posted by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Jun 2006 14:27 UTC
IconEarlier this year, Apple, after a long wait, updated its pro line of laptops by introducing the MacBook Pro, the Intel-powered equivalent of the PowerBook. MacSupport, together with Apple Netherlands, was so kind as to provide OSNews with a MacBook Pro for review purposes. Since Adam bought a MacBook Pro for himself only a few days earlier, we decided to review the machines together. Here are our findings.

Thom has the 2.0Ghz version of the MacBook Pro, 15" (1440x900), 2.0GB (Apple-branded) RAM, and a 90GB harddrive. Adam has the 1.83Ghz version, also 15", but with 1.5GB of RAM (of which 1GB is after-market), and a 100GB harddrive.

We decided to focus on a few specific areas of the machine; we will each give our thoughts on these topics, and at the end, we will both come to our own conclusions.

The Screen

TH: I find that the MBP screen has very bad viewing angles, which is extra annoying because it's a laptop (you have to adjust the screen angle all the time). The screen on my 'cheap' Dell Inspiron 6000 is much better in that respect.

AS: I disagree. Everyone seems to go ga-ga over "Brightview" or whatever they're calling it these days. While it does make the picture crisp, it also adds glare from virtually every other angle. I have no issue with the screen position or angle.

TH: I'm not talking about the glossy thing; my Inspiron does not have a glossy screen either. What bothers me on the MacBook Pro is how the colours change even when you tilt your head slightly away from the ideal viewing angle, causing me to adjust or my head, or the screen, continuously; this especially reveals itself via the shadows underneath the windows in the MacOS. The Dell does not have this problem, or at least, not as bad as the MacBook Pro.

AS: I haven't noticed this. I actually find the display to be very bright. I'm in love with the widescreen.

TH: That's for sure, the brightness and wideness are very much appreciated. I just expected a better viewing angle on a 'pro' laptop.

The Speed & Boot Time

AS: The boot time on the MBP is awesome. I go from zero to logon in mere seconds. It's no BeOS, but it's fast. Especially if you're coming from a PPC Mac.

TH: Oh yes, agreed. The boottime has increased majorly due to the switch compared to an iBook G4 or even the latest iMac G5.

AS: Thom, did you notice the application launch time? The freaking apps launch in a jump or two from the dock. The speed is significantly faster than the iBook. Now, I still get beach balls - frequently when loading a big webpage like Gmail's inbox and sometimes when moving around in a video in Quicktime - but overall, application launch speed is a big step up.

TH: Yes, agreed. Especially Mail.app and new Safari windows pop up almost instantly. It is still no BeOS (which I consider as the ideal when it comes to responsiveness), but it has indeed improved a lot since the PowerPC era. Mail.app still comes to a crawl quite easily though, i.e. when opening a large email folder.

AS: Mail coming to a halt is probably due to the limitations of POP and IMAP, not to mention the mbox format [Ed. note: Mail.app currently uses a format based on mbox, not BSD mbox proper]. I don't know that I expect my mail client to jump open in an instant when I have 10000 messages in it. Incidentally, I have Mail set to download my Gmail account as a backup, and it launches in about 3 seconds, which I might mention is faster than my Gmail account loads.

Table of contents
  1. "MacBook Pro 1/4"
  2. "MacBook Pro 2/4"
  3. "MacBook Pro 3/4"
  4. "MacBook Pro 4/4"
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