Name: Apple MacBook Pro
Rating: Strong Recommend*
It has been less than a year since the latest MacBook Pro update, but we were looking forward to the latest Sandy Bridge CPU upgrade, the new Thunderbolt connection and also the switch to the new AMD Radeon HD 6750M GPU video card paired with Intel's built in HD Graphics 3000. All these upgrades guaranteed a boost in video performance, but equally important, an increases battery life big time. But how did this upgraded model perform in real world use?
From a quick glance of the exterior design you'll be hard pressed to note much difference between this 2011 MacBook Pro model from the previous unibody designs. The only noticeable difference is a lightning bolt icon on a connector that looks just like the mini display port, indicating the inclusion of Thunderbolt. The same lilluminated keyboard and glass trackpad are still there, as is the "love it or hate it" glossy display. Battery is still non-replaceable and no Blu-ray option, per Mr. Jobs opinion about the media format.
Another thing greatly improved feature on this machine is the addition of a HD FaceTime Camera, which gives you 3 times the resolution of the previous camera, allowing 720p HD video calls from one laptop to another FaceTime capable device. This is a laptop that could get all the work done for you in one sleek package. That's before Apple upgrades the iMac lineup with the new Sandy Bridge CPU. Then the race is really going to get nasty. iMac or MacBook Pro? Or like my professional photographer friend said: "MacPro who?"
But how does it work in real life? One word: fast. expect everything to open almost instantaneously. Applications, windows, web browsers; there's no delay. Applying filters in CS5 is almost immediate. Sometimes we are waiting to the effect to finish and it was done already. No progress bar at all. If you don't have laptop and need/want one, this one is the one to get. In our case, we discovered a little bit of overlapping. We have at home a i7 2.93 Quad Core iMac with 12GB of RAM. That thing is fast, no matter what you throw at her and the 27" screen it's graphic design nirvana. We won't stop working on the iMac to switch to the MacBook Pro. Now, portability: At 5.6 pounds, it's on the heavy side; and we always end taking the 11" MacBook Air everywhere. See, for the type of work we do on the go; the Air is more than enough and a true performer: Type editing, light photoshop, web browsing. That would look like a waste for the MacBook Pro; but if the MacBook Pro ends being your primary machine, it would be the only machine you will need, for a long time.
Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
Width: 14.35 inches (36.4 cm)
Depth: 9.82 inches (24.9 cm)
Weight: 5.6 pounds (2.54 kg)
15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy or optional antiglare widescreen display with support for millions of colors
Processor and RAM:
2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache
4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1333MHz DDR3 memory; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 8GB
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
Audio line in
Audio line out
SDXC card slot
Kensington lock slot
(Images by Joel Pirela)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.