HOME / PRINT
Apple Macbook Pro
The first thing that grabs our attention about Apple is the minimalist design of its products. The Macbook Pro being reviewed today, is built on this same philosophy. Its body comes in a classy silver matte finish. This silver theme is prevalent around the laptop from the lid to the areas around the keyboard and the LCD panel. The Macbook Pro is enclosed in an aluminum frame which is surprisingly light. It may sound like an odd choice but Apple has managed to carry it off to perfection. The laptop feels quite sturdy and will be more resistant to rough usage as compared to the normal plastic that is used on the Macbook.
The laptop’s physical body is built on the same minimalist vein that we have already spoken about. Opening the lid, we were quite pleasantly surprised to find only a single external button i.e. the power button. This is quite unusual as laptops in this size normally have a plethora of function buttons that serve different purposes such as disabling the Wi-Fi radio, switching between external and laptop display and other options. There is a webcam present too namely the iSight which sits above the LCD panel.
The Macbook Pro does not skimp on its comfort factor. In case you are wondering what we are talking about, we are referring to the keyboard and keypad. The keyboard on the Macbook Pro is probably the best we have ever worked on. The keys are actually as soft as silk and provide excellent tactile feedback with the correct amount of elevation. The touchpad in a similar vein is properly recessed and has right balance of smoothness and texture to give you a good experience and not give you wrist pain.The LCD panel on the Macbook Pro is a 15 inch bright panel with a native resolution of 1440x900 (16x10 aspect ratio). This provides an excellent working screen area. The anti-aliasing of fonts offered by OSX is top-notch and this makes web surfing a totally different experience.
In terms of peripheral connectivity the 15-inch Macbook Pro offers fairly comprehensive range of options. It has 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Firewire slot (400 and 800 MHz), a mini-Dvi connector with a range of plugs to connect to them to external devices and an Expresscard slot for wireless broadband expansion. Wireless connectivity is rounded up by the Airport extreme Wi-Fi chip and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR. For wired connectivity there is a 1 GB Ethernet jack that is present. Apple in a good move has unlike other manufacturers chosen to equip the Macbook Pro with a good audio subsystem. The laptop has two large speakers that surround the keyboard and provide great playback.
For our performance tests on the Macbook Pro we decided to skip our standard method of testing and divide our tests into two separate sections. Though the Macbook Pro can now run Windows we decided to see how well an average Windows user would take to OSX and the variety of features it offers. We used the Macbook pro as our main terminal for a week to arrive at our conclusions.
As a user experience OSX has no comparison once you begin to get used to its various aspects. It is very intuitive and offers excellent customization options for even beginners. Expose, which has been introduced in Windows as 3d flip, offers a very unique way of switching between programs. The dashboard application allows us to use widgets (mini applications used for achieving different tasks) to make life easier. The best part of the dashboard application is that unlike Windows Vista where the sidebar is always present, the widgets can easily be hidden and restored to the screen with the touch of a single button. Unlike windows there is no start bar present here. That functionality is completed by the dock. Here a list of commonly used applications can be accessed. When a program is minimized it is stored on the dock for future use.
Web Surfing on a Mac is a pleasure. For one, the fonts are properly anti-aliased. This gives the whole text a uniform appearance instead of making it looking blocky and garish to read. Websites look simply stunning on a Mac. We visited some of our favorite websites and were plain astonished to see the quality of difference as compared to surfing in Windows XP or Windows Vista.
Multimedia is another area where the Mac excels. For our Mp3 playback we simply used the inbuilt iTunes software which is as well known as the iPod. The iTunes software like other Mac software allows you an amazing degree of customization. We were able to filter and create all kind of playlists based on our own choices.
The integrated search app called Spotlight works as advertised. Files can be searched on a variety of parameters such as date to the more sophisticated meta-tag method. The search results were delivered almost instantaneously. Connecting to a network was a breeze. We used it with our Wi-Fi network and were easily able to surf websites. The configuration options were a breeze. We were also able to easily access different file systems from across the LAN. Interfacing with Windows machines was quite easy and didn’t require any kind of special setup. Just configure the Ethernet options or Wi-Fi option and you are all set to go.
At the end of the day we could go on and on about the ease of use that is Mac OSX. The OS is not only intuitive; it is very secure and offers a very low learning curve. In a couple of days, we easily performed all the activities that we do on Windows. OSX offers an enormous no of applications that can not only match up to comparable Windows applications but can outstrip them easily allowing for increased productivity.
For checking out the specifications of the Macbook Pro,please head on over to this link. The list on Apple's website is very comprehensive and will satisfy even the most exhaustive of queries.
In terms of specification the Macbook Pro is equipped with T7600 (2.33 Clock speed) processor, 2 GB of system memory, a 120 GB HDD and a 6x slot-loading SuperDrive with graphics handled by an ATI Radeon 1600 chipset. Its performance pedigree was clearly on display with the intensive multi-tasking we put the laptop through. We surfed the net while burning a CD, encoding a movie and copying files to our network server. These are all CPU intensive activities and would have brought any other laptop to its knees. The Macbook pro sailed right through these tasks and did not look stressed.
For our final round of tests, we first had to install Windows using the Bootcamp software. The provided software and drivers worked flawlessly and we had Windows booting into its final screen in no time. From here on we were in familiar territory. We put the laptop through our standard series of benchmarks consisting of PCMark 2005 and Battery Eater Pro. The results we derived from these standard tests were mixed, to say the least. Despite the fact that the Macbook utilizes an average graphical chipset i.e. ATI’s Radeon X1600, the laptop achieved a PCMark score of 3500 consistently, which is a good reflection of the laptop's powerful processor and fairly mediocre graphical subsystem. This score may not seem healthy as compared to other laptops of this specification—please do remember Windows is not the native OS of the Mac Platform. Windows support has been provided just to make life easier for Mac users in case they need to utilize Windows applications.
In terms of battery life we reached a very stunning figure of 182 minutes. For a 15 inch laptop with a T7600 processor these are enviable figures. We have tested many laptops in the past year and have found that only ultra-portables would be able to offer this kind of battery life.
In conclusion we've only got this to say - The Macbook Pro with OSX is in a different league. It is more secure than Windows, offers a better multimedia experience and priced at Rs. 1,18,000, it simply leaves the Windows powered competition behind.