2009 MacBook Pro Review


12.06.2009

The new 2009 MacBook Pros from Apple are certainly going to bring a smile to the Mac-loving people and other as well.  Apple just made a “double-score” by lowering the prices and improving the performance to their Pro line. The 15-inch version now starts at $1699 and caps out at $2299 compared to the old price tag of $1999 and $2499. Furthermore, the 13-inch Macbook just got “promoted” to the Pro line by being given a nicer screen and a Firewire port making it virtually the same as the other Pros.

One of the major changes in the Pro line is the non-user replaceable battery that has been “borrowed” from the 17-inch Macbook Pro. It’s a lithium-polymer that improves the battery life at the cost of not being able to be changed “in the field”. For some, this is a good thing while for other this may be a thumbs-down. The battery lasts 1000 charge cycles, which put through about 200 cycles a year gives you about 5 years of usage.  With one charge a day this translates in about a 3 year lifetime. After your battery is dead you need to buy a $129 replacement. ( shipping, labor and disposal included in the price)

From a test with medium brightness, Wi-Fi on, keyboard backlight on low, H.264 movie the 13-inch MacBook Pro managed to stay alive for about 3:31 compared to the 3:46 of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. The 2009 line seems to get about an hour of extra battery life compared to the previous models. This comes from the new non-user replaceable battery that most of the users won’t mind about or notice.

The other change is the removal of the ExpressCard slot which has been replaced with an SD card slot. Apple said that only a “single digit” amout of customers used the Express Card in contrast with the tons of people who have digital cameras or other devices that make use of the SD card. This is a smart move from which a lot of people will take advantage. Still, if you want an ExpressCard slot, you can still find it on the 17-inch MacBook pro.

Next up is the improved LED-backlit display, which comes with a 60% greater color gamut than the previous versions. This means that even cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro will have a quality display. The previous 13-inch MacBook didn’t do as well in the display “department” and had a noticeable inferior screen to the Pros.  From tests, the new 13-inch and 15-inch models have identical screens and both were superior when compared to the older models.

Even though the removable latch has been changed in favor of a screwed in panel, the hard drive and RAM can still be accessed by removing the ten screws and lifting off the back, and this should not take more than 10 minutes.

The 13-inch model has only 1 audio port, that supports both digital in and out, so if you need simultaneous in and out you might want to go for the 15-inch model or buy an USB audio adapter which you can find quite cheap.

All in all the new Pros are even more desirable being cheaper, faster and packed with more consumer-friendly features. Adding to this the fact that it now has a 13-inch model for even more portability bump, it is easy to see why this move doesn’t have any bad things.

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