Product review: Apple MacBookPro

20 Mar 2007

I’m not an Apple activist: I was born and bred on PCs and only recently purchased my first MacBook, having never used an Apple notebook before. Getting used to the interface and Apple shortcut keys can be difficult at first but once you have that down it’s all plain sailing from there.

Being the owner of a 13.5-inch MacBook I was pretty excited to get my hands on the 15-inch MacBookPro. It has a beautiful brushed aluminium exterior but I was secretly dissapointed when I saw it because I’m used to Apple’s trademark shiny white design, which reminds me of Stormtroopers, 2001: A Space Oddysey and all things retro-futuristic.

It does, however, deliver on the usual minimalistic style typical of Apple. The speakers and microphone are tucked away to either side of the keyboard and the built-in camera for online chatting and the addictive Photo Booth is tucked away over the screen where it can barely be seen.

It comes with a remote that looks like a tiny iPod, complete with click wheel navigation. This controls Front Row, Apple’s eye-catching answer to Media centre.

The keyboard is a bit too small for my liking though and is situated on the top half of the chassis, leaving almost half of it unused on either side of the mousepad. Also the metal finish on the mousepad can get slightly slippery after hours of using it, leaving the grip and control slightly compromised. The best thing about the pad is the scrolling function: dragging two fingers downwards automatically scrolls down a page. This has become second nature to me and is ingenious and time saving. On the other hand there is no right click, which will really annoy seasoned PC users. Control and click have to be pressed at the same time instead.

One new feature which I tested out inadvertently within hours of using the MacBookPro is the MagSafe power lead. I tripped over the cable and instead of knocking the entire machine to the ground it magnetically detached, leaving the notebook on the table. This feature should be included on every notebook.

I also liked the backlit keyboard: it lights up automatically when the ambient light drops below a certain level, which is great for working on a train or plane at night. And thankfully it hums away pretty silently in the background but don’t leave it directly on your lap for too long because the battery can get uncomftably warm.

Traditionally, Apple notebooks and desktops were seen as the choice of the graphic designer but this is no longer the case since they introduced the Intel processor. The gap between the Mac and the PC is rapidly closing and the new Boot Camp application enables a Mac to run Windows XP so any serious PC gamer should be convinced to give it a try.

Finally, the only real misgiving I would have about buying a MacBookPro is the considerable price tag. Like all Apple products it is expensive but an investment and a smart buy for the digital citizen as it comes loaded with lifestyle software such as iWeb, iPhoto, iTunes, iChat and GarageBand.

The MacBookPro is priced at €2,019 for the 2.16Ghz with 1GB RAM and €2,519 for the 2.33 Ghz with 2GB RAM. It is available from 3G stores and from the Apple store online at

By Marie Boran