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Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop

Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive)

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Customer Shopping BuZZ

MAC BOOK Pro5
Excelent laptop, very thin, fast battery lasts much longer than other laptops I've had, Strongly recommend it.

Switching From a PC to a 17" MacBook Z0G5 128GB SSD5
As of this writing, I've noticed that Amazon is mixing all MacBook Pro reviews together, regardless of the model you searched on to get here. This is for the Z0G5, which is really just the 2.66GHz MB604LL 17" with the 128GB Solid State Drive option. Although I have used Apple/Mac products over the years, this is the first time an Apple has been my number 1 computing device. I'm including details for those used to the PC environment, so those already familiar with Apple, please be patient, as I wanted to help weigh the pros and cons of switching from Windows.


SUMMARY
=======
This, quite simply, is the nicest computer I have ever owned or used since starting with them in 1979. It is not for everybody, if only because of price, but if there is something you are used to doing on Windows XP or Vista, this will probably do it, and do it faster and more reliably.


GOOD
====

* Bootup/shutdown times - benchmarks are somewhat relative, but my 6 year old HP ze5400 P4, and 5 month old dv7-1130 core-duo, both will boot XP Pro to a usable state in just over 4 minutes, including effects of anti-virus software and initial browser launch. Using the same licensed copy of XP Pro for this MBP, it boots in an incredible 25 seconds, every time. This latter time is a full boot-up -- no hour glasses to wait through. Shutdowns average around 4 seconds on the MBP, compared to around 30 to 45 seconds on the above mentioned Windows laptops. You can also run Vista32/64, Linux, Unix, Sun and other OS using VMware Fusion, which runs within the Leopard OS -- this is absolutely terrific software, and if you set it to full screen, you will be hard pressed to tell if you are running a pure Windows OS, although Fusion will only devote one of the two Intel cores to Windows. This latter point is quite amazing, when you read about how fast Vista boots on other MBP's (see other Amazon reviews in April 2009). You can allocate the majority of the included 4GB of RAM and almost as much as the hard drive/SSD to these guest OS' as you want. For just Leopard, the native OS, boot and shutdown times are comparable, and of course, that's for just that OS -- it has nothing to do with Fusion or guest OS's.

* Screen - having just come from a near-new HP dv7-1130us, which also has a glossy 17" screen, well, there is simply no comparison. I'm not being an "Apple snob" here. The MBP offers a much sharper and more colorful image. Personally, the occasional glare is a worthwhile trade-off for the image quality, but I spent almost 2 hours in a local Apple store comparing the glossy vs. anti-glare side-by-side, and I almost picked the anti-glare, extra $50 cost notwithstanding. Unless you are really concerned about the final few pixels of 130dpi resolution which the glossy screen seems to bring out, or the pop-out color of the glossy, the anti-glare is just as good, and almost fully eliminates any trace of glare. I could have been happy with either. Also, when running XP in VMware Fusion, you can set the screen resolution to a ridiculous 5210 x 3200 ! (not native of course, but the even the 1920x1200 is better than any WSXGA+ screen I'm aware of)

* Battery power - I've only run on battery for 4 hours at a time, but I would estimate usable power for up to 6 hours, with occasional wifi use and uninterrupted word processing. I do think it's POSSIBLE to get the 8 hr time, particularly if you get the flash hard drive and 2.66GHz processor, but you have to allow all power saving options, reduce screen brightness to absolute minimum, etc, so that practically, this is just a laboratory spec. However, I have never owned a laptop that did better than 3 hours -- so this doubled that.

* Keyboard - I have come to really like the keyboard in only two weeks, although I do miss having a backspace key. Apple die-hards may know something I don't, but without backspace or an 'end' key, I find I am re-positioning the cursor a lot. However, the track pad almost compensates for this. When set for single-tap, this is the best track pad I've ever used. I never accidentally select or click items anymore. Right click is done with two-fingers, and is less effort than actual 'right-clicking'. Windows hotkeys, such as alt-tab, ctrl c, ctrl v, etc. work when running XP. I dislike the sharp edge towards the front of the laptop, and I'm a little surprised that Apple picked form over razor-blade-function by not beveling this. But, this thing is a MacBook Air wannabe - it is very thin, and the pressure on the wrists still isn't as bad as other laptops I have used. Too bad they didn't round it like the bottom edge.

