The Good Processor upgrades offer significant leaps in performance. Phenomenal battery life. Excellent ergonomics, keyboard and large, sleek multi-touch keys are still some of the best. 720p HD webcam
The Bad Graphics performance is slightly worse than last year’s 13-inch Pro. The 13-inch screen resolution is still low compared to the MacBook Air. The thunder port is still unknown until the accessories become available. Limited upgrade options. No HDMI or Blu-ray.
The Bottom Line Although it retains the same price and appearance as last year’s model, the substantial 13-inch MacBook Pro processor and fantastic battery life make it one of the best laptops we’ve considered, provided you can live with the pass-through integrated graphics.
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The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the most affordable of Apple’s highest-end laptops. With a publicly available 15-inch version starting at $ 2,099 in princely pricing, the starting price of the 13-inch model – $ 1,399 – is one that many consumers are likely to consider first. Its dimensions are also perfect, and in fact we have long considered the 13-inch best place in laptops for ease of use and portability. The question is: does the smaller Pro deliver the punch that was missing last year?
In a word, definitely so. This year’s 13-inch Pro gets the modern processor update many have been waiting for – including us. This upgrade comes in the form of next-generation Intel Core i-series processors. The 2011 MacBook Professionals are the first laptops we’ve seen CNET with these processors; The 13-inch entry-level model is equipped with a second generation 2.3 GHz Core i5 processor and the AU 1698 configuration has a 2.7 GHz dual core Core i7.
However, despite the improvements in the processor, the use of Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 integrated graphics is a step back from Nvidia’s integrated graphics found in the 13-inch Pro 2010. However, this is not a huge distance, and for many it is a loss of life. Plus, there is a lot of talk about Thunderbolt’s high-speed data / video port.
IO, IO, that’s the thing, we’re going …(Credit: Apple)
Thunderbolt is envisioned as some future united successor to USB, FireWire and DisplayPort, allowing peripherals to transmit data and video at 10Gbps. We do not know when Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals will be available (though Apple says the first should be available in spring 2011), how much they will cost, or if Apple will add technology to future displays or iOS devices. This is currently a gamble on the expectation of future technology, but at least the port is compatible with Mini-DisplayPort and can support HDMI with cable purchase. The 13-inch MacBook Pro also stores its FireWire 800 port, so Thunderbolt is more of an added feature than the risk Apple does for you.
After all, the 13-inch Pro 2011 is a big step up in processing performance at the same price as its predecessor. Speaking of which, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is as powerful a processor as last year’s 15-inch 157-inch Core i7. Although Intel’s integrated graphics are a bit less capable than the Nvidia 320M processor of the previous model, the payback has another big jump in battery life.
Finally, if you are on the fence between $ 1398 AU $ 1698 and $ 2099 AU 1599 profiles, this $ 401 buys you a lot more computer. On the other hand, we can say that most people don’t see or need extra performance, and it’s a bigger, heavier laptop.
The new MacBook Pro is no different in design. Upgrade to 2011, and you never knew you were looking at a “new” Mac. The iconic design and construction of the single hull remained intact, even identical to last year’s 2010 model, even down to the port layout. The ports emphasize the left side, and the MagSafe cable charger connects to the rear without disturbing. The drive to load the game lines points to the right side. Wide aluminum and simple yet perfectly built, Apple’s keyboard feels like minimalism in a world of overstretched and over-engineered laptops, and the large multi-touch keys are still – even almost three years later – one of the biggest we’ve seen. is reliable: Compared to other flexible laptops, the Pro’s seamless metal body feels like modern art.
Despite this, we do not object to some design improvements in the future, especially when it comes to thickness and weight. The 13-inch Pro is compact and slim, but compared to the wafer thin Apple products like the iPad and MacBook Air , it ends up feeling heavier. Then, if the thickness is so important, you can always buy air.
The backlit keyboard is still standard, even on a $ 1399 MacBook Pro. It is useful for typing in low light conditions, and ambient light sensors control the screen brightness and keyboard illumination in perfect balance. The ergonomics work great, and the MacBook Pro also has some of the largest, deepest 13-inch palm rest areas.
The edge-to-edge glass still frames the 13.3-inch Pro screen, and yes, there is still no matte screen option – although a larger 15-inch line offers anti-glare. The display has excellent brightness, color and contrast, and the viewing angles are generous, but the native resolution of the 1280×800 pixels is the same as the 2010 model. Oddly enough, the MacBook Pro may be the last laptop to go 16: 9, 1366×768 pixels. More surprisingly, the 13-inch MacBook Air actually has a higher resolution than the current 13-inch pluses, at 1400×900 pixels. We are surprised that the $ 1698 higher-end configuration did not have a resolution update.
The screen is still the same old with low resolution of the past generation.(Credit: Apple)
The loudspeaker volume is sufficient, and the music and movies sound good on the built-in stereo speakers. The MacBook Pro does not have an audio signal that captures you and lacks you unless you wear headphones; then again, at 13 inches this slim, it performs better than equivalent competition.
The new HD Webcam offers 720p widescreen web chats via the new FaceTime application, which is pre-installed. FaceTime, which has been available as a beta for some time now, allows both Mac users and iPhone 4 owners to make calls. IPhone 4 calls come in fuzzy resolution, but Mac-Mac calls look relatively clear over Wi-Fi. Moving between portrait and landscape mode can be triggered at the touch of a button.
