Apple MacBook Pro 2011 (17-inch) review

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

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Our Verdict

A major power boost for the top-end MacBook Pro, with Thunderbolt offering exciting possibilities.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1200
  • Processor Core : Quad-core

View full specification


  • Great new processors
  • Powerful new graphics chips
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Excellent battery life
  • Strong, light unibody construction


  • Expensive
  • Same old optical drive
  • Hard drive a little slow
  • No blu-ray option
  • Antiglare option costs extra

The 2011 MacBook Pro refresh is far more radical than it might seem. At a glance, the aluminium unibody Apple MacBook Pro line-up – including this top-of-the-range 17-inch model – look pretty much the same as their predecessors. But under the hood, they feature significant and very welcome advances.

Intel's new second-generation Core series processors (Sandy Bridge) are used throughout the MacBook Pro range, even the 13-inch model, which missed out on the first generation of Core series CPUs due to a mix of legal disputes and practical issues.

The MacBook Pros have finally left behind the ageing Core 2 Duo chips, and no doubt the rest of Apple's notebook line-up will also do so the next time they are refreshed.

In a welcome move, Apple has skipped the entry-level Core i3 processor and equipped all early-2011 MacBook Pros with at least a Core i5. This top-of-the-range 17-inch model, costing £2,099, brings us a quad core 2.2GHz Core i7, which you can boost to a 2.3GHz chip for an extra £200 if you order online at the Apple website and avail yourself of the custom option.

The 15-inch models also offer quad-core Intel Core i7s, with the high-end 13-inch MacBook Pro giving us a dual-core Intel Core i7, and the cheaper 13-inch model a dual core Intel-Core i5.

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