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Showing 1-10 of 69 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 92 reviews
on March 8, 2011
First, a little background. Aside from a TI-99 we had when I was a kid and the Apple IIc computers at my middle school, I've always been a Windows guy. I feel very comfortable in the Windows environment and have been building my own PCs for about 15 years. I don't hate Microsoft. But when the need for another laptop became clear, I decided to focus my search on the higher end machines. I wanted good horsepower, but I especially wanted a nicer form factor than the creaky Dells I had become accustomed to. As I had fallen in love with the interface on my iPhone, I decided it was time to give MacBooks a try. I kept my Windows desktop in case I ran into compatibility problems.

The short version of that story is that I quickly dismantled my PC and now use this laptop as my only machine. I am fortunate to be able to do so because my work as an attorney requires only Word, Excel, and an internet browser. As a bonus, my copy of Lightroom 3 also installed on the MacBook. I'm trying not to sound like a Mac zealot, so let's have a list:

-Aluminum unibody is no marketing gimmick. It's sturdy and feels great with no flex and no creaking. Looks nice, too.

-Keyboard is well-engineered. The key travel and spacing between keys feel just right for my taste. There is no flex here, either, which I often find disconcerting on other laptops.

-Trackpad is a marvel. It really is. It's very large, but I've yet to feel like it's in the way. And the finger movements are intuitive and work very well.

-The screen is bright, clear and has great color. The reflectivity is sometimes an issue in bright locations, but I find tilting it a little solves most problems. Otherwise, you can custom order the anti-glare screen direct from Apple.

-The lid closes with a magnet, so there's nothing to break.

-It is very fast. In my experience, Mac OS X starts up and shuts down far faster than a comparably spec'ed Windows machine. I have yet to feel a need for 8 GB of RAM, but an upgrade would only cost $90 if you know how to do it yourself. Otherwise, I have no issues running lots of standard programs at once.

-Comes with Time Machine. As an attorney and amateur photographer, I have lots of stuff that needs to be backed up regularly and reliably. Time Machine works so well and so seamlessly that I can't imagine how I survived before.

-Spotlight is brilliant. Type in any word, and Spotlight almost instantly gives you results from your entire hard drive, including INSIDE your searchable documents, preferences, web results, and even definitions of words.

-Seven hours of battery life is very possible, even on wireless. I can sit in Starbucks for hours unplugged and still have plenty of life left. The caveat is that you really can only surf and use programs like Word. I also have Flash installed, which is a huge battery drainer, so I grabbed a Flash-blocking program that let's me choose which Flash files to activate. Nice solution.

-HD webcam. Nice quality, though I haven't really done more than messed around with it.

-The magnetic power cable is slick.

-As a former Windows user, I find the Mac OS X interface to be really nice and intuitive. There's obviously a learning curve, though I've found it be surprisingly short. Lion is anticipated to be a nice upgrade, too.

-PRICE! Well, a lot of people complain about the Apple premium, and it definitely exists. I found this laptop to be a few hundred dollars higher than the really nice Windows laptops with mostly similar specs, although I don't think comparing raw horsepower between two different operating systems is always an accurate benchmark. I live on my computer, so I'm willing to pay a little more to get what I want. It's like buying a BMW because you have to spend three or four hours a day in your car. Whether that value equation works for you or not is up to you and your checkbook.

-Anything I dislike? Not really. I'd like maybe one more USB port and a CF card reader. I'd love to start seeing cheaper SSDs in these things, but that's really not Apple's fault. Decent SSDs with any size are still expensive for everyone. I was a little nervous about having a 5400 RPM HDD. I think transferring large NEF files from the card reader might be fractionally slower. The tradeoff in battery life is probably worth it. Will Thunderbolt be worth it? Who knows? I don't care just yet, but ask me next year.

I know there's more to say, but I'm running out of steam. I'm happy to discuss anything in the comments.
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on June 5, 2017
My biggest issues buying from this seller:
-Laptop came in a flimsy box that was falling apart - it did not do well in mailing and when you see that, knowing there's a computer inside, it's very concerning. It was wrapped in layers of bubble wrap, but I'd suggest a thicker, stronger box when sending electronics.
-Laptop wasn't wiped, or set back to factory settings. I find it dodgy that the seller didn't do this.
-Seller did mention an surface issue near the battery plug, but failed to mention that the bottom panel is also wrapped and doesn't actually sit properly on the case. Was also missing screws, that I had to replace (especially for a warped panel - needs to be secure).
-Somewhat concerned about the damage, since it looks warped, almost melted, like the device overheated. Am being very careful with it.

