Customer Reviews: Apple MacBook Pro MD318LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)
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on November 8, 2011
Let me start with the good:
So awesome. Great OS, fabulous improvements to the existing line bumping up the processor speed and adding the thunderbolt port. This is my second MacBook. The first one I had was a 2006 model, not the Pro. I fell in love with it. This one has had the same effect. I had upgraded my old MacBook to Lion, so I kind of knew what I was getting, but hadn't been able to enjoy some of the awesome new multi-touch features. The improvements to the OS have been relatively gradual, but substantive. The feel of this machine compared to the old MacBook is far superior. The Unibody construction is solid, sleek and beautiful. It is everything I'd hoped it would be from a look and feel standpoint, but somehow a bit more sturdy.

For the not so good, I got the stock screen - which is VERY glossy. I mean ... REALLY glossy. It's still beautiful and has better color reproduction than I could ever expect from a notebook. The reflectiveness of the display is only a minor inconvenience if you work in a controlled-lighting environment like me (I prefer it dark) or if you can crank up the brightness.

My real problem with it? The statement of 7 hour battery life is not just mere exaggeration -- it's a lie. I challenge anyone to show proof that through anywhere near normal use can get more than 2.5 hrs out of it. I've got the brightness all the way down to just one notch above 'off' and the keyboard backlight off. The first full charge of this battery got me only about 2 full hours. Enabling the battery timer is useless. The "Time remaining" goes from 4 hours plus to less than 2 hours over the span of about 10 minutes. It's a joke. It's so bad that I'm thinking I only got half a battery or something.

I have an extended battery on a Dell notebook that gives me 7.5 hrs of regular use, and had an extra "slice" battery that attached to a Compaq elitebook that gave me 7-8 hrs. I know what 7 hrs of battery looks like. This ain't it.

My only other complaint is that it gets really hot. There's a reason they aren't called laptops. :-)

If you buy this - don't go into it expecting 7 hrs of battery life, and you'll be perfectly satisfied.

All that being said, I think I'm done buying Windows PCs.

With the help of some responders to my original review, I am seeing much better results from the battery - close to 5 hrs + of normal use. Leaving the original text of the review intact, but updating the rating to the 5 stars the product deserves. I'm extremely satisfied. Very happy Mac owner. :-D
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on December 3, 2011
(This review was typed on this machine).

I researched this purchase EXTENSIVELY via Amazon, Best Buy, other retailers, and my local university (with educational pricing for staff/students/faculty). In the end, I ended up purchasing this machine from Best Buy as the price was the same and I had a line of credit (although I had to pay tax: hey, someone has to help pay for our roads, right?)

In short, I can't say enough positive things about this purchase. This machine is INCREDIBLY fast, the interface is slick (although it takes some getting used to coming from the Windows world - especially window minimizing and the function keys), and with an iPhone 4S and iPad 2, iTunes syncing is a DREAM compared to Windows (on purpose, El Steve?).

The screen is plenty big (if you're waffling between 15" and 17", go to a local Best Buy or Apple Store and play around with each - the 17" has better resolution, but lift them up and check the weight - I prefer the 15" for portability and weight, but you're choice will depend on use), and I ordered the 8GB memory package from Amazon (which should show up any day now). Regarding memory I will say: 4GB is just enough; the OS and apps eat up just about every bit, so I'm looking forward to 8GB.

The backlit keyboard is a dream to type on, the magnetic charger is kid-proof, and the multi-touch trackpad alone is well worth the price (I'm a big fan of the two-finger "reverse scrolling", the back-and-forth swiping in Safari is SO convenient, and the 3/4 finger swiping to bring up LaunchPad and the like is great).

My sole complaint is the lack of USB ports, but only because I'm using a Logitech M305 wireless mouse. If I had a true Mac-compatible Bluetooth mouse this wouldn't be an issue, but in hooking up an external USB drive for Time Machine backups (a Western Digital 2TB) and the Logitech dongle, I'm out of USB ports when I have to sync my iPhone or iPad. But hey, with everything else being incredibly integrated, I'm not complaining THAT much.

Taking and syncing videos and pictures via my iPhone (the local Christmas parade!) is flawless, and iTiVo is a must for those with TiVos.

Regarding apps, take a look at Moom, Alfred, DaisyDisk, AppTrap (for uninstalling apps), and Handbrake.

I may end up getting the Applecare plan (part # MD012LL/A), but if I do, I'll get it elsewhere ($244 from other sites vs. $335 from Amazon, just do a search on Google Shopping for the aforementioned part number).

