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Apple MacBook Pro MA464LL/A 15.4" Laptop

Apple MacBook Pro MA464LL/A 15.4" Laptop (2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 100 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive)

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Macbook Pro... Thoughts from a life long PC user.4
After the hype of the Keynote in San Francisco in January, I decided to finally take the plunge and revisit the world of apple after an absentia of >20 years. Yes, my last apple was a 48kb IIE.

So here is my mini-review after 1 week of use.

Packaging and Aesthetics : Excellent, light weight, fantastic build quality.

LCD Display: Nice, but not as nice as the Fujitsu/Sony's

OS: Very nice OS compared to windows XP. Easy to use. But one big caveat. I am surprised that OS X took up so much space! Found a 2GB folder with nothing but printer drivers. iWorks is 2GB NB MS office is only 561 MB. On a fresh MBP, almost 20 GB of harddisk spaced used at the outset....So for all those who think Windows is bloatware think again.OS X might be worse in this respect.

Battery life: Average 3hrs of use. 2hrs + if playing a DVD.

Pros: iSight built in. Magsafe to prevent my 4 year old from tripping. Remote control!

Cons:where is the FW 800, Dual layer burner and my modem!

Performance: Fast with optimized universal binary software.

Packaged software:
Pros:iLife 06- Great!,Front Row- Fantastic, Dashboard!
cons: should have bundled iworks for free rather than just a trial.

Software availablity: Most stuff that you do on a PC is available. One big hole is in the games dept though.

Overall, my conversion to the Macworld has been an easy one although I have to admit I won't be throwing away my PC as the workplace remains PC only.

Conclusion: A solid 4.5 Stars

The Fastest Mac Notebook Ever5
It's the most stunning idea, isn't it? This top of the line MacBook Pro is the fastest Mac Notebook ever, and probably one of the fastest Macs period.

When Steve Jobs announced the new Macs, with Intel Core Duo processors I was almost certain I wanted to buy one. Why? Macs are well known for ease of use and capabilities, but they have managed all that for years, with processors that are not always top-notch. That all changed in January 2006.

Processor in the new MacBook Pro

The Intel Core Duo processor in the new MacBook Pro is an amazing chip. What have I noticed about the speed of the machine featuring this chip? It is incredibly fast. You'd be surprised by how much faster even web browsing is, when you have a processor as powerful as the Core Duo. However, what I've really been impressed by is doing things such as video encoding. I've encoded videos in H264 as much as eight times faster than my Powerbook G4. Furthermore, the iLife applications that are included on the MacBook Pro fly, with the speed. iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband perform like never before. I've really been impressed by the speed.

The Core Duo is a great processor. It offers exceptional desktop PC performance, in a design that can fit in small computers and notebooks. It features two cores on a single die, which effectively gives you the performance of two processors. Don't let the 2 GHZ clock speed fool you. This Core Duo Chip will outperform 3+ GHZ Pentium 4 processors. It really is an amazing breakthrough, from Intel.

Video Card

The new MacBook Pro 2 GHZ model features an ATI Radeon X1600 graphics processor using PCI Express 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory. This is the best graphic card Apple has *ever* included in a notebook. This graphic processor will work well for most gaming, and it is great for viewing back complex H264 movies, including high definition videos. You can enjoy high definition H264 videos, without drop frames.

Ports -

The MacBook Pro features 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Firewire 400 port, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in/out, and Expresscard (34 slot).

Display - Apple touts the display on the new MacBook Pro as bright as the cinema displays, and there is no question: these displays are bright! Depending on your lighting condition, you'll almost certainly not turn the display to full brightness. I had to turn down the brightness, for it was hard on my eyes. However, it is nice to know the brightness is there, when needed. The native resolution is 1440x900 giving you plenty of screen real estate, to keep the applications you need visible.