Computer functionality:
-I got this laptop to run QLab for a theatre, so I don't need a lot, which is good, because it's not a great system. I updated the OS, first thing, and put in 16gb of Ram. That, with the 1T hard drive, I hoped would make it run nice and fast, which it does until that heat kicks in. Then the kernel_task jumps up, draining the CPU functionality, causing it to impossibly slow down. Not sure if this is an issue with all MACs (a bit of a PC person here), or if it's this computer, but I'm working out how to get around this.

Overall, it's doing what I need it to for now, and the hardware updates are still cheaper than a new Mac, but it's definitely a used computer, sent in bubble wrap.
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on July 20, 2011
I just upgraded from the 2011 15 inch 2.0ghz MBP to the 2011 2.2 mostly because of the graphics card upgrade to a full gb. I also installed a new owc 240 gb mercury extreme pro 6g ssd along with 8gb of memory. To me it didnt make a whole lot of sense to spend that much money on extras and not go for the higher end model 15 inch.

Ill be honest the 2.0 ghz version with 256mb of vmemory was more than enough and performs very well in comparison to the 2.2 version. Most people would never know the difference if they took the pepsi challenge.

I am a label whore however and I couldnt sleep at night knowing there was more out there.

The smart move and most cost effective however wouldve been to upgrade the 2.0 version mbp with probably the most stable and most reliable ssd in my opinion on the market and thats the samsung 470. it has a 3gbs data transfer rate so its not as fast as those in sata III and at 6gbps but again the difference in real world computing scenarios is negligible. It isnt however apple friendly and neither are the firmware updates if you have a mac.

I wanted the fastest while still conserving some reliability so an OWC ssd with a five year warranty and excellent customer service and the latest firmware included before shipment was the obvious choice over an OCZ. Both ssds are sata III and have a 6gbps data transfer rate.

No other upgrade will make a bigger difference in the performance of your computer than an ssd. Dont waste your money on a substandard apple offering though, there's a lot better offerings in both ssds and memory out there.

I will also never purchase another computer through anyone other than Amazon.

My first 2011 mbp in 2.2 ghz showed up after riding around in a ups truck in 115 degree Phoenix heat all day...I dont know how hot the inside of the truck was where the cargo is kept but the computer on arrival was nearly too hot to handle with my bare hands, I knew there would be issues.

The display was loose and unstable when opened and the battery took a health hit showing just 90% health...unacceptable for a brand new 2000 dollar computer.

I had zero problems getting a replacement and a morning delivery time. It was sent and arrived in one business day, and before I could send UPS's goof back to amazon...I was already using my new one. The reliability, discount, plus zero tax always makes me wonder why anyone would buy anywhere else. Any way just my thoughts hope they may help someone.

I did take one star for price and the cost of the apple name and like I said I wouldve been just as happy with the performance of the 2.0 ghz version if i werent so neurotic.

Just one more quick edit...the free upgrade to lion from apple's website couldn't be easier.
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on April 7, 2011
I can sum up my review in one word:
Superb. No, Extraordinary! No, Awesome! No... well, you get the idea.

Maybe i'm over reacting, but i do love this little machine. Its just over the top, the quad core processor breezes through anything i throw at it, and the 4Gb are very capable (though i'm considering upgrading it to 8gb soon). Something that really rules is the video card. So far i've installed several games on it, and ALL of them it runs on very high settings.

This is my first Mac, so i had to suffer a slight adaptation period. A very slight period. It took me all 15 minutes to get used to it. It's just so natural!

I love tweeking configs and personalizing my computers, and though Mac OS is more rigid with respect to the themes one can put up, its a marvel when it comes to comfort. If you get down and dirty, Exposé and Spaces will rock your world. And the dock is just so much more practical than the standard issue windows bar.

Now, compatibility wise Mac OS can seem problematic, however this is just an illusion. This particular MBP packs so much punch that you can literally run windows on it simultaneously without even a hiccup. Virtualization, however, is a must for anyone that needs specialized software (specifically anyone with a CAD oriented program repertoire).

