Macbook Pro 17″ unibody is the King of all the laptops from Apple. Its bigger and better in every aspect, when compared to all the other laptops from Apple which include the Macbook Aluminum Unibody, the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro 13″ and 15″. Apple calls it “world’s thinnest and lightest 17-inch notebook” and we cannot disagree. Its sleek and thin, with the Aluminum body that’s made of a single exterior covering, similar to the smaller Macbook Pro laptops. The 17″ model has a lot to talk about, but would it be a laptop of choice for people who want to get their hands on a high-specifications laptop” Lets see.
After a few years, Apple had finally decided to change the way Macbook Pro looks, and they introduced the Aluminum unibody design with everything packed into a single enclosure, first in the 13″ and 15″ and then later into the 17″ model. Ever since the Apple Macbook Air was launched, the designs of other laptops have seen a lot of betterment, and the esthetic feel of Macbook Pro has a nice appeal, with a single aluminum bar that packs the entire base and sides which not only looks better, but also gives more strength to the laptop, than those assembled-looking Macbook Pro earlier. The area around the screen is black, in contrast to the aluminum shine on the base section. That suits the shiny screen and the Aluminum metal shade.
The Pro has rounded corners, and sharp edges which Apple continued to maintain from the iMac. The keyboard, trackpad are both having certain things to be highlighted, which you will read later below. Usually with the increase in screen size, the thickness of laptops too proportionately rise, but here there is no much change in the thickness. The difference is just 0.03″ between the 17″ and 13″ Macbook Pro. And its thin! The 0.98″ can say that.
The Aluminum body is for sure advantageous over the polycarbonate material, being scratch-resistant. Although I won’t say it won’t get scratches at all, but still they would not be easily visible. One more esthetic advantage. On the either side of the depressed keyboard, you see the in-built stereo speakers, extending the breadth of the keyboard. The left panel includes the Magsafe power adapter, gigabit ethernet, Firewire 800, Mini DisplayPort, 3 USB slots, Audio In/Out sockets, Expresscard/34 slot, and the battery indicator lights. The battery indicator lights were seen at the bottom earlier, when the unibody design was not introduced, but now in the side panel. The unibody Macbook 13″ and 15″ doesn’t include the battery indicator at all, as the base was covered by a rubber sheet. There are no video adapters included with the Pro, but the Mini DisplayPort supports VGA, DVI, and dual-link DVI video output if the appropriate adapters are available.
Because of the wide stereo speakers, there is a lot of space available to place your hands with comfort, to type and drag the fingers on the trackpad. Also, the lock to prevent theft, is shifted to right, beside the CD/DVD drive from the left side in all the previous macbooks. The Apple logo on the side behind screen is white and not transparent, which gets more brighter when you switch the laptop on. The latch has become a lot better, which doesn’t need you to pull hard to lift the screen (or is it the lighter weight of the screen body that makes it lift easily”) and there is an InfraRed receiver beside the sleep indicator.
Screen display graphics
First thing I focused on, was the gaming. Keep everything else aside, the Macbook Pro has awesome graphics display for gaming in it. The graphics intensive games that run with 3D, and those applications which require heavy graphics to run, work pretty well in here because of the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M processor and power-efficient integrated Intel HD Graphics. Every Macbook Pro has a LED-backlit display, with the wide-angle viewing ability where the video and picture display from various sides and angles is the same, and the display gets stronger due to the ultrathin glass enclosure. The silver-lined screens with a pretty bad look are replaced by the black-matte glass screen that is bordered by the iPhone-like metal finish. The integrated intel HD graphics is a power saver as Apple claims. And one of the impressive features, is that the Macbook Pro automatically changes the settings and preferences of display etc. in accordance to the type of application used. You always shouldn’t need to change the settings manually. If you want to have a cooler experience on your eyes, you can have an anti-glare display too.
Performance and media review
MacBook Pro 17″ is the strongest of all the siblings it has in the Apple’s line of laptops. It includes the Intel Core i7 and i5 processor, that straightly boosts up the performance by more than 50%, when compared to the previous generations. Its super fast, while playing games, working on multiple applications, working on Windows and any other activity. The model I got has the Intel Core i5 processor, 2.53 GHz processor speed, 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of Memory. The previous version of 17″ MacBook Pro which had 2.8 GHz core 2 duo processing speed, was still slower than this new one with 2.53 GHz, as the latter has got a new processer and many internal changes that are optimized to make the system faster. The video and photo editing tools like Aperture Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and others like 3D games run without a break, at a good speed which no other MacBook or Pro can produce.
The MBP17 gets heated up very much when heavy apps are opened for long, and the iStat Pro showed the temperature reaching 80-degree at the maximum memory usage and long hours. That’s not extreme as the previous MacBooks could reach triple figure temperature. But, I miss the rubber base which the 13″ and 15″ MacBook has, all the Aluminum bodied MacBook Pro laptops have just the aluminum material, and no rubber base. So the heat can be felt very easily while using it on your lap.
