Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch £1779

30th Apr 2006 | 23:00

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch

The first laptop to feature both Apple and Intel technology

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

An impressive laptop that just got better

Like:

<p>Looks great</p><p>Increased performance</p><p>Can run XP</p>

Dislike:

<p>XP supporting features still at Beta stage</p>

More than just a routine laptop release, the Apple MacBook Pro 15" (£1779 inc. VAT) is a landmark in computing history, marking the first time that Intel and Apple have joined forces in a mobile system. Apple is renowned for its striking designs and the MacBook Pro continues its reputation.

The style is much the same as the PowerBook G4; finished in a lightweight aluminium chassis, the system is sleek and elegant. Measuring just 358 x 232 x 27mm, its slim build and 2.5kg weight provide excellent strength and mobility. That said, this weight is no longer seen as ultraportable, as many now weigh as little as 2kg.

Although features such as the built-in 1.3-megapixel Apple iSight camera and slot-loading optical drive are nice additions, they are nothing new in the laptop market. More impressive are such Apple-only features as a light-sensitive backlit keyboard and scrolling touchpad. Detecting ambient light levels, the keyboard adjusts the power of its backlighting for ease of use in dark conditions.

Allowing equally strong usability, the touchpad moves the cursor when used with one finger, while two fingers can scroll documents in eight directions. The real selling point of this system is its use of a Intel dual-core processor. The first Apple laptop not to use an IBM PowerPC CPU, the MacBook Pro provides greatly improved performance from its 2GHz Intel Core Duo T2500 chip.

The downside is increased fan activity and a warmer chassis. With a Gigabyte of DDR2 memory and its large 100GB hard drive running at 5400rpm, performance is in place. Scoring 559 points from Cinebench CPU tests, the system beat the Apple iBook G4 by nearly a three hundred per cent performance increase.

Although far from outstanding, even the battery life of the Apple is strong. Running for 193 minutes, users will be able to work for more than three hours on the move. Graphics are capable and add multimedia usability. Powered by ATi's Mobility Radeon X1600 card, the system scored 1360 points from Cinebench graphics tests; this easily beats the 709 point score of the iBook G4, but comes far below the 3451 point score of the similarly specified Asus W2Jc.

For multimedia hounds, the MacBook Pro comes preinstalled with Apple's iLife software package, combining six of Apple's top multimedia software applications. To this end, the slot-loading dual-format recordable DVD optical drive is ideally specified for multimedia creation and data backups. High-speed networks are also available courtesy of built-in Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi.

By taking Apple's trademark design flair and adding Intel's dual-core performance, the Apple MacBook Pro is as powerful as it is significant. Proving that two heads are better than one, Apple has begun a new chapter for itself and consumers are all set to reap the benefits.

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