My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 6

Summary:It's day six of my MacBook Pro experience (or should that be experiment?) and today I'm going to talk more about the actual Mac hardware.It's nearly a week into the MacBook experience and since I've now had the opportunity to handle the MacBook Pro quite a bit and use the various features that it offers I think I'm ready to offer some comment on them.

It's day six of my MacBook Pro experience (or should that be experiment?) and today I'm going to talk more about the actual Mac hardware.

It's nearly a week into the MacBook experience and since I've now had the opportunity to handle the MacBook Pro quite a bit and use the various features that it offers I think I'm ready to offer some comment on them.

From a standpoint of fit and finish, I have to be honest and say that the MacBook is, by far, the best notebook I've ever handled.  Period.  The solid metal finish is beautifully stylish, yet robust.  I like that the use of plastic is kept to a minimum. 

I'm still adjusting to the keyboard.  I still feel that it's a bit too far away from me when I'm typing and the different keyboard layout from a standard Windows keyboard still trips me up at times.  This is a minor niggle that's almost not worth mentioning apart from the fact that anyone thinking of making the switch to a Mac should be aware that some retraining is required.  I like the backlit keys but I find that the light is sometimes on when I don't need to be and off when it could be useful. 

The screen is also a delight to view.  A 17-inch widescreen running at 1680 x 1050 pixels really is about all you can ever want on a notebook.  The screen is also very easy on the eyes, even in low light (here I think the backlighting on the keyboard helps to reduce eye strain).

There's also plenty of scope for hooking up stuff to the MacBook.  On the left-hand side of the notebook there's the MagSafe power connector, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in, audio out and an ExpressCard/34 slot.  On the right-hand side there's a Dual-link DVI, a gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, a FireWire 400 port, another USB 2.0 port and finally a security slot.  This is a pretty impressive specification, even if I'd prefer to have a couple of extra USB ports instead of the FireWire ports (the FireWire 800 port at any rate).

I'm finding that the trackpad is very responsive and easy to use.  Oddly enough, I find the buttons somewhat on the clunky side and not in keeping with the rest of the design.  I'm surprised that the engineers at Apple haven't come up with something a little more elegant.  I'm not sure why but each time I press one of those buttons and I hear that dull plastic clunk, I feel a little disappointed.

WiFi ... hmmm ... that's one for Apple support I think.

One thing I'm surprised that the notebook doesn't have is an integrated media card reader.  That would be really useful.  Otherwise the MacBook Pro is a really nice, fully-featured and powerful notebook. 

Tomorrow I'm going to look at some of the basic skills that someone planning on making the shift to the Mac platform will need.

Previous installments:

Topics: Hardware

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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