Hands-On With the New MacBook Pro


Over the weekend, I bought myself a brand new 15-inch MacBook Pro (s aapl). Having previously owned a 2008 model, non-Pro MacBook, I knew it was going to be faster, but I didn’t realize just how much of an improvement it would really be.


The new Pros are extremely tricked out; even my entry-level model, with no upgrades at all, comes with 4 GB of memory and a quad-core Intel i7 processor. While I haven’t tested anything too intensive such as working in Photoshop or Premiere (s adbe), I did carry out my usual test of how well a machine can cope with my general usage by opening every application on my Dock at the same time. All the other Macs I’ve owned struggle to keep up when I do this. A lot of the time, I’ll get the spinning beachball of doom if I do that on my iMac. On the new Pro, however, every application opened instantly, without even a hint of slowdown.

It might be because it’s still fairly new, but it also seemed to awake from sleep almost instantly, whereas I was expecting a considerable delay like on my old machine. Since the new model still has a standard HDD, most of the gains must be from the processor and RAM.

The Hardware

Cosmetically, the new Pros are no different from the last generation, but personally, I think that’s a good thing. At the moment, the Thunderbolt port feels kind of useless, since there aren’t any peripherals that support it yet, but I least I can still output to a secondary display using it.

The rebranded FaceTime camera now supports HD, but like the iSight cameras built into its predecessors, it doesn’t cope too well in low-light conditions. On the plus side, it now supports widescreen video.

I haven’t been able to get the full 7 hours battery life which Apple advertises, but I always keep my brightness maxed out and Bluetooth turned on, which is a drain on the battery (Apple’s tests are carried out with brightness set to 50%, and only one application running). I’ve still managed to get 5 to 5½ hours with normal usage, which is definitely impressive for a powerful machine like this.


One thing I’ve noticed about my new machine is how smooth everything seems. For example, when you close the lid and the Mac goes to sleep, the Apple logo on top doesn’t just switch off, it fades off. Same thing with the backlit keyboard — when you turn the brightness down, it fades rather than changing in stepped increments. And as I mentioned, even resource-heavy tasks seem to go off without a hitch. Darrell may be willing to wait, but I wasn’t, and if you’re looking for a much better, faster portable Mac experience, neither should you.

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Picture #4 is a lovely photo of a room reflection and illustrates perfectly why I will not buy an iMac or a Mac monitor. Apple’s My way or the highway on reflective screens has cost them sales to me of 2 monitors.

Josh Sunshine

Just remember that’s a picture with the screen turned off – once it’s on, you hardly notice any reflections. Also, Apple offers an anti-glare option on its portables, which eliminates the problem.


yep but he was complaining about the glass-only iMacs and LED Cinema Displays ;)


Correct me if I’m wrong for the new macbook pro but on the rare occasion when I want to see flash content on my mb air I just launch chrome browser and voila. Still prefer safari overall for bookmark handling etc but Chrome is fast

Cold Water

It’s a snazzy machine, and the only thing I’m waiting for is the summer promotion for .EDUs.


Well I couldn’t agree with you more. This weekend I went out and bought the new i5 MPB 13″ and I am really pleased with it in all ways.

I went back and forth on this model vs. the 13″ MBA, but in the end the sum total of features on the MBP 13″ plus the new i5 processor proved too much.

Portability and weight was important to me as I tote my machine. My older MBP 17″ was too heavy, too big and being 5 years old, was now too slow.

The aesthetics are sublime – a real bonus for such a powerful, small machine.


Cool machine. Too bad in my little Central European country the entry level 15″ costs around $2800 :(


I just bought my first mac this past Saturday, a 15in MBP i7 2.2Ghz and I love it. Been waiting since Oct ’09 for the right time to buy and finally had enough of waiting and pulled the trigger, glad I waited. Enjoying learning how to do things the Apple way. Thanks to this blog (and some others) and to all the people who have posted comments you’ve helped me a lot and have educated me along the way.

On a side note has anyone used the “Click to Flash” extension? I downloaded/installed it via Apple’s web site but really don’t know how it works. Do I still need to install Flash? I hope not, seems like once Flash is on any computer things start going downhill.

Josh Sunshine

Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new machine!

Regarding ClickToFlash, yes you do need to install Flash as well. What CTF does is block Flash content from loading until you allow it to. Instead of loading the Flash, it shows a placeholder box, which you then click on to activate the Flash content.

The CTF website is more informative: http://clicktoflash.com/

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