Apple's new 17-inch MacBook Pro rocks

Upgrades can push the price past $5k, though, so choose wisely

The biggest of Apple's laptop line compared to the smallest, a second-generation MacBook Air (right).

The biggest of Apple's laptop line compared to the smallest, a second-generation MacBook Air (right).

It took Apple a while to finally get around to updating the 17-inch MacBook Pro, but the wait was more than worth it.

Apple started rolling out its carved-from-solid-aluminum laptops a year ago, with the incredibly thin MacBook Air. Then, in October, it revamped its MacBooks and the 15-inch MacBook Pro, moving them to the "unibody" manufacturing process (and moving the MacBooks decidedly upscale).

Now, finally, comes the Big Daddy of all Apple laptops, the top-of-the-line 17-incher that has been made truly drool-worthy for professionals who need every bit of computing power and speed while on the go. Of course, speed, size and innovation don't come cheap.

The already well-equipped base model (although I'm loath to call anything this gorgeous and well-built a "base model") starts with a 2.66-GHz Core 2 Duo processor from Intel, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, two Nvidia graphics processors and a simply stunning high-resolution, 1920-by-1200-pixel screen. Price: US$2,799.

As with the rest of Apple's laptops, the MacBook Pro 17's chassis is now carved out of a solid chunk of aluminum that eliminates any flex, does away with seams along the edges, and helps make this the lightest, thinnest 17-inch laptop now on the market. It's just 0.98 inches thick with the lid closed, and weighs in at a svelte 6.6 pounds -- 0.3 pounds less than its predecessor.

The glossy screen is surrounded by a piano-black bezel, an echo of the aluminum-and-black look that debuted in 2007 with the iPhone. The multitouch trackpad has a glass veneer and integrated clicker button. There's a lighted keyboard (the keys are now black), the usual retinue of ports -- including the recently introduced Mini DisplayPort for external monitors -- and a built-in iSight webcam. (Note: Video adapters are no longer included in the box, so if you plan to hook up a monitor, you'll have to buy the correct adapter separately.)

Oh, and there's the new built-in, nonreplaceable battery that Apple swears will last up to eight hours. Yes, eight hours. More about my own experiences with battery life in a bit.

If that's not enough for you, the 17-inch MacBook Pro can be optioned in ways that should please even the most demanding user.

You say a dual-core 2.66-GHz chip isn't enough? Fair enough. Hand over $300 and you can bump the processor to 2.93 GHz.

The 5,400-rpm hard drive is too slow? Give Apple another US$750 for a 256GB solid-state disk drive (SSD).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags macbook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ken Mingis

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?