Video out - The new MacBook Pro has a DVI video output. An adapter is also included to output VGA. There is an optional adapter available to output S-Video and composite video. Furthermore, the DVI video out supports up to a 30-inch Apple Cinema Display (or other comparable display). This gives you great possibilities. You can easily use your MacBook Pro on the road, but plug it into a keyboard, mouse, and huge display, when at your desk. The perfect all around system.

Memory - This Mac is a powerhouse and 1 GB of memory (thats included) will get you started nicely. However, you may consider adding even more memory at some point. The MacBook Pro supports up to 2 GB of memory. It uses PC5300 DDR2 - SODIMM modules.

Applications -

Apple includes iLife '06, which has iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, and Garageband. There is the Safari web browser, the always useful iCal, AddressBook, iChat, etc. Overall, I was pleased with the included software.

iLife 06 is particularly great. I love the new full-screen photo editing, photo comparing, etc. You can now also order calendars and greeting cards made with your photos, direct from Apple, by using the iPhoto software. iMovie has new themes, which helps make professional-looking home movies, and iDVD now supports widescreen DVDs. iWeb is a brand-new applications, which makes it easy to create professional quality webpages, quickly. I can't wait to rebuild by site using iWeb. Apple continues to make it easy to create music, manage your digital images, make movies, and create web sites.

A trial (30 day) of iWork '06 is also included, which includes the page layout program Pages, and the presentation program Keynote (which makes presentations that blow away presentations made by rival Powerpoint).

Hard Drive -

This model of the MacBook Pro includes a 100 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. This is going to be sufficient for most people to hold their photographs, music, and some videos. However, others will need more space, so you can always use an external drive, when at your desk. It is also important that you remember to backup your important files to either another external hard drive, or DVDs. I only point this out because today with great machines like the MacBook Pro we're storing more of our great memories on computers than ever before, so make sure you don't lose them, if something happens to your machine. Apple includes a great backup program called Backup 3, if you subscribe to the .mac service. I use it all the time, and it simple interface helps me keep peace of mind.


The optical drive included with the new MacBook Pro allows you to watch DVDs, listen to music, burn DVDs, and burn CDs. It is a slot-loading drive, so the disks slide magically in and out of the computer's right side. There are no drawers to break off. Note - The drive does *not* burn dual layer DVDs.

Front Row Experience - Apple has included a new software title that at this time is only available on the iMac, Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro. Front Row. Front Row comes with your MacBook Pro, and a remote control is also included. Front row allows you to watch and listen to media items, on your computer, from across the room. Click one button on the remote, and bring up Front Row, for quick access to your music, movies, podcasts, DVD, and more. I like this feature, but I wonder how useful it is, since I'm usually sitting right in front of the computer and can just use a mouse, to access this content.

PowerPC Applications on Intel Machine

If you own a lot of software for Mac, then most of it is probably compiled for PowerPC. Developers are working hard to make titles run natively on both Intel and PowerPC, but many titles are not yet ready. However, many titles you can use on an Intel Mac because Apple has included Rosetta, which translates the PowerPC code into something the Intel machine can read. However, you never see Rosetta for it works quietly in the background and makes running PowerPC applications seamless. Microsoft Office, for example, works perfect under Rosetta. Intensive applications such as Photoshop will run under Rosetta, but it will be slower until Adobe has an Intel compiled version of Photoshop. Rosetta does work and if you add memory to your iMac, you may find such application somewhat equal to how it would perform on a 1GHZ PowerPC G4, from my experience.

Two titles I use EyeTV and Toast 7 are not yet compiled for Intel, but they run fine on my Intel Mac, under Rosetta. Again, you don't have to open anything special to use Rosetta. Your Mac knows when it needs it and uses it.

Wireless- The MacBook Pro can still connect wirelessly to networks using its included Airport Card. Furthermore, it features a Bluetooth module to connect wirelessly to devices.

