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Apr 10

Macbook Pro 15″ mini-review

I picked up a new 15″ Macbook Pro with the i7 chip a couple of days ago, upgrading from my current early-2008 model. The new model is a slick piece of machinery. The design hasn’t changed from the immediately preceding model, but the innards have been refreshed.

This thing is blazing fast, and I haven’t had any compatibility problems even though I run Windows 7 on it. There’s now even driver support for a right-mouse click, so the only-one-mouse-button problem is a thing of the past (the driver designates the lower right of the trackpad as a right mouse-button).

The only real gripe I have with this is the placement of the ports. All the ports are now crammed on to the left side of the chassis. The problem is that they’re too close together. If you stick a flash drive into a USB port, most of them will end up blocking the other port, and you lose it. Having the ports on the left is also problematic for connecting a corded USB laptop mouse – the cord has to stretch around the back of the machine for right-handers like me, and those cords aren’t long enough. My flatmate, who used to work in Sony’s laptop division, tells me that stacking the ports like that means that Apple only has to contend with putting one controller board in the chassis instead of splitting it up to the opposite sides, which saves on costs. But I wouldn’t have expected Apple to sacrifice cost for design.

Nonetheless, the unibody design is awesome. The thing feels pretty solid and reliable. My flatmate actually dropped his MBP on its rear left corner, near the power connected. The case dented pretty badly, but everything was still working, so it’s pretty durable.

The magsafe connector has been redesigned. The cord now emerges parallel to the chassis, instead of spouting straight out. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I think it actually makes sense.

The machine faintly vibrates when I rest my palms on the chassis, whereas my previous model didn’t. This is either because of the 7200rpm hard disk, or increased cooling – this model definitely runs cooler than my old one.

One last note – the hi-res screen is quite nice and sharp, but it also means that some stuff is starting to get a little too small to read comfortably.

Overall, an excellent product. If you use your computer a lot, paying the Apple tax for something like this is a good investment.

  1:40pm  •  Computing  •  Consumer Electronics  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment

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