Review: 13-inch MacBook Pro
For my testing I had a look at the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.7Ghz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive.
In a similar way the 15-inch and 17-inch models have also been given a makeover with all the changes under the hood.
Other major changes include improvements in the onboard graphics processors and a high definition web cam which allows users to make HD FaceTime video calls.
When using a computer speed is what we need. We’re an impatient bunch and if it takes more than a couple of seconds we’re already tapping our toes impatiently.
The new MacBook Pro is up to twice as fast as the previous model so this means things like opening and applications and the actual processing within those apps are happening faster.
This is welcome news to users who use processor-heavy applications like photo and video editing and graphics software as well as accessing data on the hard drive.
The actual architecture of the new Intel Core processors put the processor and graphics engine on the same chip for even greater speed and efficiency.
Another thing this helps is with battery life. Apple’s claims of a seven hour battery life are the same to the previous model.
The difference is the battery was tested under more rigorous conditions with wireless connection to the internet, watching videos – in other words more reflecting real world conditions.
For my review the battery actually exceeded seven hours before it told me it was running on reserve power and asked to be connected to power.
And that was with constant web connection with wi-fi, watching videos both streamed off the web and running several applications at once.
A question some might have is why do graphics need a processor? When the graphics are delivered the more frames per second we can see the better it is.
So when the computer is serving up the animation, pictures and videos in the game, website or the video you’re watching a good graphics processor, combined with a 384MB of dedicated video memory, can let you see more frames per second for more accurate, responsive and smoother playback.
The way we use our computers has changed even compared to the way we used them a couple of years ago . We’re watching more video and often opting for the high definition option. Many of us are also creating our own content and also sharing large amounts of data.
One thing that helps get these large files is a fast input/output port. Until now the best thing we had was USB 3.0 which could transfer files at 5 megabits per second (Mbps).
So when it comes to importing or exporting a 10 minute HD video the USB 3.0 connection can take minutes. With the Thunderbolt the transfer speed jumps up to 109Mbps which is literally twice as fast.
And Thunderbolt offers that speed in both directions so moving data on and off the computer can happen simultaneously and still at high speed.
With only one port users may wonder how Thunderbolt can be utilised between peripherals like an external hard drive or a monitor. Up to six devices can be connected in a daisy chain – one object connected to the next and so on rather than all connections coming back to one port or hub like USB.
And Thunderbolt also provides up to 10 watts of power so all the devices are powered up and down the daisy chain whether it’s the first product or the sixth product down the line.
FaceTime videos calls are now possible between Apple products like iPhone 4, iPod Touch fourth generation and, more recently, Mac computers.
With the new MacBook Pro the web cam can now capture high definition video at a resolution of 720p. This means the picture the person you’re calling will see will look sharp, crisp and clear. That’s a feature your friends and family will enjoy more than you.
The MacBook Pro is one of the most capable and stylish laptops on the market.
It is an excellent blend of ergonomic hardware design, software and performance features which form a package that should be at the top of your list if you’re in the market for a laptop.
MacBook Pro 13-inch
Price: $1399 (2.3Ghz, 320GB HDD); $1698 (2.7Ghz, 500GB HDD).
Five stars (out of five)