Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Slim and sexy, Magnetic Power connector, iSight Webcam, Faster than previous models

Cons

  • Expensive, Poor Screen Resolution, Graphics need work

Bottom Line

It's expensive, but the MacBook Pro offers better performance and speed than its predecessors and ships standard with a whole range of intuitive features

Would you buy this?

The 15.4inch MacBook Pro is a similar size to the 15inch PowerBook G4 that it replaces - and looks just as slim and sexy next to the majority of Window-based laptops with which it now shares its processor.

All of the PowerBook's innovations - such as the illuminated keyboard for working in the dark, the scrolling trackpad and the stylish, slot-loading DVD writer - have survived. This latest model adds a magnetic power connector so you don't trash your laptop if you trip over the lead, the iSight webcam with Photo Booth software, the Front Row living-room media player and a remote control so you can sit back and enjoy it all from a distance. The magnetic power connector is truly an ingenious invention and will ensure you'll never worry about getting tangled around the power cord again.

Unfortunately though, the MacBook Pro's screen resolution is mediocre. Many 15-inch models in this price range have 1,680 x 1,050-pixel screens - and it's not the X-black type that many top laptops have. This is disappointing, especially from Apple.

The MacBook Pro proved to be around 50 percent faster in Apple's bundled iLife suite of image, video and music-editing appplications than the 1.67GHz G4. Power-hungry software needs to be updated for the Intel chip to run in a useable manner, with untuned creative programs such as Adobe Photoshop running more slowly on the MacBook than on the G4.

Using the tuned-up, cross-platform Cinebench 9.5 benchmarking software, we compared the MacBook Pro with the Dell Inspiron 9400, which is based around a 2GHz Core Duo chip. In Cinebench's processing test, the laptops were neck and neck. In the real-time 3D tests the Mac wasn't much ahead, which is disappointing for Apple, since the MacBook has a hardcore ATI graphics chip whereas the Inspiron merely has an onboard graphics setup.

With a tuned version of Photoshop up to a year away, the MacBook Pro's usual audience of creative pros won't be leaping to purchase this model. For the rest of us, though, this is a fantastic-looking laptop with the easiest-to-use media software around - but it'll cost you.

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