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140 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
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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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2009
Update 5/23/2012:
Still going strong, using this machine as a primary dev workstation for a full 3 years and 7 months. 3.5 years! Still going strong! I've since upgraded to 8GB RAM (new firmware update secretly enabled this new maximum, which, in my opinion, extends the useful life of the machine for another 2-3 years). Everything else is as normal. I've dropped the machine by accident once or twice, so it has a dent now. But the case held up great and there was no damage! It still looks good as new unless you search for where the dent was (I carefully banged it out with a hammer).

My next upgrade will obviously be a new MBP with probably no optical drive (who needs 'em with internet speeds as fast as they are these days?) and hopefully retina display. There's every reason to believe it will be as good as the last, but with more than double the processing power, a faster SSD and the incredible resolution main display. Can't wait!


Update April 2011:
Follow up over a year past my original review - I've now owned the machine for 2 years and 5 months (give or take) and it's still going strong as it was on Day 1, if not stronger. I've upgraded the RAM to 6GB (maximum; I originally had 2x2GB=4GB, so I just found a good matched-speed 4GB DIMM to place along the existing 2GB, it works flawlessly). I upgraded the hard disk to 320GB/7200RPM somewhere in there (about to go to 640GB... for the same price as my 320 drive... incredible).

2 issues I've had: First, the power adapter slightly broke. Just the little hinge that allows you to wrap up the wire fell off, not a big deal but they replaced it immediately at the Apple store without question. 2nd issue: Battery started bulging, I noticed issues with my track pad not clicking (battery was pressing on it) and the bottom panel eventually wouldn't close. Popped it open and yep, just what I expected, bulgy battery. Apple store once again replaced immediately, no questions asked. (I do have 3 year Apple Care, I'm sure that's a factor, and turns out it was well worth it for the awesome support).

Overall this has still been the best computer/piece of tech I've owned thus far; impressed with every aspect of it hands down. I am so glad I invested in the Mac-and yes, I mean invested. It was worth every penny, and based on the fact that over 2 years later, this computer is still keeping up with the latest in performance and intensive usage, the resale value on this machine should contribute very well when I want to upgrade to my next MacBook Pro.

By all appearances, the latest MBP's are still the way to go. The Core i7 processors and improved graphics and battery life all within the same sturdy solid aluminum case can't be beat. Highly recommended from 2.5 years of experience.


(Original Review):
This machine is without a doubt the best computer, if not the best piece of technology gear, that I have ever used or owned.

Going to try to keep this review short, but sweet.

I've had it for about 9 months now, basically since the Unibody MBP's came out. First, the construction is just outstanding. The solidness of the enclosure makes the whole thing feel sturdy and basically indestructible. In 9 months, I have treated it like I treat all my equipment - I use it thoroughly without too much concern for cosmetics - and there is not a single scratch or sign of wear on the entire machine. The thing still looks new, after 9 months - that's how durable it is. Incredible.

The speed and responsiveness and stability of the computer itself is excellent. I'm a programmer and photographer, so I take it to the max every time I use the computer, and I expect a lot of it. With 4 GB of RAM it's never sluggish and handles everything better than any computer I've ever owned.

Graphics and gaming performance is surprisingly good with the 2nd dedicated Nvidia 8600 video card. I dual boot to Windows XP (however reluctantly) and it works great.

I don't even need to talk about the software, hopefully you know all about it by now. OSX is truly awesome, especially for programmers. It's so refreshing to have a real operating system where you can pop open a real console and still have a nice graphical interface on top of it. The OS is a matched pair with the quality of the hardware.

In short, this is a seriously great machine. I'm no Mac fanboy - I run Windows, Linux, Mac, whatever - but I'm very impressed with the quality and especially the construction and build durability. It's honestly at a level above any other laptop, it's a pretty stunning difference. If it is more expensive, it will make up for it in longevity and resale value alone. Definitely worth it.
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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2009
After installing a Trend Micro update and bricking my PC (which I was later able to remedy after 8+ hours of system restores and firewall modifications), I had enough and decided I was done with Microsoft. I have been using the Macbook Pro 15 for a little under a week, and so far, I'm pleased that I made the switch. Obviously, there's a pretty steep premium on Macbook Pros, so I'll try to cover the items that make it worth the extra coin, as well as some annoyances I've encountered as a first time Mac user.

