"A Real Competitor from Apple"4.5 starson by punchwalk
Pros: 2nd-gen i7 Quad-Core processors, Unibody design is still as good as it gets, brilliant display panel, battery life is a cut above the competition. Thunderbolt, if it lives up to its potential.
Cons: Price, No USB 3.0, no HDMI out, AppleCare should be cheaper considering the exorbitant price of this notebook
Summary: In past years, I always passed on Apple computers despite my interest because I couldn't reconcile the idea of paying the premium for specs that were severely outdated. I think Apple actually made a significant stride towards being more competitive and "with the times" with their latest MBP refresh. The new CPU offerings are only a couple months on the market, which was unheard of for previous MBP lines. True, it's lacking a few other things that a PC labeled as "Pro" and sold in 2011 probably should have (GPU could be a bit better [though I assume the nVIDIA/Intel debacle played a role in that], USB 3.0, cheaper 8GB RAM option, HDMI port, etc), but nothing about it is so archaic as to cause the price point to be downright offensive as it was in years past.
I was on the fence about buying my first Mac for a few years and this refresh convinced me to finally pull the trigger. So far I'm absolutely loving it. On one hand, $2000 is a bit high for a 15" laptop. On the other hand, I bought a 15" HP dv6t Quad Edition back in January, fully spec-ed out (i7-2820QM, 8GB RAM, 1GB ATI 6570 I think, etc) for $1300 (got a discount, so really I spent a little less but the retail price was $1400) and it was the worst laptop I've ever used. I sent it back in less that two weeks. Given the vast difference in quality of user experience, components, and design, I think the $700 difference between the two is well worth it.
Side Note: I'm hoping the latest refresh is a sign of a permanent shift in Apple's release strategy for MBP such that future refresh dates will be in reasonably close proximity to Intel arch. updates from now on.
For users who feel an attachment to Windows, be advised that, through BootCamp, the MacBook Pro runs Windows as well as any other notebook I've used (though, it's worth mentioning that you won't enjoy nearly the same battery longevity when running Windows through BootCamp as you do in OS X, which is a real drag).
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