121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MB985LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (Personal Computers)
Coming from a troubled Nvidia 8600M GT MacBook Pro - let me say that I was very skeptical buying another Apple Laptop with nVidia chip in it.
However, one weekend I decided to visit the nearest Apple Retail Store and check out the newly released models. My decision was mostly influenced by the reduced prices and increased battery life.
After some debating over buying the older model for same price or getting the latest one we settled on the newest mid end $1999 model with 2 GPUs. As is common I got a very nice resale price for my older MacBook Pro as it had AppleCare.
This generation is an all around improvement over the past generation unless you happen to be using ExpressCard on 15" model that is. In our case we never used the ExpressCard after attempting to use a eSATA card that did not work really well. And we have a few SD Cards that we figure we can easily use.
So on to the specific improvements over its predecessor -
1) Battery Life - I was very doubtful that the battery would last any longer than 4 hours at the maximum but was pleasantly surprised to find that for surfing/email type and the occasional CNN/Youtube flash videos getting 6+ hours was quite easy.
2) Prices - No doubt prices are the most reasonable Apple laptops have ever had. If you have no need for the dual GPU you can get the $1699 model which comes with a respectable 2.53Ghz Processor, 4GB RAM and a very capable 9400M GPU.
3) Operating Temperature - I have owned my share of laptops (Apple and non-Apple) and I have to say this one is the coolest - it never gets too warm and I can use it on my lap all the times - even encoding videos using the HandBrake application did not make it uncomfortably hot. However if I switch it to use the 9600M GPU it gets warmer even on regular use. It also runs very quiet - the fans may be coming on but I never notice.
Initially there was a lot of furor over Apple's downgrade of the Serial-ATA interface speed (used to transfer data to and from the hard disk) to 1.5Gbps but Apple quickly restored the speeds to 3Gbps - I do not however notice any difference with the 5400RPM hard disk.
About the display - it is gorgeous and colors are vibrant. I had the opportunity to use a calibrated color profile to make it look even better. However I find the display to be a little too much reflective but I am coming from almost always using matte display so I figure it's a matter of getting used to it.
Apple's use of Mini DisplayPort is ahead of its time - not many displays support it and so I had to buy a $30 DVI adapter - not a big problem but Apple should at the very least re-start bundling the adapter with the Pro machines. Also, another USB port in lieu of the SD Card Reader would be quite welcome - people can use the SD Card Reader for only SD Cards, but a USB port can be used for SD Cards as well as other peripherals.
That said, this generation is overall a very nice improvement - the great battery life itself is enough to convince one to upgrade.
[ Edited to add some findings after extensive use ]
After using it for a few months, I find a handful of things moderately annoying about this laptop -
1) The positioning of USB ports - both USB ports are on one side of the laptop and they are far too closely positioned to use both at once. For example I found I could not attach my Sandisk USB thumb drive and anything else at a time. And I don't have any irregular/unusual devices. They should really go back to having the ports on two sides or at least position them a bit more apart.
2) The Lid of the laptop is loose - this was known to me before but I never thought it would become annoying. I don't routinely use the laptop in bed but whenever I do it's annoying.
3) The amount of RAM Apple advertises (4GB) is not actually entirely usable - only 3.75GB is. So you lose 256Mb of RAM for the dual GPU.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 31, 2010 7:56:57 AM PDT
R. Niel says:
A well balanced review, thanks for taking the time to post - however, I would dispute your comment about Mini Display port being ahead of its time. It's yet another propriety connector where as far as digital connections go hdmi would work just fine. The latter is more widely used except on Apple marketed displays and in the case of DVI you would just need a $5 cable not a $30 adapter. Thus you shouldn't need an adapter, it's just that Apple don't want to pay the additional licencing fees. So the customer has to pay instead, don't be fooled that you are being sold something which is of benefit to you.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2010 2:54:29 AM PDT
Breaking Sunrise says:
I hope I will like my upgrade, for last year around July I purchased from Amazon a new Powerbook Pro and was so disgusted when it did not have black keys and it was all silver with the button still on the track pad. I wanted to go for the one left listed at just over $2000.00 but could not use my prime and did not know other stores policies. Why I was upset was that it was not more than a week later they had the one's with the black keys. I felt left out on that then. I did purchase the 14.3 size just a few months ago and loved it and really did think that the pictures/grafics were much better than on my G4 I had first purchased 2 years back. But as a woman and small I loved the weight compared to the old G4s
and my fave is the 14" size! This better have I-sight camera or I will be so upset I will return for the other and maybe go to Apple to get it. My first computer I fell in love with was a SOny Vaio and it was loaded and costs a fortune and it had everything and was only 11" at most and weighed only 3 lbs and I too it every where. I often wonder if I put the recovery disc in it would it go back to factory status as they do not have one that small anymore and still no hacker at all on the Macs I do not want to return to windows but it was the one's I trained on. Do you think I could sell my disappointing all silver and barely used 15.4" to help me get this one or the other one listed since maybe some would like a good deal on
a 15.4" Mac Book Pro without the black keys but not quite yet a year old and honestly not used much at all? Have any ideas for me on how to do that? Maybe I misread the I-sight this one should have as I do love to use my skype since my son is in Thailand making his first movie as he is a first time Director and actor and screenwriter. On INSB, his movie is called "The Lazarus Papers" and his is Jeremiah Hundley or Miah. So surely this one we are discussing does have the camera on the top middle of screen as all of my past and new ones do. I consider myself a novice on my Mac but I still want to perfect it
and want give up though I was a windows girl for at least 10 years before I changed 3 Xmas's ago. My son is a wizard but he is a country away. Or try facebook. And check out his movie. And please let me know if you have any ideas on hoe to sale my almost new first Macbook Pro they were selling last summer on Amazon. Regards, JosieRyder@Gmail.com
I kept it for the lighter weight and did not have a good reason to return it then after using it which was basically setting up and oh I lost a book I was writing with a program b/c I was so tired I forgot to hit save. That is what I used my Sony for and that is all I will use my 14" Apple for. This new one will be for all other stuff. Thanks if you have some sale ideas. It is almost brand new and has coverage for 2 more years. Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2010 2:29:34 PM PDT
Hi. Thanks for the comment. Actually I agree with you on the use of Mini Display Port and originally wanted to convey something similar but looking at what I wrote it may have not come out clearly. Except for the size of the port, I don't see any benefits to using Mini Display port and that too comes at the cost of compatibility. So yes, I think the majority of consumers would have been better off with HDMI.
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