MacBook Pro a pricey superstar - review

2012-07-19 14:06
The MacBook Pro is a machine that may convince Windows users to switch. (Kathy Willens, AP)

The MacBook Pro is a machine that may convince Windows users to switch. (Kathy Willens, AP)

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VIDEO: MacBook Pro

2012-07-19 10:23

Apple talks about the features of its latest MacBook Pro in this YouTube video.WATCH

Cape Town – The Apple MacBook Pro is easily one of the best looking computers you can buy, but ensure that you are prepared to scale the dizzy heights of its price.

Apple has taken great care in producing this machine: The brushed metal finish is classy and it feels somehow familiar even if you've never used an Apple product before.

Indeed, one could argue that Apple products are stars in their own right if one counts that they have been featured in TV shows like Big Bang Theory and House, as well as about eight minutes of screen time in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

So how hard is it to make the transition from Windows to Mac? Surprisingly easy. The interface is slick and all your programs are stored in a "dock" where Windows users would normally find the "taskbar" (Of course, that disappears in Windows 8, due out in October).

Even for diehard PC fans, there are your familiar programs like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel so it means that the MacBook can function like an ordinary office computer albeit with more style.

Retina Display

Make no mistake though, this is no Windows clone and while some elements are familiar, Apple leads the field in ecosystem development.

Those familiar with the iPad will instantly recognise the App Store where you are able to purchase applications online for the Mac OS X Lion operating system.

Apple has made a big deal of the Retina Display on the MacBook and while the 40cm screen is excellent, you are still required to take decent pictures to take full advantage of the display.

The Trackpad takes some getting used to as it supports a plethora of gestures that increase productivity on the MacBook and there are the expected hardware touches in a machine that costs as much as a used car.

The keyboard illuminates in low light and the machine instantly starts iPhoto when a camera memory card is inserted into the built-in reader.

Apple has paid attention to details and even the charger and screen lid are magnetised and the microphone is hidden beneath the left speaker bay; the built-in high-definition webcam uses a screen flash to light the subject.

As the name implies, the MacBook Pro is for professionals and designers have long praised the speed and functionality of the Apple computers.

Inconveniences

The i7 quad core processor and 8GB RAM together make this Mac fast and even the power user has a smooth experience with no graphic delays, even with a multitude of applications running.

For us regular folk, though, the device has more than enough processing power for image and video editing, content consumption and general tasks.

There are some inconveniences that hurt the experience: The lack of a network cable slot is disappointing and while one can buy an adaptor, one feels that it could have been included because it was present on the previous generation.

The lack of an optical drive is not a big deal because it saves battery power and weight. There is a 250GB solid state drive (SSD) that that contributes to the speed and power savings.

The battery lasts well over five hours, even with continued operation and the MacBook remains silent during heavy use.

Not too long ago, Windows computers couldn't compete with the style nor the price of the MacBook, but that's changing with devices like the Samsung Series 9 and the Acer Aspire ultrabook.

You also get a fast processor, SSD, fancy touch pad and hot keys, but at a slightly lower price.

The MacBookPro though, is a movie star and as such commands the bragging rights of a recommended retail price of R29 999.


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