17-inch MacBook Pro 2.66GHz review

When Apple announced its upgrade to the new unibody MacBooks, we were surprised to see the MacBook Pro remain in the old aluminium casing. Apple announced the new 17-inch MacBook Pro at the Macworld Expo in January, and we've at last had the machine in for testing.

As with much of Apple's product range, the price has gone up. Although this time by a more palatable £41, from £1,908 to £1,949. Mind you, Apple did take the price up from £1,799 when it last upgraded the model in October 2008. (We'll come back to pricing in our buying advice).

No matter which way you look at it, this is a premium model. But it's also an incredibly stylish laptop and the new unibody casing seems to get more impressive every time we closely examine at it. As with the MacBook and MacBook Air the unibody shell gives it a sturdy feel, yet it's slightly thinner and lighter than before.

As before, it comes with a gorgeous 17-inch display and top-of-the-range specs across the board. The 17-inch MacBook Pro has 4GB of DDR-3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, and illuminated keyboard (now the new square-key type). As with the MacBook it sports two graphics processors, the 9600m with 512MB of GDDR-3 RAM and a 9400m with 256MB of GDDR-3 RAM. The idea is that you switch between the two depending on whether you want graphical prowess or better battery performance.

There have been some small boosts to the the processor, system bus and RAM speed, but, of course, the big change is the new battery design. Apple claims that the new laptop's battery is 40 per cent larger than its predecessor. And this should, in theory, enable the 17-inch MacBook Pro to run for up to 8 hours on a single charge.

NEXT: 17-inch MacBook Pro specifications


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