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This review is being written by my son as this particular mac 'baby' is his new toy. ( I have his old one!).
I bought this macbook as a replacement for my 6 month old Black Macbook. Initially i was very impressed with the purchase. There is a marked improvement in functionailty over the standard macbook. The screen is a very nice size making it far more usable at a desk rather than on your lap. The battery life is very good when using the on board graphics adaptor (changeable via logout with the discrete graphics card), with about 4.5 hours with minimal usage. The basic underlying hardware is much improved meaning that it will run windows (vista ultimate in my case) via bootcamp much faster than previous generations with superior graphics and gaming. The backlit keyboard is a must have if you have ever had to work with minimal lighting (in a car perhaps) also the new LED is very bright compared to the old LCD screens. Running OS X 10.5 leopard on this machine really is a joy.
There are downsides however these include a marked decrease in performance when running windows virtually in Vmware Fusion (the black macbook is faster even with a similar 2GB RAM configuration). The performance decrease makes little sense but performs consistently badly on this macbook pro. Due to the thickness of the screen it can seem very brittle and requires a lot more care in order to prevent damage. The macbook discrete graphics adaptor appears to make very little difference to performance of any application on OS X. This may just be because I do not use it intensely enough on OS X. The macbook pro also appears to struggle with some forms of compressed videos such as DivX movies whereby there is tearing in the videos that I did not and do not experience on any of my previous Macs.
The screen also closes itself when viewed at an acute angle, for example on your lap whilst in bed.
I am giving this Macbook pro a rating of 4 stars, this is due the difference in price with respect to performance when compared with the last generation black macbook. I do not consider the £500 price difference to be justified by any gain in performance or functionality. It seems you are paying purely for an updated appearence and apple logo.
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