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Apple MacBook Pro 15in
The redesigned trackpad in front of the keyboard is huge. It is so big, in fact, that it now supports one-, two-, three- and four-finger touch gestures, and they all work beautifully. For example, sweeping four fingers across the surface switches between running applications without even a hint of delay. Gently pressing downwards on the trackpad itself produces a click; tapping gently with two fingers produces a right-click. The trackpad feels responsive and rock-solid, as indeed it should: it's made of glass.
The clickable trackpad responds to a range of multifingered gestures
My one serious complaint is that the unit is so thin that Apple is unable to provide as many connectivity ports as I'd like. All the ports are ranged down the left-hand edge, so there's only enough room for a couple of USB 2.0 ports in the mix. Frankly, I'd have happily sacrificed the Firewire 800 port for a third USB port - preferably USB 3.0 - but there you go. That said, you do get a handy SD card port (shame it doesn't work with x-D, MMC or Memory Stick media without adapters), a Gigabit Ethernet socket and built-in wireless 802.11n support.
But since you've got me started, the lonely Apple Mini DisplayPort is a bit of a disappointment too, since anyone wanting to connect the MacBook Pro to a projector or other external video device, whether analogue or digital, will have to purchase one or more of Apple's £21 video adapters. As if you hadn't spent enough on the computer already! And there's no HDMI!
As with all new Macs, Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6) is the latest flavour of OS X installed, along with the iLife suite. The latter provides a fully integrated presentation and authoring package for all your music, photos and videos. The music composition application Garageband has come of age, providing music lessons as well as its usual features including riffs and loops in various genres, audio effects and visual podcast production. The stalwart offerings of iMovie and iPhoto continue to support an ever-expanding range of cameras.
Despite everything I just wrote about connectivity, the fact is that new MacBook Pro 15in is a gorgeous notebook to use. You can show me better benchmark results, without doubt, but in the real world this machine boots up quickly, runs smoothly, responds to commands instantly, operates quietly and performs slickly. It looks stylish in an understated way, and heads will surely turn when you place the machine on a boardroom table. In emotional terms, it's the computer equivalent of stepping into the Cannes sunlight on a hotel balcony facing the sea while wearing a casual Armani suit, no tie. You're telling yourself "I paid way too much for this" but you love every second of it. ®
Thanks to Square Group New Oxford Street for the loan of the review sample.
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