The 15.4in MacBook Pro is a similar size to the 15in PowerBook G4 that it replaces – and looks just as slim and sexy next to the majority of Window-based laptops with which it now shares its processor. Its screen resolution is mediocre, though – many 15in models in this price range have 1,680x1,050-pixel screens – and it's not the X-black type that many top laptops have.
All of the PowerBook's innovations – such as the illuminated keyboard for working in the dark, the scrolling trackpad and the stylish, slot-loading DVD writer – have survived. This latest model adds a magnetic power connector so you don't trash your laptop if you trip over the lead, the iSight webcam with Photo Booth software, the Front Row living-room media player and a remote control so you can sit back and enjoy it all from a distance.
The MacBook Pro proved to be around 50 percent faster in Apple's bundled iLife suite of image, video and music-editing apps than the 1.67GHz G4. Power-hungry software needs to be updated for the Intel chip to run in a useable manner, with untuned creative programs such as Photoshop running more slowly on the MacBook than on the G4.
Using the tuned-up, cross-platform Cinebench 9.5 benchmarking software, we compared the MacBook Pro with the Dell Inspiron 9400, which is based around a 2GHz Core Duo chip. In Cinebench's processing test, the laptops were neck and neck. In the real-time 3D tests the Mac wasn't much ahead, which is disappointing for Apple, since the MacBook has a hardcore ATI graphics chip whereas the Inspiron merely has an onboard graphics setup.