Fri, 26 Jun 2009 MacBook Pro 2.26GHz (13-inch, Mid 2009)
The 13in MacBook gets a Pro moniker and FireWire returns
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Pros: Has FireWire 800 port; improved battery life; high quality display; bootable SD card slot; entry-level price tag.
- Cons: No matte screen option; no video adapters or Apple Remote included; no CPU or 7,200 rpm upgrade options available
- Price: £899
- Star rating:
The 13-inch MacBook Pro's new built-in battery
You can’t swap out the new built-in lithium polymer battery, but Apple’s hoping you never need to – our tests show that the new battery lasts longer per charge than the removable battery found in the previous generation of MacBooks.
In our battery life test, we play on a continuous loop a movie ripped from a DVD and saved to the internal hard drive. The movie is played at full screen and full brightness, with the keyboard illumination turned all the way down and AirPort turned off. The new 13-inch MacBooks lasted about 48 minutes longer than the older aluminum MacBook, and about 10 minutes longer than the current 2.13GHz white MacBook.
If you compare the battery life of the 13-inch MacBook Pro to that of its 15-inch siblings, you’ll find that the larger batteries in the 15-inch models give the laptop 30 more minutes of playback power.
Upgrading the MacBook Pro 13-inch
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro models can handle up to 8GB of memory. To upgrade the RAM in the 2.26GHz model, which comes with just 2GB of RAM in its standard configuration, Apple charges an extra £80.01 for 4GB (a pair of 2GB modules) and £880 for 8GB (a pair of 4GB modules).
Unfortunately, Apple won’t sell a MacBook Pro without RAM, so if you do decide to use after-market memory, know that you’ll end up replacing the stock memory with the upgrade, and you’ll have two extra of sticks of RAM. Still, there’s always eBay.
You can also configure your MacBook Pro with a different hard drive. For an additional £34.78, you can outfit the 2.26GHz model with a 250GB hard drive. A 320GB drive is £80.01, and a 500GB drive costs £160. (All of the hard drive upgrades spin at 5,400 rpm.)
Apple also offers two solid-state drive (SSD) options and charges £320 for a 128GB SSD or £680 for a 256GB SSD. The prices are slightly cheaper for the 2.53GHz model, ranging from £40.01 for a 320GB upgrade, to £551 for the 256GB SSD upgrade.
Processor upgrades are not an option on the 13-inch MacBook Pros, and Apple only offers optional 7,200 rpm hard drives on the 15- and 17-inch Macbook Pro models. However, Apple considers the memory and hard drive as user serviceable parts, so there’s nothing stopping you from buying one from a third party and installing it yourself.
Aside from the slightly higher spec innards, and impressive unibody casing, there are a couple of other nice features that distinguish this model from the white polycarbonate MacBook. The keyboard is now backlit on the entry level £899 unit, and because the screen is LED (versus the MacBook’s TFT) it offers much greater vibrancy and visual clarity. You might want to bear both of these features in mind when deciding whether to spend the extra money on this unit over a regular white polycarbonate MacBook.