Design - This MacBook Pro is beautiful, and you notice the quality as soon as you begin to open the box. It is packaged with care, in beautiful packaging. The MacBook Pro is thin, and the display is beautiful. The Mag Safe Power Connector is another amazing design feature on this machine. If someone or something pulls on the power cord connected to your notebook, instead of the notebook flying, the magnet on the connector releases, leaving your MacBook Pro safe.

Overall, I am very excited about the MacBook Pro. It is incredibly fast on Intel-native applications, and it does a very good job running PowerPC applications. If you're upgrading from a G4 Mac like myself, this machine will seem to fly. If you're upgrading from a G5 based Mac, it will be faster on native applications, but the increase in performance will be less significant to you. The Intel machines are the future of Apple, so there is no question this is a good machine, and it is powerful enough to be a good computer, for quite some time. I'm happy with my purchase, and I look forward to continue exploring my Intel Mac in the coming days

Totally Blown Away!!!5
Before I begin this review I'd like you the reader to know that this is my first Mac - I've been set free from the PC world for the most part now and it is awesome! I brag to my co-workers about how nice it is to use the MAC OS over Windows. I can see now what everyone before me has talked about in their reviews of Apple's computers. It take a little patience to learn the Apple OS, but in no more than one week you should be feeling confident while moving around in the Apple world.

The MacBook Pro has essentially everything you could want in one, well-designed package. To say this is a really great computer is an understatement. I highly recommend it. I enjoy all the little additions that apple has put into it the design that make it so user friendly.

Major features of this computer are the illuminated keyboard, the built-in iSight camera (which is really fun especially with kids), built-in Bluetooth, and its ultra-sharp LCD screen make it very attractive to someone looking to buy a new computer. I am also amazed at how slim it is, especially when you consider how much it has inside it. When it's connected to my Logitech 2.1 speaker system, I find that the sound quality I get when using iTunes is outstanding!

There are two areas of improvement that I am eager to see overcome. One is that I wish there was more available native software that works on the Intel-native MacBook Pro. I've been reading that there are software companies working on updating/revising their products to work on the new system so I don't really see this as being a long-term problem, rather just a minor annoyance (all the old software works, but the speed is much slower than when using a native Intel app). Second observation is this machine can get very hot. I had to buy a notebook-cooling pad so it doesn't overheat. I have a ThinkPad I use for work (not by choice), and when comparing the heat it generates compared with the MacBook Pro I realize how hot the MacBook Pro can get compared to other computers.

In the end, I looked at a lot of other computers and decided to get this one. I am glad I did.

About Apple MacBook Pro MA464LL/A 15.4" Laptop (2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 100 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive) detail

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1147 in Personal Computers
  • Brand: Apple
  • Model: MA464LL/A
  • Dimensions: 19.50" h x 7.60" w x 19.50" l, 5.60 pounds
  • CPU: Intel Core Duo 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1000MB SODIMM
  • Hard Disk: 80GB
  • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 256MB
  • Processors: 1
  • Native resolution: 1440 x 900
  • Display size: 15.4


  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor with 2 MB shared L2 Cache
  • 1 GB (single SODIMM) 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300); 100 GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA hard drive; slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • One FireWire 400, two USB 2.0 ports, and ExpressCard/34 slot; no FireWire 800 slots
  • Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit); built-in 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11g); built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • 15.4-inch TFT widescreen display with 1440 x 900 resolution

Apple MacBook Pro MA464LL/A 15.4" Laptop (2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 100 GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive) Description

You've seen improvements in notebook performance before - but never on this scale. The Intel Core Duo powering MacBook Pro is actually two processors built into a single chip. This, combined with myriad other engineering leaps, boosts performance up to four times higher than the PowerBook G4. With this awesome power, it's a breeze to render complex 3D models, enjoy smooth playback of HD video, or host a four-way video conference.Intel Core Duo is the first chip built using Intel's groundbreaking 65-nanometer process - resulting in transistors so small, you could fit a hundred inside a single human cell. With smaller distances for electrons to travel, and two processors designed to share resources and conserve power, Intel Core Duo achieves higher levels of performance as it uses fewer watts. Which is what makes it possible to design a super-powerful MacBook Pro that's only one inch thin.When Mac technology makes something easy, it's hardly news. So here's more non-news for MacBook Pro owners: software just works. If you see the Universal logo on a new application, that means it will run on Intel- and PowerPC-based Mac computers. For most existing applications, you simply do what you've always done: double-click them. Thanks to the Rosetta technology in Mac OS X, they look and feel just like they did before.

