Apple MacBook Pro
I’ve got a modern revision of the MacBook Pro with a 15” display. Exterior design is a strongest point of Apple’s products, and this notebook is not an exception. It can charm you with its stern and original appearance.
The MacBook Pro is rather slim with a thickness of 1 inch (25.4 millimeters) only when closed. There is a minimum of connectors, slots and vent grids on the side panels, which makes its exterior look even more ascetic. The case has rounded-off corners and is made from anodized aluminum.
There are a few interesting facts about the MacBook Pro’s exterior. It is not only slimmer than most of 15” notebooks, but also smaller. Particularly, its depth is about 1 centimeter shorter in comparison with typical notebooks from the same category. It is also rather light at 2.45 kilos.
This noble and stylish appearance with the apple emblem, highlighted white at work, is up to the notebook’s purpose. The MacBook is positioned as a high-performance solution for professionals, especially those who work much with multimedia content. This targeting at the elite audience is reflected in the price: the base MacBook Pro package costs around $2000, while the particular model that we have tested this time is priced at $2500.
The high price comes as the result of exquisite design and high-quality materials as well as of modern technologies. I don’t even mean the Santa Rosa platform. The MacBook Pro features a number of advantages that show up in small details.
Let’s take the display as the example. The modification I’m dealing with is equipped with a 15.4” LCD display with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels (an aspect ratio of 16:10). One of the first manufacturers of notebooks to do so, Apple employs a LED-based backlight of the matrix. As a result, the notebook’s display is among the best in the industry. It delivers natural colors and features low power consumption for a longer battery life. Apple offers versions of the display with a matte or glossy flare-free coating so you can choose the one to your taste.
Above the screen there is an iSight web-camera, an indispensable tool for businessmen. It has a rather low resolution, 640x480, though. The camera is accompanied with a microphone.
The keyboard doesn’t occupy much space. There is not only a microphone port and a Power button, but also speakers on both sides of it, but the keys are rather large. It is because there are only 79 keys here. Some control buttons you can find on ordinary keyboards are missing and their functions are assigned to key combinations involving the Fn button.
The keyboard is made from fiberglass plastic painted silver. A special feature of this keyboard is its internal highlight that is turned on automatically when there is not enough ambient light. I have no complaints about the ergonomic or mechanic properties of this keyboard.
Below the keyboard is a huge touchpad. Its area corresponds to the area of the 1400x900 screen, though. What is indeed surprising, the touchpad has only one, rather than two, buttons. Apple is traditional in this respect: desktop Mac computers come with single-button mice. But while it’s easy to replace the mouse with a two-button one, you cannot do the same with the touchpad!
The notebook lacks any additional buttons to control its operation modes except for the Power button located to the right of the keyboard. Another sign of the minimalistic concept is the lack of any indicators. There is no HDD activity indicator even. The only dull white indicator lights up in the display lock when the notebook enters the power-saving sleep mode.
The notebook’s few connectors are placed on its right and left panels: two USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a dual-link DVI output for an external monitor, microphone and headphones sockets combined with optical SPDIF output, and an ExpressCard/34 slot. It’s nice to have a digital DVI interface (the engineers had no choice actually because all modern monitors from Apple come with a DVI interface only). What I don’t like is that the notebook has only two USB ports, doesn’t have a card-reader but offers a rather unpopular ExpressCard/34 slot. Of course, more ports might have affected the notebook’s stern exterior but I don’t think that a good exterior design should be achieved at the expense of functionality.
On the wireless side, the MacBook Pro offers Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n). The Wi-Fi interface is based on an Atheros AR5008X chip rather than on Intel’s controller incorporated into the Santa Rosa platform.