MacBook Pro 17-inch [2008] full review

Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro computers have just been through a major refresh, with new Unibody casings, faster innards and glossy displays across the board have made for an interesting (if somewhat controversial) update.

Meanwhile the top-of-the-line 17-inch MacBook Pro has also been updated, albeit in a more subtle manner. The innards have been refreshed with faster processors and better memory; but the casing has stayed the same and it retains the option of a matte screen display.

These more subtle tweaks might make this the laptop of choice for the design professional looking for a machine to occasionally take out of the studio and on the road.

At first glance (and possibly each subsequent glance after that), the changes to the 17-inch MacBook Pro aren’t apparent. The external design is identical to that used in the last couple of generations of Apple’s largest laptop. Once you power it up, you’ll find that the new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a screen with a higher native resolution screen than in years previous, 1,920-by-1,200 as opposed to 1,680-by-1,050; that’s 31 percent more pixels occupying the same amount of screen real estate. The good news is that you can fit more of a large image on screen, view full 1080p high definition video, and have more windows open. The bad news is that everything—images and icons alike—appear smaller. I increased the icon size on the desktop because they were too small for me at the default setting.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro also features more RAM (4GB as opposed to 2GB) than the previous model, which was released in March 2008. The standard configuration hard drive also received an upgrade, up to 320GB of capacity instead of the previous 250GB.

The components in the standard configuration except for the 7,200 rpm hard drive were available as customize-to-order options in the previous 17-inch MacBook Pro (the previous model had only 4,200 rpm drives available at the 320GB capacity).

As with the whole MacBook range there has been a price jump in the UK with the new model working out at £250 more than the model it replaces. As with the MacBook, this can largely be put down to changes in the exchange rate, although the high price will ensure this remains a luxury that few can afford.

NEXT: What's not so new in the 17-inch MacBook Pro

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