In summary, this machine is already making my life easier with regard to home pictures and video, expanding my family's use of our iPad, and backups. Good-bye Windows, Hello Mac!
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on December 5, 2011
(Over three years of experience in IT with Mac Products)
-=[750GB Version]=-

I've been maintaining/repairing computers for ten years but the product that has made a huge impact on my life is the Mac. After working with Windows NT, 98, 2000, and XP. I'm glad that I was introduced to the Mac line when the White/Black Macbook was just coming out. Since then, once you go Mac, you can't go back.

Apple is a great company, many people think they've overrated and overcharge for their products. The main product you're paying premium for is their operating system and customer support. The operating system is what makes the Mac run so smoothly and safely. You can see the OS works very well with the right specifications, and worry free in regards to getting a virus. How often do you hear about a Mac user running into a virus issue, rarely.

I've worked with the old Macbook Pro 15" with the i7 Dual Core. This is a huge upgrade from that, it has a performance score twice as much as last years model. This is one of the latest processor in a laptop market today. This is an i7 Quad Processor, and of course I am happy that this is an Intel processor and not AMD. I upgraded to Corsair 8GB 1333mhz Ram. Together with the processor makes this a great buy for multitasking.

The screen is very reflective. When I use this outdoor it proves a problem to see and I end up squinting at times. But if you're majorly using the screen indoor (like I do), you will only see how beautiful this screen lights up. It's really instant on thanks to being LED and you can see how thin that screen is. The resolution on this Macbook is a big improvement over the last years model as well, thanks to the 1GB graphic card.

Now you're probably wondering, why I mention this Macbook is for everything. Three simple reasons, it has the graphics card (1GB) that can make it do the most intensive graphic program, we've reached the time when programs are being made for both Windows and Mac, and lastly it can have Windows 7 installed as well.

The graphics has amazed me. I've played Starcraft 2, Day of Defeat Source, Team Fortress 2, and Grand Theft Auto IV on high settings. I even can play Battlefield 3 as well while on Medium setting and the quality is beautiful (installed on Windows). The graphics card plays an additional role in the speed of the computer. You can have a great processor and a large amount of ram. But when it comes to watching HD videos, video editing, or playing games, the graphic card has to be good a well. 1GB I guarantee you will have plenty and is just on par with a desktop gaming computer. Most games that are graphic intensive recommends 1GB, looks like this Macbook is prepared!

Many people say, "Mac's are not made for gaming". You can definitely prove them wrong now, you have a 1GB card and that saying is old now. There are many games out available for Mac and they work stunningly great on it. I am surprise myself that Battlefield 3 ran so great! You can get AutoCad, Photoshop, and so much more. But if there's a certain window product you need to install, well here's my third reason.

You now can feel like you paid for TWO laptops and operating systems, thanks to Boot Camp.

You can install Windows 7 on this laptop thanks to boot camp. Just hold down the ALT key upon boot up after you install it and choose either Mac or Windows to use. Apple has a built in program that walks you through it just like turning on a computer. It's so simple. you'll have Windows 7 on this laptop in an hour, thats how long it took me. Thanks to having Windows installed, I can install any program I want. This has a 750GB hard drive so there is a large amount of space for both OS. This Macbook is now definitely made for everything.

Sorry to say but the battery life is not the rated seven hours unless you plan to only do word documents, light internet surfing, and brightness all the way down. If you play games, browse the web heavily, socialize, webcam, and brightness all the way up, you'd get most likely 3-4 hours only. This is ok for me because I can adjust accordingly of how much power I need. If I'm in class, I'll be having my brightness level down and the battery can last long just fine. As for gaming, I'll make sure to be at a desk and with my power adapter handy. Battery life doesn't affect me whatsoever, and comparing Mac to other 15.4 inch laptops, the Mac has a great power management built in the OS that makes sure it uses next to no battery usage while on standby.

Overall for the price, you're not paying for just the cool factor of Apple, but for the customer support as well. If you have a problem with the Mac, there's a Genius Bar in the Apple Store there with experts to help you out. Within the first year after purchasing it's free help. Even after the one year they will not mind taking a look to see what the problem is. But with warranty, whatever problems occur they will help you step by step and take the right actions to make sure you leave the Apple Store satisfied in solving your problem.

I do not work for Apple, but if I did I'm sure I'd enjoy sharing my experience with why Mac is far more superior at Windows. I used Windows for years but a Mac is so much easier to use in comparison, I've converted many of my family/friends into using it, and they now feel the same way I do about what their next laptop should always be.
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on May 16, 2012
I got my first MacBook Pro in 2006. It worked like a dream and I could not have had a better computer on which to complete a PhD. At that time there was iLife with iWeb so I could launch a website instantly having created a dot mac (later Me) account. It worked tremendously until about 2010, after which I foolishly decided to trade it in for a souped up second hand model (thought of as a cheap MBP upgrade) that was unfortunately coming from non authorised apple repairers and was faulty. I've learned my lesson. With the new MBP I purchased Apple Care almost as soon as I got the machine extending its authorised warranty service for 3 years.

