The one question I’ve been emailed the most is what computer I use for my tutorials and posting. My answer is the MacBook Pro. A lot of the time, after answering, the person asks me what I think of it. So for this post I decided to write an extensive review of my #1 computer of choice, the MacBook Pro. I will be going over many features of the MacBook Pro, and will review them on a standalone basis.
I’m going to start out by talking about the unboxing of the MacBook ProThat is the first thing you do when you get it, right? You unbox it. Luckily, unlike most pc computers, unboxing the MacBook Pro is very easy.
The box itself is very easy to open, you don’t need to get a knife to open it like I have had to done with former pc computers I’ve owned. Apple made it very easy to open right from the start and I really liked that. After all, if you spend over $1000 on a computer, you don’t want to have to spend 10 minutes just trying to open it, do you? I did not.
Everything that you need to use the MacBook Pro is in the box. Along with the computer, it also comes with:
The power cord and charger
A power adapter
Two small booklets explaining how to use your Mac
Operating system and applications install disk.
Now I’m not one to choose something based on its looks rather then functionality, but wow! The MacBook Pro looks amazing, and that is one reason why I decided to take a deeper look into it before I eventually decided to buy it.
The MacBook Pro looks sleek and solid, with a solid silver case made out of durable aluminum. There isn’t much more to that for looks, however there is a nice Apple logo on the center of the lid, that lights up while the computer is in use.
The side of the MacBook Pro, from left to right, has the following ports.
Power – More on this will be covered later in this post.
Ethernet – A basic ethernet port to plug an ethernet cable in to.
FireWire 800 port – Capable of speeds up to 800 megabytes per second.
Mini Display Port – Used to connect HDMI devices to your Mac.
Two Usb 2.0 Ports – Basic usb ports. Unfortunately, they are right next to each other, so plugging in two devices at one time can be annoying because they are so close.
SD Card Reader – A basic SD card reader.
Audio ports – Audio out and in port, for headphones or a plug in microphone.
Battery Life Indication Button – Press it, and lights will light up notifying you of how full your battery is on your MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro has a nice backlit keyboard, a smooth centered trackpad, a webcam that records Facetime in 720p, and a built in mic in the top left corner.
Alright, well after you unbox your computer, take a nice look at it, and turn it on, there’s a setup process you have to go through. It’s like that with every computer, regardless of what brand or model you get. If you’re a previous pc owner, you’ll know that setting up a pc can be confusing if you aren’t very savvy with computers. Setting up a Mac computer is just about as simple as it can get. All you need to do is choose your language, and set up an account. A nice welcome video is played and then your new computer is set up and ready to use.
Mac OS X
This section will cover Mac OS X, for people that haven’t used it before. If you already own a mac, or are familiar with the operating system, feel free to skip past this section.
The dock. The dock is one of the first things people think of when thinking of a new Mac. The dock acts very similar to the windows task bar, however, it has more unique features which, in my opinion, makes it more appealing.
First of all, unlike the Windows task bar, the Mac dock can hold folders. This makes it very easy to quickly open up an application, or play a song. The dock also has a neat magnification feature, where if you place your mouse above an icon on the dock, it will appear larger, so it is easier to view exactly what application you are using, and will also display the name of it. Finally, the dock is able to be positioned on the bottom, left, or right sides of your screen. It can not be placed at the top, because the top is used for other things. That brings me to my next topic, the top.
The top part of the screen
The top of the MacBook Pro screen is very nice. It allows you to quickly manage some running applications. It also lets you quickly enable or disable Bluetooth, choose a wireless network to connect to, change your sound, and view how much time you have left on your battery. There is also a clock, which displays what day of the week it is. Finally, there is a magnifying glass icon, which is for Spotlight.
Spotlight has to be one of my favorite new things on Mac OS. Spotlight allows you to quickly search for anything on your computer, and it is really fast. It is always located at the top right of the screen, so it will always be there when you need it. Sure, you can search for things on a Windows Computer, but it may take over 2 minutes to find what you are looking for. With Spotlight, it is almost instant. Not only does it search for things on your computer, it can also search through your history, and can be used as a quick dictionary, which is very helpful. I used to use Google as a dictionary, but I have no need now that I have a Mac.