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Apple MacBook Pro MB076LL/A 17-inch Laptop

Apple MacBook Pro MB076LL/A 17-inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Glossy Display, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD SuperDrive)

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A very nice update to the MacBook Pro5
I had been wanting to switch to Mac for a little while now and was just waiting for the best timing for me. When Apple updated the MacBook Pros with a better processor, better graphics, more system ram and led-backlighting, shortly after the birth of our daughter (the selling point to my wife was that I would be better able to edit videos and whatnot of the kiddo), the timing was just right. I've been a longtime DOS/Windows user - and now I feel like some kind of refugee - fleeing PC for a Mac OS X world and I couldn't be happier - although it's not without its adjustments.

I originally wrote this review for the 15", 2.4 gHz, middle of the line MacBook Pro. However, Amazon has set this review to appear for all three models in the line, which can make it confusing. I've tried to edit it some to make it clear what the differences are between the models. Also, now that Amazon has actually added extensive product information for the MBP, I'll try to take out some of my initial information on specs that is now redundant.

There remain three models in the line and the price points for each of those models has remained the same from the previous generation.

- 15" models now have an LED backlit screen, 17" models do NOT (as of yet). Some folks think you have a better rendition of black in the screen - I'm not sure if it is better or not, but it is gorgeous. In the store, it appeared to me that the new screen (as viewed on the 15") was brighter than the older screen type (which is still on the 17"). The LED screen initially appeared washed out in the lighting of the Apple store, but I then realized that at full brightness, it can have that effect - turning down the brightness (who ever heard of that) - took away the washed out look.

- Apple says that using LED's (instead of flourescent tubes) uses less power, generates less heat, provides more range of brightness and more even lighting. This would appear to be true in practice as well as theory. Battery life is good and the lighting of the screen (as noted above) is quite bright and appears to be very even. As for heat, I really haven't checked the screen temps, but the computer itself does not run as hot as I thought it would (based on reviews of prior generations). It is warm, but not at all uncomfortable to have on my lap (with the caveat that I have not done a lot of processor intensive work as of yet). Oddly enough, Apple states above that the display is mercury-free, but the box label says that the screen contains mercury - it may well just be a label update glitch.

- These models are MATTE screen. If you want GLOSSY you'll need to order from Apple or pick one up at their store (I did). I have heard that the glossy is actually more readable outdoors than the matte, but I have yet to confirm this for myself. That said, I've had no viewability issues in widely varied lighting conditions of my office (which is pretty bright, with overhead lighting and lots of exterior light) and my house (which is largely the opposite).

- The system runs well (or so it seems) with 2 GB, but I am upgrading to 4 GB (the sticks are on their way - but not from Apple - way overpriced).

- the 17" and higher-end 15" get 256 MB of video ram, 128 MB in the lower-end 15" model - most folks are probably fine with 128 MB as it is the change in the graphics processor here that is truly the big news in performance. On the other hand, the extra video ram may give you the feeling of being a little bit more future-proofed and may be more helpful for hardcore gamers and people who are driving large external displays. I opted for the 256 MB.

- hard drive is a very nice 160GB, 5400 RPM Fujitsu drive in the 17" and higher-end 15". The lower-end MacBook Pro hard drive is a 120GB, 5400RPM Drive - this, oddly, is smaller than the 160 GB drive that is in the top line MacBook that is several hundred dollars less. I'll probably add an external Firewire 800 drive for the video work I want to do.

