|Positive points about your laptop:
||Choosing a notebook is quite a difficult task because of the number of options one can look at. When I was choosing a notebook, the two most important things in my mind were performance and portability.
Now it is quite well known that a notebook that is a desktop replacement is generally not that easy to carry around but since I need a computer wherever I go, portability got a higher priority.
I have generally had a bad experience with HP(I've owned 3 in the past, none of them lasted), their notebooks tend to start giving problems just a day after the limited warranty expires. The three brands I was looking at were Sony, Dell and Apple.
In the hardware section, I was looking to buy a notebook with a 15? display, dedicated(not shared with system memory) Direct X 10 capable graphics, 1GB memory, 80GB HDD. That was the bare minimum I was going to settle for. When I saw the base configuration of the Macbook Pro, I fell in love with everything but it's price.
After a little research though, it turns out that Dell and Sony's notebooks with an identical configuration turned out to be more expensive than what Apple was offering. The decision was already made. The MacBook Pro(2.2Ghz C2D, 2GB 667MHz RAM, 128MB NVidia 8600M GT, 120GB HDD, Bluetooth 2.1, Wireless-N and Apple Remote) weighing just 5.4 pounds(2.45 kgs) had just been ordered through their online education store.
The cost of this system was $1799 after a $200 education customer discount. Great bang-to-buck ratio. The only reason I was even looking at the MacBook Pro was because it now supported Windows, and I wasn't really interested in using Linux(although through Virtualisation, it's still possible).
When I got my MacBook Pro, it had already been tried and tested as I did not want to look at a malfunctioning machine after it had travelled 8000 miles. So when I first turned on the machine to hear the signature chime, I reached my OS X desktop in 22 seconds.
This Macbook Pro, is blazing fast. Most universal applications open after a 2-3 dock bounces. Because the system runs on 2 cores launching multiple applications at the same time does not affect their startup times by very much.
While using Windows XP through VMWare Fusion, I've seen that the performance of non-graphics-intensive applications is unaltered. In fact, I prefer using Office 2007 in Unity mode as it is more responsive than Office 2004 which runs on Rosetta emulation. Pushing the 2GB memory standard throughout the MacBook Pro line is a great decision and makes the machine more future-ready as I see myself using not more than 900MB of memory with 5 applications and VMware Fusion running side by side.
Keyboard and Trackpad
I've used a MacBook for a couple of months and I was no fan of the chicklet keys Apple uses on them. I also always felt the placement of keys were a little strange on the MacBook. I do not have any of these complaints with the MacBook Pro, it's keyboard provides great tactile feedback and the spacing is excellent which helps prevent accidental trackpad activity.The trackpad is much bigger than on most notebooks and the two finger scrolling technique is really excellent. The two finger detection clearly shows that there is scope for more software based trackpad gestures. The one biggest complaint I have in this section is the single mouse button which Apple continues to use with all it's notebooks. If Apple had been smart enough to include the secondary click on the Mighty Mouse, they might as well include it on their notebooks. Because of the sensitivity, the two finger scroll is often recognised as a two finger tap which brings up the right-click menu.
The 15.4? display is bright, and the glossy screen seems to be better than the ones used on the regular MacBooks as it doesn't behave like a mirror. There have also been a couple of lawsuits against Apple for using screen dithering to artificially increase the number of colours on the display, although I haven't really noticed anything yet. If you are interested in digital photography or like colours the way they are, I'd recommend not choosing the glossy display.
Almost all the applications I use are now Universal, which means they are no longer emulated through Rosetta. Memory usage has thus been reduced considerably and the increase in application response is quite easy to note.
Heat and Cooling
The amount of heat generated has remained a constant complaint since the MacBook Pro was released and if I go by what the iStat Pro widget tells me, the wireless card generates more heat than the under-clocked graphic card does. The system temperature remains under 45 degrees celcius with normal tasks running in the background(iTunes, Safari and Word 2007) but with graphics intensive applications it tends to go upto 60 degrees. Keeping it on your lap may not ideal if it has been on for more than 2 hours.
Whatever you may say, the speakers on the MacBook Pro are after all notebook-speakers. Although they are better than the ones on the Inspiron 6400 I've used they don't come close to matching the quality of sound output you get from the Altec Lansing speakers which come with most HP notebooks today. I use my iLuv earbuds when I need to listen to something in a crowded place, both the sound quality and loudness see a notable increase.
The battery bundled with the MacBook Pro is excellent, it lasts about 4 hours when I set the display brightness to half and have my keyboard backlit. Though very surprising, Windows Vista is a lot better at power management than Windows XP. While using Windows XP, my battery gets drained in 1.5 hours while I'm able to get 2 out of Vista. It even runs a lot cooler than XP. Very, very surprising.Don't expect your battery to run for more than an hour if you're playing a game like Half Life 2 with all display settings at max.
The games that I've tested on this machine are Fifa 07, Need For Speed Most Wanted, Half-Life 2 and Halo 2. I'm playing all games at full resolution, with all shaders enabled. What I see on the screen is excellent, but the overall performance isn't good because of the 5400RPM drive on the MacBook Pro. Accessing game data is quite a painful task, and the game tends to be slower than on the desktop equivalents for this very reason. If you're buying this machine for gaming, go and get yourself a 7200RPM drive as it will really improve it's performance.Did I mention that the graphic card is underclocked? That's nothing to complain about, 60 degrees Celsius is already high enough.
Transgaming's Cider Engine gives your Mac the capability of running Windows-based games without starting Windows and they run at almost native speed. This must be the best thing that has ever happened to Mac gaming, because gamers don't choose Macs because of the limited choice of games for Mac OS.
I'm mentioning design at last for a very good reason. The MBP has almost everything you'd want from a gaming machine, and everything from a desktop replacement. It's all aluminium(another reason for heat dissipation) which is really classy and the machine is very sturdy. The ports have been placed on the sides of the MacBook Pro, which is a real blessing as I don't have to turn it around to access all the ports(2 USB, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, Ethernet, Mini-DVI, Security, Audio In + Out, express card slot).
The notebook is just an inch thin, and weighs 5.4 pounds. The glowing Apple logo looks really cool. The ambient light sensors which automatically dim the display and enable the keyboard backlight are now something I cannot live without. The sudden motion sensors lock the hard drive in the event of sudden motion that might cause it unwanted damage.
Every MacBook Pro comes with Mac OS X Leopard and iLife 08 right now. I'm not a big fan of iMovie 08 but like all the other changes that have been made throughout the software suite. Apple bundles all your software installation resources on DVDs instead of creating useless partitions on your HDD like HP does. I'm a little concerned about security because anyone who has the restore discs has open access to your computer, as they can reset your password using them. This may not affect many people, but it is certainly a big concern.
I'm really happy with the performance of this machine and something tells me I'm going to be using this for a very long time. It's build quality also increases my loyalty towards Apple and my future notebook purchases may also be from the Apple Store. Hardware is something you can find everywhere, but the way it is bundled makes a big difference and in this case it is so good that it just got the T3 Drop Dead Gorgeous Award.
It might not be ultra portable, but it's just right. It doesn't hurt my back and is lighter than most of the books I carry to college. Other things I've noted are that the graphic card is excellent, and paying an additional $500 for just a 256MB increase in graphics memory isn't a very good idea. But if you've got the money, it's another way of increasing your system's future-readiness.