The Bottom Line
- Stylish And Durable Aluminum Chassis
- Hybrid Graphics System
- Long Battery Life
- Limited Number Of USB Ports That Are Too Close Together
- Auto Switching Graphics Sometimes Default To Dedicated Graphics When It Isn't Necessary
- Intel Core i5-520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.4" WXGA+ (1440x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 256MB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Mini DisplayPort, SD Card Slot
- 14.4" x 9.8" x 1" @ 5.6 lbs.
- Mac OSX 10.6, iLife
Guide Review - Apple MacBook Pro 15 15.4-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC Review
May 4 2010 - Apple's spring 2010 refresh of the MacBook Pro 15 brings with it the much anticipated Intel Core i5 processor that helps bring its performance back up to what the Windows based competition has had for several months. The base model uses the Core i5-520M that provides a significant boost over the previous Core 2 Duo models. The added performance also seems to have added a bit of heat to the system as well. This version seems to be a bit hotter on the exterior aluminum chassis than the last version.
The other major change to the 2010 MacBook Pro 15 is the graphics system. The past model introduced a hybrid graphics system that switched between an NVIDIA integrated and dedicated graphics processor. This process was manually done by the user which was cumbersome when users wanted to switch between applications that could benefit from the dedicated unit. Apple has developed a new automatic hybrid system that switches between a less powerful Intel integrated solution and a newer GeForce GT 330M graphics processor with a fairly limited 256MB memory. Overall this works quite well but there are some quirks that people should be aware of that I will mention later. Gamers might be disappointed at the limited memory that will restrict some high resolution gaming.
Battery life for the Apple MacBook Pro 15 is still the best in the class thanks to the large integrated Lithium-Polymer battery pack. Through DVD playback tests, the system can easily achieve over five hours of playback time. Apple claims the system can run for over eight hours and this claim will bear out in more typical web usage but there is a caveat. If applications are used that switch on the dedicated graphics, battery life can be decreased. Right now, there are some software quirks where some applications that don't typically need the dedicated are switching on and sometimes not switching it back off. Even with the graphics on, the system still beats many similar sized laptops for running time.
Peripheral ports are still a major problem with the MacBook Pro 15. The exterior case design has not been altered from the original unibody aluminum case. While the case has some of the best overall feel and durability on the market, the two USB ports really limits the number of peripherals that can be used. The ports are also placed so close together than some larger USB devices such as thumb drives and prevent the second port from even being used. Apple should really consider redoing the layout for some extra spacing at least.
Finally, we come to the issue that many people have with Apple. The price of base model of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 has increased by $100 from $1699 to $1799. The processor improvements are certainly welcome but the added cost pushes the system even further away from the competition.