- processor speed gets a minor upgrade to 2.4 gHz (from 2.33, or to 2.2 from 2.16 for the lower-end 15" model - but this is the new Santa Rosa processor - with a faster bus speed of 800 mHz (although the memory speed remains at a max of 667 mHz).

For $500 less, the lower-end 15" model has 128 MB of video ram (instead of 256), a 2.2 gHz Santa Rosa processor (.2 slower) and a 120 GB hard drive. However, it still retains the other upgrades, including the 4 GB maximum system memory and the LED backlit screen and seems to be an excellent bargain as most of the differences appear reasonably nominal. That said, I chose to go with the higher end 15" version - I probably don't need it, but I plan to do a fair amount of video editing and perhaps some high resolution projection - warranting the slightly faster processor and more video ram) - and I'm also somewhat neurotic and unlikely to second guess having made the higher end choice. At least I can admit it.

A friend of mine asked why I didn't get the MacBook for a thousand dollars less. For me, the screen-size was not so much an issue, but I feel that twice the maximum ram, the separate graphics processing unit, the Firewire 800, the ExpressCard slot (if I wanted to add a CDMA or GSM-based wireless connection card) and the LED screen was well worth the difference.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the computer itself seems well-built and well-engineered - but it's all relative and it's not hard to be a better, more integrated product than most windows-based pc's. The MBP replaces an older Toshiba laptop for me - and there's really no point in even trying to make a comparison, it's a joke. The Mac O/S is a bit of a learning curve for me - but more like I am trying to unlearn "bad habits" from Windows - things now make sense in an operational and functional manner. Overall, it's an attention to detail that I really appreciate on both the hardware and the software side - little things like a backlit, auto-dimming keyboard or the magnetic power connector. I have to admit though, that after initially being impressed by the light-sensing, auto-dimming screen - I am annoyed by the fact that the sensor is apparently in the keyboard and, in a bright room, certain hand movements cause the screen brightness to change back and forth. I'll probably turn off the feature because of this.

Great product, only tiny flaws5
My previous (non-Windows) laptop was a trusty 12" G4 ("titanium"). I loved it, as it was (and still is) of an almost perfect size, and capable to do almost everything I needed to do on the road. But it *was* getting old, and when Apple came out with the slightly speedbumped MacBook Pro (a name I still don't like), I ordered it. I'm reviewing the 15", 2.4 GHz, 2 GB, 200 GB hard drive version.

The first thing that strikes you is how thin it is. My good old G4 was already slim, and the envy of almost every other passenger next to me. However, due to the increased screen size, the new MacBook Pro seems even slimmer (it actually *is* slightly slimmer than the G4 in case you wonder). What is really impressive is that the 12" G4 weights nearly the same as the much larger (and newer) 15" - that's progress! And the 12" G4 is a lot lighter than my Wintel laptop.

The next thing you notice is when you turn it on: the screen's brightness. I've purchased the matte screen, as I'm not really fond of glossy screens (reflections). Still, the (now LED backlit) screen is astonishingly bright, and bright enough to use outdoors on almost any occasion (except in direct sunlight on a sunny summer day). Contrast is good (even exceptional compared to my G4). The screen's resolution (1440x900) is great, and more than enough for most presentation, spreadsheet and word processing work. Since it's 16:9 aspect ratio, it is also great for most image processing (lots of space for your palettes). It is less well suited for coding, as it is not wide enough for two 'real' code windows side by side. Then again, the MacBook Pro comes with a graphics card that can drive an external (additional) 21" monitor without breaking a sweat, and that *is* enough for most coding needs. I should note that Apple chose to make the video connector DVI (luckily a standard connector this time, unlike in my G4, where it is a proprietary connector), and omits a standard 'VGA' style connector. This means that, if you plan on giving a presentation, you should always bring along the DVI to VGA adapter (that Apple thankfully includes in the box).

