An impressive laptop that just got better
Can run XP
XP supporting features still at Beta stage
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Apple hasn't so much reinvented its laptop range this year, as switched its processor to an Intel platform. This arrival has seen the differences between Apple and Windows-based laptops all but disappear. With specifications increasingly in line with each other, it comes down to a choice of your preferred OS.
The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (£1699 inc. VAT) is the entry-level choice, with the 17-inch model costing £1899 (inc. VAT).
The screen is a standard 15-inch TFT panel but you can specify a Super-TFT panel at the time of purchase at no extra cost. It is supported by the ATi Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated memory .
If you like Apple designs but prefer to use Windows, you can install a program called Boot Camp, enabling you to run Windows XP should you need to. This can work to your benefit, especially if you have a range of pre-bought Windows software you'd like to continue using on your Mac.
That said, Boot Camp is still at Beta stage, so you'll find it won't support all Windows programs. We mention this because the MacBook Pro still won't run MobileMark 2005, the benchmarking software we use with Windows laptops.
The chassis remains the same, but in this latest version you'll find Intel's Core 2 Duo processor is now the CPU of choice. In our test machine, this was the Core 2 Duo T7600, which runs at 2.33GHz. As it is shipped with 2048MB of memory, it can't be faulted for speed. In daily use, this is an impressive machine, more than living up to expectations.
Considering the specification and a case that measures a mere 27mm thick, the Apple never grew warm to the touch and, with its near silent running, is a quality laptop.
The finish is as impressive as ever and mixes a simple design with a magnesium-alloy casing. Weighing in at a semi-portable 2.6kg, this is a slim machine.
The keyboard is pushed to the back of the chassis, leaving plenty of space for the palm rests. The touchpad and mouse button sits flush with the case and are very responsive. As with the build, the keyboard and touchpad are of high quality. The keys have a soft action, so you won't have to strike hard to register.
When it comes to built-in options, you'll find a slot-loading DVD rewriter and a DVI-out port, which means you can hook it up to larger monitors using a digital signal.
The Apple MacBook Pro remains an impressive laptop that now has an improved performance boost courtesy of the Intel Core 2 Duo chip.
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