13″ MacBook Pro Impressions

The other day I decided to purchase a refurbished 13″ MacBook Pro to complete my little circle of synchronisation and to give me the power to do more on the go. Long story short I’m loving this machine. This article aims to help you understand why. For about a year I’ve been rocking a Compaq Presario CQ57 laptop which worked well for what I was using it for (browsing and the occasional image manipulation and website development session) but anything more than that and the laptop’s processor was hopelessly, hilariously defeated.

Over the last year or so I have slowly been transitioning more towards Apple’s products and services for my primary technology ecosystem. I started with the iPhone, then eventually purchased a Mac Pro to replace my custom built desktop system which sadly died. And towards the end of the year I purchased my first tablet. Incidentally it was the iPad 4. And so the laptop was the last to go and it made sense to purchase something that would integrate seamlessly with my existing systems.

I first thought about purchasing a MacBook Air but I dislike how little can be upgraded plus there is that rare occasion where I do use physical media. Fortunately I knew I would go for 13″ regardless, it’s a nice balance between portability and screen real estate. The issue though, was that I wasn’t prepared to spend over £1000 on the latest MacBook Pro. I knew there would be better deals for refurbished units and so I went looking and found this little beauty.

Early 2011 13″ with a second generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive, OS X Lion preinstalled. It performed brilliantly out of the box for the most part but it was considerably slower (due to the hard drive) compared to my Mac Pro.

The first day I had it I had upgraded the OS to Mountain Lion and also found something interesting on the inside of the machine. Out of curiosity I checked what type of memory was installed an wouldn’t you know it, it was the same type as in my older laptop and so I was also able to upgrade the memory to 8GB at no extra cost! The day later (yesterday) I decided that I just couldn’t live with these hard drive speeds anymore and decided to go out and purchase a 120GB Samsung SSD. And so now the laptop is as fast as greased up lightning. In fact I might say even slightly faster than my Mac Pro.

So overall I’m loving this machine it’s fast, surprisingly sleek despite it not being a retina model or a MacBook Air and has quite a few interesting and useful features. Some of my favourite features include the backlit keyboard which comes on automatically when the laptop senses that the light level is low, the handy little battery meter on the side and the huge trackpad filled with useful OS gestures to increase your productivity. The unibody aluminium body is absolutely seamless and makes the laptop exceptionally rugged. It’s not the lightest laptop in the world though.

The battery life of the laptop has been excellent despite it’s age. And for entire day’s worth of work I can expect to have to charge the laptop once or twice. So overall I don’t think I have anything to complain about, I suppose it could be a little lighter and a little thinner but I suppose that’s why Apple made the successor to this laptop the Retina MacBook Pro.

Great hardware coupled with great software makes a great experience. And that is what I feel I have received.