MacBook Pro a pricey superstar - review

2012-07-19 14:06

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.


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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  • wvongruning - 2012-07-20 05:51

    How to start an Internet argument: • Post an opinion. • Wait 5 minutes.

  • GavinPen - 2012-07-20 07:06

    People, it isn't a simple argument. It's one of preference. I started using windows based pc's in 1983, have used them extensively through the evolution of the various x86 processors to where we are today. I use my machines mainly using high end cad and graphic design software running in 64 bit modes with high memory and they have always done the job. Game play, Internet use, e-mail and all that dealt with ease. A year ago I bought my first MacBook Pro, well I can say this; it runs every piece of software I have easier and with less hassle that my windows based pc's do, it's more fun to use, easier to understand, doesn't need all the fuss that my windows desktop or laptops do. And to top it off it does look very cool. Who cares if it costs more, I can afford it, it does exactly what it says on the tin, it integrates seamlessly with my phone, my iPod, my iPad, there has been absolutely no drama with integration with my office hardware or server software. My next purchase will be a Mac Pro and that will be the end of windows in my office. It's my preference!

  • Masemolatumi - 2012-07-20 22:45

    For this price, I can, for example get 2 x Acer 8950G, with i7 2.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 2x500GB, ATI HD6850 2GB, 18.4" LED, 7 Home Premium 64bit. The price that Apple charges for its products, for me, remains too exorbitant. And really for what?? And most of the people that buy Apple, really buy it out of the hype of things, without looking at the device holistically and in comparison to what else is out there. And this applies to the overrated iPhones, iPdas etc... I have been running an AMD Hex Core, 20TB, with Windows 7 Ultimate system for just over 2 years now. No issues. I can play any game on that system, load any graphics design program.. My laptop is an i5 with 4GB, 7 Pro. Also no issues! Not even a Blue Screen as people so put it with Windows systems. For me, its like buying a Golf GTI for over R360k! Its a freakin' Golf, no matter how VW dices it, it remains a mere Golf! But I suppose like some people always put it... its perhaps preference. And if u can afford to waste R30k on this basic laptop, then so be it.

  • michael.taylorw - 2012-07-23 08:15

    I bought this and upgraded the cpu, and the size of the hard drive online in Australia. Convert to Rands, and it cost me R23 000, standard the 15-inch i7 will set you back R19000. At Myers(like an Edgars), the 13-inch i7 was R13 000

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