Apple Macbook Pro (15in, early 2011) notebook
Apple Macbook Pro revew: Apple's 2011 Macbook Pro adds extra processing, graphics grunt and a new connection standard
- Thunderbolt is theoretically an excellent connection standard
- The extra processing power is noticeable
- There aren't many other changes to write about
- We can't do anything with Thunderbolt at the moment
If you were considering a Macbook Pro recently but held off to see what the model refresh would bring, you might be disappointed. There aren't many innovative updates in the new Macbook Pro -- Thunderbolt is the only one worth writing home about, in our opinion -- but the extra processing power and graphics grunt are welcome. Apple's latest Macbook Pro improves on an already competent design but doesn't stand out significantly from competitors like Sony and Alienware.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
The new Core i7 Apple Macbook Pro is a very strong performer for productivity and general-purpose computing tasks, but it's no surprise that you can buy a cheaper Windows-based notebook that's more powerful.
Apple Macbook Pro: Design and features
The latest Macbook Pro from Apple looks identical to its predecessor. We lined up a 15in Macbook Pro from late 2010 alongside the latest model, and couldn't tell the differences while looking straight on. The only differences externally between the two models are in the new Macbook Pro's 'FaceTime HD' camera, which adds 720p high-definition recording, and the Thunderbolt port.
Why not consider an awesome Sony VAIO laptop instead? Check out our reviews of the latest models (our favourite is the SB Series): Sony VAIO SB Series, Sony VAIO CB Series, Sony VAIO YB Series, Sony VAIO Y Series
Thunderbolt is the official release name for Intel's Light Peak technology, and it's effectively exclusive to Apple until 2012. Thunderbolt is an input/output port like USB — but much faster. It's twice the speed of USB 3.0, 20 times faster than USB 2.0, and about 12 times faster than FireWire 800. It employ the connector Apple has been using for Mini DisplayPort since late 2008 — a plug that looks similar to mini-USB but is slightly chunkier.
Thunderbolt is, theoretically, an excellent connection standard. It's very fast at up to 10Gbps transmission, supports bus power at up to 10W (on par with USB but only a quarter of what FireWire can handle), and has plenty of future potential — the standard supports optical data transmission not unlike optical digital audio, allowing cable runs of hundreds of metres. The specification allows for up to seven devices to be daisy-chained — think of six Full HD monitors and a very high-speed storage device linked in series, operating as fast as the computer's internal PCI-Express bus will allow.
The problem is that we can't really tell you anything about the real-world applications of Thunderbolt, because we don't have anything that can use it yet. Lacie, Western Digital and plenty of other companies are keen on the standard — we're expecting plenty of high-speed portable hard drives, DAS devices (a la Drobo) and external audio/video boxes, but when they will hit the market is another question altogether. If it's any consolation, we hooked up a 24in Dell U2410 monitor to the Thunderbolt port via a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, and the monitor detected the Mac and connected perfectly just the same as our older, non-Thunderbolt Macbook Pro did — all your old peripherals should be just fine.
The only other external difference is the new FaceTime HD camera, taking over from iSight. We compared pictures taken in Photo Booth with the 'old' and 'new' cameras and saw no difference — but then again, Photo Booth spits out images at 640x480 resolution, which both cameras can easily achieve. We also had an impromptu FaceTime chat between two Macbook Pros, which revealed a slight quality boost for the newer camera.
Apple Macbook Pro: Specs and performance
Our test unit was a top-spec 15in Macbook Pro, boasting a quad-core Intel Core i7-2720QM Sandy Bridge-based CPU running at 2.2GHz. It's got a zippy 7200rpm, 500GB hard drive. You can also spec up the system with a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD, although the top option costs as much as the rest of the laptop itself. The graphics chipset automatically switches between the power-efficient integrated Intel GMA HD 3000 and the discrete Radeon HD 6750M.
Next page: Benchmarks and conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Ballistix Sport AT
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Technology is revolutionising the way we do things and that includes in the kitchen where a wealth of must-have gadgets and appliances are the making life easier for home cooks.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards Nominees Announced
- Huawei launch their Matebook X in Australia ahead of Black Friday
- PAX AUS 2018: Alienware isn't looking to sell a gaming smartphone just yet
- PAX AUS 2018: MSI embrace Optane with GE63 RGB
- Dell launches its Rugged range
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
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.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- 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?