MacBook Pro 15″ Review

What We Think

The 15inch MacBook Pro is the best looking, best performing, most desirable laptop out there, but can you justify a  price tag of over £1850?


You have to wonder where the world would be without Apple and the MacBook Pro 15″ is a real testament to the company’s values. This latest version of this visually pleasing piece of Zen inspired design, was just released in autumn and brings a few minor changes from some previous versions.

This Intel i7 2.4GHz version comes in at excess of £1,883, and still looks like it’s worth every penny. It comes with all the innovations you would expect, though is only an incremental change from the previous model.

This modern design classic is made from one machined piece of aluminium and weighs in at 2.54kg ensuring portability and power, as well as plenty of chic.


The iconic Unibody design of the MacBook is something many manufacturers aspire to. Look at the smorgasbord of ultrabooks, that take style cues from the MacBook Air. The brushed aluminium body provides an uncluttered canvas from which to work and its relative lightness at 2.54kg means it is quite portable.

Those looking for good build won’t find anything this side of a builder’s notebook, as well built as a MacBook. Weighted beautifully, the MacBook feels at home in a minimalist haven in the New York and just doesn’t seem suited to the coffee stained papers and jotters on your MDF desk.

Of course, the keyboard of the MacBook is the industry inspiration and any mid-range laptop worth its salt is using the island key design made popular by Apple. This works due to the uncluttered feel of the keys, which do ensure it doesn’t have a numeric pad. The glass touchpad supports all manners of iOS gestures and is as much of a joy to use as it was on previous versions.

The speakers offer a decent amount of sound and some bass, though we will say there are better out there among HP’s Envy Range. Facetime is also accessed via the HD webcam on the front of the machine, allowing calls and images of other Mac and iPhone users on screen, at one button’s touch.


MacBook screens offer near unparallel brightness, and this one follows the trend. The 15.4-inch display with a resolution of 1440x900p is fantastically luminous and so are colours and whites. Blacks are also deep, with only the slightest hint of muddiness, or greys. The option is available to purchase a 1600x1050p screen if required, for HD.

Daytime viewing was very good, though there is a little reflective coating on the screen which causes a little hindrance. All of which suggests MacBook’s popularity with professionals in the design business, as the colour rendering and fortunately, the power inside are excellent.


The 2.4GHz offering of the Intel i7 processor is no different, and the MacBook has seen a rise of a fifth of a GHz in both base and premium MacBook Pro 15-inch models. This second generation chip provides all the latest Intel goodness, including Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost technology, which can take the Mac’s clock speed up to 3.5GHz for short periods, when it’s needed.

The new chips also include their own GPU,  named Intel Graphics HD 3000. Though, the Mac comes with its own separate graphics chip in the form of the AMD 6770 1GB card. Such power ensures the Mac far from struggles, and it managed 6746 in our 3DMark06 test. The Sony Viao Z, which cost slightly more scored 6203 in the same test.

Of course, the Mac comes with the attractive and very user friendly Lion OSX, ensuring you’ve got a beautiful and functional operating system running your machine. The 750GB HDD also offers substantial space to store your work, media, or whatever.

One of the new additions to this late 2011 Mac was the Thunderbolt port, which sits on the left aside two USB ports, a Gigabyte Ethernet port, 3. 5mm headphone and microphone jacks and a SD slot suitable for reading SDXC cards up to 64GB and a FireWire port and DVD drive.

Thunderbolt is potentially able to transfer data at 10GB a second, twice the speed of USB 3.0. It also works as the mini-display port and is the same shape. However, there are no peripherals available until at least the summer, it can be only used for mini- display port purposes for now.

The 77. 5w lithium battery offers around 7 hours of wireless surfing, maybe a little more, which is enough for a day’s work.

Our Verdict

The 15-inch MacBook Pro is without doubt a beautiful piece of technology and if money was no object, the best laptop in its class. However, though the quality of these Apple devices is skyscraper high, it can be hard to justify nearly £2000 of the Queen’s pounds for a laptop without BluRay, or a Full HD screen.Yes, it’s beautiful and true there is nothing to equate it in style terms, but for us parting with the money is the hardest decision in buying a MacBook. In short, it is the best, but can you justify the colossal price difference between the best and second best?

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