What I really enjoy about the MacBook Pro is it's selection interfaces. I have rather large amounts of data that I have to move in and out of it (from our production machines that do most of the heavy lifting), and having a FireWire 800 port is a godsend. Using Firewire networking, I can move gigabytes in minutes (limited, it seems, more by the laptop's hard drive than bandwidth). In addition to that, it sports a USB 2.0 (for connecting all those Wintel things, plus iPods), a FireWire 400 port (can be used with older Macs, and many HandyCams), and 802.11 ("Airport") connectivity (b/g/n). Since the 'n' part of the 802.11 is not yet officially ratified, there aren't many hotspots that support it (unless you are lucky enough to be close to a new Apple Basestation).

Sadly, it does not have a slot for memory cards (CF, SD, whatever), but since readers are really cheap today, that's not an issue. On the upside, it also comes with self-sensing Gigabit Ethernet, wich is something that is really important when you want to quickly connect the laptop to a wired high-speed network.

The MacBook Pro also comes with a front-loading trayless DVD (DL) writer. It's not really fast, but it integrates nicely into the laptop, and is decidedly much, much cooler than those flimsy contraptions that I see sliding out of so many other laptops (my Dell included). I know that there are faster writers, but then again, if I want to write large amounts of data, I usually transfer them to a big box that can write at four times the speed.

Temperature-wise the MacBook Pro shares the same problem as most recent laptops: it gets uncomfortably warm for something that is supposedly be used on your lap. I didn't get burned, but did not enjoy the sensation either. So, whenever possible, use a surface you can put it on instead of using it directly on your lap. Speaking of using it - the keyboard is very similar to the one built into my G4. It's OK, but nothing much to write home about (sorry, couldn't resist that pun). The keys are, however, backlit, which is a definite improvement (and looks really, really great). I still have mimxed feelings with regard to the trackpad. It supports the 'two-finger clicks' to simulate a two-button mouse and to implement scrolling, but I havn't much used it, opting for a small two-button mouse instead (purchased separately, and not from Apple).

There are some other things that come with the MacBook, most notably the built-in iSight (which can't be physically disabled short of voiding your warranty), and a tiny remote. I don't plan to use either. Looking for some freebies on the disk, I discovered that Apple, too, had succumbed to pre-installing demo versions of (thankfully few) applications: MS Office, Aperture and iWork (Keynote and Pages). Freebies are Comic Life, iLife (iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, iWeb, Garageband), and Omni Outliner.

It took me roughly 2 hours to completely configure the new laptop the way I wanted it (most of the time taken up by installing Parallels (with Windows XP taking 45 minutes), Final Cut Studio, XCode, Office, Aperture, Freeway, and iWork). I did not take advantage of the 'transfer from other Mac' feature (which I know to work well), because I wanted a freshly set up Mac. Still, compared to the time it took me to install and configure my last (Wintel) laptop, that is next to nothing. Network and Internet setup was a snap, and didn't require much more beyond adding it to our Firewall's 'good guy' list. I then took it on a road trip over the week-end.

I'm happy to say that it passed the trip-test easily. The 'mag-safe' power adapter is definitely more than just a gadget, but also definitely less than revolutionary. It came off twice during the week-end, but both times a normal power adapter would not have snapped. The second time it came off I only noticed because the screen dimmed immediately (to conserve power, as per energy settings).
I never worked with it off the normal power for longer than two hours, so I don't know how realistic Apple's figures are. The battery pack does come with one of those cool green LED charge meters, and after two hours they indicated about 50% charge left (as did the on-screen meter). Working with the MacBook Pro was always good, with all applications being very responsive (except, of course MS Office, as my version is not Universal. It was responsive enough for serious work, though). The wireless antenna seems slightly more sensitive than that from my old G4, but still can't hold a candle against reception in most PC laptops with low-cost (and sometimes drop-dead ugly) WiFi adapters. This may be caused by the metallic casing. BlueTooth reception, on the other hand, is good, and proved no problem with any of the bluetooth devices I tried (well -- I only have two: my phone, and my car).

