Apple MacBook Pro (13in)
Apple's smallest MacBook Pro laptop has plenty of power and a long battery life
- Fantastic build quality and design, extremely long battery life, multi-touch trackpad, beefy processor and RAM options
- RAM upgrades are expensive through Apple, no anti-glare display coating option, battery can't be removed
The 13in Apple MacBook has gone Pro, with more memory, beefier processors and an embedded battery that outlasts similar-sized notebooks we've tested. We would prefer an option for a more powerful graphics card though.
Price$ 2,399.00 (AUD)
Apple's 13in MacBook Pro is the smallest notebook in the company's "Pro" range, but it still packs quite a punch. This laptop is a fantastic compromise between size and power, though its upgrade options could be cheaper.
The 13in MacBook Pro can be configured with either a 2.26GHz or 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a choice of either a conventional hard drive (up to 500GB at 5400rpm) or a solid-state drive (128GB or 256GB). Upgrading its RAM is disappointingly expensive; price-conscious buyers may want to purchase third-party memory modules instead. The notebook has an NVIDIA 9400M embedded GPU; there is no option to get the beefier 9600M graphics processor available on larger MacBook Pro notebooks.
Our review unit came with the 2.53GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB, 5400rpm hard drive. With this configuration the 13in MacBook Pro scored 3463 points in Geekbench; the 2.8GHz, 15in MacBook Pro scored 3772. The notebook took 58.3sec to convert 53min of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3, which is about the same speed as Alienware's 2.8GHz Area-51 M17X gaming notebook.
Using the same aluminium "unibody" manufacturing process as the 15in, 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, the 13in MacBook Pro has a gorgeous design. It is also extremely sturdy; the display's shell isn't flimsy and the case is surprisingly resistant to scratching. Though there is admirable competition from the likes of Dell's Adamo, we prefer the MacBook Pro's design and construction .
The 13in MacBook Pro's display uses LED backlighting, which consumes 30 per cent less power than CCFL-backlit LCD screens. Colour quality is exceptional but the glossy coating can be distracting in bright environments. Professionals who need a colour-neutral display may be turned off by the lack of an antiglare coating.
Connectivity includes Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800 and two USB 2.0 ports. Apple's proprietary mini DisplayPort is also included, but it can only be connected to the company's 24in LED Cinema Display unless an adapter is used. An SD card slot has been included and it can be used to boot from removable media. There is a slot-loading SuperDrive, and 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
A non-removable lithium-polymer battery is integrated into the enclosure. Apple claims this battery can last seven hours off a single charge and has a five-year lifespan. In our tests the battery ran for 3hr 26min while playing a DVD with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off. The inability to swap the battery for another one might leave you with a dead notebook if you are away from a power point for an extended period.
Users of Apple or Sony VAIO notebooks will be familiar with the 13in MacBook Pro's keyboard. It has isolated keys that feel spongier than a standard keyboard's, but they are well-spaced and comfortable to type with.
The touchpad is quite large considering the notebook's size. You can individually enable or disable a number of preset multi-touch gestures including "tap to click", which registers single taps as a primary mouse click; it's a relatively new feature for Apple notebooks. Unfortunately, this feature is extremely sensitive and often led to inadvertent mouse clicks during testing. Fortunately, this gesture can be disabled. You can assign the secondary button to either the bottom-right or bottom-left corner of the trackpad.
The speakers located beneath the keyboard are surprisingly loud but excessively accentuate treble frequencies and lack any real low mid-range or bass frequencies.
Though we have qualms about the glossy display and the embedded battery, the 13in MacBook Pro is still a fantastic notebook. The attractive unibody design, lengthy battery life and powerful components all make for a portable powerhouse.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Razer’s updated Blade Pro is the first ever THX-certified laptop
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Android struggling in tablets as Windows 10 2-in-1s come on strong
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCDomino SpecialistVIC
- CCSenior Developer - Java - TelcoVIC
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTBusiness Consultant - HR / PayrollWA
- FTJava Development Lead/ / Senior Java DeveloperVIC
- FTProject AnalystACT
- TPBusiness Analyst/UATVIC
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- TPAgile Project Manager. Lean ProductivityNSW
- FTSenior Security AnalystACT
- CCICT Strategist and AdvisorNSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- CCChange AnalystQLD
- TPProgram ArchitectQLD
- CCInside Sales ConsultantNSW
- FTBI Report DeveloperQLD
- CCCommunications Network EngineerWA
- FTPHP DeveloperNSW
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- TPUnix- Technical Support OfficerVIC
- FTJunior Applications SupportQLD
- FTChief Architect - Principal ArchitectVIC
- CCServiceNow Specialist - Administration and DevelopmentVIC
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorSA