Review: The 15-in. MacBook Pro soars to new heights
Apple has made a really good laptop even better
InfoWorld - When I reviewed Apple's prior "unibody" 15-inch MacBook Pro, I gave it high marks. For the money, there is no better-built notebook. With its rigid one-piece machined aluminum frame, glossy LED-backlit display, flat backlit keyboard, huge multitouch trackpad, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and 8X slot-loading, dual-layer DVD burner, the unibody MacBook Pro defined the state of the art in design, construction, and manufacturing.
Now Apple is building on that peerless platform with higher performance, an upgraded display, longer battery life, and a lower price.
The latest 15-in. MacBook Pro, introduced in June, costs less than the model that preceded it, and yet it puts competing commercial high-end notebooks back at the starting line. The new machine's specifications are more 64-bit-friendly in anticipation of the Snow Leopard OS, due in September, and they reflect updated offerings from Apple's component suppliers. Core 2 Duo CPU speed now tops out at 3.06GHz. Using 4GB DIMMs, the new MacBook Pro accommodates 8GB of RAM. Recent introductions of larger and faster notebook hard drives are reflected in configure-to-order options for the 15-in. model, including 7,200-rpm drives that close the notebook/desktop performance gap.
[ Mac OS X Snow Leopard is due in September. Find out what businesses can expect from Apple's new OS. ]
As you read, keep in mind that the machine I'm describing doesn't fit in the mainstream 15-inch PC notebook class, a strictly two-year service group typified by painted-on key legends, breakable tray-loading DVD drives, and slow integrated graphics. The MacBook Pro is a five-year machine, by design and by track record. If you choose to replace a 15-inch MacBook Pro in two years, you'll be able to sell it for most of what you paid for it.
A true hybrid
Much of what's new about the 15-in. MacBook Pro is inherited from Apple's supply chain, but Apple also made a few carefully targeted changes to MacBook Pro's core design. The nonremovable rechargeable battery, an idea hatched with iPod, has found its way to Apple's commercial mainstay. Apple claims that by making the battery a non-user-serviceable component, it was able to use battery technology that lasts for up to five years, a thousand charge cycles, before losing significant capacity. This claim will take five years to prove, but it is conceivable, with deep knowledge of battery characteristics burned into the notebook's intelligent charge management circuitry.
Apple claims extended battery running time, too, of up to seven hours per charge with Wi-Fi operational. As a frequent flier and worker away from my desk, this was music to my ears -- but could seven hours truly be possible on an Intel desktop replacement-grade notebook? After the MacBook Pro's first full charge, the battery gauge estimated more than 10 hours of runtime. You can't blame an untrained gauge for showing some gung-ho optimism.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have. All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts