Going Portable. My new MacBook Pro.

Date March 28, 2009

15 Macbook Pro

A number of things aligned in such a way lately that I decided to pull the trigger on a new MacBook Pro (MBP for short).  I got the 15.4″ unibody late 2008 model, with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 2 GB of RAM which I’ll probably upgrade later on (I just read that 8GB kits are available).

I considered getting the smaller 13″ Macbook as it is equally as fast and would be quite portable at only 4.5 lbs, but ultimately I decided that for my purposes, I would need a larger screen.  As an amateur photographer I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop quite a bit.  I could probably use Photoshop on a smaller screen, but Lightroom really demands a fair amount of screen real estate in order to get the most out of it.  That being said, the Pro model also includes a faster graphics processor which has its benefits as well, especially with the latest version of Photoshop CS4.

First Impressions

I knew I’d be happy with my MBP as Apple hasn’t disappointed me in the past with any of their hardware offerings such as ipods, iphone, etc.  Plus, I’ve read many good things about the macbook line including how they are the fastest notebooks even when running Windows.  So far I’m a very happy customer!

I’m not going to outline all the features of the MBP in this post.  You can find all the info you need on Apple’s website.  I will, however, talk about what I find are the most notable points of this laptop:

1. Multi-touch trackpad.  I didn’t think it would be that impressive.  Being a mouse-in-hand type guy until I got this laptop last week I always assumed trackpads were horrible devices only to be used in emergencies as a last resort.  But this trackpad is vastly superior to anything else I’ve ever used.  The texture is fantastic.  Your finger does not stick, and it just glides smoothly over the surface.  The use of multitouch is probably the best invention on a notebook since the invention of the touchpad.  I do not miss the mouse at all, and I think this is actually more intuitive for scrolling in all directions.  Using two fingers you can scroll up, down, left, right and anything in between.  This comes in pretty handy on large webpages.

2. Noise, or lack of noise I should say.  This laptop is by far the quietest machine I’ve ever used.  For a while I thought I heard the fans running, which was bothering me because the machine was running quite cool, but it turns out that the noise I heard was the hard drive spinning.  You can only hear this in extremely quiet environments, but it’s there.  I’m not sure if this is a design flaw or not, it doesn’t really bother me anyways.

3. Size.  This laptop is thin and relatively light compared to its competition.  There is something to be said about a thin notebook.  It becomes that much easier to carry around.

4. Unibody design.  Apple really nailed this design feature by using a solid piece of aluminum as the case and key structural component of the laptop.  By doing this, they are able to make the laptop much thinner and lighter while also making it feel much more solid.  There is no flexing, or creaking of plastic panels on this machine.  It feels like a solid metal plate.

5. Last but not least is the smooth, minimalist design of the notebook.  The screen has a glass cover that extends to about 1/8″ from the edges and is flush with them.  This keeps things neat and tidy with no dust gathering between the LCD and the bezel.  Also, on the main body around the keyboard the design is very simple.  Very tiny holes are drilled for the speakers, and aside from the touchpad and inconspicuous power button, there is nothing else to clutter the design.  The power button is located in the top right of the main body and is mounted flush with the aluminum body.  This being my first Macbook, it took me a minute or so to locate the button!

Conclusions

I’ve had this machine for just over a month now.  I’ve used it quite a bit for day-to-day activities and fairly hardcore photography work.  I have never once wished I had an external mouse, or a faster processor.  I may invest in more RAM later as Lightroom 2 and Photoshop tend to like lots of the stuff and swapping between them can slow things down a little bit.  When running graphics or CPU intensive applications, the machine will get quite warm.  The fans will try to cool down the system but you won’t really notice them which is a really nice feature.

I have not run windows on this machine yet, but I’m sure it would run quite well.  I would definitely miss the benefits of multitouch and would likely need an external mouse, though I can’t say this for certain.  As well, windows might run slower due to its inferior architecture.  I’m a fan of OS X as it is essentially unix.  It runs quite well and I’ve never had any issues with it.  In fact, OS X might be the one feature that drew me towards Apple in the first place!

One Response to “Going Portable. My new MacBook Pro.”

  1. Tony Hoang said:

    Hey about your macbook pro getting a little warm, try download smc fan control. it’s a little application where you can adjust the speed of your fans. the default is 2000rpm, adjust it to around 2500rpms. this is better as it makes the cooling down process better for your laptop before it actually gets to the point where the fans need to increase its speed.

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