Here are some benefits:

+ Beautiful 15" widescreen display. I'm coming from a 17" PC, and since the display was a bit more squared, I don't feel that the screen size decrease is too noticeable

+ Much lighter than PC. At 5.5 lbs, it's easier to carry around than similarly sized PC's

+ Super fast power up and power off. I would say it takes between 30-40 seconds to power on, and less than 10 seconds to shut down- outstanding

+ Robust battery life. It's rated at 7 hours. This time will vary depending on your usage, but it's about right if you don't jack the brightness and surf too heavily

+ Refined, gestured trackpad. If you want to scroll, just swipe with two fingers- to select options or webpages, a single tap on the trackpad will accomplish this. Also nice is the ability to zoom webpages a la ipod touch/iphone pinching. I wish you could save a zoom setting to default on Safari though

+ No crashes, except for internet surfing (more on that later)

+ Love the preinstalled iPhoto application it comes with to view and edit photos

+ No problems with spyware, viruses, or crappy, obtrusive antispyware (i.e. Trend Micro) to combat it

+ Outstanding customer support (and I've used them a lot so far!)

And now for the not so good:

- If you want word processing/spreadsheet functionality, you're pretty much stuck with plunking down $100 for Microsoft Office. You could use alternatives like iWork, but with most people using the Office standard, it makes sense for compatibility purposes. No generic preinstalled word processing software, Apple?

- The learning curve (if you're a long-time PC user). The menus and interface that Macs use are pretty well laid out, but it's a pain to relearn where some items are. Example, you're in Mail and you'd like to add an email folder. The solution? Select "New Mailbox." I'm sure most PC users were scratching their heads with that solution

- There's no "maximize" function on the windows. It will save your settings once you resize everything, but if you want a window to take up the screen, you'll be doing some manual dragging to get them the way you want

- Not enough ports. Here's an example. Let's say you have a usb mouse, you're listening to iTunes from your iPod, and you're saving backup data to a USB drive as you're working in MS Word. Well, that's one too many usb apps, so you'll have to constantly unplug everything to accommodate your needs

- No number pad. Now I realize this does not affect a large percentage of users, but I'm a finance guy, and work in Excel a lot. Not putting a number pad on the keyboard is reasonable, but what is not reasonable, is offering no first/third party solutions for a USB/Bluetooth numpad. Props to anyone that can find such an accessory

- A bit tricky to port your iTunes media from PC to Mac. You'll be contacting support on this one, trust me

- Too many extra charges from Apple. $350 for 3 years of support, $99 per year of storage backup. Considering what we're paying for Macbooks, you'd think Apple would cut us a break on some of the "extras"

- Here's my biggest gripe. I have had SERIOUS stability issues with my Macbook and 2Wire DSL AT&T modem/router working together. I originally had a problem with Airport dropping my signal (fixed it with a Google search). Then, I had numerous problems with "Broadband Link Not Established Errors" from my 2Wire modem. Again, I was able to find a posting online which allowed my to turn 2Wire notification messages off, resolving this. So after numerous Google searches, and tech support from Apple and AT&T, my internet is pretty stable, but still not great. I'm still having issues where common websites will not load without stopping the request and clicking the reload button. Some users have had these stability issues resolved by purchasing the Airport Extreme Router, but at $179, this is not a cheap solution. I've had none of these internet problems running other devices from 2Wire. I'm not sure who is at fault, but my gut tells me that Apple did not go out of their way to make their Macbooks overly friendly with 2Wire's network. I feel like Apple should send me a partial rebate for all the hard research I've put in to get a stable connection

So is it worth it to switch to Mac? In a word, yes. Although they're certainly more expensive, 13" models are available at $1,200 which provide decent value. New Mac users will certainly notice an increased level of refinement and simplicity when they make the switch. Overall, a very nice laptop that would easily merit a 5 star rating, if not for the terrible 2Wire compatibility issues.

8/5/09 update:

My 2Wire modem continued to error out and reset itself while surfing webpages. The DSL and Internet lights would flash red, and my internet would disconnect for 20 seconds every time this happened. I finally found a solution to this problem. Not thrilled about the extra $89, but my internet experience is finally stable. The product I picked up is the D-Link ADSL2/2+ Modem/Wireless Router combo. I also reviewed this product on Amazon.

