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Apple MacBook Pro 15in (MC723B/A) Review



  • Fast CPUs
  • Good graphics performance
  • Thunderbolt
  • Beautiful chassis design


  • Expensive
  • No Thunderbolt devices available at launch

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £1849.00
  • Intel 'Sandy Bridge' CPUs
  • Auto-switching integrated and dedicated GPUs
  • Thunderbolt I/O (up to 10Gb/s)
  • Unibody Aluminium chassis

As the name suggests, the MacBook Pro is a serious laptop for serious people. The combination of Apple’s superb industrial design combined with the latest and greatest components available makes the latest MacBook Pro an invitingly stylish and powerful portable workstation. So where the MacBook Air could fairly be described as an expensive indulgence, the MacBook Pro should prove merely expensive.

Anyone hoping for major changes to the construction of the MacBook Pro this generation will be disappointed. As fans of the solidly built unibody chassis, however, we’re pleased to see its persistence. The MacBook Pro feels simply sumptuous, and the metal body not only inspires confidence in the build quality, but also goes a long way to justifying the price.

We particularly like the backlit keyboard (and still lament its removal from the MacBook Air) which, as well as being easy to see, also offers a crisp response and makes typing a real pleasure. Like the keyboard, the trackpad is also exactly the same as on previous MacBook Pros, and again this is no bad thing. Other laptop manufacturers have done their best to integrate multi-touch into their products, but Apple definitely still has them all beat.

Primarily this is a result of the tight integration between the trackpad and OS X, with pinch to zoom, two finger scrolling, and a huge number of other multi-finger gestures working as well in third party programs as they do in Apple’s own applications. We’re particularly fond of the three finger ‘forward’ and ‘back’ gesture in both Finder and our choice of web browser.

At 364mm x 249mm x 24.1mm in size, and weighing 2.54kg the 15in MacBook Pro isn’t a laptop you’d want actually sitting on your lap very often, but it isn’t so heavy that you’d be unhappy taking it to and from work every day, or carrying into a meeting room occasionally. It’s certainly not a frequent flyers best friend, though. The power adaptor is light enough not to cause concern, and we definitely approve of its modular design, with either a plug built into the adapter or a long cable available.

An addition we’re not particularly enthralled with, but which might be of interest to some buyers is the new FaceTime HD camera. As the name suggests, this constitutes a 720p sensor, in the same place as every previous MacBook Pro had its standard definition one. A small mercy is that new MacBook Pros come with FaceTime installed, saving you the £0.99 cost owners of older Macs are subject to. Suffice to say that this works, and looks good, but that we’re not inclined to use it.

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