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Review - Apple's MacBook Pro 108

Posted by Roblimo
from the living-proof-that-hardware-reviews-are-subjective dept.
Provataki writes "OSNews posted a 2-editor review of Apple's MacBook Pro laptop. The whole review feels like a long conversation between the two editors with agreements and disagreements on several issues and topics. They both agree that the laptop is too hot, but there is disagreement on the screen quality for example."
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Review - Apple's MacBook Pro

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  • Speaker quality? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:20PM (#15590113) Homepage Journal
    TH: ...That's not unacceptable, but for a computer aimed at excellence in audio processing, this is a shortcoming, plain and simple.
    No one who does audio processing on a computer uses the internal speakers, no matter what brand of computer it is.

    That's just one of many misinformed statements TH makes about the machine.

    • by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <thinkinginbinaryNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:26PM (#15590166) Homepage
      No one who does audio processing on a computer uses the internal speakers, no matter what brand of computer it is.

      No, not for production work, but it's nice to be able to get good audio quality out of the speakers. No one's expecting miracles, but it should be able to reproduce a normal range of sounds at a decent volume, without major distortion. My laptop, for example, completely ignores bass frequencies, and, if they're loud enough, they distort everything else and there's a little "gap" in the audio where the bass beat was. That is bad.

      There are laptops with good sound quality--a friend of mine has the Dell Inspiron e1705, and it has pretty good sound. (It's a 17" widescreen, though, so it's got room for bigger speakers.)

      • Re:Speaker quality? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NineNine (235196)
        As gearheads say, "there's no replacement for displacement". No matter what the technology is, you're never going to get any kind of bass out of teenie tiny speakers crammed into a teenie tiny laptop case. They just can't move enough air to get good sound quality, especially bass. Speakers on laptops, in my opinion, are pretty much just good for alert beeps and blips. That's all I expect out of them. Anything more than that (like watching a movie), and a $5 pair of headphones from the drugstore will do
        • You know what would be really cool? A laptop where the entire wrist rest portion of the case could be used as a large speaker. When you were watching a movie, you wouldn't be typing, so the speakers could move freely. Either that or a way to fit a subwoofer into a laptop. It's been done, but like you said, it's all about available space.

        • Re:Speaker quality? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:46PM (#15590924) Homepage Journal
          As gearheads say, "there's no replacement for displacement".

          Only the lames say this. And there's a lot of lames. There are several replacements for displacement. Most significantly, High RPMs and high compression. High compression comes in two versions: forced induction, and just having high compression in the first place.

          As we all know, there are small speakers that kick the shit out of cheaper speakers several times their size. Now, with speakers, it's true that there's no replacement for displacement, but you should be aware that displacement comes from two places in the case of both engines and speakers, though the terminology is different. In engines, we call it bore and stroke; AFAIK it's still stroke in audio, but the "bore" would be the "diameter".

          In addition, both engines and speakers have the concept of "response", and it works much the same way in both places. In engines, you make them respond quicker by lightening the rotating mass, this allows you to achieve higher RPMs. Speakers are made lighter; this allows them to move faster, improving high-frequency response. Low-frequency response (consistency without distortion) is also achieved in the same way in both engines and speakers; You have more mass, but you use more energy to move it. A car with a heavier rotating mass is harder to stall, and thus less susceptible to small perturbations. Ditto for a speaker.

          Anyway, just trying to bust up some myths. I know a lot more about the cars than the audio, but I know enough about physics to make some generalizations :P

      • Re:Speaker quality? (Score:3, Informative)

        by swtaarrs (640506)
        I have an Inspiron 9300 (basically the same as the e1705 but single core cpu) and it does have very nice sound, noticably better than any other laptop I've seen. However, it doesn't have very big speakers. I've taken it apart a few times and the speakers are about .5in x 1in x 2.5in. That might be large for laptop speakers, but I think biggest difference is made by the small subwoofer on the bottom. I can turn off the subwoofer and when it's off my laptop doesn't sound much better than most others, but with
      • Re:Speaker quality? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eclectic4 (665330)
        The 17" MacBook Pro has the best sounding internal speakers I have ever heard on a laptop. 4 speakers that actually sound incredible.
    • It's pretty obvious TH is a "refugee" PC user, Mac ownership notwithstanding. He complains about the Enter key, for Steve's sake. And do the half-height arrow keys really bother him? I'd have thought most people would prefer them; they make it easier to scroll through a document, for one thing. Moreover, full height arrow keys would completely destroy the MacBook Pro's neutral, balanced aesthetic, and I just know it'd bother me subconsciously when I'm trying to work. Who but a PC user would want a lopsided
      • The entire point of Apple's switch and new ads with Justin Long are to get PC users to get a Mac. Who better to review an apple laptop but a PC User?

