Appletell Review – MacBook Pro

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We all know the new MacBook Pro is beautiful on the outside. But in this “case,” the beauty runs deeper than the skin. Apple has upgraded not only the enclosure, but pretty much everything inside. There’s a faster CPU, and a better GPU, plus extra, faster RAM, a solid state drive option, and so much more.


Let’s start with speed. It’s no real secret that this machine is fast. My configuration has a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4GB of fast RAM and a choice of two Nvidia graphics processors, the 9400M or the 9600M GT. I tested the graphics power rather simply by opening a bunch of program and several windows of each followed by some use of Expose. I know this isn’t the most rigorous method of testing graphics power, but still, the machine had no problems whatsoever rendering the animations smoothly. Remember my discoveries from earlier? I’m sure you know what my big third discovery was. Yup, by default, the MacBook Pro ships with the 9400M active, not the 9600M GT, and I, of course, didn’t realize this until after I did my little graphics test. So, I’m expecting to continue to be amazed at the graphics power of this guy.

Nvidia 9600M GT

A note about switching between the GPUs. Apple, please change the log out requirement! In order to switch GPUs, you are required to log out, and back in. This means you have to quit all of your active applications in order to increase the graphics power. This might not be a big deal for some, but I use a lot of programs, and I keep them all open all of the time. Having to quit them all is a big deal for me, and I don’t see why these GPUs can’t switch on the fly. Actually, I’m not quite sure why the user doesn’t have the option to use both at the same time, as well, but I’d settle for the first fix.

Battery Life

Since this is a notebook, I’m required to talk about battery life. I’m already downplaying battery life because it is my belief that most MacBook Pro users are buying the machine for the power and portability. It’s rare that I’m away from a source of power for more than two hours, so battery life isn’t a big concern of mine. Still, in my typical usage, I get about 2.5 to 3 hours. Typical usage for me includes browsing the web, watching internet videos, using a word processor, listening to music, and running various other apps all with full brightness, half volume, wireless on and the 9400M GPU enabled. They say that the screen is the biggest drain on power, and keeping the backlight at full probably doesn’t help my battery life, but that’s the choice I make. I’m pretty confident you could squeeze out around four hours if you lowered the brightness and limited your video watching and internet usage. But that magical five hour number from Apple? I wouldn’t count on it, unless you don’t need to have the screen on, ever.


In the end, I love this machine. It’s the best computer I’ve ever owned, and I’m so happy I purchased it. For me, it’s a vast improvement over my previous MacBook. It has upgrades across the board. And it’s safe to say that Apple doesn’t let on to the extent of the features packed inside of this machine without a little digging. And I’m glad they chose to do it that way.

Is it worth the money? Well, now there’s a question I can’t definitively answer for you. I’m not really certain that this notebook is worth the money it costs for the upgrades you’ll receive over whatever it is you are using now. Certainly, this is the best MacBook Pro ever made, and there has never been a better time to upgrade. But, if you’re trying to choose between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, then I feel your pain. I struggled with that very choice. ’m glad that I chose the MacBook Pro, but it’s not that simple for everyone. The MacBook is a great choice as well; even more so now that the distance between it and the MacBook Pro is much shorter.

Appletell Rating:
Appletell Review - MacBook Pro Rating: 5 juicy Apples

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  • Andrew

    Excellent review. However, about your battery life…I'm on mine right now sitting in class, with brightness at half, and wifi on, IRC, IM, Mail, RSS Reader and internet browsing active, my battery life indicator says 4:51. I'd say that this computer can get pretty close to the 5 hour mark if I wanted to limit a lot. Although, it could also be because I'm on the 2.4 model, which uses 25W instead of 35W like the 2.53, and that could give me a little more umph.

  • Jake Gaecke

    I could be wrong about the battery life. For me, I only get about 3 to 4 hours, but with some tweaking, it sounds like that 5 hours might be possible. Thanks for you input, I appreciate it.

  • David

    Great review, it has me tempted to order one.