Apple's new 17-inch MacBook Pro rocks

Upgrades can push the price past $5k, though, so choose wisely

The biggest of Apple's laptop line compared to the smallest, a second-generation MacBook Air (right).

The biggest of Apple's laptop line compared to the smallest, a second-generation MacBook Air (right).

It took Apple a while to finally get around to updating the 17-inch MacBook Pro, but the wait was more than worth it.

Apple started rolling out its carved-from-solid-aluminum laptops a year ago, with the incredibly thin MacBook Air. Then, in October, it revamped its MacBooks and the 15-inch MacBook Pro, moving them to the "unibody" manufacturing process (and moving the MacBooks decidedly upscale).

Now, finally, comes the Big Daddy of all Apple laptops, the top-of-the-line 17-incher that has been made truly drool-worthy for professionals who need every bit of computing power and speed while on the go. Of course, speed, size and innovation don't come cheap.

The already well-equipped base model (although I'm loath to call anything this gorgeous and well-built a "base model") starts with a 2.66-GHz Core 2 Duo processor from Intel, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, two Nvidia graphics processors and a simply stunning high-resolution, 1920-by-1200-pixel screen. Price: US$2,799.

As with the rest of Apple's laptops, the MacBook Pro 17's chassis is now carved out of a solid chunk of aluminum that eliminates any flex, does away with seams along the edges, and helps make this the lightest, thinnest 17-inch laptop now on the market. It's just 0.98 inches thick with the lid closed, and weighs in at a svelte 6.6 pounds -- 0.3 pounds less than its predecessor.

The glossy screen is surrounded by a piano-black bezel, an echo of the aluminum-and-black look that debuted in 2007 with the iPhone. The multitouch trackpad has a glass veneer and integrated clicker button. There's a lighted keyboard (the keys are now black), the usual retinue of ports -- including the recently introduced Mini DisplayPort for external monitors -- and a built-in iSight webcam. (Note: Video adapters are no longer included in the box, so if you plan to hook up a monitor, you'll have to buy the correct adapter separately.)

Oh, and there's the new built-in, nonreplaceable battery that Apple swears will last up to eight hours. Yes, eight hours. More about my own experiences with battery life in a bit.

If that's not enough for you, the 17-inch MacBook Pro can be optioned in ways that should please even the most demanding user.

You say a dual-core 2.66-GHz chip isn't enough? Fair enough. Hand over $300 and you can bump the processor to 2.93 GHz.

The 5,400-rpm hard drive is too slow? Give Apple another US$750 for a 256GB solid-state disk drive (SSD).

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags macbook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ken Mingis

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?