        It's true, PC users might enjoy function over form more, I don't know but I think his complaints about the enter key and the arrow keys are justified. Any pc user who switches to Macs will notice the keyboard is designed with aesthetics in mind before comfort or functionality.
        • Well, personally I see "aesthetics" as comprising functionality and comfort. For example, a lopsided keyboard would make me feel uncomfortable, and impair my design judgment. (OK, that's a stretch.) And as I mentioned, full-size arrow keys would make (vertical) scrolling more difficult.

          But "aesthetics" concerns personal preference; you might not care about the visual balance of your workspace if you're not a visual person, and you might not care about vertical scrolling if you, um, don't scroll vertically.
    • I'm not sure what "audio processing" means, but when I try to listen to music in my office, on the porch or in the courtyard next to my office building, the sound is way too low.

      I don't expect dolby surround sound, but my beat-up thinkpad plays reasonably good sound at an acceptable volume.
    • by Gothmolly (148874)
      Thats because 90% of the readers of TH would consider themselves "power users", when in reality most of them are still in their parents' basement.
    • misquoted parent (Score:3, Informative)

      by pikine (771084)

      This is what actually appears on the second page of the review.

      The Speakers

      TH: The sound quality of the speakers is appalling. Again, I'm sorry to say, but my cheap Dell has better speakers. Seriously better speakers.

      AS: I can't argue with you there. The speakers on the Macbook Pro suck. On top of that, the volume is way too quiet. Plus, even with normalized music files the speakers sometimes distort with maximum volume. That's not unacceptable, but for a computer aimed at excellence in audio p

      • AS is the one suggesting that a computer aimed at audio processing (I take it to mean sound engineering) should have good internal speakers.
        You're right. I screwed that up. I'll go back and edit it...oh, wait...
  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <thinkinginbinaryNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:21PM (#15590123) Homepage
    • Screen: Adam likes the bright screen, Thom dislikes the viewing angle (color distortion) problems
    • Speed: Both of them love it.
    • Speakers: Both agree, the speakers are too quiet and distort at loud volumes. Thom notes it has digital optical audio out.
    • Keyboard: Adam likes it, Thom finds the layout too cramped, calls it "form over function". Both like the backlighting.
    • Airport: Adam has no problems. Thom finds the reception worse than his iBook.
    • Heat: Both agree, it is too hot.
    • Rosetta: Both agree, it is awesome, but native apps are eagerly anticipated.
    • Build Quality: Both like it. Adam wants more USB ports.
    • Battery: Both agree, battery life is skimpy.
    • Running Windows: Thom says it's "a breeze", Adam doesn't plan to try it.

    Frankly, I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else. It's got its share of problems, and feelings are mixed about many features. Unlike the MacBook, though, the MacBook Pro isn't priced competitively with other brands. (The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aiku1337 (551438) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:33PM (#15590246)
      (The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

      This is probably my Apple fanboyism talking, but the MacBook (or, previously iBook) has always been competively priced. The entry level iBook was going for 1000 USD and included more standard features than any PC laptop did, for that price. I wouldn't say Apple is usually overpriced, maybe just their pro line. But then again, the pro line is targeted towards business and professionals. You'd expect to pay more.

      • Re:Summary (Score:2, Insightful)

        This is probably my Apple fanboyism talking, but the MacBook (or, previously iBook) has always been competively priced. The entry level iBook was going for 1000 USD and included more standard features than any PC laptop did, for that price. I wouldn't say Apple is usually overpriced, maybe just their pro line. But then again, the pro line is targeted towards business and professionals. You'd expect to pay more.

        Competitive on price? Yes. Competitive on performance? Not until Intel came out. My brother h

        • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hlimethe3rd (879459) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:25PM (#15590756)
          The fact that the G4-based laptops weren't competitive on performance was largely due to the lag in technology. The 1.25 GHz (or whatever) G4 chip in your brother's iBook G4 probably was competitive with the PC laptops that came out at the same time, but realistically it had been three years since the G4 chips had been significantly refreshed (yes, I'm not counting moving from 1.25GHz to 1.33). Apple's portables were very, very long in the tooth looking just at the chips.
          • Re:Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

            /me admits that maybe his chip was old. But in any other industry, if the product is obsolete, or just older, and isn't competitive with the current products, the price drops. It should have cost less since it doesn't perform as well.

            • you've never bought apple before have you? while that's the logical assumption, it doesn't quite work like that.
              • /me did accidentally recommend a G5 to his dad. Sure, it was faster than our 500 MHz, Pentium III, but (since it was single-CPU, not dual) it was nothing like Steve said it would be. It wasn't blazingly fast, it was a little laggy. (Although the startup time started off fast--it's slowed down over time--and the shutdown time has always been fast. That's one good part.) And it cost $2500. I could have recommended a much faster Dell for $2500, but I didn't want to maintain a Windows box, and I wasn't co

                • Re:Summary (Score:1, Offtopic)

                  by k_187 (61692)
                  yeah, you have to realize that at least part of what you're paying for when you buy apple is the name. Like when you pay extra so your shirt as a little alligator on it.
      • One of the problems I always have with the Mac vs. PC price arguments (and I've been in enough of them myself) is that the Mac users always assume that you need exactly the features the Mac has. Let me give you my scenario. I want a laptop to surf the web, write word documents on, and upload/manage digital pictures. My Mac option is a $1000 MacBook (which I will admit I like how they look), or I can go with a $500 HP or Dell laptop. Now the HP or Dell may not have the same specs as the MacBook, but it m
        • Well of course you can get a cheaper laptop than the MB, but it's going to be heavier and bulkier than the MB, for a start, and at $500 it won't have a core duo in it, more like a celeron M. Too bad it won't run OS/X either.

