Apple MacBook Pro 2008 review

5 stars
£1,600
Updated with the MacBook Air's Multi-Touch pad and a faster 45nm Intel Core 2 Duo brain, The new MacBook Pro is the ultimate power machine for Apple fans

The updated MacBook Pro range now goes up to 2.6GHz if you're the sort who's always converting one sort of file into another sort of file and needs the extra processor power, plus there’s Multi-Touch support for easier navigation. And it’s thinner. What’s not to love?

Sorry to sound like typical internet-based Apple fanboys here, but yes, the redesigned, slimmer, lighter and seemingly unbreakable MacBook Pro is another one of the fancy computer company’s design master-classes.

You will stroke its perforated grille. You will enjoy the cooling sensation of its metal beneath your hot and sticky palms. You will open and close the case for no other reason than to admire the strength and stiffness of its hinge.

And the latch that keeps it locked shut? Wow! You haven't pressed a latch release button until you've pressed the MacBook Pro's latch release button! And closing it is even more satisfying.

Keyboard imperfections?

There's only one odd design decision we just can't learn to love or get along with – the tiny Enter key. It's madness that Apple still hasn't come up with a decent option for a UK keyboard layout, so we have to suffer – and ultra-hardcore Mac fans even go so far as to switch out their keyboards with imports.

The keyboard we get is full-size, rock-solid and has the same wondrous backlighting that has jealous onlookers feeling desperately ashamed of their bargain £299 PC World jobs, but the Enter key? It's tiny.

It's actually narrower than the letters, creating a typing bottleneck. It also has us cursing the size of the shift-lock key on the left. Why's that so huge? How often do you ever do a shift-lock? Also, rather cheekily, the UK Apple Store uses photos of the US MBP – but it's only the UK model that has this slimmer Enter key.

But anyway. That's pretty much the only fault we can find with this brushed metal luxury yacht of a portable, hence the way we're labouring it so much. Everything else is laptop gravy. 

Click through for our verdict on its other features... 

Socket heaven

Feature-wise, it's got everything a Mac man requires. This 15-inch model has just two USB sockets, but that's enough. The built-in DVD writer is so slim and tiny you'll spend a while working out where it is – it's the tiny slot along the front of the machine. It’s practically a seam. It’s beautiful.

ExpressCard and two FireWire sockets give you expansion options, plus it has wired Ethernet, DVI and the seems-like-magic amazing MagSafe power-cord lock. Only an Apple product can make the recharging process a highlight of your day. The efficient LED-backlit screen does indeed get the battery life near Apple's five-hour claims, while doing a usual evening's web browsing and American TV episode piracy.

The big change in this little update is the addition of the MacBook Air's Multi-Touch sensor pad, so you can wave and poke your way through files and the web. Two fingers can be set up as your ‘right click’ equivalent, with a swipe of three digits taking you back and forward through files and web pages if you’re using an app that supports it. It makes a big difference, and brings an iPhone-like level of simplicity to using the internet.

Much too much?

But is there an element of overkill to it? Apple's delightful MacBook Air manages to run OSX perfectly with its modest 1.6GHz processor - do you really need a top-spec 45nm Core 2 Duo for just messing about with the various iApps and instant messaging from bed?

 

Unless you're constantly thrashing massive files about the place, you may well be better off with the £300 cheaper 2.4GHz Pro. Or just a regular MacBook. Or, dare we suggest, one of those £299 PC World jobs. Apple’s £1599 price tag for this mid-range Pro is quite hard to swallow.

But if you do invest, from the second you press the screen-release catch and see the lid pop itself up, ready and willing for action, you'll love having it. If you want a satisfying user experience coupled with the best design around, there’s nothing better.

More after the break...

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Apple MacBook Pro 2008

Apple MacBook Pro 2008 review
5 stars
£1,600
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