* SSD speed and response - currently, going to the Solid State Drive (NAND flash memory) is a $300 premium to a 7200RPM hard drive, and that only gets you 128GB, of which you will have around 93 usable GB after getting your Mac with Leopard, iLife (included) and in my case, iWork loaded on it. I keep photos and large files on a couple of external HDD's, and use an online backup service for really important business files, so trading off speed to lower capacity was very worthwhile. In fact, I'm getting in the bad habit of not shutting down, but just putting the MBP to sleep and stuffing it in my bag while it's saving files -- it doesn't matter with SSD. I've read about benchmarking SSD to HDD, small files vs big files, etc, etc. Frankly, it was all meaningless once using it for real. It's expensive now, but in 5 years, we will all be using SSD.

* iWork and TextEdit - these will open .doc, .xls, .xlsx, etc. You may not be able to edit all the features of Windows productivity software using Apple's own versions on their own, but you can still do many things with iWork, and you can always view any Microsoft-format files. I was stunned at some of iWork's templates in Pages and Numbers.

* You can share files between the Leopard and Windows OS (or any other guest OS) using shared folders. You can also select to share files between different users or not. This reminded me of using LAN shares.

* Blue screen? What's that?? Cheekiness aside, I can lock a Mac if I really try, but I have not done so yet on this or it's guest XP Pro OS. Just a pleasure to use.


NOT AS GOOD
===========
* 2.66GHz vs 2.93GHz for an extra $300 - I'm being a little less than objective here, but looking at bench marks for the MacPro desktop, and talking with Apple Genius reps, I concluded the 2.93GHz processor only adds about 5 to 7% more usable processing power. Feel free to offer your opinion.

* Occasional lag - this has happened 3 times in two weeks - I think this is due to the guest OS and tear-down of memory ranges. It's not that obtrusive, but after getting used to the normal speed of the laptop, it's a bit of a surprise when it does happen.

* Trash bin - no restore. I have researched this and as incredible as it will sound to Windows users, you must manually restore unintended deletions yourself to whatever folder it came from -- not very helpful if you were typing/swiping quickly and didn't see where you unintentionally deleted something, or you are unfamiliar with Mac directory trees. I have read some borderline-snob opinions about this, but it's a serious oversight that should not be joked about. Most of us can identify with your hands tiring and inadvertently dragging a file or folder to the Trash. Or sometimes small creatures known as children get a-hold of your treasured, $3,000 device and use it as a Fisher-Price xylophone set. I've been around some very brainy, Product Development Engineering-Fellow-types for years, and they are sometimes guilty of convincing themselves that removing features like this are explainable, acceptable, and only weak or stupid people would ever complain. I guess I'm weak and stupid. Frankly, I don't care. Stupid people still seem to have a lot of money, (more than average, I have observed) so unless Apple likes perpetual 12% market-share, they should and will have to match certain, select attributes offered by competitors. Again, if I'm wrong, I'd welcome being set straight on the issue.

* Caution: Slippery When Dry - dry hands may not always grasp the super clean, smooth aluminum case, such as when going through airport X-ray security with hundreds of people jostling you. I purchased the 3 year warranty because of this (although damage in such circumstances still may not be covered).

* Warranty - at $349, it's a little expensive. I didn't know this when purchasing, but if you buy a 24" monitor with the MBP on the same invoice, then the warranty also covers the monitor. Except that, by definition, if you don't buy a monitor, then you're overpaying for a warranty that was priced to include one.

* You may need new hardware and/or software - much of it which is not cheap. One reason why VMware Fusion is so wonderful is you can load Window-based apps like Office and use your existing license. Apple currently throws in iLife, and if using only Leopard, you don't typically need anti-virus software. Some Apple hardware, like RAM, is designed only for Apple computers and does cost more -- even if you buy it from a third-party retailer.

* ExpressCard 34 port - I really will need an eSATA port. Unfortunately, reading some Apple reviews indicate that many commonly-available Express34 eSATA adapter drivers currently do not work reliably with the MBP. I normally don't put too much into a few bad reviews here and there, but this does seem to be a genuine problem with the MBP as of late April 2009. Driver updates may correct.