          Apple doesn't do ultra-cheap, if that's what you want to say, but feature for feature the MB is reasonably priced.
      • The ibooks were well priced, and perhpas the MacBooks are not so well priced. The performance was not terrific, but for people who needed a computer to get work done, it would get work done better than many other equally priced machines.

        The problem was, and seems to continue to be, quality. In 2001 the iBooks had quality problems. Same thing now. Apple does seem to cut costs on these machines, and that may be a reason to avoid them.

        OTOH, the pro machines are typically good, and always seem to get be

    • Re:Summary (Score:2, Informative)

      by conigs (866121)
      Thom finds the reception worse than his iBook.

      This is also the case than with the PowerBook G4 (non titanium) when compared to the iBooks. iBooks always got better reception.

      Many people seem to forget that the MacBook (and also the PowerBooks) are aluminum cases. the iBook is plastic. Here's a fun experiment. Take your cell phone (or notebook) and wrap it in aluminum. Those little gray plastic strips on either side of the display are for the antenna.

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by pVoid (607584) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:42PM (#15590341)
      Frankly, I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else.

      Well, I'm a long time Microsoft'y, in that I've worked mainly on windows platforms (professionally) for the last decade. I just recently got a mac book pro. I'll tell you this much: I looked for a LONG time for a PC laptop that I could get instead. The only thing that came near in ergonomy was the LG laptops which were ridiculously overpriced. I mean, compare a Dell laptop (which looks like a tank) to a macbook pro, i.e. hold both in your hands, and you will see there is an order of magnitude in difference.

      That being said, there are aspects of my Macbook that I am surprisingly disappointed about. Namely: Apple.

      From everything I had read - especially anti microsoft bashing comparing how Windows has so many bugs etc - Apple is unbelievably bad at both hardware and software tech support.

      Examples: there is a high pitch whining noise that comes from the MacBook Pros. It is quite obviously an electrical leak, which consistently goes away if you switch off the second core. Apple has yet to *officially* acknowledge this problem. It's one thing to acknowledge, it's another thing to replace. They could easily say "yeah, sorry, that's not repairable", but it's quite insulting to go to an authorized dealer and say "there, don't you hear it? it's driving me insane" and get an answer "uhm, sorry, no, I don't hear it". Same for AppleCare.

      Speaking of apple care, they treat their custommers like idiots. I had a problem with my fan making a rattling noise - clearly a ball bearing problem. I call apple care, it was so loud she could hear it on the phone without my even putting the phone up to the laptop. I was just laughing when she took me step by step through how to put the installation CD in, boot off of it, and run checkdisk (which btw, yielded all green, to which she grunted in disappointment - I guess people shut off their computers often enough that they always get red warnings about filesystem problems...) Anyways...

      And last but not least, they recently came out with a patch for Quicktime that would effectively freeze your entire UI if you ran certain programs. When contacting AppleCare, they asked me which program did this, and I said "Unrar", "Graphviz" and "Adobe apps", to which his 'straight faced' reply was: we're sorry, Apple can not take responsability for third party software. Which is preposterous because it wasn't the third party software failing so much as the *entire* OS freezing up.

      They later reissued a new patch that fixed this problem - but Apple *never* admitted that their initial fix was broken.

      All of this is that kind of stuff that would turn into a flame storm for Microsoft.

      All that aside, I still like my mbp.

      • Re:Summary (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Doctor Memory (6336)

        And last but not least, they recently came out with a patch for Quicktime that would effectively freeze your entire UI if you ran certain programs. When contacting AppleCare, they asked me which program did this, and I said "Unrar", "Graphviz" and "Adobe apps", to which his 'straight faced' reply was: we're sorry, Apple can not take responsability for third party software. Which is preposterous because it wasn't the third party software failing so much as the *entire* OS freezing up.

        They later reissued a n

        • Re:Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pVoid (607584)
          Yeah, that's what they were arguing too. The problem: I consider it an OS vulnerability if a program I'm running can halt my entire system (whether out of neglect or malice doesn't matter, does it?)

          Your point about MS is off target: MS doesn't keep old functionality to keep its OS from functioning, it keeps around old functionality to not break badly written apps - that's a choice that you can chose to say is unnecessary. But it is completely a different class of problems. Any OS that can be crippled by

      • Yes, apple's updates can be a real pain. My iBook G4 800mhz had an openfirmware update early on. After that point the fans never run unless i boot into a hardware test. THey increased the temperature before the fans kick in so my iBOok freezes if i try to run a game or intensive app. Another fun factor in iBook ownership is upgrading the hard drive. 50 screws. You literally have to take everthing but the display off to swap out the hard drive. With a dell its 1 screw on most models.

