Apple MacBook Pro (13in)
Apple's smallest MacBook Pro laptop has plenty of power and a long battery life
- Fantastic build quality and design, extremely long battery life, multi-touch trackpad, beefy processor and RAM options
- RAM upgrades are expensive through Apple, no anti-glare display coating option, battery can't be removed
The 13in Apple MacBook has gone Pro, with more memory, beefier processors and an embedded battery that outlasts similar-sized notebooks we've tested. We would prefer an option for a more powerful graphics card though.
Price$ 2,399.00 (AUD)
Apple's 13in MacBook Pro is the smallest notebook in the company's "Pro" range, but it still packs quite a punch. This laptop is a fantastic compromise between size and power, though its upgrade options could be cheaper.
The 13in MacBook Pro can be configured with either a 2.26GHz or 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a choice of either a conventional hard drive (up to 500GB at 5400rpm) or a solid-state drive (128GB or 256GB). Upgrading its RAM is disappointingly expensive; price-conscious buyers may want to purchase third-party memory modules instead. The notebook has an NVIDIA 9400M embedded GPU; there is no option to get the beefier 9600M graphics processor available on larger MacBook Pro notebooks.
Our review unit came with the 2.53GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB, 5400rpm hard drive. With this configuration the 13in MacBook Pro scored 3463 points in Geekbench; the 2.8GHz, 15in MacBook Pro scored 3772. The notebook took 58.3sec to convert 53min of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3, which is about the same speed as Alienware's 2.8GHz Area-51 M17X gaming notebook.
Using the same aluminium "unibody" manufacturing process as the 15in, 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, the 13in MacBook Pro has a gorgeous design. It is also extremely sturdy; the display's shell isn't flimsy and the case is surprisingly resistant to scratching. Though there is admirable competition from the likes of Dell's Adamo, we prefer the MacBook Pro's design and construction .
The 13in MacBook Pro's display uses LED backlighting, which consumes 30 per cent less power than CCFL-backlit LCD screens. Colour quality is exceptional but the glossy coating can be distracting in bright environments. Professionals who need a colour-neutral display may be turned off by the lack of an antiglare coating.
Connectivity includes Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800 and two USB 2.0 ports. Apple's proprietary mini DisplayPort is also included, but it can only be connected to the company's 24in LED Cinema Display unless an adapter is used. An SD card slot has been included and it can be used to boot from removable media. There is a slot-loading SuperDrive, and 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
A non-removable lithium-polymer battery is integrated into the enclosure. Apple claims this battery can last seven hours off a single charge and has a five-year lifespan. In our tests the battery ran for 3hr 26min while playing a DVD with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off. The inability to swap the battery for another one might leave you with a dead notebook if you are away from a power point for an extended period.
Users of Apple or Sony VAIO notebooks will be familiar with the 13in MacBook Pro's keyboard. It has isolated keys that feel spongier than a standard keyboard's, but they are well-spaced and comfortable to type with.
The touchpad is quite large considering the notebook's size. You can individually enable or disable a number of preset multi-touch gestures including "tap to click", which registers single taps as a primary mouse click; it's a relatively new feature for Apple notebooks. Unfortunately, this feature is extremely sensitive and often led to inadvertent mouse clicks during testing. Fortunately, this gesture can be disabled. You can assign the secondary button to either the bottom-right or bottom-left corner of the trackpad.
The speakers located beneath the keyboard are surprisingly loud but excessively accentuate treble frequencies and lack any real low mid-range or bass frequencies.
Though we have qualms about the glossy display and the embedded battery, the 13in MacBook Pro is still a fantastic notebook. The attractive unibody design, lengthy battery life and powerful components all make for a portable powerhouse.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
- SSD adoption in laptops exceeds expectations
- Apple will refund you for your iMac hinge repair costs
- MacBook Pro teardown reveals pointless speaker grilles and hard-to-replace Touch Bar
- Apple leads tablet sales, but the iPad Pro is not its best seller
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- TPProjects Planning ManagerQLD
- FTManager - Field ServicesVIC
- TPService Delivery ManagerQLD
- CCArcSight Security Engineer - Contract - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- CCMicrosoft Systems EngineerVIC
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- CCeLearning Support Officer - Moodle/Google appsACT
- CCSenior Full-stack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTInformation Security ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Test Analyst - DETEQLD
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | CommunitiesQLD
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCVirtualization ArchitectACT
- FTBusiness Development Manager - IT SolutionsNSW
- FTTSM SpecialistNSW
- CCProcess Specialist - short contract, asap start!VIC
- CCSenior Project Manager - Vendor Transition - ApplicationsNSW
- CCNetwork Systems Engineer l Application Support l Linux l Port MacquarieNSW
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- FTJunior Software DeveloperQLD
- TPSolution ArchitectVIC