MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.8 GHz

Last week, I picked up a new 17-inch MacBook Pro because the previous one I had caught the black screen flu. Here’s my quick review.

  • Speed. Nothing exciting really happens when moving from 2.4 GHz to 2.8 GHz. Mathematically, the new MacBook Pro has a 16% faster processor, but I cannot perceive the difference. At one point in time, a 400 MHz upgrade would have been good news.
  • Keyboard. I really like the feel of the new keyboard. It provides the right resistance and offers a great tactile response. I was absolutely awed the first time I touched the internal keyboard. That said, I will still be doing 99% of my typing on an external keyboard.
  • Screen. Now that matte screens cost an extra $100, I picked up my first glossy edition instead. The screen is not as reflective as I had previously feared. Totally usable.
  • Hard Drive. Ho hum. Already had a 500 GB drive in my previous MacBook Pro. I’m glad Apple finally decided to upgrade the specs so I wouldn’t have to downgrade to a smaller hard drive.
  • Memory. No change, except that the maximum memory capacity is 8 GB instead of 4 GB. Not willing to shell out $1,000 from Apple or $634 from Other Word Computing for 8 GB. Maybe in a year or so when prices come down. The only time that 4 GB really feels inadequate is when I’m running VMWare Fusion, and I try to run that as least as possible.
  • Trackpad. I guess you get a larger trackpad when it’s not split between the trackpad half and the clickable half. Took me a few minutes to get used to this.
  • Function Keys. In its infinite wisdom, Apple decided to move the functions around. Not better, not worse, just different.
  • Ports. Ugh. Instead of ports on both sides of the MacBook Pro, Apple placed all the ports on the left-hand side. The front-loading SuperDrive is now a right-hand-side-loading SuperDrive. I was not pleased with this development since I previously connected a mouse to my MacBook Pro via a right-hand-side USB port. Fortunately, I still had an open port on my external keyboard or else the mouse would have to take a very circuitous route. That or learn to be a lefty.
  • Latch. I like the magnetic latch instead of the physical latch. The latch on my even older PowerBook G4 is failing so I know those parts can wear out. Who knows how well the new magnetic latch will perform 5 years from now. Have to wait and see.

Of course, the most amazing thing for me was how Apple was faring during this so-called recession. The mini Apple store at the Stanford Shopping Center was absolutely packed during a weekday. Unbelievable. While other retail stores are closing or offering significant discounts, Apple is still cruising on.

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