PC Magazine review gives Apple MacBook Pro 4 out of 5 stars

“If your precious PowerBook G4 means the world to you, then brace yourself: This fabulous design just got repackaged with some Intel firepower. The MacBook Pro (15-inch) is the new standard for Mobile Mac users. Gone are the slow IBM PowerPC processors, and in come the Intel Core Duo processors, raising the Mac performance bar like never before. For consumers, this is a huge deal. But graphics and media professionals should wait until their essential software apps are updated to universal binary (to be optimized for Intel-based systems),” Cisco Cheng writes for PC Magazine. “My one complaint about the design is that it still has a one-button mouse. Sure, you can hold down the Ctrl key and the mouse button to get right-click effects, but if the USB Mighty Mouse has added left and right click buttons, I expect something similar from the MacBook Pro.”

MacDailyNews Note: Third-party utilities such as iScroll2 supports mapping the trackpad which allows for tap gestures to a specific mouse button such as right click. In addition, developer Raging Menace’s SideTrack says a MacBook compatible update is planned and will be released as soon as possible that will allow for mapping of trackpad corner taps to mouse buttons.

Cheng continues, “For those who are about to run to the Apple store, there is a lingering issue with third-party software written for the Mac, which will have to be rewritten so that it is optimized for Intel. Apple has included a Rosetta emulator in Mac OS X to run Mac software on Intel hardware… For those who just can’t wait, the MacBook Pro performed well on day-to-day applications. I downloaded and viewed high-definition QuickTime clips with no hiccups. Surfing the Web with Safari and listening to iTunes ran without stutter. Processing with Microsoft Word, running Excel spreadsheets, and viewing PowerPoint slides were mostly fluid. Navigating Google Earth and zooming into popular destinations seemed a lot faster than with the PowerBook G4. The only glitch came when editing with Adobe Photoshop CS2, which appeared slower and didn’t run as well as the other applications. All of the above tasks ran in emulation, and in general, everything ran smoothly.”

Cheng writes, “The MacBook Pro includes a 60-Wh battery, slightly bigger than the PowerBook G4’s 50-Wh battery, but it lasted just as long. I expected battery performance to be subpar with the new Core Duo components. That Apple can maintain more than 2 hours of battery life when playing a DVD is better than I anticipated… The native applications were blazingly fast, in many instances twice as fast as on the PowerBook… Photoshop ran at a decent pace, but the score should have been much better than 2:39—even considering that Photoshop is not universal binary. The Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (which has similar components) came in at 1:11. Those are the kind of numbers I expect from the MacBook Pro once Adobe releases the universal binary version of Photoshop CS2.”

Cheng writes, “For typical users running the iLife ’06 suite, iTunes, and even nonuniversal applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe products, the Apple MacBook Pro is a solid notebook. It’s a sweet upgrade from the PowerBook G4, and Windows users switching over will like it just the same. But for sophisticated media enthusiasts or professionals, we suggest you wait a couple of months, or at least until the software can catch up with the Intel components, before diving in.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Ars Technica: Apple MacBook Pro ‘an extremely solid machine, an important step forward’ – March 02, 2006
Mossberg: Apple’s MacBook Pro gives users a ‘much better OS with vastly better built-in software’ – March 02, 2006
New York Times’ Pogue: Apples MacBook Pro a ‘beautifully engineered, forward-thinking laptop’ – March 01, 2006
Apple MacBook Pro a ‘drop-dead gorgeous laptop’ – February 27, 2006
Macworld posts Apple MacBook Pro 2.0GHz first lab tests – February 22, 2006
Apple PowerBook G4 1.5GHz vs. MacBook Pro 2.0Ghz Adobe Photoshop benchmarks – February 22, 2006
Apple begins shipping MacBook Pro notebook computers with faster 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo processors – February 14, 2006
Adobe: no native Intel Mac support until 2007; Photoshop could be 14 months away – February 01, 2006
Computerworld: Apple’s MacBook Pro ‘fast, really fast – looks like a real winner’ – January 28, 2006
Analyst: Apple seeing strong sales of iMac Core Duo, MacBook Pro, 5th generation iPod – January 25, 2006
Apple: expect MacBook Pro shortages – January 19, 2006
Use the ExpressCard slot to add FireWire 800 to Apple’s new MacBook Pro – January 15, 2006
Apple MacBook Pro, ExpressCard and EVDO – January 14, 2006
Apple introduces MacBook Pro; up to four times faster than PowerBook G4 – January 10, 2006

22 Comments

  1. ” Those are the kind of numbers I expect from the MacBook Pro once Adobe releases the universal binary version of Photoshop CS2.”

