the point that it needs cooling to preserve performance.
The new trackpad gesture controls make for faster post work. The cool black keys harken back to my Powerbook days. The super fast graphics are amazing. The battery life is unbelievable when you are not tethered to drives and don't need to be wired down, it is really nice to go all day without needing to be plugged to power.
There isn't much more that I can say that hasn't already been covered by Conrad, Samer, and others. Keep it protected as there is no idiot insurance with Apple Care Protection Plan. I have been very pleased with the Pelican 1495 Air Tight/ Water Proof case at only $130.00.
The drawbacks from the previous model as mentioned in other comments are the sharper edges of the unibody that while it looks cool, it is painful if you don't put a cloth over it. I have lines in my arms from resting on the edges. The current lack of fully updated 64bit and quad core coded apps to take advantage of the new configuration will come in time. I love my Mac! Still not putting a sticker on my car though:-)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2011
Verified Purchase
I have been a PC user my whole life. Built PCs, bought PCs. And when it comes to building or buying one, you have 3 choices. 1.) Spend a TON of money to build out or buy a killer windows machine from both appearance to performance. 2.) Go as cheap as you can and get something that will just squeek you buy. Or 3.) find some middle ground. This mac book pro, my FIRST mac I have ever bought, is clearly in the "Spend a ton of money ... killer machine" category. For $2300 I could have bought 4 dell laptops brand new. But I can tell you, without hesitation, in my 18 years in the IT industry, this is the best laptop/computer I have ever owned. Perhaps its because its the most expensive laptop I have ever owned?

If you have the cash, and want the absolute very best laptop you will ever have owned, then this is the one. If you are cost conscious and would rather buy 1 dell and take the rest on a cruise in the Mediterranean, that is a good option as well. As for me, I'm sold on mac. They have done a great job. This mac is a Ferrari... most everything else is a Hyundai Sonata in comparison. They will both get you from point A to point B... but one will get you there much faster with much nicer style. But at least it is not one of those expensive purchases you regret.
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