The best notebook you can buy
Apple's Santa Rosa MacBook Pro is a near-perfect blend of features and form, and unlike the previous model, it stands the tests of time and travel
The Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, named for the Intel Core 2 Duo chip set used in the notebook, became available in June, but I wasn't prepared to issue a final judgment until now. I got stung by my last MacBook Pro review, which went to press before the unit started showing problems with build quality and durability.
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After six months of intensive, daily use of the machine, I can state now that today's MacBook Pro stands head and shoulders above Apple's prior flagship Intel notebooks, and sets a standard for performance, features, durability, eco-responsibility, and quality that any PC vendor will find difficult to approach for a similar price.
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Apple has transcended PC notebooks. The Santa Rosa MacBook Pro doesn't look or feel like any notebook you've ever driven, even if your present notebook is a Mac.
With its thick aluminum armor and unusually sturdy construction, MacBook Pro begs to be used in demanding conditions, like on a film set, in a photo studio, in a radiologist's lab, in an elite developer's lap, or in the field for on-site news edits and Webcasts. Considering all of this, the seat-back tray and the carry on bag pose little challenge.
The Magsafe power cable connector is no mere gimmick. It replaces the friction-fit barrel connector standard in other notebooks with a rectangular magnetic latch. You can't plug the Magsafe connector upside down, and you can unplug it in the most irresponsible of ways: by pulling on the cord.
With any notebook built to please professionals of all breeds, the display, keyboard and pointing device can outstrip many other criteria. Apple has always managed the trick of making the ultra-thin lid rigid; MacBook Pro's LCD panel doesn't show rainbows when you press on it from the front or the back, and this model flexes less than preceding Mac notebooks models have. The 15.4-inch, 1440-by-900 widescreen LCD panel (a 17-inch model is available) is bright and has high contrast. It's easy on your eyes for long periods of continuous work. The display is perfectly matched with OS X's font smoothing and switchable color profiles.