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 newsletter!
Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei FreeBuds review: Solid as a value-add, less so standalone
- 2 Oppo Find X review: Damn.
- 3 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 4 HAVIT G1W True Wireless Earbuds review: Budget buds with a wireless edge
- 5 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
Latest News Articles
- Razer announces new headset, keyboard and mouse
- IFA 2018: MSI expand Prestige range with new P65 Creator
- IFA 2018: ASUS launch first TUF gaming laptops
- IFA 2018: ASUS upgrade Vivo and Zenbooks
- IFA 2018: Lenovo refresh Yoga and ThinkPad lineup
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?