        With apple updates
        • If you think client patches are bad, try OSX server.

          Indeed. I'm posting from 10.4.6 Server right now, and it's fantastic. Patches are good almost without exception, and the same techs are generally well versed from iPods all the way up to Xsans. Perhaps you experienced a piece of bad hardware?
          • No, just apple patches. There are bugs in the 10.4.x patches between versions. Check out the apple osx server mailing list sometime. You'll see what i'm talking about. I suppolse you could even read the changelog in the apple support area. It depends what features you tend to use if you experience problems. In my case, I ran a file server with afp and samba support enabled. I had some weird cases where permissions on share points would change. Occasionally services would fail and not restart. 10.4.
      • Examples: there is a high pitch whining noise that comes from the MacBook Pros. It is quite obviously an electrical leak, which consistently goes away if you switch off the second core. Apple has yet to *officially* acknowledge this problem. It's one thing to acknowledge, it's another thing to replace. They could easily say "yeah, sorry, that's not repairable", but it's quite insulting to go to an authorized dealer and say "there, don't you hear it? it's driving me insane" and get an answer "uhm, sorry, no,

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Darsovit (40293) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:50PM (#15590405) Homepage
      Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17". I've left the Macbook Pro with the default settings (although the hard drive can be changed to truly match the Dell's 100GB 7200 rpm drive since the Dell doesn't have the 120 GB 5400rpm option that the Macbook Pro has) and it's listed on the online store at $2799.00. For the Dell XPS M1710, I chose the basic model, then upgraded the processor to 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo, added the Remote for Windows XP Media Center (the Macbook Pro comes with a remote standard, $29), upgraded the hard drive to 100 GB as noted ($215), upgraded to the CD/DVD Burner combo drive ($50), and added the Bluetooth ($49) and the total at their online store is $3118.

      I could upgrade the memory on the Macbook Pro to 2GB and still be under the Dell with 1 GB of RAM.

      Granted, this is only a comparison with one competitor, but with the use of the Intel processor in the Mac it can now be compared pretty closely and it would seem to be competing fairly well, at least with this brand.
      • Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17"

        Of course Dell's high-end gaming laptop is going to cost more! A much more realistic comparison would be with the Dell Inspiron e1705. I set them up with the following config: 2.16 GHz processor, 2 GB 667 MHz RAM, 120 GB 5400 RPM HDD (available on the e1705, if not the XPS M1710), remote (added on the Dell), DVD burner, Bluetooth. The Dell came out to $2708; the Mac came out to $3099. With 1 GB of RAM and a 100 GB 7200 RPM HDD, the Dell comes to $2638 and the Mac comes to $2699. A lot closer. But that's the highest-end configuration of the Dell. If we start with the second-lowest and configure it the same, it comes to $2480. Pretty much no matter what you do, you get the same specs for $200-$400 less with a Dell.

        • Sorry, I made a mistake. The $2480 one is with a 5400 RPM hard drive. So it'd probably end up around $2600. The prce difference scales with how high-end the components are; a RAM upgrade from 1 GB to 2 GB costs a lot more from Apple ($400 more) than from Dell ($175 more).

          • Re:Correction (Score:4, Informative)

            by Darsovit (40293) on Friday June 23, 2006 @02:02PM (#15591061) Homepage
            The RAM upgrade on the apple is $300 more. But I think you also need to upgrade the video card from the Dell e1705. The ATI Mobility X1400 with Hypermemory (when you click on the Help Me Choose on the Dell website) seems to indicate that it uses 256MB of shared System memory vs. the Macbook Pro's 256MB of GDDR3 on the ATI X1600. So, yes, I did indeed compare it to the high-end gaming laptop because of this.
            • A X1600 is not comparable to a 7900 GS/GTX Go, orders of magnitude difference, literally. Also, if you're spending money on a Dell, you can wait some time and score an even better deal (real discounts from coupons, sometimes in excess of 30%). Personally, I take a liking to IBM/Lenovo notebooks but they are very expensive, even more so than Apple's machines. They say you get what you pay for, and it isn't stylish excess in the case of an X series thinkpad, though other manufacturers have made considerabl
        • Actually the Dell is closer to $2000.

          They usually run $750 coupons about every other week, sometimes you can find 40% off coupons also.

          Oh yeah, and watch the warranty. Apple only offers you 1 year.
        • Are you placing no value on the (I'm guessing here) optical audio out, the camera, firewire, backlit keyboard, iLife applications, OS X itself, fancy power chord thing, the fact that it can run either OS (or both), etc? I'm really asking, not arguing.
        • Pretty much no matter what you do, you get the same specs for $200-$400 less with a Dell.
          No, you don't.

          A Mac comes with mac OS X. A Dell comes with what? Windows? Linux?

