Apple MacBook Pro Review (T7500)

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (110,910)

by Kevin O’Brien

The Apple MacBook Pro is the 15.4" notebook aimed to compete with other desktop replacement or road warrior notebooks on the market. This notebook combines a thin stylish aluminum body, sleek port layout, and hearty specs to handle most of your desktop duties. Combine this notebook with Boot Camp, and you have a major contender in the notebook market, being able to run all the key operating systems in the market being Mac OSX and Windows XP or Vista.

Our MacBook Pro has the following specifications:

  • Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2GHz (4MB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus)
  • 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 120GB 5400rpm SATA hard disk (also tested with 128GB SSD from DVNation)
  • 15.4" glossy widescreen TFT LED backlit display (1440 x 900)
  • NVIDIA 8600M GT w/ 128MB
  • iSight webcam
  • AirPort Extreme WiFi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth
  • DVI, 2 USB, ExpressCard/34, Audio in/out, Firewire 400 and 800, 1Gb Ethernet,
  • Dimensions : 01 x 14.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • 60Whr Battery, 6 hours estimated
  • 85W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system


(view large image)

Build and Design

The design of the MacBook Pro is very elegant and professional looking with its aluminum shell and sleek port layout. Every detail of this notebook has been thought over, and all of its external connections blend in almost unnoticed when not in use. The overall design of the notebook is very clean, lacking any high spots like feet or switches that might stick out to snag inside a carrying case.


(view large image)

Build quality is above average, with its all metal design. With many heavily plastic notebooks, users may notice creaking depending on how you are holding the notebook, and this is entirely absent on the Macbook Pro. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying it is above the quality of highend business notebooks, it does surpass almost all consumer grade notebooks. Body flex is minimal, and the screen lid is strong enough to prevent ripples on the LCD with strong pressure on the back cover.

Display

Screen quality on the MacBook Pro is above average, with excellent lighting and vibrant colors. The screen backlight levels were very bright, keeping my comfortable viewing level around 30-40% in the office. With it cranked up to the max it was very intense. Black levels were very good; with minimal leakage appear in dark scenes. Viewing angles were excellent, and it had a very broad viewing range before colors started to invert.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the MacBook Pro is very spacious, almost to the point of being too spaced out compared to other keyboards I am used to. Key feedback was nice, much better than the small movement found on the Macbook. The typing surface was very well supported, having no flex even when pressing firmly on the keys.


(view large image)

One big perk to the MacBook Pro is the backlit keyboard, letting you find various keys even in very dark settings. I enjoyed this feature, although I usually set it to the minimum brightness since that was all that I needed to find my way around the keyboard.

Performance and Benchmarks

The MacBook Pro performed very well, in both Mac OS 10.5 as well as Windows Vista. Gaming was not a problem, with the NVIDIA 8600M GT graphics card letting me enjoy games such as Portal at native screen resolution with high settings.

This review model also included a 128GB Memoright SSD from DVNation, which added quite a bit in terms of performance for this notebook. As you will see below the PCMark05 score and the HDtune shot, the scores were higher than a stock MacBook Pro.

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Apple MacBook Pro (2.2GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 128MB) 3,321 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 1,556 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Apple MacBook Pro (2.2GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 128MB) 5,864 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 3,386 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 3,283 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks


HDTune results:


(view large image)

Ports and Features

Front: IR reciever


(view large image)

Left: MagSafe Power, 1 USB, Headphone/Mic, ExpressCard/34


(view large image)

Right: Kensington Lock Slot, 1 USB, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, LAN, DVI


(view large image)

Rear: None


(view large image)

Heat and Noise

One downside to an all aluminum design is the entire notebook acts as one gigantic heatsink. Gaming with this notebook should not be done without wearing pants, which I quickly found out while playing Portal. The bottom of the notebook gets extremely hot, reaching 111 degrees Fahrenheit at its peak. Much of this heat stayed with the notebook during the entire gaming session, and didn’t let up until system was back at the desktop at idle. The temperatures of the MacBook Pro far exceed the average for any other notebook we have tested to date, which is surprising since it is not the fastest or most powerful machine we have used. Below are images with temperature listed in degrees Fahrenheit.


(view large image)

(view large image)

 

Fan noise during stressful activities was noticeable, but still not as bad as other notebooks. When browsing the web or doing other light work, the fan was off most of the time, or very quiet.

Battery and Power

Apple claimed six hours of battery life with the MacBook Pro, and I think they were off by a good amount compared to my normal notebook use. With wireless enabled, screen brightness around 40 percent and on the balanced power profile I couldn’t break 3 hours and 40 minutes. This power range was similar between both Mac OS and Windows Vista through Boot Camp. Gaming brought the battery life down even further, into the 1 hour and 30 minute range, and most of the power could felt through your legs with the heat the notebook threw out.

 

Conclusion

The Apple MacBook Pro is a decent contender against other notebooks in the 15.4" segment with quality display and powerful internals. Having the upper hand against other computers being able to legally run both OSX and Vista does give it some strength, but I am not sure that will outweigh the disadvantage of leg griddle capabilities.

Pros

  • Sturdy aluminum chassis
  • Solid performance, can even play modern games
  • Works out of the box with Windows Vista

Cons

  • Belches out heat like nobody’s business
  • Battery life claims are far off from real world results
  • No extended battery option


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.