New 13″ MacBook Pro Review

The new MacBook Pro was simultaneously announced and released yesterday. I got my hands on a the premium retail configuration and wrote up the first part of my MacBook Pro Review over at Notebooks.com. The MacBook Pro is a very nice computer, though far from perfect.

If you’re dead set on getting a new MacBook, the new 13″ MacBook Pro is a very nice machine and I can recommend it without hesitation, especially for those that need some extra horsepower to muscle through multimedia projects. If you liked last year’s MacBook Pro, you’ll love this year’s.

But a lot’s changed since the previous iteration of the MacBook Pro was released in 2010. The MacBook Air was introduced, which is clearly the future of MacBooks. Though the MacBook Air costs a bit more than the MacBook Pro, it offers a much better user experience than the MacBook Pro for almost all everyday tasks.

My 15″ MacBook Pro, which is fully loaded, has barely left my office since I bought the 13″ MacBook Air right after it was announced. It’s incredibly light at 2.6lbs and is much, much faster than its aged Core 2 Duo processor would lead you to believe.The only time I miss my 15″ MacBook Pro is when I’m out of the office is when I’m editing video with the MacBook Air, which can be extremely slow and painful. The 13″ is perhaps the best of both worlds, a happy medium of mobile OSX computing.

The MacBook Pro Review I’m writing is in multiple parts and covers the $1,499 13″ MacBook Pro. It’s the top of the line you’ll find in retail stores, including Best Buy. It comes with a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor,  4GB of 1333MHz  DDR3 memor, a 500GB hard drive that spins too slow and Intel HD graphics (SandyBridge).

If you’re not highly mobile or are looking for a one-and only machine, the 13″ MacBook Pro is probably the sweet spot in Apple’s laptop lineup at the moment. While I love my 13″ MacBook Air, the small and expensive SSDs are deal-breakers for a lot of users. A lot of people will find that 128GB (standard on the 13″ MacBook Air) or even the 256GB SSDs are just too small for all of their multimedia files. I fall into that camp as I shoot thousands of photos per month and shoot quite a bit of video. I sync both my iPhone and my iPad to my 15″ MacBook Pro because I’m wary of my MacBook Air’s drive running out of space in the midst of a project or trip.

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The new MacBook Pro is also host to the first Thunderbolt port, something that has a lot of potential and should make MacBooks easier to ‘dock’ with peripherals.

You can read my the first (lengthy) part of my MacBook Pro Review over at Notebooks.com.

Comments

  1. Kevin Krewell says

    Why don’t you use a separate portable USB hard drive to store photos? On a recent trip, I brought a netbook and a 320GB iomega eGo drive to backup pictures and videos every night.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      I have plenty of USB drives, I just don’t like lugging them around. I use them mostly for backup and don’t like to balance them on my lap/having them hanging near the edge of a coffee table when I’m working.

  2. Reggie says

    “Though the MacBook Air costs a bit more than the MacBook Pro, it offers a much better user experience than the MacBook Pro for almost all everyday tasks.”
    How is that? The Air doesn’t have a DVD drive or as many connector options so if I want to import a new CD I just bought into iTunes I have to buy a external drive. Sorry, I don’t buy it, I will stick with my last gen Macbook Pro, Thank you very much.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      User experience is a lot more than ripping CDs, which are a dying media.
      Some things that the MacBook Air has in terms of user experience that the MacBook Pro doesn’t:
      - off to Web in 15 seconds
      - Semi-matte display
      - weighs half what the MBP does
      - Apps open almost instantly

      In terms of ports, that is a trade off, depending on your usage scenario. Most people live in a couple of apps all day long and connect to the web wirelessly. Of course this won’t work for everyone, but the average consumer and a lot of pros will be better suited with the MacBook Air. If you’re an aspiring movie maker or deal with processor-intensive apps often, then the MacBook Pro is a better bet. The last gen MacBook Pro is a perfectly suitable Mac for everyday use as well, but the MacBook Air is a breath of fresh air.

      • Bmic31 says

        The off to web in 15 seconds is nice, but I don’t think it’s completely out of the MacBook Pro 13 capability range. I’m getting the 128 gb SSD with mine (ordering it in a couple days, still researching everything I can) and with that, should be as fast to the internet, if not faster than the MacBook Air due to the i5. The Air does trump in the display category, but I don’t think anyone gets either of these computers looking for every pixel they can to do workhorse style Photoshop work or anything.

        Just my 2c.

  3. Tokito_No_Kyoshi says

     what’s pro about apple? NOTHING man…
    shitty graphic card, overheat machine, lack of USB port, expensive…

    yeah, this machine only for those who need laptop to write a report or email… it’s for professional office staff and businessman. not for professional-people-who-needs-good-laptop-for-their-jobs…

    you just want to email, chat, write document = apple (those with poor computer skill and doesn’t like changes, prefer long term laptop, apple is made for you)
    you want to see high def graphic, test your computer skill, be INNOVATIVE = windows lappie

    i don’t really care about the price as long as they are decent. no one want get ripped off.

  4. Anonymous says

    I believe nothing could beat this beast in term of performance. Design wise, it’s classical and no other pc laptop able to match with the unibody aluminum case. However, the worst part of the MacBook Pro is also the aluminum case. It is very prone to scratches cause by day to day usage especially using outdoor. I would suggest to get it cover up by skinstyler.com wrist rest products. They help to reduce the sharpness edge of aluminum case and also protect it from scratches. Do check out their classical designer collection to match with MacBook Pro http://www.skinstyler.com/wrist-rest-protection-cover-skin-designer-collection-c-26_25.html

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