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.
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 >>