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New MacBook Pro

Yesterday I bought a new computer: an Apple MacBook Pro laptop. It’s a custom model with the high resolution 1680 x 1050 anti-glare screen, the high performance (for a laptop) 7200 rpm 500G hard disk, and the Intel i7 processor running at 2.66 GHz.

The new computer has a smaller screen that the last 3 laptops I have used (which were all 17″ models) but has the same number of pixels. I wanted a smaller, lighter computer because I have found that I take it with me everywhere and weight and size have become an issue.

So after a whole day of use how is the new machine going? Well first I have to say that it has been absolutely thrashed already. It now has about 500 applications installed, hundreds of thousands (or millions) of files (I haven’t actually counted), and several Unix utilities such as MySQL. Many of these items were just copied from the previous machine but it’s pretty impressive that all of that could be set up in a few hours – try doing all that on a PC!

Because the new screen is a bit smaller than the previous one you might think that it would be a harder to read some small text on but the clarity is very good so that hasn’t been a major issue. The colour and brightness is great – just as good as the recent glossy LED backlit screens on other computers but with a lot less reflection. Photos really do look spectacular – you almost think you can reach out and touch them!

As you would expect with Intel’s latest processor and a faster hard disk than that used in most laptops performance is impressive. Programs launch in less that half the time than the previous computer I used (a Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz MacBook Pro). This could be partly due to the fact that the other machine was bogged down with piles of extra “useful” stuff but since I have already moved most of that onto the new one I don’t expect that made too much difference.

Battery life seems very good for such a high powered machine. I’ve been using it all day on battery (it’s now 3 pm) and the battery is still showing 2 to 3 hours left. So it looks like I will be able to use it all day on battery unless I have a really long day or do a lot of work which drains the battery more (for example working on large graphics in Photoshop or playing really intense games).

This isn’t a cheap computer – with the extra options I ordered it came to almost NZ$4000 but you really get what you pay for and I think this machine is worth every cent. And it’s actually the cheapest laptop I’ve ever owned. It’s scary to lok back and see that the first PowerPC desktop Mac I got new (a Power Mac 8100/80av) cost NZ$13,000!

One day isn’t a log time to be using a computer before writing an opinion like this on it but early impressions are important and so far I think this machine was a very good choice!

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