I bought my MacBook Pro over a month ago now. I have been meaning to do a quick review of the unit here on PCMech. Well, finally, I’ll scratch that small to-do off my list. Two words: LOVE IT.

But, you want a little more detail, perhaps. Fine, I’ll provide it. Warning: don’t expect me to benchmark this machine. I’ll leave that to the countless others who have already done it. I’m a practical guy. I USE the machine to get work done and it is from that perspective that I review it now.

The Specs

746px-MacBook_Pro I picked up the “entry” level 15″ model. I call it “entry”, but it is anything but. There is a reason it has the “Pro” label in it’s name. Those specs:

  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn)
  • 2 GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory
  • 800 MHz front-side bus
  • 200 GB hard drive
  • 8X slot-loading Superdrive
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics, 256 MB memory, dual-link DVI
  • 15″ antiglare TFT display at 1440×900 native resolution.
  • 1 Firewire 400, 1 Firewire 800, 2 USB ports, ExpressCard
  • Integrated wireless, Ethernet and Bluetooth
  • Backlit keyboard, multi-touch trackpad


When I first bought this notebook, I cranked it up and ran through the setup wizard for OS X Leopard. No problems at all. Once into the desktop, I was immediately at home in OS X. Since I had been using a Mac Pro for a while before buying this laptop, it was nice to be able to have a mobile equivalent to it. I was using a Vista-powered HP laptop before this (yuck).

When buying this notebook, I decided to get the anti-glare screen. It was a wise move. The glossy screen looks quite nice inside, but outside usage of the glossy screen is no picnic. My prior laptop had a gorgeous glossy screen on it, but it was really hard to use outside (even when I was in the shade on my back porch). The image on the anti-glare screen is very, very nice and I have no complaints at all. And the fact that I can see what I’m doing when I’m out on the porch is really convenient.

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I also really dig having a larger screen resolution. Packing 1440×900 onto a 15″ screen is something you would think would make it hard to read. Not at all. In fact, again, my prior laptop only went up to 1280×800 and I wished it could have gone larger. The native resolution on this MacBook Pro provides for plenty of workspace. Of course, combine that with Spaces (built into OS X) and you’re going to have plenty of space.

The engineering of this laptop is great. It is easy and light to carry around (lighter than my prior HP laptop). The speakers sound quite good for being so low profile. The Isight camera provides great imagery while being super small. When I am doing live streaming shows from the MacBook, it really is amazing that so many people are watching me out of what seems like a tiny pinhole on my computer. The omni-directional microphone picks me up quite well (so I’m told) and you cannot even see it.

The speed of the laptop is more than enough. I’ve edited videos on it in Imovie. I’ve done live streaming video to UStream with it. I’ve watched movies. I’ve done some in-depth web programming on it. I’ve run Windows on it inside VMWare Fusion. And, yes, I’ve done some of these things at the same time. It just takes what I dish at it.

A Video

What I Like

When you pay $1,999 for a laptop, you expect to like pretty much everything about it. And I do. There are a few things I’d change (which I’ll go over below), but first let me sum up what I particularly like about the MacBook Pro:

  • Nice screen resolution
  • Firewire support is handy
  • Slim design and easy to carry around
  • Backlit keyboard is awesome and keyboard has a nice feel to it. Even my wife commented on the feeling of the keyboard and she doesn’t much care about computers.
  • Fast and takes everything I dish at it
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What I Don’t Like

I think the price for this unit is fair, however I would like to see Apple offer a more competitive warranty with the unit without additional charges. The AppleCare plan is great, but they charge you more money for it. Out of box, they only provide a 90 day warranty. That just isn’t enough for a laptop. If you’re going to buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro, I suggest you spring for the AppleCare plan.

Secondly, the unit only comes with 2 USB ports. Additionally, the placement of those ports isn’t very good. The one on the left side is fine, but the one on the right side is not well placed. If you use a USB mouse and are right-handed, you then have the USB plug hanging out right where the mouse would usually go. If you use something larger than a mouse in that right slot, it would be even more in the way. The right-side USB port would have been better placed on the left side or on the rear of the unit.

Same goes for the DVI port. Again, if you’re using the trackpad, it is fine. If you want to use a traditional 2 button mouse, anything hanging out on the right side will get in the way potentially.

The Verdict Is…

I suspect you already know. This is an awesome laptop. If you want to use OS X rather than Windows (or perhaps both) and want a laptop powerful enough to keep up with actual work, the MacBook Pro is the one to get.

The MacBook is, too, a great unit. But, I played with it in the store and there was a noticeable performance difference between it and the Pro. You’re also getting a 13″ screen which is something I didn’t want as my primary notebook computer.