posted by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Jun 2006 14:27 UTC

"MacBook Pro 4/4"

Running Windows

TH: Running Windows on the MacBook Pro is a breeze. It's not something I personally need, but the ability to run Windows (or Linux) natively or via Parallels is a welcome addition for anyone contemplating a switch.

AS: Haven't tried it, and won't in the form of Boot Camp. I would like to demo Parallels, but I've been too lazy to set it up. Frankly, I don't really see the need for Windows right now.

TH: Me neither (the Dell runs Windows XP/Vista when I need it), but it is a thing to mention that the MacBook Pro, as well as other Intel Macs, can run Windows in two ways, so easily.

AS: Absolutely, given that this is a great fallback for those who want to experiment, but don't want to be "stuck" on OS X if they can't figure it out.

The Conclusion

TH: This is a mediocre laptop overall, and definitely not worth its hefty, hefty pricetag, especially now that the MacBook has arrived. It is astonishing to see that on three fronts, namely speakers, screen, and keyboard, a 2489E machine (my configuration) gets beaten on these important fronts by a 700USD Dell.

AS: If you dissect the machine and compare the hardware bit by bit, I get your point. In fact, why not go the extra mile - what the hell are we doing with 32-bit chips in a "cutting edge" portable? How come our hard drive choices are so small? And why are they still defaulting new laptops to 512 MB of RAM, when the OS clearly is a different animal with 1GB+? The hardware is not the sole sales point.

TH: Clearly Apple's way of trying to squeeze money from its customers. I don't blame them, it's how the world works; however, that does not make it less true or upsetting to financially lesser-fortuned people who would also like to own a Mac.

My advice: if you are in doubt between an 'ordinary' MacBook and a MacBook Pro and your use for the machine does not include heavy Photoshopping and the like; stick with the MacBook, it will save you a pretty buck. If you need the MBP's better videocard, then it becomes a different story, obviously.

AS: That's a dead on assessment. If you have no need for the Pro portion of the Macbook Pro, stick with the more affordable Macbook.

TH: To sum it up, in one sentence: not a bad laptop, but the heat, screen, speaker, and keyboard issues prevent it from being worth its hefty pricetag-- for me.

AS: See, I would argue that this is the best laptop I've ever owned. While subsequent generations may leave impatient people like me with lacking 1st generation prototypes, I think it's been worthwhile. The biggest competition the MBP has is Apple's own Macbook, which is good enough for about 90% of potential Apple switchers. That said, if you run heavy apps and use a Mac for professional design, music, or video, the MBP is the only real portable for you.

TH: I'd like to add, the heat issue apparently also exists on the MacBook. As such, I will not buy a MacBook. I set money aside for it, but my experience with this MacBook Pro has made me stop and think twice-- and wait for future revisions. I'm now skimming the internet for a nice used PowerMac G4 (I already sold that iBook G4). My email address is...

AS: My closing thoughts: the transition to Intel is nearly complete. As such, our next decision is whether or not to act now and buy these portables or wait for the next generation, which will inevitably bring further improvements. This is the timeless computing paradox: if you wait just a little longer, the price will drop and the power will increase and the bugs will be worked out. Of course, if you buy now - you get it now! The Macbook Pro certainly has its shortcomings, many of which I suspect will be "fixed" or improved in future versions. But it's good enough now, good enough to serve as the primary computer for most people I know without issue.

TH: Rests me to say that I would like to thank MacSupport and Apple Netherlands for supplying us with a review machine.

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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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