The Bottom Line
- Styllish And Durable Aluminum Case
- Strong Performance
- Above Average Battery Life
- Limited Number Of Peripheral Ports
- Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 3GB PC3-8500 DDR2 Memory
- 250GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.4" WXGA+ (1440x900) LED Backlist Display With iSight Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512MB Dedicated Graphics And GeForce 9400M Integrated Hybrid Graphics
- 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" @ 5.5 lbs.
- Mac OS X 10.6, iLife
Guide Review - Apple MacBook Pro 15 15.4-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC
Nov 18 2009 - From the exterior, there doesn't seem to be much change to the Apple MacBook Pro 15 since its initial release over a year ago. A closer inspection of the bottom will reveal that the previous access door for the battery and drive have been removed and the system is more sealed than it was before. The reason for this is a new lithium-polymer battery that Apple claims will provide up to seven hours of running time.
In terms of the running time, Apple is not very far off from the battery life claims. DVD playback tests achieve an amazing five and half to six hours of usage. Traditional laptop usage can achieve the full seven hours of running time if the integrated graphics processor used over the dedicated processor. Those looking to use the Boot Camp function to use the system with Windows will be disappointed as running the Windows environment will roughly half these numbers.
Performance is still strong on the MacBook Pro 15 as there hasn't been much change to the processor and memory. They did give the base processor a slight performance increase from the original model. It doesn't retain as much of a lead over the competition as more laptops have switched over to similar Core 2 Duo processors and DDR3 memory configurations.
Graphics on the Apple MacBook Pro 15 has always been one of its strong features. The 15.4-inch display features an above average 1440x900 resolution with LED backlighting for some spectacular color and brightness. It still retains the glossy glass cover that can make using the laptop in sunlight and certain lighting conditions to be difficult. It also retains the originals hybrid graphics system that can use either the integrated GeForce 9400M graphics to conserve battery life or the GeForce 9600M with 512MB memory for improved 3D performance. Users still must log out to switch which graphics solution they will be using.
One of the big problems with the MacBook Pro 15 was the peripheral ports. With just two USB 2.0 ports, the system has very limited space for external peripherals. The latest revision has also removed the ExpressCard slot in favor of a SD card slot. This is a welcome addition for those with digital cameras and other peripherals that use the card but it sacrifices the ability to add more versatile peripheral expansion to the system. After all, Apple could have just included an ExpressCard based SD card reader to achieve the same effect.
Overall, the MacBook Pro 15 has benefited from the added battery life but the cost of the system is still quite high. It certainly is still one of the most portable of the 15-inch laptops on the market especially when one considers the performance levels and features to be found on it.