Review of the MacBook and MacBook Pro

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This is a guest article from laptopical.com, a website that covers all laptop related news. They also have a twitter account, you can follow them here.

Unless you’re a fanboy who’s been hiding in a cave with your fingers stuck in your ears and you’ve only just come out, or you’re simply that strange sort of person who doesn’t keep up with modern tech news, then you know that Apple has recently refreshed its line of MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. The new versions, which debuted in October, feature notable upgrades in design, computing power, and in new features.

Design:

One of the things Apple is proudest of is what it calls the “unibody” design. Both the MB and the MBP are now sculpted almost entirely out of a single block of aluminum, which lends to a stronger feeling laptop that is less prone to manufacturing defects. The overall design of the machines has changed too, with the sleekly rounded corners and smooth beveling distinctly recalling the MacBook Air. Also reminiscent of the MBA is the new black-on-silver keyboard, and the displays have a new look too. We’ll talk about the screen quality below, but from a strictly design perspective, the displays have lost their silver trim and turned into a glassy, glossy, black screen bordered by a thin line of metal, bringing the iPhone to mind. Two other notable changes include a new latch-free design for both units and the removal of even the one button from the large, glass trackpads (we’ll tell you how that works below).

Computing Power:

The MB and MBP both receive upgrades in processor power, with the MacBook having options of 2.0GHz or 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and the MacBook Pro having options from 2.4GHz to 2.8GHz, but that is hardly the largest change. The MB now comes with nVidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, which is supposed to deliver 5 times greater performance than the Intel integrated graphics of the old MB. Even more significant is the discrete nVidia GeForce 9600 GT GPU which is available on the MBP. The MBP actually has both the integrated and the discrete graphics with the ability to switch between them depending on your battery/processing needs, although you can’t do it on the fly (you must log out to make this change). In concert with the upgrade to a max of 4GB DDR3 RAM, this makes gaming and/or complex rendering quite possible on the MBP without revving up those fans.

Features:

One of the newest features for both the MB and MBP is the touchpad. First, remember when we told you there were no buttons? That was sort of a lie, because in reality the entire touchpad is a button, hinged at the top of the trackpad so that it is easiest to press down and click the bottom of it. But we were serious when we said there were no actual buttons to be found anywhere nearby the touchpad. Another touchpad feature is the new gesture system, which allows one to do things like slide four fingers right across the touchpad to switch programs or use a thumb and forefinger to zoom in and out. One feature that the MB is noticeably missing is the presence of FireWire however – you’ll have to upgrade to the MBP if you want to use that specification over USB.

Overall, this is a nice set of updates on what was already a nice family of laptops. Both laptops are less than an inch thick, and not too heavy (13” MB is 4.5lbs, 15”MBP is 5.5lbs), so portability shouldn’t be an issue. One thing we have heard some complaints about is the new glass display being a little too glossy, however, so we advise checking that out carefully before making a purchase. Another reason to be so careful is that Macs are still quite expensive, as you can’t even get a whiff of a new MBP for less than $2000. But again, you are getting a quality computer here, packing competent hardware and enough good looks to really impress the neighbors.

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