The D-Link is highly recommended for AT&T DSL users with Mac/2Wire compatibility issues.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2009
I didn't want to convert over to mac land. As a college teacher and a twelve year windows user, I was a windows convert. I live and work on a windows network of 60 pc's. I tried to find a windows laptop that had good reviews, was relatively light and thin, was made from aluminum and had a battery life of 6 hours. I was unable to find anything that fit those parameters except this macbook.

Most of the software I use on a daily basis was windows, so when I bought this mac I also bought Parallels, and a copy of Vista so that I could run vista in a virtual window on my mac. I wasn't about to run out and buy all new software just because I bought a laptop with a goofy operating system.

Three months in, to my surprise, I am running most of my software in the mac os. It runs better there. The mac operating system is more reliable than windows. When people used to tell me that, I blew them off, thinking they were just mac fanboys.

I'm not a fanboy yet, but I am impressed with this new laptop. I did buy office 2007 for windows so I could use excell on the mac. Yes I know there is a mac version, but I also needed it on my other computer, which is a pc. I have had up to 9 word documents open simultaneously on my mac, in vista with no problems. Occasionally I see some lagging, and, as with any windows application, either office will crash from time to time, or vista will freeze up.

The cool thing about this macbook pro is that when windows goes belly up, or appears to be thinking about it, I simply click the mac desktop under vista's virtual window and open some mac software to carry on working. Windows will either die, or sort itself out as I work in mac land. Windows does not stop me from working as it dies, because it is just a virtual window, and the mac os is always running behind it, ready to go.

In three months, I've only seen the mac os crash twice, and both times it was my fault. Once it was when I was trying to sync my blackjack 2 with the mac email software. Windows mobile does not like running in a virtual vista window (via parallels), so I had to find some crossover mac software so I could sync my windows cell phone with my new converted mac address book. That was tricky, and cost $50, but now the two machines (macbook and blackjack 2 cell phone) are on speaking terms.

The battery life is as impressive as advertised. I've never timed it to the end, but I do know it went 5 hours one time, and was not out of juice yet. I missed explorer for a while, but once I got used to the mac finder and realized that the mac does have a directory path, I could find my way around. Now I am faster in finder than I am in explorer.

I am a power user. I run the adobe creative suite, and frequently have photoshop, indesign, illustrator and dreamweaver open at the same time. Plus I will be running office in vista, with several browers open. The mac has no problem keeping all these software applications running simultaneously. Safari is a cool browser. I like it better than firefox.

There are of course a lot of other cool things I could comment on, but others already have. I'm glad I bought a macbook pro, instead of a windows laptop. It's an awesome machine. Yes it costs more, but you get what you pay for and I wanted something that would last a long time.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2009
For those considering upgrading from an older Mac laptop, this new line-up is extremely compelling. My previous model was the PB G4 1.33 15". I replaced it with the new (mid-2009) MB Pro 2.53 a few weeks ago. Benefits noticed so far in order of importance to me...

1. Speed. Of course, but this upgrade has gone beyond just reducing frustration to actually noticeably improving efficiency.
2. Display. My old display was growing dim. The new LED display is beautiful, bright, and sharp. The reflections are annoying, but less so now than at first and the benefits easily outweigh the disadvantages.
3. Battery life. No comparison. I usually plug in, but the times I've used it off-grid it's run 7 hours.
4. Compatibility. Snow Leopard and much other new software will require Intel processors. Also, I occasionally run into a website designed with older, non-standards based software that doesn't work quite right with Mac browsers. Intel Macs can run Crossover, an inexpensive program that will run certain Windows programs like IE 6 & 7 without actually having to install Windows. Of course, if you actually need or want to run Windows programs extensively you can install it on these Macs.
5. The new larger, multi-function trackpad, backlighted keyboard, rigid uni-body design, magnetic power cord attachment, built-in SD slot, thinner shape, more powerful speakers, built-in mic & camera, better WiFi reception, more comfortable keyboard, cooler on my lap. Which of these is best? I've used laptops extensively since the PB 150 (1994) and during that time I've kicked 'em all to the floor on multiple occasions. Based on that experience, the magnetic power attachment wins the prize, but I like them all.

