Still a great portable from Apple in spite of some quirks. (October 26th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Apple
Price: $1,999 (2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB drive)
- Sturdier, cooler, thinner aluminum chassis.
- Still the performance champion; option for power-saving graphics a boon.
- Trackpad a more effective use of space.
- Colors 'pop' on the display.
- Good notebook-class speakers.
- No FireWire 400.
- Glossy screen a potential distraction with no matte option.
- Can't use both GPUs at once like that coming for Windows notebooks.
- Expansion, screen still used to push users to a system they may otherwise not need.
To save space, the MacBook sacrifices a FireWire port. Fortunately, the MacBook Pro retains a FireWire 800 port, which can be particularly useful for connecting video camcorders, external hard disks, or another Mac through Target Disk Mode; however, this is one step down from the addition of a FireWire 400 port on the older model. Mitigating this is the inclusion of an ExpressCard/34 slot that isn't present on the regular MacBook. This slot provides expandability so you can plug in a TV tuner, flash memory drive, a memory card reader, or an extender for more FireWire ports. As more third-parties release additional accessories, you'll have a certain level of future-proofing that guards against the system being out of step with new features.
The ports, including a FireWire 800 port, all appear on the left side.
The MacBook Pro shares the other features of the MacBook including two USB 2.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, audio line in/out ports, and the battery indicator button and lights. While the Kensington lock slot appears on the left side of the MacBook, it appears on the right side of the MacBook Pro, right next to the slot loading CD/DVD drive.
Beyond the addition of the FireWire 800 port and the ExpressCard/34 slot, the MacBook Pro distinguishes itself from the MacBook through its much larger 15.4-inch screen. The smaller 13.3-inch MacBook screen is acceptable, but the larger MacBook Pro's screen simply provides more screen space and makes using the computer far easier to use. You may not necessarily need this extra screen space, but you'll feel less constrained than with the smaller MacBook screen. It's also more color-accurate and arguably worth the effort for professional visual editors; the glossy screen is unfortunate but can actually be a benefit to some users compared to the slightly washed out hues of a matte screen, even if the option of the glare-free matte would be appreciated.
Under the hood, the MacBook Pro offers faster processors. The fastest MacBook matches the processing power of the slowest MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Due processor, a 3MB on-chip cache, and 2GB of RAM. Higher-end MacBook Pros offer 2.53GHz or 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors with a 6MB cache and 4GB RAM. The MacBook offers a standard 160GB hard drive while the MacBook Pro offers a standard 250GB hard drive. While the MacBook blows past the previous generation in raw processing power and can arguably come much closer to high-level performance than it has in the past, the MacBook Pro still makes the MacBook look like it's a generation behind.