Im running Parallels 6, with a Windows XP virtual machine, and it runs all my Engineering programs beautifully (Staad.pro, MathCAD, Civil 3D, Revit Structure, MS Project). There is a Mac version for AutoCAD, but if you already have the windows license, the virtual machine will run it beautifully too. With tools such as "Coherence" you can be using Windows and Mac simultaneously without having to deal with the typical Windows problems.

Something i'm loving is the stability. Now, i have been pumping this baby with hard hitting processes since day 1, and it has responded well. Now, don't get me wrong, it did have its standard hangs on certain apps, however the hangs are very "contained", as the OS on a whole remained perfectly stable during these hangs. The apps that would hang, could easily be Force Quit and reopened with no data loss.

I've been using video converters for a long time, since i do have preffered formats for video, and this little piece of heaven really cuts down conversion time. There is this little open source app called Handbrake that handles itself pretty well for conversion. Its one of the only apps that i've found that can handle the quad core resources almost seemlessly.

Bootcamp is a must if you do heavy gaming. I installed Windows 7 on it and it runs like its native... Better even. I've installed games such as Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Deadspace 2, Starcraft 2, and Just Cause 2. They all run on full graphics without a zinch. I've been really pushing this machine, and so far im extremely satisfied.

I've been reading other reviews, and i cant understand some of the complaints. Maybe they got bad units, but then again Apple will replace any defective unit in a flash so it's not really an issue. I dont have any complaints with respect to battery life, i can get the advertised 7 hours, and even push out 8hours if i bump out Airport whilst im using text processors. However when using resource hogs, the battery drains quickly (for instance when running XP simultaneously the battery life goes down to around 3-4 hours. Graphicly demanding programs also drain the battery quickly.

If you are looking into this particular model (15" 2.2Ghz Quad Core 4gb Ram 6750 AMD Radeon), then chances are you know your way around computers. My guess is you are probably into graphicly demanding progs as well. So i can vouch for it, and say that it has answered elegantly to any vulgar attempt i've made at maxing it out. If you are not looking for a powerhouse though, i STRONGLY recommend getting one of the mid ranged models.

The price tag on this baby was the only cringe-factor... but now, 3 weeks into this enterprise, i can say its definitely worth it. If you can afford it, and you will actually use it at its potential i absolutely recommend it. If you are a casual user, however i recommend something less expensive.

Windows users don't be afraid. There are more ways to run windows on a mac than you can shake a stick at... but DO NOT buy this computer just to run windows on it... just get a PC, its cheaper :P

So in short, this laptop is over the top, i strongly recommend it for anyone looking for a powerhouse, but i strongly advise against this particular model for anyone looking for just casual computing. Anyway you go about it, Apple won't let you down. I finally understand why people say "Once you go Mac, you never go back".

:D
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on March 17, 2017
Failed several times after four years. Apple repaired three times and finally told me no more parts available for repair even though repair warranty still in effect. Since it will no longer boot, it has no trade-in value and Apple will no longer attempt repair. Problems traced to early 2011 manufacture, they tell me.When it worked it was excellent, but customer and technical service not so.
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on August 21, 2013
This is the second Mac Book Pro I have purchased from AMAZON, this model purchased in early 2012, and another 15" MBP model 3 years earlier. I seem to be having repeat problems as the Mother Board in this one is diagnosed as faulty, related to the graphics card. AGAIN!!! I had this problem with the last one, and after it served me 3 years I thought it was due a change, only to have the repeated problem on this model, after ONLY 18 months from from Date of Purchase. I started getting the Graphic card problem when Opening and Operating iPhoto and graphic intensive programs (Final Cut Pro, Final Cut x etc)...first it was a glitch, like a tv going bad which turned to a blue screen, now it just goes straight grey, and won't restart or run a Disk Utility.

I am saddened by the fact this is the disgusting results I am getting after years of buying APPLE Mac Book Pros.
In total this is my 3rd, having bought my first MBP, back in 2003 (whatever they called it then anyway) and that suffered the same problem too.

