From the moment you get your hands on a factory-fresh, sealed MacBook Pro box, you know you’re in for a joyous ride. Like most Apple products, the packaging is a delight. And how it’s got smaller over the years. In his keynotes, Steve goes on about “30% less packaging” and how that equates to how many more they can cram on a plane. But now I can see his point. When I picked up the box I wasn’t entirely sure there was a laptop inside at all.
No drama, no hideous label stuck in a prominent place offering ‘Norton Antivirus Trial’ or some other frightening bloatware. Just a white box with front elevation image. Nice.
Once the clear tape was carefully broken, the great unveiling! A piece of thin, black foam was affixed to the obverse side of the lid. And there it was. Gleaming in its transparent protector.
A black lift-up tab boasted ‘Designed by Apple in California’. A long, plain, rectangular box to its right housed power cords and small form factor slot-in plug adaptor. The MBP itself sat in a black plastic tray which doubled as a housing for the power adaptor, manuals and OS disks. No mountain of leaflets, no trialware CDs. This most definitely was NOT a PC.
Once the plastic wrapper was removed, there it was. Unibody casing (now with no removable battery), sleek aluminium finish which was gorgeous to the touch. All the I/O you could ever want. MagSafe Power Connector, Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, Mini DisplayPort, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, new SD Card slot and headphone port. The slot loading Superdrive appears on the opposite side of the casing. Nothing round the back, of course (this isn’t a Compaq, you know).
The battery indicator is found on the left-hand side of the chassis. The flush mounted button is also there. Eight miniature green LEDs can be viewed through tiny drill holes – marvellous engineering. There is no catch on the lid of the MBP – just a satisfying magnetic meeting of the base and screen.
Two hands are required to separate the screen from the keyboard/trackpad area. And there she is. With the blackest gloss screen I’ve ever had the privilege to gaze upon. Fulsome glass multi-touch trackpad, backlit keyboard and flush surface-mounted power switch. The iSight camera is hidden behind the blackness of the screen, centre-top. The microphone is set at the back of the keyboard, back-left. Believe me, blink and you’ll miss it.
Setting up takes no time at all. Snow Leopard (the OS) asks you a couple of questions about your location, what type of keyboard layout you want to use, select a network to connect to, and that’s about it. The MBP connected to my wireless connection straight away, and the latest Mac Updates were downloaded in just a few minutes. The trackpad needs the tapping switching on (turned off by default) and one or two other tweaks. The glass multi-touch trackpad is a joy. Pinching, zooming, 2, 3 and 4 finger gestures for every possible function. The screen is absolutely gorgeous. Stunning colour and the blackest black known to man!
The review model I have here has the following specification:
- Intel Core 2 Duo CPU running at 2.44GHz
- 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM Memory
- 250GB 5400-rpm Hard Disk Drive
- 13.3″ LED backlit glossy widescreen display (1280 x 800 pixels)
- NVIDIA GeForce 320M Graphics Processor with 256MB DDR3 SDRAM
- iSight Video Camera
- 8x Slot-Loading SuperDrive DVD+/-RW/CD-RW
- Mini DisplayPort
- SD Card Slot
- Firewire 800
- Optical Digital Audio Out / Analogue Line Out / Built-in Stereo Speakers
- 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet
- AirPort Extreme Wireless Networking (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- Backlit Keyboard and Ambient Light Sensor
- Preinstalled Mac OSX and iLife 09
Here are the size and weight specs:
- 12.78 x 8.94 x 0.95 inches (or 32.5 x 22.7 x 2.41cm).
- 4.5 pounds (or 2.04kg)
- Meets Energy Star Requirements