But with the new wide-screen, ultrahigh-resolution Retina Display, those extra couple inches might be irrelevant. After all, mobility is key now, not screen size. It used to be you needed a larger laptop to get performance good enough to replace a desktop, but that's no longer the case.
I mean, look at Apple's tag line above the new models. A inch screen is plenty for most purposes when you're traveling, and when you're not, you can connect into an external display. And really, look at how much people can get done on the 9. What do you think? Is there still a need for a inch MacBook? Do you think it'll make a return when Apple can offer a more affordable inch Retina version? Only very few features can be customized via the control panel here.
Like the one built into our test laptop, the reflective high-gloss display with a resolution of x pixels comes standard in the MBP 17". For an additional 50 Euro, you can get the version with a non-reflective matte screen. Compared to popular full-HD displays with a x resolution, the extra pixels in the aspect ratio at hand provide more vertical space on the screen, useful for browsing the internet, reading documents and looking at pictures, for example.
This means, you can see more at once and have to scroll less. The only downside of this aspect ratio reveals itself when watching cinematic films, for which part of the screen remains black. At dpi , the amount work space in relation to the size of screen contents is convenient for most users, giving you lots of room for many windows on the screen at once. The screen brightness can be adjusted on a scale from 1 to But even this brightness level might be too low since the screen strongly reflects its surroundings.
Bright clothes, a brightly lit room or an inconveniently placed light source make reflections pop up on the screen, which requires stepping up the screen brightness to counteract the reflections. Using the laptop oudoors can also be cause for concern. At maximum screen brightness—available in battery power too—the screen contents remain recognizable much longer than with many competitors with glossy screens.
Still, reflections do end up eclipsing the picture sometimes. The darker the screen contents and the stronger the sunlight, the harder it is to make out what's on the screen. The contrast ratio of is rather good and makes for saturated blacks and whiter whites. Above all, it's photos and films that profit most from this good contrast ratio and vivid colors.
The broad color space also contributes to a vibrant picture, which describes the level of contrast between colors and the potential to display colors other screens can't. Nevertheless, not all the colors of the sRGB color space can be displayed here. There are some weak points within the blue-green spectrum. However, the color space here goes above and beyond sRGB in the green-yellow-orange spectrum see the images below. For the best color matching calibration with a colorimeter is always recommended.
The range of viewing angles is not perfect but clearly better than with most notebook screens. When looking at the screen from the left or the right of the ideal viewing angle, the picture remains visible at any angle. The colors do, however, start to appear somewhat distorted at larger angles. White has a yellow tint to it at sharper angles. When tilting the screen back and forth away from the ideal viewing angle, screen contents start to appear more and more faded.
This too only happens at sharper angles, later than with most laptop displays. Hyper Threading, Turbo Boost 2. Depending on the intensity of the task at hand, the system automatically switches between the integrated and the dedicated graphics cards as needed.
When the integrated graphics card active, the entire system consumes less power. Particularly GPU-switching is handled very differently by each operating system. This, of course, has no effect on optimal performance but does affect the battery life, which we discuss in the "Battery Life" section of this review.
In any case, the CPU performance is excellent. Wprime m is computed within in seconds and SuperPi 32m in seconds. In Windows, the same task is accomplished at The cross-OS benchmark Geekbench tests the processor and memory of the system. In Cinebench R10 und R Here the nearly all results under Windows are better than under Mac OS. The next driver update might change things quite a bit, though, since the platform is very new and in our experience, the true performance potential will only be brought to light little by little.
In every area, the new MBP17 shows a large improvement in performance over the model. We did have to perform several trials, however, since the scores the various trials tended to vary quite a bit amongst themselves. Moreover, it remains a mystery why Xbench gave the MBP 17 a better overall score despite its sub-scores being lower than those of the MBP The usual suspects like wifi and LAN don't seem to be the culprit here, deactivating them has no effect.
The keyboard and touchpad don't seem to be responsible. Those who absolutely need optimal response times will have to perform some more intensive tests to identify the exact source. The results remain a good deal away from the critical red markers, however. So you don't have to worry about synchronization problems with external devices.
Looking at the results of PC Mark Vantage, the points speak for very good performance. The internet browser, Skype, photo editing, spread sheets, word processing and much more works nice and snappy. Only in photo editing, when dealing with very large files or a large number of files open at once, you might want to consider upgrading your RAM. The optional GB hard drive spinning at a faster RPM isn't really worth it considering you'd have to deal with a more noise for a small boost in performance.
In terms of better performance and less system noise, the only truly viable improvement here would be to switch to an SSD. With "Ultra" graphics settings in SC2, we very rarely observed some short stints choppiness. After deactivated this or that graphics-enhancing setting, the still visually-appealing picture flows smoothly in full HD and the game remains very enjoyable.
In Windows , we were once again able to supplement our impressions with some data. With the highest graphics settings, we did observe some limitations. Still, even when playing the resource-demanding Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the frame rate never dropped below 20 fps with the graphics set as high as possible. As before, lowering the resolution or graphics settings a bit allows for a fluid picture and smooth, enjoyable game flow.
However, using the "PowerStrip" tool, there is a way to get around this problem. You can find more specifics on gaming performance e. The guilty party seems to be the insufficiently large power supply. The maximum of 3. The observed throttling seems to a be a sort of emergency brake that is automatically activated once a certain temperature or level of power consumption is reached in order to protect the system from being damaged.
