Apple MacBook Pro 2011 (17-inch) review

Apple's 17" top-of-the-range notebook leaps forward

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The early 2011 MacBook Pro refresh brought us a single 17-inch model, which has similar specifications to the more expensive of the two 15-inch versions. This is a step up from the previous generation of MacBook Pros, where the 17-inch model matched the middle of three 15-inch notebooks.

Like all the early 2011 releases, this particular MacBook Pro has a new, second-generation Sandy Bridge Core series processor, a powerful AMD discrete graphics chip and a fast, versatile Thunderbolt I/O port.

We liked

The new Sandy Bridge processors are excellent, with a new integrated micro-architecture, upgraded Turbo Boost feature and powerful new processor graphics. The discrete GPU is a great step forward too, as is evidenced by the gaming tests.

The Thunderbolt port could well prove the future of I/O connectivity, and once again, a long-lasting battery gives you around a full day of use on a single charge.

We disliked

We were never going to get a Blu-ray drive, but the DVD drive could and should have been upgraded. At a quid shy of £2,100 it's a lot of money too, regardless of its undoubted quality and performance.


The MacBook Pro range takes a great leap forward with the 2011 refresh, and this 17-inch model is no exception. The popular unibody aluminium form factor is retained, but across-the-board component upgrades (SuperDrive excepted) gives it a huge performance improvement over its predecessor.

Apple is wise to spec-match the sole 17-inch model to the top 15-inch MacBook Pro instead of the next one down, and although expensive, the price increase from the mid-2010 refresh is reasonable.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel, AMD
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000, Radeon HD 6750M
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyMacBook Pro
Processor Modeli7-2720QM
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.7 Lion
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size43.2 cm (17")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1200
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.99 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Gold
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 384 MB, Up to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height25.4 mm
Width392.9 mm
Depth267 mm
Screen ModeWUXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC725B/A
Product NameMacBook Pro MC725B/A Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTrack Pad
Product LineMacBook Pro
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberMC725B/A
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Strength. Lightness. Beauty. Seamlessly integrated. MacBook Pro is machined from a single piece of aluminum, an engineering breakthrough that replaced many parts with just one. It's called the unibody. And the first time you pick up a MacBook Pro you'll notice the difference it makes. The entire enclosure is thinner and lighter than other notebooks. It looks polished and refined. And it feels strong and durable - perfect for life inside (and outside) your briefcase or backpack.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • MacBook Pro MC725B/A Notebook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • AC Wall Plug
  • Power Cord
  • Software DVDs
  • Display Cleaning Cloth
  • Printed and Electronic Documentation
Limited Warranty1 Year