          This comparision about what "speccs" you get for the buck makes absolutely no sense.

          It would make sense if your onyl application you run is Photoshop, or Outlook. then you could say: my computer X is $400 cheaper and has a faster DVD drive ... and as I only use Outlook its of couorse the better performing machine ... and as such the cheape
          • Actually I think you hit the nail on the head.

            The Mac/PC spec comparisons have always been a purely academic wanking exercise. Fun, but at the end of the day just playing with yourself.

            The only day they'll be worth anything is if you can run OS X on a PC, and I'm not talking about some weird hack that's probably unstable and definitely illegal. And that'll be a cold day in Cupertino.

            Very few people actually compare Macs and PCs model to model based on price. They compare Macs to Macs, and PCs to PCs -- beca
      • Funny, I have found that the Macbook Pro 17" is cheaper than a comparably equipped Dell XPS M1710 17".

        It looks like you made an honest effort (unlike many other Slashdot comments) to configure a "comparably equipped" Dell to a Macbook Pro 17", but there are several significant unchangeable differences that make it an improper comparison:

        • Dell's XPS M1710 LCD is 1920x1200, the Macbook Pro's 17" LCD is 1680x1050
        • Dell's NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS far outclasses the Macbook Pro's ATI Mobility Radeon X1600:
    • "The regular MacBook, surprisingly enough, since Apple is usually overpriced, matches up pretty well with PC manufacturers. It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that."

      Only $200 more? You're forgetting the value-adds of the bundled apps. It's more like $400 more when you add in the value of Windows bundled apps like calculator--and clock. They provide hours of fun, or at least minutes...
    • I like mine; it is too hot, but the speakers are better than anything I would expect in something that size. You're not going to get anywhere near audiophile in something that size though. It's the first laptop I've ever had that would reliable suspend/resume. Of course, it's my first Mac laptop too ;-)
    • It's hard to compare it directly because of the odd screen size, but it's only $100-$200 more than a PC, if even that.)

      $100-200 is about right. You can buy a Lenovo 14" 512Mb 80Gb 1.66Ghz Core Duo w/ DVD+RW for $899. That's $200 of a difference. I expect other makers will be equally competitive with their Core Duo models as they begin to appear.

      But is $100-200 justifiable? It certainly sounds like a pretty large markup for a basic system. And by all accounts the MacBook has its fair share of build quali

    • Actually, it is (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LKM (227954)
      I guess this points out that the MacBook Pro isn't "above" anything else

      It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.

      • It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.

        Why? I'm much happier with Linux... the directory names are easier to type, the GNU command-line utilities beat the crap out of the BSD versions most of the time, there's much more software available, features that should be free (virtual desktops, for example) are free, and so on. Why do you like Mac OS X? (Seriously... I'm curious.)

        • It has Mac OS X. For me, that puts it high enough above everything else.

          Why? I'm much happier with Linux...

          That's why I said "for me". I don't claim that Mac OS X is best for everyone, and in fact, the MythTV box in our living room runs Linux (obviously). There are valid reasons to go with Linux over Mac OS X - especially if you know what you're doing.

          For my personal computer, though, I prefer something that actually works for what I want to do and does what I want it to do, and for me, that's a Ma

    • Still too expensive!
  • how timely (Score:3, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:27PM (#15590179)
    Coming up next on Slashdot, Zonk takes a look at Microsoft's latest operating system offering, Windows XP!
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:32PM (#15590232) Journal

    The weakest link in user experience is one of the most important features to have maximum information. This is an ongoing frustration -- for me, the screen is the weakest link in interacting with a computer (assuming disk, cpu, and memory are reasonably up to snuff). If the screen isn't pretty, I ain't happy.

    In this review as often occurs there is little feedback objective or otherwise on the screen quality. From the article:

    The Screen
    TH: I find that the MBP screen has very bad viewing angles, which is extra annoying because it's a laptop (you have to adjust the screen angle all the time). The screen on my 'cheap' Dell Inspiron 6000 is much better in that respect.
    AS: I disagree. Everyone seems to go ga-ga over "Brightview" or whatever they're calling it these days. While it does make the picture crisp, it also adds glare from virtually every other angle. I have no issue with the screen position or angle.
    TH: I'm not talking about the glossy thing; my Inspiron does not have a glossy screen either. What bothers me on the MacBook Pro is how the colours change even when you tilt your head slightly away from the ideal viewing angle, causing me to adjust or my head, or the screen, continuously; this especially reveals itself via the shadows underneath the windows in the MacOS. The Dell does not have this problem, or at least, not as bad as the MacBook Pro.
    AS: I haven't noticed this. I actually find the display to be very bright. I'm in love with the widescreen.
    TH: That's for sure, the brightness and wideness are very much appreciated. I just expected a better viewing angle on a 'pro' laptop.

    I want to know screen resolution! I want to know measured viewing angles! (For $2000, or $2500 you get 1440x900 -- so-so, for $2800 you get 1680x1050 -- not bad, but way too expensive.) I want to know contrast ratios.