While most ports of the 13-inch MacBook Pro remain carbon-copy, identical to last year’s model, there are some notable additions. The SD card slot now accepts SDXC cards. More importantly, the Mini-DisplayPort was subtly transformed into the mentioned Thunderbolt port. Intel’s data and audio / video processor has an extremely fast bandwidth with a maximum speed of 10 Gbit / s, and compatible hard drives can send files at high speed. The tiny Thunderbolt port is powered and able to handle up to six connected devices, be it hard drives or even monitors. It is compatible with legacy Mini-DisplayPort monitors or cables and, like last year’s pros, can output audio and video via HDMI using the Mini-DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter.
Thunderbolt may rival USB 3.0, but devices that can use the port will even be available by spring. Most people will just use the USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 ports on the 2011 MacBook Pro and be completely satisfied. However, it’s nice to know that future port support is there. Is this necessary now? No. However, in two years it can become irreplaceable. Consider that a future technician on your MacBook Pro is a benefit, not a necessity.
Apple laptops have always had limited upgrade and configuration capabilities; the new pluses are no different. The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in configurations of $ 1,399 and $ 1,698, with dual-core Core i5 2.3 GHz and 2.7 GHz Core i7 respectively. Our high-end AU $ 1,698 Pro comes with a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. RAM can be expanded up to 8GB for an additional $ 240; the hard drive can be expanded up to 5400 rpm 750 GB for $ 130 or a solid state drive of 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB. It’s not cheap: Upgrading to 128GB costs $ 250, while 512GB costs as much as $ 1600. Pair this with Apple without mentioning the SSD brand, and you’re better off entering the sales market.
This is all about configurations. The 1280×800 pixel glossy screen can’t be updated, unlike the 15-inch Pro. You can’t also add discrete graphics. It’s a weird trip: even the 13-inch MacBook Air has a higher resolution screen, and the lack of high-end graphics feels cheap for such an expensive laptop.
Sandy Bridge’s new Intel Core i7 second-generation processor is a huge improvement on last year’s 13-inch Pro. Benchmark tests show that this model is almost twice as fast in iTunes multitasking and testing. Boot time is also lightning fast, though nowhere near as fast as the MacBook Air. This is the processor upgrade we were hoping for last year, and then some. While it’s obvious to keep in mind that a 15-inch Pro is even faster, it’s hard to beat what the 13-inch has to offer in terms of price and size. While other next-generation Intel Core i-series laptops are coming, apart from the new 15-inch quad-core MacBook Pro, it’s the second fastest Apple laptop we’ve ever seen. Although the 15-inch 2011 MacBook Pro has the advantage of multitasking, the 13-inch Pro more than kept up with the performance for a single task – in fact, it was almost equal to its bigger brother.
If this year’s 13-inch MacBook Pro is one compromise, it’s in the graph. Instead of Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics in last year’s Pro, this year’s models use the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000, which is part of the second-generation Core i i enhancement. They’re better than what we’re used to with integrated graphics, but they’re not perfect for hard games. We played Call of Duty 4 and got a reasonable 33.1 frames per second with built-in resolution and turned off smoothing, but only 18.2 frames per second with 4x smoothing turned on. Last year’s MacBook Pro with the same settings reached 36.3 frames per second and 32.2 frames per second, respectively.
However, for the average, everyday user, Intel’s integrated graphics are successful. They are actually invisible; they “just work” to use Apple’s words, deftly works with the media and the most casual 3D games. For those who want to seriously visualize or play higher-end games, the 15-inch ATI Radeon GPU offers Pro an important step. Honestly, the Mac landscape is devoid of many big games, and the 13-inch Pro can at least play most of what is out there (like Bejeweled 3, silky smooth).
For the second year in a row, the 13-inch MacBook Pro has made another leap in battery life. According to Apple’s promises, the 13-inch integrated Pro battery lasted six hours and 58 minutes using our battery-tracking test for video playback. This is an amazing result – and so good that you’ll probably be able to carry your MacBook Pro throughout the day and leave the charger if you’re so bold. It’s also an hour better than last year’s 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple’s service and support has always been a bag. Apple includes a one-year and one-year warranty, but only 90 days of phone support. Upgrading to a full three-year AppleCare plan will cost an additional $ 329, and it’s almost a must-buy, given the proprietary nature of Apple products and their sealed cases. Support is also available through a well-stocked online knowledge base, video tutorials and customer service emails, or through personal visits to the Apple Genius Bars retail store, which, in our personal experience, has always been quite effective, without disappointment. meeting.
Multimedia Task Test
- 130 Apple MacBook Pro 15 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.2GHz
- 216 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.7GHz
- 437 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
- 656 Lenovo ThinkPad T410
- 662 Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG-7805
- 926 Apple MacBook Air 13
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Image Processing Test (in seconds)
- 63 Apple MacBook Pro 15 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.2GHz
- 68 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.7GHz
- 105 Lenovo ThinkPad T410
- 105 Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG-7805
- 126 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
- 149 Apple MacBook Air 13
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iTunes Coding Test (in seconds)
- 90 Apple MacBook Pro 15 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.2GHz
- 92 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.7GHz
- 135 Lenovo ThinkPad T410
- 137 Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG-7805
- 154 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
- 176 Apple MacBook Air 13
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Video Trial Video Play Video (in minutes)
- 425 Apple MacBook Pro 15 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.2GHz
- 418 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core i7 Sandy Bridge 2.7GHz
- 360 Apple MacBook Pro 13 – Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
- 346 Lenovo ThinkPad T410
- 298 Apple MacBook Air 13
- 229 Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG-7805
(Longer bars indicate better performance)