All in all I'm very happy with my new laptop, prefer it immensely over my Windows-based laptop (which, now that I have an Intel-based Mac, I can safely store in the attic and return it for the regular company-sponsored upgrades), and only feel slightly guilty of purchasing over my old (but still working) G4. The screen size and brightness, the connectivity, and the incredible slickness of the form factor make this a great laptop. It's really a hot laptop. The only downside is that it is also literally a hot laptop, but not more than my Windows-based laptop from Dell. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a slick, high-end laptop.

beautiful and sexy, with brains5
Let me stress at the beginning that I am not a Mac fanatic. I work with PCs and find them much less annoying now than I did 10 and 20 years ago. I've owned an iMac for four years and find it nice but imperfect. Macs and PCs are converging when it comes to reliability and ease of use, but Apple products are much more elegantly designed than most other computer products, and the Mac OS is still cleaner and more stable than Microsoft's product. I doubt the price premium makes Macs worth it for everyone, and in some ways Apple computers are like luxury cars that aren't designed either for stellar performance or to make things easy for the home mechanic, but rather to make driving as easy and comfortable as possible for people who don't much care to change their own spark plugs. They aren't for everyone, but they're definitely for those of us who want things easy and want our toys to have some style.

I like my new MacBook very, very much. It's thin, light, clean, and oh, so simple to use. The screen is brilliant, the keyboard feels nice (and I love the back-lit keys). Without subscribing to a service or dealing with any settings, I turned it on and had immediate wireless access to the Internet. I plugged my camera into it and immediately downloaded pictures - no mess, no software to install. The included software that loads and edits pictures, music, and video is all nicely integrated and very easy to use, and also more than adequate for the casual user. I'm a little more than a casual user of photo software and will install Photoshop, but for most of my pictures I'll probably stick with iphoto. I popped in the disc for my four-year-old version of Office for the Mac and in a few minutes had smoothly functioning word-processing and spreadsheet software running the files I brought in from my office PC. Easy, easy, easy.

(This does lead me to note a negative that isn't minor: Apple computers used to come with a decent word processing and spreadsheet package, AppleWorks. That's no longer included. If you want to do word processing, you must buy some other software to do it. The absence of AppleWorks is unfortunate.)

I bought this computer for my wife (yes, I called it mine - she may have to pry it from my hands) and opted for the MacBook Pro over the regular MacBook. She plans to use it on her sabbatical this year, toting it around to various libraries and archives and writing a book. I tried out my brother's MacBook and liked it very much, but I think the MacBook's chicklet keyboard would be annoying and uncomfortable if I had to type long or quickly on it. If this computer weren't destined to be used for long keyboard sessions away from home, I'd have been happy with the MacBook. If it were destined to be used mostly at home, I'd have saved a few hundred dollars and just bought a plug-in keyboard. But for our purposes the better keyboard and brighter screen really matter, so I spent the extra money on the Pro. If you don't plan to do a lot of typing, or if you plan to use it mostly at home, I don't think the extra expenditure would really be worth it.

As another reviewer pointed out, this thing gets hot. Very hot. I've always found laptop computers to be a bit warm for laptops, but this one would be painful on unprotected flesh. The magnetic connection for the power cable is very nice. The battery life isn't bad, nor is it great - surfing the net and word processing, I've managed a bit over four hours. I haven't watched an entire DVD on it, but that seems to drain the battery more quickly. The kids have already videoconferenced with their grandparents, and the built-in camera is very nice for that.

Overall, this computer reminds me of my iPod - sleek, sexy, uncomplicated but sophisticated, fun to be with. How much extra expense that's worth to you will decide whether this is the computer for you.

About Apple MacBook Pro MB076LL/A 17-inch Laptop (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Glossy Display, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD SuperDrive) detail

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2101 in Personal Computers
  • Brand: Apple
  • Model: MB076LL/A


  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB (two SO-DIMMs) of PC2-5300 667MHz DDR2 memory
  • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive DL (double layer)
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive

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