Apple products have frequently been about the looks, and in the case of the new MacBook Pro, the beauty comes mainly from the glossy 1,920x1,200 pixel 17in screen.
That’s not a criticism though, for the Apple MacBook Pro is, without doubt, the best-looking LCD screen Apple has ever produced. Incidentally, the Apple MacBook Pro is also the fastest, even if PC users may not see anything that radical in the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (with Santa Rosa), 160GB hard drive and 2GB of DDR RAM.
But back to the Apple MacBook Pro's screen. If you know the difference between regular TV and its high-definition equivalent then you’ll instantly grasp just how appealing the fantastic resolution capabilities are. The menus are slightly smaller, and you might feel the need to crank up the text size, but with the extra pixels (you get about 133 pixels per inch rather than 110 in the case of the standard 17in screen), this is the sharpest screen we’ve ever used. It’s not genuine high-definition (the aspect ratio is 16:10 rather than 16:9) but it’s so close as to be astonishing.
The Apple MacBook Pro's graphics are handled ably by the 256MB GeForce 8600M GT controller – in games such as Doom 3 and Quake 4, you’ll get over half as many frame rates again as in the case of the older Core Duo laptops. As before, the new MBPs come with Apple's MagSafe power connector and feature 802.11n networking. It's still a draft standard, but works just fine. There's dual-link DVI out for external monitors, including Apple's behemoth 30in LCD display, the backlit keyboard, and an ExpressCard/34 slot. In fact, the new Apple MacBook Pro looks just like the last model.
Of course, it’s not cheap. You’ll need to pay £1,859 if you want the Apple MacBook Pro with the high resolution screen – a version with a more normal 1,680x1,050 resolution is available for £60 less. You may also end up paying through the nose if you start adding some options. Upgrading the hard drive from a 5400rpm to a fast 7200rpm version will set you back £100. Ask for an extra 2GB of RAM and you’ll add a hefty £480 to the price – although you can save enormously by doing such an upgrade yourself.
(Irritatingly the Apple MacBook Pro starts at only $2,799 (or £1,400) in the US. Admittedly US prices are ex VAT, and Apple can't do a lot about VAT in the UK, but if you've got a mate in the US, it's definitely worth buying over there and footing up the shipping yourself. More: PC Advisor tips and tricks: save money and beat rip-off Britain )