    Unfortunately lots if not all of this information is rarely included in discussions and ads for laptops -- I think it's intentional. And, it's the reason I would never buy a notebook or laptop sight-unseen. The screen is something you can't change on a laptop, you'd better be happy with it when you get it. (This has been an excellent policy for me -- I've been very happy with the last several laptops I've had -- if the screen's pretty, I'm happy.)

    • Also (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:45PM (#15590369)
      One thing the artcile neglects to mention is that you have the option of ordering a Macbook Pro with or without a glossy screen.

      Even after seeing them in person I am still unsure which I'd prefer.

      I agree with you it would be nice to see more technical details on the laptop screens.
    • No contrast ratio info, but everything else is easy to find. http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html [apple.com]
    • It sounds like these guys should have tried the glossy screen. I love mine. The colors look wonderful from all kinds of viewing angles. It's the best looking screen I've ever seen, worth every penny. As for the reflections people talk about ... it's all BS. I use mine in the library and never does glare become a problem.
    • I just got a MacBook Pro with the 15" matte screen. The resolution is very clear and sharp (hard to say what I mean by that exactly, but think of the opposite of fuzzy pixels on a CRT display). It is bright enough that I keep it set a few notches below top brightness for normal use. That may be because I'm used to using an iBook G4, which may have been dimming as it got older. I haven't thought much about contrast or response time, but I've seen no sign of trouble.

      However, the color accuracy does suffer mor
    • I want to know screen resolution! I want to know measured viewing angles! (For $2000, or $2500 you get 1440x900 -- so-so, for $2800 you get 1680x1050 -- not bad, but way too expensive.)

      http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html [apple.com]

      Display: 15.4-inch (diagonal), 1440 x 900 resolution, TFT widescreen. 17-inch (diagonal), 1680 x 1050 resolution, TFT widescreen

  • This irked me (Score:1, Interesting)

    by anti-human 1 (911677)

    AS: My closing thoughts: the transition to Intel is nearly complete.

    Umm. No?

    The iPod-centric portion of the Apple lineup is all Intel, but how about a real desktop? What Intel Mac do I want to buy if I'm not making a media center, or going to college, or bringing it with me? What if I just want a fast-as-balls Mac with a full sized keyboard, top of the line video, and expansion slots? Sadly lacking.

    Its not like it matters, as I'll still wait for a while before going to intel. I guess I still carr

    • Re:This irked me (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheGreek (2403) on Friday June 23, 2006 @03:26PM (#15591803)
      AS: My closing thoughts: the transition to Intel is nearly complete.
      Umm. No?

      The iPod-centric portion of the Apple lineup is all Intel, but how about a real desktop?
      Entry-level desktop (Mac Mini): Intel.
      Consumer portable (MacBook): Intel.
      Consumer desktop (iMac): Intel.
      Pro portable (MacBook Pro): Intel.
      Pro desktop (PowerMac): PPC.
      Rack-mount server (Xserve): PPC.

      4/6 of Apple's computer models are now Intel, and these 4/6 comprise the bulk of Apple's sales. The two stragglers await the chips from Intel.

      That Apple's transition isn't complete enough for you doesn't make the transition any less nearing completion.
      • Its the flagship model! Sure, if you look at sales numbers I'm sure the number sold intel:ppc ratio is way up there, but come on. It is the desktop Mac that is missing.

        Maybe its just the way I read the original statement I referenced, but the connotation to me was that the "real" Apple line had jumped ship to Intel, and there were just a few lesser products to be nailed down. A flagship model (powermac or equivalent) should not be classified as such. Xserve is well, considerably more specialized.

        I
        • Maybe its just the way I read the original statement I referenced
          It is.

          I suppose I should expect this though, remember when OSX Server came out? I don't even remember how big the discrepancy was between releases of the server and desktop OS. I guess turtlenecks will do that eh?
          Mac OS X Server 10.0 was very similar to Mac OS X 10.0.

          Mac OS X Server 1.x wasn't like anything else at all.
        • Its the flagship model!

          No, the iMac is the flagship model of Apple Computer, and has been ever since the first one was introduced back in the 1998 Stevenote.

          Their towers are sold to developers, production labs, and a few others, but Apple is a company that sells home computers, and that means the iMac and their laptops.

          I say this as an owner of a dual-G5 tower, who has an old blue-and-white G3 down in the basement and never owned an iMac. It just the way it is.

          Apple does not have an Intel tower yet probab
  • BeOSnews (Score:4, Funny)

    by dr.badass (25287) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:50PM (#15590401) Homepage
    This has got to be the first thing I've read on OSnews where I had to scroll down before the first mention of how great BeOS was.
  • Review (Score:2, Insightful)

    ME: I thought that this review was quite two sided.
    ME: Agreed. There were definitley two points of view on most of the subject covered.
    ME: I think that a review should be more talking about pros/cons and not just agreeing with another editor.
    ME: I totally dissagree! Seeing two people converse about a certain item seems to get the point across quiet nice!
    ME: Dude! Shut up about your DELL!
    ME: Agreed. Dell is quite the SUX0R!
  • I've been thinking about changing for one of them new MacBooks, but to be honest the new generation of Apple Intel powered notebooks don't overly impress me (same critics as in the review).
    What upsets me the most is the lack of autonomy; whereas the old iBooks held up to +5H, the new ones only last for 3.5H, not enough for a day's work.

