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Apple MacBook Pro 15 review

Verdict

Apple finally upgrades to Core i7, but the design isn't perfect and Windows users will find battery life short

Review Date: 27 Apr 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £1,531 (£1,799 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

The allure of the MacBook Pro is simple. With power enough to please performance die-hards, and the poise to please fashionistas, Apple's flagship laptop was always destined to impress. But, with previous models still chugging along on Core 2 processors, many will have been holding off for this inevitable Core i7 upgrade.

Read our review of the 2011 Apple MacBook Pro 13, Apple MacBook Pro 15 and Apple MacBook Pro 17 laptops here

The price is still enough to put a lump in anyone's throat, but the outlay rewards with the usual Apple delights. The major news is that the slick aluminium chassis is now joined by some up-to-date internals - but, although it's definitely fast, it isn't quite as fast as you might expect.

Intel's Core i7-620M is teamed with 4GB of DDR3 memory, propelling it to a fine 1.75 in our benchmarks, but it's still a whisker behind two other recent i7 converts - the Sony VAIO Z11on 1.80 and the Lenovo ThinkPad T510 on 1.91. The 5,400rpm hard disk shares some of the blame; at this price, a 7,200rpm disk would seem more appropriate.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 rear view

More interestingly, in a first for Apple, graphical duties are handled by dual GPUs comprising the on-CPU Intel HD graphics and Nvidia's discrete GeForce GT 330M chipset. The burlier chipset of the pair, the GeForce GT 330M, fired through Crysis at 1,280 x 1,024 and Medium detail with a borderline playable average of 26fps. Intel's HD graphics, meanwhile, proved man enough for HD video playback.

The duo works wonders in Apple's OS X Snow Leopard, with Intel's HD graphics taking the reins most of the time and the Nvidia chipset automatically stepping in when more graphical muscle is required. Unfortunately, it's a great trick that you'll only appreciate in OS X. It's painfully absent when running Windows.

Boot Camp works as simply as ever for Windows installation, but the Nvidia chipset takes a serious toll on battery life. The Intel HD chip is efficient, and allowed the MacBook Pro 15 to idle for 8hrs 15mins in OS X; by contrast, with the hungrier Nvidia chip permanently engaged, it managed only 3hrs 35mins in Windows. Push the MacBook Pro 15 hard and you'll be dashing to the mains after just 1hr 25mins.

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User comments

Finally an unbiased review about an Apple product

Finally an unbiased review. I agree with critics and also would like to add the lack of blue ray in a notebook at this price level. A possibility is that Apple in their words is a "mobile company" that today they might be more focused on mobile products iPad, iPhone etc than these legacy products? I also agree about the price tag; By using intel and nvidia and other pc hardware enabled Apple to finally catch the power of PCs. However, it also enabled users to more easily compare how prices are overcharged for a similar hardware compared to a pc!

By HopeLESS on 29 Apr 2010

Worth mentioning

There are cheaper Macbook Pros with i5 processors. Not much cheaper but still...

By windywoo on 3 May 2010

Oh how I love Ad Block Plus and Firefox, I'd actually forgotten how annoying sponsored ads for totally irrelevant shysters are, recommend everyone use an ad blocker and not have to see that rubbish.

By Deano on 4 May 2010

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