So, if you've been holding out like I was on upgrading a G4-based Mac laptop, upgrading now may be a smart, value-conscious decision. It was for me.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
I had an older version macbook pro but i dropped it with some force and it broke so i had to purchase a new computer. After having a mac for 1 1/2 years, it wasn't a question of what brand to buy but which mac to buy. I purchased the mac book pro 2.66 ghz with 4 gb ram--which is what i had in my last mac book pro. What i didn't realize is that this ram is the DDR3 instead of DDR2 which means it is suppose to be better and faster. i'm not a computer geek so i don't understand it all but basically having the 4gb in the old machine was still not as good as the 4 gb in this machine. Also, this machine has a much, much better track pad that does all kinds of tricks i'm just learning about. 2 finger swipes do one thing, 3 finger swipes do another, 4 finger swipes do yet another. and then you can also configure it to do the windows type double click think. The whole pad can be clicked on so you don't have to find a particular spot--anywhere will do. It does take some getting use to but it is so beneficial it is worth the learning curve.

I like the keyboard on this unibody macbook pro as compared to the old one but really don't know why--perhaps it is a perosnal preference. it is backlighted but so was my old one.

tech support at apple is superb, another reason i will never consider anything but apple. and if you have an apple store near you, you can get one to one personal training for a little less than $2 per week. in addition, they offer free classes to adults and children. you learn so much that you are finally able to take advantage of the features your computer can do without being a computer whiz.

the new version of the operating system, called snow leopard, will be out sometime in sept. if you buy a system now with the old version, you can upgrade with apple for $9.95.

the graphics card is very good in this machine, however, i am not much of a gamer so i don't really reap the benefits of that. but it is a dedicated card so it has great potential for those that would utilize it.

another awesome thing about this computer is that the bettery last 7 hours or so. at times, mine has lasted longer. it depends, i guess on what you are doing. and, even with the better battery, i think this computer weighs less.

if you are debating on whether or not to switch to apple, all i can say is that i am extremely grateful i did and so is everyone else i know that made the switch. one of the things i like, in addition to the ease of use of programs and the seemless integration is that there are no virus programs to run that slow the computer down tremendously. in addition, my old mac book pro ran as fast on the last day as the first and i am anticipating the same for this. unlike my windows laptops that got progressively slower as time went on. another great thing about apple is the seemless backup of files that it will do automatically for you. you don't have to figure anything out. jut let it do its job and if you ever lose all of your data, you will have a back up to restore your computer. That in itself can be worth tons of money. i know you can do this on windows machines, but it takes knowledge and effort--something i never seemed to posses when it came to computers.

one thing that i don't like is that the plug is hooked to the computer via a magnet. it is suppose to be safer so that it will unplug easily if someone snags it. that way it doesn't drag the computer to the floor. for me, i find it a little annoying because it can become unplugged easily. minor detail but it is a little irritating. if i could change one thing it would be that you have an option of which plug you wanted.

another thing that is different about the unibody macbook pros is that you can get a 13 inch with a full keyboard if you want. when i bought my last one, the 13 inch had a weird keyboard and as a typist, i couldn't even consider that size. i still chose the 15 inch because that is what i wanted, but now i can also purchase a 13 inch for my children rather than buying them the 15 inch.

one thing that the mac store employees recommended to me rather than getting a desktop was to get the 13 inch laptop for my kids and use my existing desktop monitor, hook up the lap top, add a keyboard and mouse if desired, and use that as a desktop. but you could always have the portability of a laptop if you ever needed it. i haven't done that yet, but that is going to be my next apple purchase.

It took me over a year to decide to switch to mac. It was a very tough decision for me. change is hard. i didn't know if i could do everything i wanted on the mac. i have never regretted it once. and if you are one of those rare users that has an application that can only be used in windows, you can use the program preloaded on the macbook pro or buy another program so that you can run your application--its like 2 computers in one. one caution, however, whatever portion of the computer you dedicate to windows is subject to viruses so you will have to run an antivirus on that portion. for me, i have found no need to use any windows application. and i even found that i work is much better than ms office in my opinion. but if you are partial to ms office, you can purchase a mac version.

