Examples of such refinement can be found all over. Apple's implementation of the multi-touch touchpad, with its incredibly smooth glass finish and ingenious integrated click mechanism, still makes other laptops feel inadequate by comparison. It's a fact helped by the excellent integration of multi-touch into Mac OS X, which still has an edge over Windows despite the latter's recent improvement.
Another example is the display. Okay, so we'd like a few more pixels to play with, but there's little faulting the actual quality of the panel. Crisp, bright colours, wide viewing angles and deep blacks make the displays on the MacBook Pros among the best you'll find among laptops. And should you find the default colour mode - which is clearly tailored for videos - not to your liking, you can quickly switch to Adobe RGB or sRGB settings for colour critical work. You can also specify an anti-glare display, but it's a sizeable £120 extra.
Returning to the input devices, we have the same backlit keyboard found on all the MacBook Pros. Suffice it to say that it's excellent. Keys have a nice sense of depth and ping back sharply, ensuring brisk and accurate typing. Those new to MacBooks will find the layout takes a little getting used to, but veterans will be right at home. It's also great how the backlighting, which like the brightness of the screen is regulated by an ambient light sensor next to the webcam, only comes on when it's warranted.
All these plus points are tempered, as ever, by the relatively limited connectivity. Clustered on the left edge it comprises the nifty mag-safe power input, Gigabit Ethernet, a FireWire 800 port, Apple's mini-DisplayPort output, two USB ports, a memory card reader and two audio jacks. Bluetooth and Wireless-N Wi-Fi are, as you'd expect, included as well. Unfortunately, much to our continued irritation, Apple isn't offering Blu-ray as an option at all and it looks increasingly unlikely that it ever will.
One thing we're constantly surprised by in MacBooks, though, is how good the speakers are. While they don't compete with the elaborate multi-channel systems found on some laptops, the stereo drivers do offer up excellent clarity and plenty of oomph. You could happily enjoy a TV drama, online video or some music without resorting to a set of headphones.
Another more integral part of the MacBook experience is the software. We've touched upon Apple Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) already, but also included is Apple's excellent iLife 09 software suite. This encompasses a wide range of utilities, but particularly useful is iPhoto and iMovie - Apple's video and photo suites that handle both organisation and editing. Together with GarageBand, iWeb and iDVD, they add a great deal of value.