I’ve been a Mac laptop fan since Carol’s first PowerBook 100 back in the early 90s. The aluminum PowerBooks were nearly perfect.
I just placed an order for Apple’s new 17-inch MacBook Pro. Why is it the ultimate portable, and near perfection? What else could you want in a laptop?
We can debate the size of the 17-inch screen until cows come home and roost on your backyard fence (I just had lunch; metaphors are getting a little mixed up). This is one very slick portable.
First on my list is portability and the big brother MacBook Pro is still smaller and lighter compared to similar sized screens on Dell and other laptops.
Portability doesn’t mean small. The best form factor for a true road warrior who’s looking for convenience; browser, email, Office, et al, is probably the old 12-inch PowerMac.
No, the 17-inch becomes the ultimate because of the sum of the parts. I carried around one of the original 17-inch aluminum PowerBooks for well over three years, so I’m familiar with the bulk.
Frankly, it’s not that bad. Add a good case with a strong strap, and you’re good to go. Literally. When you compare a 15-inch model to a 17-inch model, there’s just a couple of inches difference, and that doesn’t add up to much.
The big difference is the screen. It’s real estate. It’s what makes up your Mac. It’s where OS X resides. More is better. Size matters.
Once you’ve used a 17-inch Mac screen, anything smaller is, well, it’s just smaller.
The new 17-inch MacBook Pro comes with all you’d expect from Apple. It’s using Intel’s Core Duo so it’s fast. Apple says up to five times faster than the previous PowerBook models, but that’s all benchmarking hoo hoo anyway.
Everything else is where and what it should be. Backlit keyboard. USB 2.0, Firewire 400, and Firewire 800. The new MagSafe power adapter is one of those great touches that Apple seems to think of but Dell cannot.
The new MacBook Pros come with a brighter screen than previous models. My about-to-be-hand-me-down 17-inch PowerBook wasn’t shabby. The first thing everyone says is, “Wow, that screen is great. It’s so bright, and there’s so much space.”
Imagine what they’ll say when viewing the new, improved, brighter 17-inch display. Apple should include a drool protection railing for friends and coworkers with Mac envy.
The MacBook Pro line comes with all the other advanced goodies, too. Bluetooth 2.0, the speedy ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256 megs of video RAM, optical digital and analog audio ports, the slot loading SuperDrive.
As if that’s not enough, there’s built-in Airport Express and gigabit ethernet (also available on the older, dusty, out of date PowerBooks). There’s an ExpressCard/34 slot instead of the standard PCMCIA card slot. Pickings are slim for ExpressCard options. Maybe next year.
As with all the new Intel-based Macs, the 17-inch MacBook Pro comes with Front Row and the Apple Remote Control. Did I fail to mention the built-in iSight? It’s included, too.
All this is fine and dandy and if you love making friends and co-workers drool, this is the end-all, be-all of laptops. There’s not much to complain about if you don’t mind lugging around a couple of extra inches and a couple of extra pounds.
What’s the problem, Jack? Is there anything that just isn’t right about Apple’s new flagship laptop?
Yes. The price. For some strange reason, the $2,799 price tag is too low.
Uh, low? Yes. Check out a comparably equipped Dell laptop. While the base price is about half that of the MacBook Pro, by the time it matches Apple’s 17-inch darling feature for feature, it’s more money. And you’re still stuck with Windows XP Pro, and no iLife.
Our friends over at MacDailyNews skewered a reporter who callously and foolishly said you could buy a couple of decent Dells for the same price as a MacBook Pro.
Yes, you can buy a couple of Kia for the price of a Lexus. They’re both cars. They both get you there. One does it with more.
What’s interesting about the 17-inch MacBook Pro is the pricing. Seriously. It’s too low at $2,799. Compare it to the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro at $2,499. There’s just $300 difference between the two.
What do you get for the extra money? The 8x SuperDrive instead of the 4x. The faster 2.16Ghz Intel Core Duo CPU. The extra Firewire 800 port. A 120GB hard drive instead of the 100 on the smaller brother.
Add the faster CPU and larger hard drive to the 15.4-inch model and you add $400 to the price tag, making it $100 more expensive than the larger model. Is the 17-inch model priced too low, or is the 15.4-inch model priced too high?
Your mileage and budget may vary, of course. For now, the ultimate Mac laptop is 17-inches of pure class, power, great looks, and it’ll run OS X Tiger, Windows XP, and various flavors of Linux in dual boot or virtualized.
It’s the ultimate laptop. Mac or PC.