* Price - it has to be said: This is still just a computer. Once you add truly comparable hardware, the price difference is not quite as disparate as many believe...perhaps $2,000 for a premium, all-flash, all-day-battery Windows laptop to a $3,000 MBP. It's easy to fall into a trap of just counting USB ports, of how much DDR3 RAM you get, but I'm also referring to native screen resolution for a portable device, or color balance, stability, security vulnerability, etc. If the MBP advantages are worth it to you, chances are you already know. I just broke the TFT display on my 5 month old HP dv7-1130us laptop, which also had a dual-core, 4GB DDR3 RAM, etc., which lead to this MBP purchase, but believe me -- and I'm not trying to jump onto an anti-Vista kick here -- the PC was painful to use. Slow, alarmingly buggy, and poor legacy support. Even after downgrading it to XP and upgrading to a 7200RPM HDD, performance was still slow slow - slower than an old single core, P4 with 1GB DDR RAM. Specs aren't going to show you how fast this MBP boots.


SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
===================
Use the MacBook Pro a little bit, and it grows on you all the more. It seems different, but familiar hot keys, print screen, display and wifi settings, etc. are all still there.

Apple still reminds me of how computers used to be in the 1980's -- things are already laid-out for you, and you do it the Apple way, and if you don't like it, get used to it. PC, which really was a semi-open standard that began with Microsoft OS running of IBM PC's and PC clones, could be configured many ways. Like so many things, what makes it open also makes it complicated, with clashing interpretations of standards. Testing keeps systems reliable, but it is always the most expensive part of developing anything (I know, I can thank my career for it). As a result, testing is usually where cost-cutting must be performed. Next time you curse Vista, remember, Microsoft engineers cannot solve issues due to third-party designers. They will always be in reactive mode because Windows is relatively open.

Apple chose to make the day-to-day settings for you, and telling many peripheral designers "here's how your printer WILL talk to our computers", etc. It's potentially less flexible, and will slow third-party software and hardware development because it is more expensive to design and test with Apple. Ironically, this is disorienting to us Windows users. We are so used to controlling and setting everything, that an Apple computer seems too simple, and even that control is lost. This really isn't the case though. Virtually everything you can set in Windows can be manually set in a Mac. But what I've found over the last 2 weeks is, why would you want to keep adjusting anymore? I know it's their current slogan, so apologies, but the Apple really "just works". There's no need to get into setup menus -- set once and forget.

The last time I used iMac G3's or the original MacIntosh, I enjoyed them and remembered a few of my former PC-peers who said they would never switch back to a PC. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to say that yet, but the MacBook Pro 17" is the first Apple computer I'm willing to test that notion on.

A great, but expensive machine.4
When looking over reviews for Macs, you tend to run into the Apple fanatics. These people will praise anything that Apple makes, regardless of whether its worth the price or not. Having owned and used both PCs and Macs, I have no allegiance to either. I'm going to try to make this as unbiased as possible.

Whether you should go with a Mac or PC largely depends on what you'll use it for. These days Mac ARE PCs under the hood, they just use Apple's BIOS (EFI) and of course OS X. OS X is hands down a superior OS to Windows, however there are many applications that won't work under it. Sure you can boot Windows on Mac now, but why would you pay the premium to use Apple's proprietary hardware if your going to use Windows anyway? If your going to get a Mac make sure most of your applications will run on it. Otherwise the Macbook becomes an overpriced PC.

That said this is a review of the Mackbook Pro, so here are the pros and cons of it. Its a bit long, but I tried to point out everything.

PROS
- Beautiful, bright screen
- Backlit keyboard
- Glass cover LCD, so you can wash it without worring about damaging the LCD.
- Fast DDR3 memory
- An integrated graohics card to conserve power (GeForce 9400) and a decent graphics card (Nvidia 9600 GT) to use for gaming and graphic intense programs.
- Slot-load DVD drive, you don't have to worry about the tray.
- Firewire, a feature missing from the regular Macbook
- Nice large and responsive touchpad.
- OS X performs much better than Windows. Almost no crashes/freezes, very hard to get a virus, and faster.
- No preloaded bloatware, in fact most of the apps included are quite useful and easily removed if you want the space back.
- Decent speakers for a laptop.
- I have no benchmarks, but it seems like Vista runs faster on my Macbook even though the hardware is inferior to my other laptop.
- The thinnest and lightest 15 inch notebook I've ever encountered. I have no problem lugging it back and forth.