The stereo speakers, totaling 5 in number have a heavy bass and appeal too high. They are good enough to sound more than 400% volume through VLC player from a normal MacBook.
There is nothing new or special that you would find here. Apple maintains a list of applications that it would be packing in every Mac, which includes the iChat, iMovie, iTunes, Quicktime player (which is improved a lot), iDVD, iWeb, Photo Booth, iCal, Safari browser, Mail.app and lot more in the utilities. That’s more than enough for someone to start off with a Macbook. The iSight camera provided the same picture quality to the other Macbooks when clicked through its Photo Booth application. And broadcasting through iChat, Skype is pretty good. The same Photo Booth can be used for recording good quality videos through the iSight camera.
But as always, you are limited to home usage applications, and you might have to buy the iWork or Microsoft Office for Mac separately, which would be a must as Macbook Pro is mostly used for such heavy documentation and stuff.
The battery lasts for 8-9 hours just as Apple claims, but that’s when you are using normally with a couple apps running with Wi-Fi on. Results vary to a wide range when you change the settings and usage. While using the Mac Pro with Wi-Fi and minimal web browsing, on medium brightness, with the speakers in use for music, the battery lasted for 7.5 hours. The same without any music, took it to 9 hours. On heavy usage, includes few apps together and full HD videos in full brightness, the battery lasted for around 4 hours. Battery life is saved more by the in-built Intel HD graphics in Core i5 processor, which switches the graphics in various applications automatically. Things such as putting the hard drive to sleep when not in use, automatically reducing the brightness of the screen, before making the mac sleep help in improving the battery performance. The battery is expanded than before, and now it can be recharged for 1000 times. That’s nearly 3 times more than the normal laptops, and at least double to that of the previous MacBooks.
AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking2 on IEEE 802.11n specification, 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.1 technology are the primary connectivity options. Files sent through bluetooth move faster between 2 apple products, than any other.
Except the pricing, everything is great. So, if you have set a low or average budget for your purchase, forget about the Macbook Pro 17″, as it costs you more than anything. You would see great alternatives. But for a flexible budget, Macbook Pro is the one you should consider getting if you want it for heavy work, office use and to show-off. The design, the battery life, and the metal-make, everything speaks up for it. For an Apple user, its a good upgrade. But for any new user who’s planning to get their hands on Apple from Windows, better go for a basic Mac rather than the Pro. It costs you a lot, you will hate it soon for that reason.
Pros and Cons of Macbook Pro
- The unibody – This makes the laptop look far better than the previous ones. A single piece of thin aluminum that makes the Macbook Pro look neater, and stronger.
- Automatic graphic switching – This is a battery saver, time saver and an ultimate feature. You won’t need to keep optimizing the graphics and brightness, its done automatically.
- Battery life – The new battery got bigger, and has a life that can help you use the laptop wirelessly for long hours, at least for 7-8 hours at normal usage.
- Simple and thin design – Am an Apple fanboy, so bound to appreciate every design. But this Macbook Pro has the design that really deserves the appreciation. Beautifully done and compact packed.
- Cooler and quite – The polycarbonate bodies are normal and blending the temperature of the surroundings, but the Macbook Pro with aluminum body is normally cooler in touch, and rarely makes the heavy buzzing sounds when it gets heated up.
- Expensive – Not everyone can afford buying it, except for those who feel the need of an Apple laptop with heavy specifications. I would rather go for any Windows alternative like Sony Vaio or Dell with similar specs and install Mac OS in it, if needed.
- Non-removable battery – All the unibody laptops have got this disadvantage. You can’t replace the battery by yourself.
- No memory card slot – When Apple is providing so many slots and sockets, they should have considered including a Memory card slot, for easier transfer for photos from cameras, or other devices. Why do we need to buy all the accessories separately and pay a big sum already for the Mac”
- Heating up – As mentioned earlier, the non-rubber aluminum base gets heated up to an extent that your laps can’t bear it. It doesn’t happen always, but when its hot there is no other option than leaving the Pro switched off or at sleep.
Comparison with Apple Macbook Pro 15″
Comparing with the 15″ MacBook Pro, it supports 8GB of RAM while the MBP15 only supports 4GB, the MBP17 includes a 256GB SSD option while the MBP15 only a 128GB. The MBP17 has 3 USB slots, one extra than MBP15, and the speakers in MBP17 are far more responsive, totaling 5 in number. Comparing with the previous 17″ MacBook Pro, it has a 40% larger battery, which is needed for such big specifications and to deliver long battery life, the color gamut is 60% wider in the same resolution, and the biggest of all – Unibody structure.