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MacBooks Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) review

£1,699 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Apple's revised unibody MacBook Pro 15in (Mid 2009) is also the fastest we've ever tested - UPDATED 14 AUG 09

Apple's revised unibody MacBook Pro 15in (Mid 2009) is also the fastest we've ever tested.

For this mid-2009 update of its laptop range, Apple has kept the unique unibody construction introduced last October, and bumped up processor speeds. But additionally, the new Apple MacBook Pro range sees subtle but important changes to the battery configuration and to the card slot.

We tested the fastest of three Apple MacBook Pro 15in-screen models, using a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and priced at £1699. The entry price for the popular 15in screen size is now £1299, taking a 2.53GHz processor and single graphics processor. Meanwhile £1499 buys you a 2.66GHz model.

Both middle and top 15in Apple MacBook Pros include a second dedicated graphics card, the nVidia GeForce 9600M GT, which can be switched on when required for graphics intensive work.

At present, you must log out and back in after any switch, and there's no facility to use both together as you can with some Windows laptops.

See our review of all three new 15in Apple MacBook Pro (Mid 2009) models

A gloss screen is fitted as standard for all 15in Apple MacBook Pro models, and while the display is bright and colourful enough, strong reflections from all and any nearby lights and windows will seriously reduce the legibility of what's on screen.

(On 11th August 2009, Apple quietly reintroduced a matt-finish anti-glare screen option for 15in models. It's a built-to-order option only and commands a £40 surchage over the default shiny screen.)

Also unchanged since the unibody form debuted is the new backlit Scrabble-tile keyboard, which sadly has far too much light bleed between the keys.

While the previous-generation Apple MacBook Pro models had this asset working well to allow comfortable use in darkened rooms, the larger space around each key means you're troubled by unwanted white LED lighting, rather than just the letter shape glowing softly through the key top.

Just like the big 17in model, and the Apple MacBook Air before it, the new Pro series now features integrated batteries across the range. This allows for larger battery packs to be fitted, crucially extending running time to newfound long levels. Where Mac portables could once boast around four or five hours life, the new range promise a runtime of seven hours.

NEXT PAGE: Results of battery, graphics and overall system performance benchmark tests >>

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) Expert Verdict »

2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600
1066MHz FSB
6MB Level 2 cache
Mac OS X 10.5.7
15.4in (1440x900) 16:10 glossy LCD display
nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics with 256MB shared RAM, and nVidia GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB dedicated RAM
mini DisplayPort video output
4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 RAM
500GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
2 x USB 2.0
FireWire 800
gigabit ethernet
MagSafe power connector
four-finger multi-touch glass trackpad
infrared remote control
SuperDrive (slot-load 8x DVD±RW DL drive)
built-in mic
audio-in/headphone out jacks, both with S/PDIF optical
73W/hour non-removable lithium-polymer battery
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

It’s not the cheapest 15in laptop currently available, but the new Apple MacBook Pro is arguably the best that money can buy today. Only the poor screen quality really lets down an otherwise near-perfect machine. If you can overlook this, then the thoughtful industrial design and peerless build makes Apple's MacBook Pro the gold standard for all modern 15in notebooks.

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