A couple of weeks ago a coworker decided they wanted to upgrade their Macbook to a Macbook Pro. We started talking about it and the wheels started turning that it would be a good opportunity for me to try out the new model and he could buy my old one. Last Friday my new one arrived and I thought I would give a little review on what I thought about the new model.
The first thing that I noticed when taking the computer out of the box was how curvy everything is now. The corners on the previous model were rounded, but the new model they are even more rounded than before. The other thing I noticed is this model is slightly wider than the old model. Luckily it still fits in my backpack as before, but it is a tight fit.
Upon opening up the lid the first thing that really sticks out are the black keys on the keyboard. The previous model had silver keys that matched the aluminum body. This keyboard now more closely resembles the Macbook and Macbook Air.
The next kind of major big thing is the trackpad. The button has been removed which can seem confusing at first, but now the whole trackpad is the button. This really only took me a few minutes to get used to and works very well. Anyone used to another laptop trackpad should have no trouble picking this up. The trackpad is also made of a glass surface now. It is very smooth and again does take a little getting used to from previous trackpads.
Another major change is now all 15″ Macbook Pros come with a glossy glass screen. I have always preferred that matte screens and probably still would have stuck with it had it been an option. I have found the glossy not to be that bad though. The colors do always look excellent and I do see reflections in the screen at times, but it hasn’t ever been to the point that I couldn’t use the computer. The screen also now has the black border that matches with the aluminum iMac and Macbook Air.
As far as ports go the Pro comes with almost all the standard ports. The main changes now are the lack of a firewire 400 port and the DVI video port. The new model does still have a firewire 800 port and it is backwards compatible to 400 with an adapter that I still need to pick up. The display port has now been changed to a mini display port and required an adapter for it too in order to hook up to monitors or projectors. It would have been nice if one of the adapters had been included, but no biggie. They run $30 from Apple and can probably be picked up elsewhere for a little cheaper.
The battery indicator has now been moved to the side of the computer rather than on each battery. I’m sure this helps Apple save some money on each battery and at the same time it move the indicator to a more useful position. The optical drive has been moved from the front of the computer to the right side. Again this matches more with the Macbook and I like this change. I always found it a little troublesome putting a disc in the front drive with the computer on my lap.
The whole casing of the computer is pretty much one solid piece of aluminum. There are only two other pieces on the bottom. The battery cover is accessed by a lever. Once the battery cover is removed you get access to not only the battery, but also the hard drive. This makes future upgrades a breeze like the Macbook.
I replaced a hard drive once on my first Macbook Pro and it required something like 30 screws to get to the thing. In this model it is just the battery cover and 4 mounting screws.
On the new model there are 8 screws that you remove to get the entire bottom cover off. This exposes the Logic Board (motherboard), Optical drive and the RAM. Having it this way should make repairs easier for all parts, but I think it might scare your average consumer from replacing the RAM which is still a user replaceable part that does not void your warranty. I am glad to see that overall upgrades are a whole lot easier.
The other major change with this model is that it now has basically two video cards. The 1st card is onboard like the Macbook and help provide a little better battery life. The 2nd is a completely separate card which is much better for things like gaming and video editing. You can change the card with a simple click, but it does require you to log out of OSX and then log back in. To me it isn’t much of a hassle and it is really nice to have this option.
Overall I am happy with the upgrade, but do miss the matte screen, firewire 400, and DVI. These really aren’t big things though and all but the matte screen can be fixed with proper adapters.