Tuesday, July 17, 2007

MacBook Pro one week in

I've had my MacBook Pro for about a week now, so I figure it's time to take stock of my impressions. First, two complaints, then a boatload of complements.

I find the wireless networking to be fairly buggy (lots of reports in the Apple support forums on this... hopefully a software update will fix it). The Airport range is pretty poor. I'm sitting maybe 40 feet away from my router and not getting full bars. I know the PB/MBP line doesn't get as good reception as the iBook/MB line, but 40 feet is well within the range where I should be getting full bars. I've tried sitting only a few feet away and I still don't always get full bars. I also find the connection somewhat flakey, often dropping out for a few seconds then resuming. So far no kernel panics or anything like that, so I guess I should count my blessings, but I'm gathering evidence for a call to Apple Care about this.

The only other issue is that I was experiencing a slight delay in the trackpad sensitivity. Sometimes I would have to move my thumb around on it for a second or two before the cursor would move. Other times, it was instantaneous. This also seems to be a known issue, one that is apparently resolved by unchecking the the "Ignore accidental trackpad input" box under the Trackpad preferencess. So far it seems to have fixed the problem, though I haven't decided which is worse, the delay or the "accidental trackpad input."

Other than these two bugs, I really love the machine. There are so many little things I appreciate about it. For instance, I never thought the MagSafe connector was such a big deal, but after experiencing it first hand, I'm blown away. My brother-in-law, a longtime PC user, was also really impressed by it. This is the sort of thing that makes Macs stand out--the kind of design detail that Apple is known for.

Battery life is about what I expected, maybe a little better: about 4.5 hours on a full charge if the screen is turned way down and with Bluetooth turned off, and not doing anything that requires the GPU to work hard. I figure I could maybe get 5 hours if I turned off the AirPort too. But if you start watching video or video conferencing, the battery run time drops like a rock.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the machine's quietness (virtually silent most of the time). Laptops are of course much quieter than desktop machines by nature, but the MBP is even quieter than my old iBook. I can't hear the hard drive spin or click at all, and unless the fans are working hard (as in watching video), I can't hear them either.

I also love the screen; it's so bright that I rarely have it turned up all the way. And the backlit keyboard is another feature I was blah about before experiencing it firsthand.

The keyboard itself is wonderful. I like laptop keyboards in general, but this one feels better than most. Just the right stiffness under the keys, and a very satisfying click. I feel like I'm typing much faster than I could on my old iBook. And two fingered scrolling on the trackpad... what a revalation!

That's my roundup of pros and cons so far. No real regrets to this point, though I have yet to take it on the road, where the poor wireless reception may be a real hindrance. I just hope Apple fixes the wireless bugs soon.