CNET First Look
Apple MacBook Pro Winter 2011 (13 in)Apple's new 13-incher updates to brand-new Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and adds an HD webcam and a Thunderbolt port. We take it for a spin.
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein and this is the new Apple MacBook Pro. Now, Apple released a number of new MacBook Pros in the 13, 15, and 17-inch line. This is the 13-inch model and the differences here are pretty big if you had any of the previous models of the 13-inch before this because they never upgraded to any new processors last year. In fact, they used a Core 2 Duo CPU while the 15 and 17-inch got the Core iSeries--Core i5 and Core i7--CPUs. That's changed now. Inside this 13-incher is one of the new Sandy Bridge--the 2nd Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs in here with dual core. Now, in the 15 and 17-inch models, this goes up to quad-core. But here in the high-end model which we've got right here at $14.99, you've got a dual core 2.7 gigahertz Core i7 CPUs. That's a great leap up. The graphics are a bit of a lateral move. Before, there was an NVIDIA GeForce 320M processor that was in there with integrated graphics. Now, instead of NVIDIA graphics, this has Intel HD Graphics 3000 inside. That is the integrated graphics that are on the next generation Intel Core iSeries laptops. Now, integrated graphics before on laptops usually meant can play video but really can't play games. That's not the case anymore. The integrated graphics on here are great with video and can actually play a lot of games. Bejeweled 3 play great. We played Portal on it in its demo form. It was okay. We played Civilization V in it a couple of corks actually with its menu system that made it basically unplayable and we're giving Call of Duty a try right now. There aren't many changes cosmetically since the last time we saw the MacBook Pro but it's still a great design. The raised keyboard here is backlit, a trackpad. There's actually a Multi-Touch click pad here. It's still one of the largest that we've seen on a laptop and the glossy screen is back and in the same resolution--1280 x 800. Some of you may be disappointed that it wasn't a bit high resolution; but over the years, the screen has actually got considerably brighter and it's actually viewable at wider angles which is nice for sharing a review with someone and it's got pretty much all of the same ports. When you turn it to the side, they all look the same with the exception, of course, of one little change in icon where the Mini DisplayPort was before. That port is still there but it has a lightning bolt. That's for Thunderbolt which you probably may have heard of already. It is a new high-speed port developed by Intel that is a combination of a Mini DisplayPort and super high-speed data transfer. There will be peripherals available later this year that will be capable with it. It's really great if you wanna connect it to some super high-speed hard drives or external peripherals and it will still work with your-- your monitors and your other Mini DisplayPort peripherals that you've already got, so don't worry about that. And unlike before, the battery is still integrated inside. Now, the battery life, we're gonna have to see how it benchmarks but it is promised that it'll be a little bit longer than last time which would make sense considering the new Intel Core iSeries processor that's supposed to be even more power efficient. Like its 15 and 17-inch brothers, there is a new HD webcam included on this that will be compatible with the new FaceTime app that's available on the app store right now and pre-installed on this Mac, so you can do full HD web chats now which look really nice and they definitely give a greater range. As far as the rest of what this laptop provides, it's pretty much the same nice design that we've seen before on the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Again, it's the insides that have changed and who's gonna be buying this? Well, if you like the 13-inch size which is a great size and you wanna think about really upgrading that processor, well now is a great time. If you're looking for any graphics performance and you're looking for something that can-- that can really get some gaming done, you're probably gonna want to look at those 15 and 17-inch models. I'm Scott Stein and this is a first look at the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch for 2011.