Good luck with your decision and purchase. if you buy any of these macbook pros, you will be happy.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2009
First, let me say I'm an IT consultant and as such a bit of a computer snob. I build my own workstations and servers and know what's what and where things count. My previous laptop was a IBM Thinkpad T23 that was the most bulletproof computer I've ever owned. I dragged that thing around with me for 8+ years and it never gave me a single problem. However, it was just too slow to keep up with me and my need to run Adobe's creative suite and MS Office 2007. My expectations for a replacement were quite high and I set my sites on the MBP about a year ago and watched the specs slowly creep up to where I wanted them and of course waited for Snow Leopard to arrive. What finally sold me was VMWare Fusion, which allows you to run Windows as a virtual machine from within OS X. I know Bootcamp can boot Windows, but I wanted to work entirely within OS X as I don't have time to be rebooting and reopening things. This was a must-have both for the ability to run my huge investment in Windows software as well as run the various flavors of Windows needed to support my clients. The folks at the local Apple store showed me VMWare running and I placed my order the same day. I went for the matte screen and 500gb drive, both of which I am very glad I did. The glossy screen is gorgeous, but I was going to use this as a laptop not as a desktop replacement, meaning it would be going with me in all sorts of environments where I couldn't control the ambient lighting so glare was a huge concern. The matte screen isn't quite as sexy, but it is still the brightest LCD screen I have ever used. I turn the brightness down a couple clicks even when on AC power, just because it's so dang bright.
The performance of this laptop is amazing. I went with the 2.8 GHz CPU and as such got the dual video cards with maximum video RAM. I run at least a half dozen different programs at once, sometimes more, including Firefox with 20+ tabs and VMWare running a virtual machine of Windows 7 and this thing doesn't not even hiccup. Blazing, screaming, insanely fast. My MBP arrived 9 days ago and I have yet to reboot it once. The trackpad is sweet and the finger gestures are a great innovation. The battery is also amazing. I've given up on the dedicated video (see below) and am getting 6+ hours out of a charge, without any extreme power saving efforts. I'm carefully counting each cycle, as I'm sure a lot of other users are, and will happily scream and yell at Apple if this thing doesn't last 1000 cycles as promised.

Now for the Con's, although they are minor.
1. The dual video cards seem a bit gimmicky. Okay, I'm glad for the dedicated card when running Adobe CS4 apps, but really, I could live with the performance of the onboard card. The dedicated video card also sucks battery and heats the laptop up considerably, almost alarmingly hot. Running the onboard video there is almost no discernible heat. The biggest annoyance is that you have to close everything and log out every time you want to switch cards. Because of the heat and battery issue, I've found myself just living with the onboard video. It's not worth the hassle to log out and change it.
2. It's a BIG HONKING laptop, almost as big as the 17". If it was an inch narrower it would be the very definition of perfection. It barely fits in the laptop sleeve of my gigantic Patagonia Half Mass bag and it's girth makes it a little cumbersome and unwieldy to pick up and move around or use on one's lap. I would have happily gone for the 13" model if I could have gotten the same performance specs.

I sell and repair computers for a living and this is hands-down the best laptop on the market for my specific needs. While I paid a premium I feel it was a good value. Average users would do well with the MacBook or 13" MBP. Nothing in the PC laptop world even comes close. That being said, this review is specific to my needs for a laptop. A desktop is a completely different beast and my desktop workstation still runs Windows XP Pro.
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64 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Apple's latest version of the MacBook Pro combines a sleeker case, more GB of RAM, an SD slot, and longer battery life, all with a lowered price. The 15" LED backlit display (available on the previous models as well) is simply gorgeous, with crisp graphics and easy-on-the-eyes clarity.

Unlike older models of the MacBook and MacBook Pro, this laptop runs fairly cool, even after hours of using a lot of processor power. The case, though not as thin as the Air, is slimmer than most (non-Apple) laptops I've seen, with an aluminum case that resists fingerprints better than the old MacBooks. The keyboard is comfortable, with responsive keys, and is lit from behind with blue light. The touch pad is a single square, without a visibly separate clicker, although it's there, at the bottom, under the pad, with right and left click functions; navigation using the touch pad and clicker is extremely easy, but most heavy users will want to purchase a separate mouse, as they would with any laptop.

