Apple 13″ MacBook Pro

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.

Open at last!  The new 13" Unibody MacBook Pro in all her glory!

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
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