So now I'm typing this on the new MBP. I have noticed that the battery does not really seem to last 7 hours. In a way, it charges up worryingly fast to seem to retain charge. The sound (I mean videos and multimedia) is simply not as loud as the previous MBP, maybe the loudspeakers are less powerful. My iPhone 4S seems to be louder than this (when not connected to external sound systems). The default screen is glossy though you can get a matte. I just have to say it is too glossy and the default should be a matte screen with the option for gloss. The glossy screen would prevent its adequate use in full sunlight and I have to put up with my reflection. I have since fitted a Moshi iVisor that helps considerably.

Significant improvements to the last MBP include the improved magsafe connector the wires of which do not get frayed and exposed due to stressful kinks between the plug and the power cord; the new design prevents kinking by keeping the cord straight. The unibody feels nice and rigid and keeps itself cool without the loud fan of the previous MBP. It is now very much more solid and silent as it works. You can't even hear the hard disk, so it feels like it has a SSD.

For its price, this computer is not worth it. My old MBP was considerably cheaper and Apple have really jacked up the price. The amount of RAM in the standard model (4GB, 8 would have been better) even with 750GB hard disk does not seem sufficient for the price.

The software is more troubling: The problem is the reduced iLife capability such as killing iWeb and issues with OS Lion. With OS lion, I just don't understand Mission Control, it seems to be a useless gimmick. The updated Safari browser works a lot worse than before, I can never seem to get the window I want (e.g., in the past when I opened Safari naturally it launched on the home screen, then you changed window and if you started a new window it would retain the same window, but the control of these windows is now much diminished). Features like Spaces and Stacks are also gimmicky. Each time I start the computer it reopens the software I took pains to shut down at the end of the last session. Disabling this does not seem to work. It constantly seems to open iCal even though I don't want it to do so. This process of reopening a great deal of software makes the booting up very slow. Ironically, the booting up speed is not faster than my old MBP, it may even be slower.

This MBP, if you want the bells and whistles such as 16GB of RAM (installable yourself), Apple Care warranty protection, leaving aside cosmetic externals like a hard shell or an antireflective screen will set you back an additional $750 approximately. That makes this computer about as expensive as they come. Of course these two features are optional, though perhaps a lower price with an iWeb type capability may have helped.

As for the future, I don't think an MBP without a CD/DVD drive would be very useful in the much anticipated upgrade (as rumoured). The improved IvyBridge chip will excite techies though will really jack up the price even more. I am very pleased with this MBP overall and will just end up spending far more money than is justified.
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on December 18, 2011
I needed a new laptop and got the Mac because of I wanted a Unix based system for programming. I've been dual-booting into Linux for too long and though Linux is outstanding, many softwares do not have a Linux version (don't get me started).
It's been 3 weeks with the new Mac and so far I am very pleased with my purchase. However, there are certain things that the Mac is missing which seem like daily necessities to me. It would seem that Apple purposely left them out in a snobbish attempt to establish - "the Mac is different".
Depending on the kind of person you are and your usage type, these may or may not be a deal breaker for you.

1. It does not have a standard uninstaller. Coming from Linux's package managers, this is absolutely disappointing. You may have heard that uninstallation is as easy as trashing the app but I wish that were true. Some apps leave files scattered on your hard disk which are hard to find and trash for even a fairly tech savvy person. There are 3rd party softwares, free and not, which can do the job for you but didn't you already pay a premium for buying the Mac?
2. It does not have built-in read-write (r/w) NTFS support. That means if you have an external NTFS formatted drive or a PC that you are sharing with the Mac, you can't persist anything there. Again, compared with the built-in NTFS r/w support in Linux, this seems to be soooo year 2000. There are 3rd party softwares that do this, of course, for a cost.
3. The laptop keyboard does not have a DEL key, only BACKSPACE (called delete, go figure). You can Fn + delete to delete but I'd think delete is quite a commonplace functionality to be missed out.
4. It does not have HOME or END keys either. You can control + A for home and control + E for end but frankly, do you really want to remember all these shortcuts?

I work on computer programs for a living and have figured out ways to work around the above problems. IMHO, not everyone may be willing or able to do that. The graphics and aesthetic is beyond cool but PCs can boast of that too.
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on December 14, 2012
This is my first Mac book. I love it. The battery life is great, starts up quick, shuts down fast, the screen is sharp, the sound quality is really good, and I am sold on the aluminum body.
The reason I switched to Apple is because I owned a Iphone for a few years, and one day i realized that i can use my phone better than i can use a windows computer. I thought to myself that if Apple can make a phone this good, imagine how good their laptop computers must be. Sure enough i ordered one, and had no regrets.
I was in the military then, and deployed to Afghanistan, I took my Macbook with me. It survived the harsh environment. A lot of my friends who owned Windows laptops were having issues off and on, or their laptops just stopped working. My Mac book Pro has not skipped a beat. This computer is one of the best investments i ever made.