Windows computers and Mac computers can not run each other’s programs. Mac computers run programs with a .app extension, and Windows computers run programs in a .exe extension. Most programs come out for Windows first, so if you are looking to get the newest programs constantly, you will not be able to do so on a Mac. (However, if there is a Windows program you want to run on your Mac, you can put Windows on your Mac, more on this will be explained later.) However, I have noticed with most Windows programs out, there is an equal equivalent of that program most of the time.
The trackpad of the MacBook Pro is so nice, it deserves its own section on this article.
As you can see, unlike most pc laptops, there is only a single button. With this trackpad, you are able to click anywhere on the trackpad. One common mistake when they see trackpads like this, is that there is no right click. To right click, simply put two fingers on the trackpad when you click. You can also right click by holding down the control key and clicking.
The MacBook Pro’s trackpad also has many multitouch features, which are very convenient. You can use two fingers to scroll through web pages, similar to web browsing on an iPhone or iPad. It makes web browsing much more relaxing, and I use this multitouch feature so much I could not imagine using a computer without it.
If you put 3 fingers on the trackpad and move your fingers up or down, it will automatically go to the top or bottom of whatever page you are viewing.
If you put four fingers going up, it will move all application windows to the sides and quickly allow you to view your desktop.
Four fingers down will bring all your open application windows up onto a nice screen, and allow you to quickly choose which one you would like to view.
Four fingers to the left or right will bring up icons of all your open applications, where you can use two finger scrolling to quickly choose between them, and then use the space bar or return button to bring up that application window.
Another common rumor regarding Mac computers is that they do not get viruses. That is not true. Macs do get viruses, however, it is much harder to get a virus on a Mac, because the user does not have full administrative powers. In order for a virus to make any changes to your system, or infect your system, you would have to allow it to, by typing in your account password. Because of this, viruses can not secretly enter your system like they can on a windows pc. Mac computers also do not have an accessible registry, instead they keep things in applications and preferences. Because it is harder to infect a Mac computer, virus makers often do not tend to target Mac computers. However, some Mac users become too confident with their Mac, and don’t install an antivirus software. You should still have an antivirus software when running a Mac computer. I use ClamXav. Because there are fewer Mac viruses, it is easier for an antivirus software to detect and remove it when you actually do get one.
The Best Of Both Worlds
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that it is possible to run Windows on your Mac computer. This sealed the deal for me, when I have heard of this I made my decision to buy the computer. All new Mac computers come in with a built in application called Boot Camp Assistant. Using this application, you are able to fully setup Windows XP, Vista, Or Seven, and all you need is a copy of your operating system of choice on a disk. Setup is not hard, all you have to do is follow basic instructions.
After setup is complete, if you ever want to boot into Windows, just hold the option key on your keyboard when first starting up your computer. A screen like the picture above will appear, and you can choose what operating system you want to boot in to. Try doing that on a pc!
Other Things Worth Talking About
Start times – The start time on the MacBook Pro is around 15 seconds faster then on a Windows computer.
Awake from sleep – The MacBook Pro awakes from sleep in around 3 seconds. Compared to the 12 seconds (on average) it takes for a Windows computer to awake from sleep, the awake from sleep time on the MacBook Pro is great
Portability – The MacBook Pro is very light, weighing about 4.5 pounds (13 inch).
Keyboard – The backlit keyboard looks very nice on the MacBook Pro. The backlight for the keys is autodetected, and will increase as your room gets darker. It also has many useful keys at the top, allowing you to quickly change your screen brightness, access useful tools quickly, keyboard backlight brightness, sound, or play, pause, or fast forward or rewind music or video. On the far right side, there is also a key to eject a disk if one is in the disk drive.
Webcam – The MacBook Pro comes with a nice webcam, which is capable of using Facetime in 720p.
Mic – The built in microphone on the MacBook Pro is clear, but picks up background noise easily.
DVD Drive – It has a basic DVD drive. Unfortunately, no blu-ray yet.
Charger – The charger is magnetic, which means you don’t have to worry about damage if your computer cord is ripped out. This is good for me, because I’ve had to take two computers to a local computer repairman due to the charger port being damaged.
Overall, I love my MacBook Pro and would recommend it to anyone. It is a very high quality product, and it is fun and easy to use. It looks more beautiful then any other computer I’ve seen, and the fact that I can run both Windows and Mac OS on it, makes it the #1 choice for me.
Have any questions about the MacBook Pro or Mac OS? Post them here.. Overall, I’d recommend this computer to anyone looking to buy a new high quality laptop that will stay with them for years to come.