The lower end of the Macbook range gets a boost
In practice, for a lot of users this won’t make a big difference. We tested the two computers side-by-side (see below for our review of the 15in Macbook Pro with a Core i5 processor) and on one of our standard tests, which is how long the computer takes to convert a DVD for playback on an iPhone.
The 13in model we’re looking at was able to process the disc at around 40 frames per second (fps), whereas the 15in computer made a more respectable 60-80fps.
That gives a good guide to the computer’s performance when it comes to intensive tasks such as video editing or importing and processing a large collection of photos.
As a 13in computer the Macbook Pro is reasonably portable. It’s relatively heavy, partly due to its metal body construction, but it’s still easy to carry around.
Like all Macbooks this one doesn’t have the DVI or VGA socket a PC has; rather it uses the relatively rare Mini Displayport, which is an annoyance, especially if you have an existing monitor that doesn’t take it. It also connects to wireless networks and Bluetooth devices. It comes with 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard disk.
The Macbook Pro is a very satisfying computer to use. The bright and clear screen looked superb in our tests, and although it’s glossy it didn’t suffer too much from reflections under bright light. As with all current Macbooks, the keyboard is quite shallow, something we found irritating for long periods of typing.
The glass touchpad was good, conversely, and supports multi-touch so you can, say, pinch with two fingers to zoom out on the screen. The keyboard is backlit (a soft light shines out from behind the keys), so you can use it relatively easily in the dark.
As with all Macs, this one comes with the superb iLife software installed for editing photos, videos and music, as well as the Mac OS X operating system.
Other than our intensive performance test detailed above, the Macbook Pro performed well for general, office and internet tasks. In fact, there’s a model with a 2.4GHz processor instead of the 2.66GHz one, which is £250 cheaper than this. On that basis, we would prefer the cheaper model, which will be equally good for almost all computing tasks.
Alternatively, if you want a real performance boost, the bigger-screen 15in model is probably a better investment for £250 more.
Read more reviews
Very pleasant to use, but not quite cheap enough or powerful enough to be good value Good points Superb trackpad; good connections Bad points Annoying Apple keyboard; not cheap enough for its power or powerful enough for its price
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