What kind of a Mac have you?

My birthday present to myself was a new Macbook Pro. Now I am traditionally a Windows person so I was faced with a few issues that I had to resolve. First however I’ll start with my impressions of the Macbook Pro.

Review (sort of).

I decided to go for the 15 inch model. My initial inclination was to go for the Macbook Air but I was worried that it might not be powerful enough to run Windows in a virtual machine environment.

The Macbook Pro 15 inch has a 500GB harddisk and 4GB of RAM which should be enough for my purposes although I’m considering upgrading the memory for better support for Parallels with Windows 7.

The machine has an attractive and sleek design which is the norm for Apple. The main shell, as I understand it, is made from aluminum. There is a video that show the fabrication process for this shell. It’s also got the lit Apple logo on the lid so that everybody can see you’re working on a Mac.

The I/O ports are located on the left of the machine. You’ll find:

  • Headphone socket
  • Microphone socket
  • SD card slot
  • Two USB ports
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Firewire
  • Ethernet
  • Power connection

There is also a charge level indicator. You press a button and a row of small green lights indicates the charge level of the battery. This only works if the computer is turned on. I expected at least four USB ports. I am not altogether happy about the power supply option Apple implemented.

The source of power.

Most “traditional” laptops come with their own power supplies. You can however use car chargers, rechargeable batteries  or generic chargers as long as you have the correct voltage and tips to connect to your laptop. This is not the case with the Macbook. It comes with a so called MagSave power supply that uses a non standard “plug” that attaches magnetically to your computer. The built-in battery should last a few hours though, definitely better than my old (2009) Toshiba.

The DVD drive.

The DVD drive is located on the right. It’s a slot and doesn’t use a tray. The downside is that you can only use standard size disks. There is also no eject button – this functionality is under software control only. The slot for the Kensington lock is in such a location that its cable may block the DVD slot.

The rest.

  • Built-in camera
  • Stereo speakers
  • Built-in mic.
  • Multi touch trackpad
  • Wi-Fi which also suports 802.11n
  • Light level sensor
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • Infrared sensor for Apple remote.
  • Sleep indicator LED
  • Two graphics processors
  • Bluetooth

The trackpad.

This trackpad is “clickable”. As you press down it “clicks” which is the equivalent of a mouse click. A two fingered click is equivalent to a right click. A major irritation is that only the botom two thirds of the trackpad is clickable and as you move closer to the top more force is required to register a click. Drag and drop requires a fair amount of skill. One finger has to keep the trackpad pressed down while the other moves the object on the screen.

More to follow…