The 15in Apple MacBook Pro now comes in three varieties, all of them with 4GB of RAM - which you can double to 8GB for a massive £799 - and hard drives with between 250GB and 500GB of space, or solid-state disk drives of 128GB or 256GB.

For £208 more, the 2.8GHz model can be ordered with a 3.06GHz chip - the first time Apple has offered a processor beyond 3GHz in a laptop. It's also an option on the 17in MacBook Pro.

For those who plan to take their laptop on the road, the 15in MacBook Pro weighs in at 2.49kg.

The most obvious change to the MacBook Pro line is the loss of the ExpressCard/34 slot. It's been replaced by an SD card slot to make transferring pictures from digital cameras easier, according to Apple officials. (You can even install Mac OS X on an SD card and use it to boot the computer, according to an Apple Knowledge Base document explaining the SD slot's use. Talk about an OS in your pocket!)

The only MacBook Pro model that retains the ExpressCard slot is the 17in one, and we wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of this model drops the slot as well. Why the change? Apple says its research shows customers are interested in more easily transferring digital pictures from their cameras. The SD slot means no fumbling for cables.

The Apple MacBook Pro slot works exactly as you'd expect. Just slide an SD card in - metal contacts side down - and an SD card icon pops up on your desktop. When we tested it, iPhoto promptly launched and quickly imported our photos. We then dragged the icon to the trash can to "eject" it, and pulled it out of the slot.

There's no spring mechanism; you just slide it in and pull it out. If you don't see an icon show up on the desktop, you may have to try again. Apple recommends inserting it with a smooth sliding motion.

Another minor change - one you'd have to look for to really notice - is that the Mini DisplayPort video port is now sandwiched between a FireWire 800 port and two USB ports. All of the ports are on the left side of the Apple MacBook Pro's case; the SuperDrive for playing and burning CDs and DVDs is on the right.

Otherwise, the new Apple MacBook Pro sports the same unibody aluminum-and-black look as before. The glass-coated one-piece trackpad/clicker button is back unchanged, and the laptop feels comfortably solid - a credit to the unibody design.

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