The Bottom Line
- Stylish And Sturdy Design
- Excellent Keyboard
- Long Battery Life
- Display Panel Offers Below Average Resolution
- Glossy Screen Hard To Use In Certain Light
- Thunderbolt Adapters Not Included
- Intel Core i5-2410M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 13.3-inch WXGA (1280x800) LED Backlit Display With HD Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 2.0, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, SDXC Card Slot
- 12.8" x 9" x 1" @ 4.5 lbs.
- Mac OSX 10.6, iLife
Guide Review - Apple 2011 MacBook Pro 13-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC
Mar 9 2011 - Apple's MacBook Pro series of laptops was lagging behind much of the industry because of their reliance on the older Core 2 processors. With the 2011 refresh, Apple has made some major changes including the use of the new Intel Core i5-2410M dual core processor that provides phenomenal increase in performance over the past model. For those needing a high performance ultraportable, it is very tough to find a system that is more powerful than this. And if you need even more power, you can always get the Core i7 version from Apple.
Another change that comes with the new 2011 Core i5 processors is a new graphics processor that is integrated onto the CPU. The Intel HD Graphics 3000 offers far improved performance over past GMA solutions from Intel. While it still isn't a blazing fast 3D graphics engine, it does offer sufficient 3D performance for some casual gaming but not quite as smoothly as the GeForce 320M used by Apple in the past model. It also has the ability to accelerate graphics work thanks to the Quick Sync features.
One thing that didn't change is display. The MacBook Pro 13 still uses the same 16:10 aspect ratio display with its 1280x800 resolution. This is really a shame because this puts it at a lower resolution than many competing 13-inch laptops. This even includes the MacBook Air 13 which offers an excellent 1440x900 display. Apple could have fit that display but it probably would have required retooling their factory and some added cost.
The other big feature introduced with the MacBook Pro 13 is the new Thunderbolt interface. This is the renamed Light Peak interface that uses an electrical rather than optical cabling. It looks identical to the previous mini DisplayPort and this is not an accident as it functions just like that for Apple's monitors. The port can also be used for other functions such as high speed external storage because it has a total bandwidth of 10Gbps which is double that of USB 3.0. Of course, there are not many peripherals that use this interface yet. If you happen to use an external monitor that doesn't use DisplayPort, you will also have to buy adapters from Apple as they aren't included.
Apple keeps that same 63.5 WHr lithium polymer that is not replacable by the user. Even though there are some higher performance parts on the MacBook Pro 13, it does not appear to have impacted battery life much. In DVD playback testing, the system is able to run for just over five and a quarter hours before going intto standby. This is slightly longer than the last version and well above any other 13-inch laptop that features a DVD drive. More typical usage should yield roughly eight hours of running time.