    I sure hope that the next generation of Intel Chips will consume less, so they can bump up the autonomy.
  • by bloosqr (33593) on Friday June 23, 2006 @12:58PM (#15590487) Homepage
    Ha I just got a macbook pro two days ago (for free via work). My previous laptop was a powerbook g4 running at 1.333 (which wasn't that old to be honest). The heat issue people are talking about really does seem to be a problem. It feels much warmer than it should be. The keyboard is medium warm (it'd be brilliant in winter i guess!) and the underside is plain hot.

    The machine is definitely nice and speedy though. The fact that the "emulation" mode works so well however I honestly a reflection of how bad the old motorola g4 chips were. I benchmarked code on the g4 and it was about as fast as my old p3 800 that it replaced. Native apps work remarkably well (as they should) and emulated apps aka word seem at least as fast as on the motorola chip. I have a feeling these machines will likely really shine once everything goes universal binary.

    Where the machine really shines is some of their attention to detail. The camera built into the screen is seriously genius in this day and age of ichat/aim and everyone being permantly logged in. The new frontrow app is so awesome I actually ported that over to my desktop g5 machine at home. (where it is a bit more useful). The weird glowing keyboard thing is a bit pointless if you know how to type but is eye candy, and a fun way.

    Battery life: If I unplug it it says I get 3 hours off of it which is about what my old g4 got when I first bought it. (I am surprised the # is that high considering how much heat this thing generates).

    Other random things, the machine is dual core but the version of top that it comes w/ only shows one cpu (this is my first dual core machine). I have not benchmarked the machine but i have a feeling it'll be decent. I did try running two video/quicktime apps simultaneously and it seems like each app gets 50% of "the cpu" via top and it doesn't seem like they are both running as if alone (some of that may be drive issues of course, but i have 2 gigs of ram so it should be able to cache it). At least in theory having a dual core unix laptop is totally sex :)

    I'll benchmark our mpich/g++ code soon just for fun. Hopefully there is an intel port of their compiler as that is going to make a huge difference. (I had heard somewhere apple had compiled the OS/apps using intels compilers, i hope thats true, i do know however they never used xlc/xlf aka ibm's compiler for the ppc machines).

    Incidentally, I think the screen isn't as bright as I was expecting it would be (but same as the g4) and my keyboard "squeeks" in a weird way when i type!

    -bloosqr

    • So you install an app onto a computer, and you've "ported" it? That's like saying the Linux kernel is just a bunch of .h and .c files, with some comments.

      An überhacker you ain't.
      • Re:Ported? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bloosqr (33593)
        No i didn't mean port in that sense obviously, Frontrow does not natively run on the power machines because it officially wants a built in IR module on the machine , so there is a bit of trickery involved w/ getting the the power G5 machine to think its got the IR built in.

    • The fact that the "emulation" mode works so well however I honestly a reflection of how bad the old motorola g4 chips were.
      The PowerPC, G3, G4, and G5 were all IBM. Motorola made the 68k series which was used in Macs before the PowerPC.
  • by mccalli (323026) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:04PM (#15590537) Homepage
    I own a 15" 1.83Ghz MacBook Pro, and the whine is appalling on it. As of yesterday, there's now a programme for swapping the logic boards out. That story takes place in the US - I've just called in the UK and found that although the swap exists, I'll have to go in to an Apple service centre to get the fault confirmed before I can go ahead with it.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • That was a mirror of conversations I had with when they received their units MONTHS ago. Maybe better to call this "Impressions" since neither seemed interested in any real review details. Form and finish are nice, but a lot of folks want to see numbers, or relatively clear comparisons of speed.

    I bought my MBP 15" back in May and have been fairly well satisfied. 90% of my apps are now native mac apps ( 50% are universal ) - definitely need MORE universal apps...

    And, to provide a benchmark of anything I

    • Computer games are enough of a distraction as it is.