The 4 GM RAM is twice what the lower end of the Pros offered previously. The battery life is now at seven hours. Naturally, the actual time depends on what you are doing, but the estimate comes pretty close. The SD slot is a nice touch. The GEForce NVIDIA integrated graphics has been in the Pros for at least a generation, with generally good reviews, although this newer entry-level Pro no longer has the dedicated graphics chip. If you want the best Mac graphics, you'll have to purchase one of the more expensive Pros that include the integrated graphics and the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT chip. For most people, however, this version is enough.

The MacBook Pro comes bundled with the newest iLife Suite, a fantastic set of programs that keep getting better: iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, PhotoBooth, iDVD, etc. Users of older versions of these programs will be blown away. This MacBook should come with Snow Leopard, Apple's latest OS X, released in September 2009. (For more information about Snow Leopard, see Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard)

If you want to occasionally run Windows on this, you'll need to buy a copy of Windows, such as Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition FULL VERSION with SP2 or other version, and a program such as Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac or VMware Fusion 2. Keep in mind that if you plan to run most programs on a Windows platform, you should probably not get a Mac. Most programs these days will have versions for each platform, but there are exceptions.

Students and heavy word-processing/presentation users should consider purchasing Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Home & Student Edition.

The MacBook Pro is a fantastic machine. The debate between PCs and Macs will continue to rage, even as computers like this Pro win converts. Consumers who wish a small, budget desktop Mac instead of a laptop should look at the Apple Mac mini MB463LL/A Desktop.

NOTE: This review is for the 15.4 inch MacBook Pro. Amazon has pooled the reviews for all sizes. According to another customer, the 17 inch size does not have an SD slot and instead has an Express Card slot.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Without a doubt, the *design* of this laptop is fantastic. I love the solid machined aluminum frame, and the keyboard is the best of any laptop I've used. Unfortunately, Apple's quality has continued to slide. Despite the claims of the Apple apologists (a vice of which I am recently myself reformed) the internals of Mac laptops are NO different from PCs' at this point. It's now all commodity hardware. And that probably explains why I've already had my SATA controller go bad within a year of buying it. (The SATA controller is the motherboard chip that lets the CPU talk to the hard drive.) Looking online, many people are having the same problem. (If you ever see the spinning beachball come up when you think it shouldn't, check the "Activity Monitor" app to see if the disk throughput has temporarily dropped to zero. If so, you may be having similar problems.)

My friend just had to replace his entire motherboard, so did my wife, and it looks like I will have to as well. While Apple's saving grace is the fact that they at least stand behind their products, and their support is great, it would be nice if their products were more reliable to justify the premium.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I have been eyeing Macs for a while now but didn't want to make the switch from PC because I thought it would be really involved. Well my PC finally died so I was forced to do it and I am SOOO glad I did.

I have had no problems at all converting my Word and Excel files and using them on my Mac because we downloaded OpenOffice for Mac for free, which recognizes all my files!

I also purchased the program Parallels ($80) so I can run Windows (while running my Mac operating system at the same time) for those few programs that are too pricey to repurchase for Mac right now.

I am not very computer savvy. I didn't know ANYTHING about Mac when I switched over and I found it the be incredibly intuitive, easy to understand, and addictive!! :) It did help that my husband was a bit familiar and could install Parallels, etc.

What I love most is that the programs seem to be made to work with each other. For example when first adding people to my address book, I noticed it automatically added their birthday to icalander. And when I opened an evite in my email I could click once next to the party time and it automatically adds it to my icalander. My camera automatically recognizes my pictures and downloads them to iphoto which organizes them by day and is very easy to use. This goes on and on.

For the reviewer that said the edges are sharp & rub his wrists raw....he scared the heck out of me and I almost didn't buy it because of him. Yes the edges are a bit hard but I have never, ever had an issue with this at all. I use it as a laptop and sitting at the desk, in the car, etc. and have had no problems with wrist comfort at all.

I highly, highly recommend Mac. The only problems I have are when I am running PC programs. :) Didn't realize how many popups and issues PC has until I don't have ANY AT ALL with the Mac. Simply the most amazing product i have every purchased.
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