So yesterday, after an hilarious false start earlier in the week, I replaced my three-year-old PowerBook G4 with a 2.53GHz MacBook Pro. I opted for the quicker 7,200rpm drive and this model comes with 4GB of RAM out of the box.
First the good. This thing is gorgeous. The build quality is streets ahead of previous models, which until now have been constructed from multiple, overlapping pieces of aluminium and plastic edging. The single aluminium “unibody” that houses the countersunk keyboard is quite fetching, and the chiclet keyboard is uncluttered and comfortable to type on. The magnetic latch is just right, and likewise I’m a fan of the battery indicator on the side of the body, even if it means not being able to check the charge on extra batteries without plugging them in. The screen is incredibly bright, video playback is stunning, and I’ll get used to the glare from the shiny screen finish. Maximum speaker volume is much louder than it was on the PowerBook. Performance-wise I’ve barely got it to break a sweat; under anything but the heaviest use it remains cool to the touch.
Now the bad. The buttonless trackpad is awful. Despite being glass, it feels very similar to the previous model, but produces a dull thud when clicked, an action which should be quieter and require less force (John’s description of it as a “click-tock” is bang on.). I’d prefer something more like the click of one of Apple’s Mighty Mouse buttons. When fine control of the mouse pointer is required, I’m timid to click for fear of moving the pointer while making the click; at other times I seem to grab hold of folders or files without meaning to. The trackpad doesn’t always respond to input immediately: it completely or partially misses drag actions quite often, which is equally annoying. There are options in the System Preferences to enable multi-finger swipe gestures, but I’ve turned these off as they’re prone to unwanted side effects such as increasing the text size while browsing in Safari. Sounds like there’s an update coming to address these issues, but it can’t fix the clunkiness of the button.
My only other niggle is fairly minor: the front edge is a little sharper than is ideal for resting the palm when operating the trackpad. Other than that I have to agree with Dan, I like this new MacBook Pro.
Image courtesy of Apple