Yesterday my brand new MacBook Pro 15″ arrived.
I got my original white MacBook over two years ago and it quickly became my primary machine. The seamlessness of the Apple hardware-software connection, its increased performance over my existing Linux PC and the desire to learn about OS X motivated this. Since then it has been, for the most part, my primary computer.
The MacBook still is an excellent machine for what it does, but being a full-time desktop as well as a portable computer, I began to desire a larger screen for when I’m using it at the desk and to get away from the limitation of the rather pathetic Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics.
So to address these issues and erm… continue my investment into computing (nothing to do with the fact that the new Pros are just, really, nice) I went out and bought the new 15″ MacBook Pro.
I got the middle model, with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM and the dual GPU Nvidia GeForce 9400M (for battery life) and Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT 512 MB (for performance).
I’ve had it just hours, but I love this machine!
The aluminium construction feels so much more solid than the white MacBook’s multiple bits of plastic. It feels like a complete unit; significantly more robust. I know I sound like Apple’s marketing material here, but it really does. Between the plastic and the aluminium, there is just a world of difference in the feel of the product in your hand.
The LED display is also absolutely top notch. Compared to the two year old display in the MacBook, the brightness is much higher, the colours are much more intense and the glossy coating makes the screen look absolutely gorgeous. The extra screen space compared to the 13″ MacBook is pretty nice too.
The trackpad does take a little bit of getting used to, but the surface is markedly more smooth than the MacBook. The clicking anywhere on the trackpad is almost disconcerting at first and does mean that you have to learn how to drag a little difference, but I must admit I am quickly getting used to, and preferring, the new.
There are also little incremental things that were good in the MacBook, but just that little bit better in this new Pro. The keyboard, for example, retains the same keyboard design, with separate keys each protruding individually from the body. They have a different finish, however and the tactile feedback from the keys as you type is a little more subtle and smooth, very much the same as the standalone aluminium keyboard that ships with the iMac. The backlight on the keyboard even auto-adjusts based on the ambient light sensor.
To be honest, I’m struggling to find negative points to make this a bit more balanced! The inclusion of only two USB ports (the same number as the MacBook) is still somewhat disappointing, when to my eyes it looks like there is plenty of space for at least one more. I guess you’re supposed to have wireless mice and such these days…
Also, the function keys on the keyboard don’t appear to be as easily customised as before. For example, I don’t really want F3 to be Exposé, as I can access that from the trackpad gestures, but I can’t seem to find a way to remap it to be Spaces. Well I can remap it, but it only works when holding down Fn at the same time; I can’t seem to remap its normal behaviour (without switching all of the function keys off).
Overall, though, I am really happy with this machine as an upgrade from the MacBook. It feels about as heavy, yet has 2″ more screen space and a load more power. I am definitely looking forward to putting it through its paces!
Once I’m done fully transferring all of the stuff over from the white MacBook, I’m planning to reformat it and attempt a Leopard, Tiger and Ubuntu Linux triple boot. It will be nice to have a machine running Linux natively that isn’t ageing somewhat.