CONS
- It get HOT under intense use (especially above the number pad).
- The DVD drive is slow to burn and read.
- Screen resolution should be higher for this price.
- Multi-Touch touchpad takes some getting used to.
- THE PRICE.
- Despite the fact that Nvidia claims its possible to use the 9400 and 9600 in "hybred SLI" (using the 9400 to give the 9600 a power boost) Apple has not included the functionality. There are report that it may come with the next release of OS X.
- The HDD is realitivly slow at only 5400 RPM. They should have gone with a 7200RPM. On the bright side its possible to upgrade the drive yourself.
- The only video output port is a "Mini Display Port". There are currently only two screens on the market that natively support this. Therefor you need to purchase a converter to use HDMI, DVI, or VGA.
- The glass screen is VERY reflective.
- For the most part its not upgradeable. You can add memory or a new HDD and that's it. However, most laptops are either not upgradable or the "upgrades" are so expensive that its better to buy a new one instead.
- A minor qualm for me, and something common to nearly all Macs is the lack of an HDD access light. This can sometimes be useful. Also common to al Macs is the keyboard and shortcuts. These are different from Windows and take getting use to. For the most part neither is better than the other, its just a matter of learning a new setup.

Overall I love my Macbook. Despite its higher price you get a quality machine for your money. Its much more solid than my other laptop, and s far seems more stable. I would say that if you don't game (or use one of the few games that support OS X) go for this. If you've never thought about a Mac before, its really not that hard to get to know it. Its designed for the computer illiterate (According to Apple, I wouldn't go quite that far), so you shouldn't have trouble finding your way around. Despite the good, I still would recommend you stick with the PC if you intend on gaming. Macs are getting there, but they just don't stand up to a gaming PC.

About Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) detail

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #28 in Personal Computers
  • Brand: Apple
  • Model: MB470LL/A
  • Dimensions: .95" h x 14.35" w x 9.82" l, 5.50 pounds
  • CPU: Intel Core Duo 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 2000MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard Disk: 250GB
  • Processors: 2
  • Display size: 15.4

Features

  • Redesigned MacBook with thin, strong aluminum unibody frame and 15-inch LED-backlit glass display
  • New glass trackpad with 40 percent more tracking area and supports more Multi-Touch gestures
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 250 GB hard drive, 2 GB DDR3 RAM (4 GB max), DVD/CD SuperDrive
  • Dual NVIDIA graphics (integrated and discrete); Draft-N Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 2.1; Gigabit Ethernet; Mini DisplayPort video output
  • Preloaded with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system and iLife '08 suite of applications

Apple MacBook Pro MB470LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive, Slot Loading SuperDrive) Description

MacBook Pro puts desktop-class graphics in a portable package. That makes it the ultimate mobile solution for gamers, video editors, photographers, and design professionals. Machined from a single piece of aluminum, the new 15.4-inch MacBook Pro is thinner, more powerful, and years ahead of its time. Inside the new MacBook Pro is the powerful Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4GHz with an increased 1066MHz frontside bus, next-generation 1066MHz DDR3 RAM memory and a stunning, ultrathin LED-backlit display that gives you instant full screen brightness. The new MacBook Pro combines the efficiency of an integrated graphics processor with the desktop-class performance of a discrete graphics processor. Out of the box, it runs the integrated NVDIA GeForce 9400M processor, which provides plenty of performance for everyday tasks while you get an extra boost with the GeForce 9600 GT for 3D games and graphics-intensive applications like Aperture and Motion. And the all-new Multi-Touch trackpad has no separate button. The entire smooth glass surface is the button, so it's clickable everywhere. At less than an inch thin and 5.5 pounds, it isn't just the next-generation MacBook Pro, it's the next generation of notebooks. 15.4 Glossy (1440 x 900) LED Backlit Widescreen Display Built-in iSight Camera and internal omnidirectional microphone NVIDIA (integrated) GeForce 9400M and (discrete) 9600 GT with 256MB Dedicated Video Memory 8X Slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD+-R DL/DVD+-RW/CD-RW) AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi Wireless (802.11a/b/g/n) Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet ExpressCard 34 Slot Ports - 2 x USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Digital/Analog Line In; Digital/Analog Line Out, Mini DisplayPort, RJ-45, MagSafe Power Port Unit Dimensions - 14.35 (W) x 0.95 (H) x 9.82 (D) Unit Weight - 5.5 Pounds




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