    Only that Adobe said it won’t release Universal Binary versions until the next major product release (a.k.a.- CS3)! This is another reason Adobe pisses me off!

  2. “…third-party software written for the Mac, which will have to be rewritten so that it is optimized for Intel”

    This phrasing is not entirely accurate, as a universal binary cannot be considered “optimized for intel.” When I see reporting that uses this language, and there’s a lot of it, I have to assume that they’re just extending a concept they’re already familiar with, which is the code optimization of PC software for every new Intel chip.

    When software is “optimized for X”, in addition to running better on X it also means that the optimized software will run worse on Y and Z. That simply isn’t the case here. Universal binaries will not lose any performance on an IBM PowerPC.

  3. “not to mention- the G4 is NOT from IBM, it’s Lenovo (formerly Motorola;) “

    Actually, the G4 comes from Freescale (formerly Motorola) and IBM still amkes the G5. Lenovo bought IBM’s Thinkpad line.

  4. I actually prefer a two button mouse but on a track pad one button is better. I’ve used two button track pads and I hate them. Its much easier to have just one button to hit when your dealing with a thumb!:)

  5. The MacBook Pro ‘s CoreDuo processors are nothing to write home about performance wise.

    They actually perform less than a dual processor G5 from two years ago.

    It’s a faster computer than a Powerbook G4, because it has another core, combined with the fact the G4 is a rather old processor.

    The CoreDuo’s processors are not a great “leap” of performance like the G5 processor is.

    My advice is, if you need a MacBook Pro, is to wait for revision 2.

    Why?

    1: You’ll get a faster processor, a 64 bit Core Duo instead of a lousy 32 bit one now.

    2: The bugs would be worked out of the hardware.

    3: More Intel native software will be ready.

    4: You’ll get more features.

    5: Rosetta emuation $uck$ @$$.

  6. I agree with the drawback criticism. It is time for Apple to include multi-button trackpads. Installing a software utility to use the trackpad as a button is a workaround, as is cntrl-clicking. The Intel transition was an opportunity for Apple to seque to this functionality. Pro users aren’t going to be daunted by multiple trackpad buttons; neither are switchers.

    My $0.02

  7. MacDude, you don’t even know why 64-bit is better than 32-bit, do you?

    You’re just a mean spirited Core Duo hater, you are. That my MacBook Pro can keep up with your PowerMac G5 in a package 1/20th the size and 1/10 the weight makes you feel inferior, doesn’t it? Must make you want to lash out at something.

    Why wait for revision 2? You know Revision 3 is going to be out within 6-9 months of that? Heck, Revision 4 will be even better! In fact, why bother buying a new computer at all? We might as well go back to pen & paper and an abacus for our computing needs.

    Oh, and for the record, Rosetta does a fantastic job. Most apps I run in Rosetta run seamlessly with absolutely zero noticeable performance hit. If you are in the market for a notebook, and aren’t going to use it for a high-end media app that isn’t available as universal binary yet, then run, don’t walk, to your nearest Apple store and pick up a MacBook Pro. You won’t be disappointed.

  8. Quote:


    The MacBook Pro ‘s CoreDuo processors are nothing to write home about performance wise.
    They actually perform less than a dual processor G5 from two years ago.

    Wrong. In fact, because of its super fast integer performance, graphics and the UI is quite a bit faster than a Dual 2Ghz G5. The only reason the Macbook Pro falls short in certain tests is because of lack of software optimisation in applications. Universal apps are about as fast as on a Dual 2.5 Ghz G5. See this test here.

    And here’s an interesting comparison bewteen the intel iMac (comparable to the Macbook Pro) and the G5 Quad. The intel iMac really challenges the G5 quad!

    People who think the new intel macs are dogs are very wrong.

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