The Good A faster processor, improved graphics, and USB 3.0 highlight a series of internal improvements in the new 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The Bad The unchanged design is starting to feel a little dated. Any real structural changes, HDMI, higher-res displays, were reserved for the Retina display version of the MacBook Pro.
The Bottom Line Another year of incremental improvements for the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro help it maintain its lead as a useful, powerful, attractive midsize laptop, but the competition is closer than ever to catching up.
Apple MacBook Pro (15 inch, Summer 2012)
Not very long ago, to be the 15-inch MacBook was to be the life of the laptop party. Big and powerful, yet still slim and attractive, the college kids wanted MacBook Airs, while the designers and artists wanted the 15-inch MacBook Pro (or, in a few cases, the bigger 17-inch version).
That logic has shifted with the release of Apple's 15-inch. Despite the similar names, these are two very different beasts.
One is nearly ultrabook-thin, with solid-state storage, an HDMI port, dual Thunderbolt ports, no optical drive, and a unique 2,880x1,800-pixel display. And, it starts at $2,199. The other is the same 15-inch MacBook Pro we've known and loved for a couple of years, but upgraded to Intel's third-generation Core i7 processors (both models have Nvidia graphics and USB 3.0 ports). That starts at $1,799 (as reviewed here), but is easily upgraded to $2,199 or more.