Cons: My computer gets pretty hot sometimes, and the fan can get loud.

I would still recommend this computer to friends and family.
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on November 28, 2012
I went through a few laptops before I was finally satisfied. I originally had a 15" Samsung laptop that suited my purposes well, and I did some very light gaming on it. However, I missed having a college I had a little white MacBook that I loved the entire time of using during my 5 years of college. I sold it to a friend and decided to buy a 13" MacBook Pro. While it was a decent computer in its own right, I missed gaming. The integrated graphics on a 13" MacBook Pro just wouldn't cut it. That said, I splurged and bought a heavy duty ASUS Republic of Gamers gaming laptop. The thing was a beast of a machine...I mean, it was *awesome*.

However, I just prefer having a Mac. I love OSX, the smoothness, the user-friendliness, and the overall feel of the OS better than Windows. I use Windows at work every day, and I dual boot via Boot Camp, so I'm very comfortable with both of the OS'. Windows 7 was a great OS, almost as good as XP in my honest opinion, and one of the better products Windows created. With the release of Windows 8, however, I do not like their direction...but that's a different story for a different review, yes?

Finally I decided to get a higher-end MacBook Pro and chose this model. I fell in love instantly, with the quad core i7 to the fantastic trackpad to the elegant unibody design. And now that I've got a dedicated (and decent) graphics card, I can play some of the games I want. Granted, I am more of a console gamer...but I'd be lying if I didn't say I like to pop in Team Fortress 2, Diablo III, or Battlefield 3 amongst a few other games every now and then.

And don't get me wrong, you will *not* be able to run Battlefield 3 on Ultra settings on this laptop, but it will run quite well on Medium settings, which makes me more than happy. I was able to tweak and get Skyrim up to high/ultra at 25-30 FRAPS. That said, if you've never owned a Mac, or if you're curious, there's nothing else like it. I personally believe that you should use what you like, fanboys tend to ruin brands being over-loyal and hating on another for some reason. For me, I'm happiest being a consumer that has the option to use whatever I want for whatever need I have at that time. I highly recommend a MacBook pro to anyone, from college students to the elderly.
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on March 30, 2012
Apple continues to impress me now with their MacBook Pro. I'm a die hard Windows user, but I decided months ago to continue migrating to Apple. I started with the first iPad, then an iMac 27, and now the laptop. I bought the basic 15" model, but instead or paying Apple prices for memory and storage upgrades, I bought a package thru Amazon and saved $$$$. It took about an hour overall, including the time to clone the original mechanical hard drive onto a solid state drive. I followed the instructions, and upgraded RAM from 4GB to 8GB. paid $39 instead of $400 to Apple, even though I own Apple shares. Anyway the machine screams now. Boot up is amazing. Fetching a document, or starting a program is almost instantly, like using the iPad. I will never go back. Watch Amazon, though. They dropped the price of the SSD $65 a few days after I bought it. Their policy is that you do not get the price reduction. Frustrating!
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on January 23, 2012
Of course if you love Apple, you love Apple.

But I had the double experience of having my work Windows machine replaced on the same day that I got the new Macbook.

My Macbook migration process:
- Time Machine backup on old Macbook
- move disk to new macbook
- Let installer pull over everything I wanted
- only had to activate Creative Suite (but did not have to re-enter the key) and had to re-enter the key for Microsoft Office and rebuild my Outlook identity.
- Done. All browser data, app settings, everything was just there.

Total time: 4 hours; total keyboard time: 20 minutes

My Windows migration process:
- IT used Windows easy transfer which moved over only Microsoft settings and apps and my files (I don't know how long this took)
- Went through the transfer log of all the apps it didn't move (10!):
- downloaded from their website
- installed by hand
- hunted for keys and activated purchased software
- re-set all the settings and preferences for each app
- For Firefox & Chrome, used their sync features to upload and then sync setting/bookmarks etc.

Total keyboard time: 6+ hours (and counting as I find things not quite right);

This is just one example of how Apple gets things right and Windows makes life harder than is necessary.

And the machine itself ROCKS!!!
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on January 13, 2012
I've had a few computers in the past, two desktops and one laptop and all were running windows. The last computer I purchased was a 2000 dollar Alienware M17x, I paid that much money for quality just like I paid 1700 for this Macbook Pro. While my Alienware cost more money than this macbook, it is incompetent to this computer. This macbook had an amazing build quality, in comparison the Alienware had poor low quality plastic build and was very bulky. This computer is fast and powerful and can do every task my alienware could do, but better.

If you have the money for this computer, you won't regret it especially if you are looking to pay for quality.
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