Overall, the system noise produced by the new MBP 17 is a bit higher than the older model but still quite low. The Superdrive remains rather quiet at Under moderate use, the noise level rises to When the hardware is pushed to the max, the noise level stays at a constant Using the tool SMCFanControl, you can preset and regulate the fan speed in order to improve cooling under heavy use, for example. Of course, in this scenario you get a higher noise level in return.
Compared to the previous MBP 17, the average and maximum temperatures observed are slightly lower here. This makes sense considering the scurry of the fans in Mac OS when under heavy use. Within the case it's a a different story, though. The CPU gets very hot under intense use and, when the graphics card is simultaneously being pushed to the max, the CPU is artificially downsampled.
The throttling due to the high temperature should, however, never be seen when using less intense everyday applications. Running 3DMark06 right after the hours-long stress test yielded practically the same score as running the benchmark on the system when at a low temperature. Even after 9 hours of intense use, the palm rest remains astoundingly cool. The sound quality is relatively good as far as laptop speakers go. The sound emphasizes the highs too much, but mids and and the bass are noticeable, something we can't say for so many other notebooks.
For watching the occasional film, listening to music every now and then or doing a presentation, these speakers get the job done. Music enthusiasts and such will, however, still want to hook up external speakers or headphones. The volume can be adjusted on a scale from 1 to The maximum volume is quite loud but is a bit distorted at level 15 and The line-in jack cannot be used for a headset without the use of a buffer amplifier in the microphone.
The built-in lithium polymer battery with a capacity of 95 Wh comes with the inconvenience of being manually non-removable, that is, without voiding the warranty. It's therefore implied that you can't swap the old battery out and replace it with a second battery to extend the battery life. There's nowhere to go here but back to the electrical outlet when you run out of juice.
In case the battery breaks down and is rendered useless, it can be replaced for a lump sum of Euro by an Apple-authorized institution. The power consumption tends to vary a good deal depending on the operating system. In Mac OS X the level of consumption ranges from 7. The biggest factor here is which of the two graphics cards is active.
Depending on the applications used, the system chooses which GPU to utilize. We often experienced, however, that the less efficient AMD graphics card was chosen although the Intel HD Graphics would have been more than enough for the task at hand. You can monitor this information for yourself using gfxcardstatus. Using this too, you can also choose to assign one of the two GPUs to be permanently active.
Windows 7 is usually more voracious than Mac OS X and eats up between 17 watts and This is the case with office apps, internet browsing, watching DVDs and such as long as no rendering of 3D graphics is required. Especially under light use , this leads to higher power consumption. The battery life measured under each of the operating systems divides the results into two different worlds.
In Mac OS X, the battery life ranges from 1 to 13 hours. A real-world battery life fits in somewhere between 7 and 8 hours, however, since you'll want to have a decent screen brightness and wifi on most of the time Intel GPU. With the AMD graphics card on, the battery life dwindles down to hours. Running the laptop on battery power also actually brings down the power consumption since components like the hard drive and DVD drive shut off after a while of being idle.
In Windows 7, you can use the MBP unplugged for a maximum of 6 hours. With the appropriate settings, hours are possible with relatively undemanding programs, but under heavy use the laptop won't hold out for more than 1 hour. Browsing the internet via wifi gives you about minutes.
Watching DVDs will get you minutes. The excellent combination of powerful performance, light weight case and long battery life is unmatched. It's clearly developed for Mac OS X and only when using this operating system can you reap all the benefits the MacBook Pro 17 has in store. Switchable graphics cards, a longer battery life and the entire array of hardware features is only accessible under Mac OS X. In Windows 7, most things work alright but not as well as we'd hoped. The display in place is among the best you can get in a notebook.
Color space, screen brightness, contrast ratio and viewing angles are all above average. The very reflective screen can, however, be frustrating. With this in mind, the extra 50 Euro for a matte screen is probably worth it. Because of the high screen brightness, outdoor use is still possible but the issue of reflections on the screen doesn't just disappear here. We can't ignore the throttling problem either. Whether this causes problems in the long run remains to be seen. Luckily, most users will rarely bring such a high level of stress upon the hardware.
Unchanged is the exemplary unibody case with its excellent craftsmanship. The feel of the case and its sleek look is unmatched. The small array of ports , unfortunately, also remains unchanged—these and many features are lacking here that come standard with competing laptops.
The worst is the stingy warranty of a ridiculously short 12 months. The unique combination of usually mutually exclusive characteristics like mobility, battery life and a powerful performance. Luckily, a matte screen is available, albeit at a higher price. That Apple designed the power supply to barely withstand maximum system demands. Considering the sum of all parts, the quality of the MBP 17 at best only comes close to being matched in the 17" laptop segment. A real-world 7-hour battery life in a 3-Kg form and very good performance is previously unheard of.
The MacBook Pro 17" is Apple's top-of-the line model as far as laptops go and stylishly combines powerful performance with excellent mobility. Sounds good, right? But how does the latest MBP measure up to the competition? Perfect Dimensions. Front: No Ports. Rear: No Ports. Internet and Bluetooth Compared to the previous MBP 17", the wireless internet situation has not changed. Warranty It's a bit shocking how shameless Apple is in providing only a short one-year warranty with this expensive Euro laptop.
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The MacBook Pro 17" is Apple's top-of-the line model as far as laptops go and stylishly combines powerful performance with excellent mobility. It isn't easy to make a bulky 17in laptop look elegant, but Apple's design team has made a good attempt with this update of its top-of-the range Macbook Pro. We review the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which boasts a breathtakingly gorgeous screen, super-fast performance and long battery life.