      I have a Wintendo for running games, and it stays at home. There's already too many games that run on my Macbook Pro as it is, but luckily I don't like most of them. The last thing I want is a wider selection of timewasters.
  • I am happy (Score:3, Informative)

    by tsa (15680) on Friday June 23, 2006 @01:33PM (#15590821) Homepage
    I bought a MacBook Pro four weeks ago, and I was a bit afraid of problems after reading all the horrorstories on the Internet. But I have no whine, and although it can get quite hot, it also cools down fairly quickly when it doesn't have to work hard. I'm happy with the wide screen, and the battery life (3 hours if I just surf the web and do email). The reception is comparable the that of the iBook G4 I had. All in all, I am very satisfied with my shiny new MBP. The only thing I don't like about it is the size; if there had been one with the size of the MacBook I would have bought that one.
    • I'm also the happy owner of a MacBook Pro (2.16Ghz w 2GB RAM) - an upgrade from a Pismo that just wouldn't die. I keep reading reports of strange noises, bulges and blemishes, but I haven't experienced anything out of the ordinary. My processor temp reads 149 degrees F. and I've been using it "normally" for several hours. It's warm to the touch around the keyboard, but not at all uncomfortable. The bottom is warmer, but I can still comfortably keep my hand on it.
  • Prototypical of 1.0 products, Intel laptops running Apple's MacOS X are a step forward. The products exhibit problems concurrent with innovation in areas of battery, screen, keyboard as well as software. 2nd generation versions will fix the problems, then rollout solid product in the 3rd Generation.

    Wait, buy 3rd generation, sometime in the late fall of 2006.
    • But, Apple has been using the same form factor in aluminum Power/Mac book pros for over 3 years now. Shouldn't the current MacBook Pros be like generation 4 of the line? While I would agree that anything related to the Intel chip and sub-system (such as power savings and battery life) might be prone to flaky gen 1.0 like issues, the screen, battery, cooling, finish and keyboard should all pretty much be flawless.

      I don't agree with the idea that this is Apple's first kick at the can. Having screens which
  • The high speed memory bus that makes it run so fast is greatly appreciated, though I'd rather have had a Freescale MP8641D (which would have even more memory bandwidth than the Core Duo), it seems like Freescale dropped the ball... or they just took it and went home when Apple dumped their product line in 2005.

    They keyboard is just as bad as the Powerbooks, and the one-button trackpad is all but unusable even with Sidetrack to simulate 2 buttons. When I say "bad", by the way, I mean "a couple of days using it and my RSI was flaring up again". I got a tiny bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and even if my boss thinks I'm nuts for using it with a Logitech keyboard balanced on it my wrists aren't hurting any more.

    They really need to get Lenovo to make a "businessman's macbook" with a Thinkpad shell and keyboard, and Apple's electronics. I don't miss Windows on my Thinkpad at all, but I sure miss that keyboard. And I prefer the Thinkpad's white LED above the screen that illuminated the whole keyboard area to the illuminated keys.

    The speakers are (as they say) apalling, but it's not just the speakers. I get more distortion at the same volume level over my harman/kardon speaker system than with my Mac mini. They really need to do something about the whole audio system.

    And they need to release a software or firmware upgrade to let us choose between running the fans more and running the computer hotter. I'd be happy to have the fans whooshing away most of the time if it let me actually use my laptop in my lap!

    Rosetta works pretty well, but it's all-or-nothing. I've got a boatload of plugins and drivers I can't use until they get upgraded... and since some are abandonware I suspect I'm going to have to find replacements. The big one that may be a show stopper is Palm Hotsync, unless I can find some kind of bridge... I am not using iSync with my Palm, its syncing model if you have multiple computers is completely screwed up unless you use ".MAC", possibly deliberately so.

    Wake from sleep is completely unreliable. I've taken to unplugging everything and waiting half a minute before closing the lid, but last night even that failed.

    Parallel's Desktop is pretty well done. It's apalling that it's necessary, but I'm grateful that it's possible. Palm Desktop and Hotsync still runs under Windows, maybe I can keep synced that way.
    • Completely agree about the keyboard/trackpad issues. I have a PowerBook G4, and while it's fine for desktop usage, I actively avoid taking it places just because of the noobishness and poor feel of the keyboard and trackpad. And what's the point of a laptop if you don't want use it on the go?

      I would really like to give Apple $2500 and replace my Windows laptop, and almost did, but that's a lot of money for a machine with such obvious flaws. Now with the hardware issues, I'm really glad I waited, figuring ev
  • Some of the MacBook Pros have a faulty motherboard causing kernel panics when using a wireless connection. See this thread [apple.com] for details, but the upshot is that if you buy a MBP, it might be a good idea to download some big files over wireless immediately, so if you have this problem you can get a replacement computer immediately. There is some short window (one or two weeks?) within which you can get the computer declared DOA, and if you find out about the problem after that you will have to send the compute
  • Say, I'm looking at getting my first Mac notebook (have a PPC Mac Mini and love it), but am very concerned about these heat issues (reboots when watching DVDs, too much thermal paste, etc.). Can anyone tell me how I can know for sure when version two (of either the MacBook or MacBook Pro) comes out and if it fixes this serious issue? (I'd prefer to get notified as opposed to occasional visiting of some 'mac rumor' website)
    • My MBP gets so hot underneath that it burns my fingers. But I have found the perfect low-tech solution to it.

      It's a thing called "Lapinator" which costs about $25 and is a very well thought out simple solution. It insulates the bottom of my laptop so the surface underneath barely gets warm at all. And it still gives some air circulation to the laptop too.

      I have no connection with them at all, I'm just a very happy customer. The standard one is plenty big enough for a 17" MBPro.

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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