As I only took the regular 1 year Warranty on this model, and not the extended Apple care, I am asking AMAZON to intervene here, or for APPLE themselves to intervene here. It's plain disgusting to be having repeat problems after continuing to support this brand for almost a decade.
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on May 12, 2011
Bought this as a late Christmas/off-to-graduate-school present for son, who insisted on waiting until the newest model came out. He had never had a Mac before, having been raised on Windows computers. Transition to new operating system happened almost overnight. He bought whatever software he needed to actually work in the Windows world as well as the Mac world, as he does some web development and app programming. He says that the processor speed, video board, disk access (even though only 5400) are incredibly superior to the high-end Dell this laptop replaces. We read the reviews by the Mac-o-philes who complain about reduced battery life and other sub-par aspects, but for someone switching platforms, we have none of the nirvana Macs to compare to. The super-long battery life allows him to work through lengthy classes with having to search for power. He is absolutely in love with this computer, and keeps insisting that I switch too. This one comes highly recommended, from a geek moving from Windows to Mac. One more note: I bought this just as the computer was coming out and watched prices over a number of days before actually buying from Amazon. Amazon consistently had the best total price overall, thanks to low price + no shipping cost + no sales tax. Glad I bought here.
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on April 21, 2011
I used the Mac from 1984 to 1995 at which time I switched to Windows, since I retired and was starting to work as a computer consultant and the people who needed help were all Window users. After making a good income helping Window users for over ten years, I bought an iPhone and was so impressed I decided to look into the current Macs. What a pleasant surprise. It's really a joy to again use a computer that is fun to use and you don't have to spend all that time keeping it running, as I did in Windows. I still have a need to run a few programs in Windows, such as Access, so I installed Parallels Desktop for the Mac 6 and can now use Windows when I have no other choice. The MacBook Pro 15 is without a doubt the best investment I have made in years. If you want to see what the computers of the future are going to look like checkout the last Macs.
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on June 20, 2011
I've used Macs on and off before out of necessity and to be honest I was never really impressed with the user experience since it was so strange. Now, with more regular use, it's not so strange.

Here are some thoughts in no particular order:

1. The first thing I noticed was that the Mac experience is a very curated one. Whereas someone with a handle on Windows will be flying around the OS in no time, manipulating files at will and changing settings, your options are far more limited on a Mac. Sometimes you bounce into limits due to ignorance and other times because they are real limits.

For example, full-screen windows are still a pain. Maximizing windows does not automatically produce the effect it does on a Windows PC. You still have to drag the bottom right corner of the application to make it full-sized. I still, however, have been unable to figure out how to change the system font size. Beware, it's tiny--and I'm not so old.

2. Multitouch is very, very useful; but on the other hand I do miss Aerosnap. Two-finger scrolling does away with the mockery that is the scrollbar on a regular laptop.

3. This thing is built solidly. You realize this when you subsequently handle other laptops. The "brick" is a bit odd (I have seen this shape on older Macs) but that's just a matter of personal opinion.
The magnetically attached cord seems like a good idea.

4. "It just works": There may be some truth to this. I plugged in two different printers (one with a scan function) and if you've ever had to deal with HP and their drivers on Windows you'd be shocked. They just worked--full-featured and all. No need to download anything.

5. This thing gets hot sometimes--too hot to put on your lap.

6. Flipping through files is a bit more awkward than on Windows. I'm still trying to figure this out.

7. Installing applications is sometimes confusing--but I guess I will learn; although there does not seem to be a standard procedure.

8. The battery takes a long time to charge and a long time to discharge (compare to other laptops I have used). You get a lot of time on the battery.

This is all I can remember for now.
I would buy another Mac if possible because of the sturdiness. The OS takes a little getting used to.

Will I ever "go back"?
Well, I never "left". I will say that things have been encouraging so far--including Safari (the browser I was not initially impressed with--being more partial to Chrome). I still do use Windows PCs and I like the way they encourage tinkering etc. I am sold on the idea of Apple laptops as far as durability goes. Maybe in the future I might buy other Apple products.

Lastly, I am considering the OSX Lion upgrade later this year after all the kinks have been worked out.
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on February 22, 2016
This is a really good computer but it's a late-2011. Had I known at the time, I would have held out for a mid-2012. They are significantly different in terms of technology. But you have to know exactly what to look for in order to discern the differences. All pre-Retina models except for the mid-2012 have USB2.0 ports. Starting in mid-2012 and continuing into the Retina line, they have USB3.0 ports. There are also slight differences in processor speed, bus speed and RAM speed. All of these affect I/O throughput.

On the whole, this is a very solid computer. Especially when outfitted with SSD and at least 8GB of RAM.
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