Excellent, in-depth review of the new 15” MacBook Pro. Some reactions:
- The battery life is disappointing, giving about 2.5-3 hours of useful work.
- The gaming performance is very impressive on the 9600M. (Check out Bare Feats to see how it compares to high-end desktop GPUs in the iMac and Mac Pro.)
- The 9400M is much worse in 3D performance, but still very impressive relative to other low-power integrated graphics chips. This bodes well for low-settings gaming on the 13” MacBook, although I have yet to see a good benchmark of it.
- Like every aluminum Apple laptop, it gets very hot under load.
- This did not include benchmark scores with a 7200 RPM hard drive or the 128 GB SSD (which I don’t believe has been benchmarked anywhere yet — please let me know if I missed one).
I would have liked to see more consideration of the 13” vs. the 15” in the review. Now that the 13” is more expensive and there are fewer differences from the 15”, a lot of people are going to have a hard time deciding which size to get. Hopefully Ars will consider writing an in-depth article contrasting the two and why people should buy each one.
Overall, the 15” certainly looks like a great machine for people who want something in the typical 15” size and weight range. Ultimately, though, I wish it weren’t so big and heavy, and I’m disappointed by the battery life. My 15” PowerBook G4 in 2004 was approximately the same weight and footprint with about the same battery life. The newly reduced thickness is nice, but the footprint has increased. The whole machine still feels like a boat.
I’d love to see Apple sacrifice some clock speed and video performance in favor of a bigger battery, or reduce much of the need for a 15” laptop at all by increasing the resolution of the 13” screens to 1440x900 (and pushing the 15” up to 1680x1050).
Because of the mediocre size and battery life, this isn’t the ultimate laptop. But it’s still a very nice choice, especially if it will be your primary or only computer and you won’t be carrying it around every day.