In February 2011, Apple refreshed its entire MacBook Pro lineup with a switch to Intel’s new Sandy Bridge chip architecture, improved graphics, and the inclusion of the new Thunderbolt connectivity technology. Despite those changes, many similarities to the previous family remain: same aluminum unibody enclosure, similiar pricing tiers, and the same three screen sizes.
The MacBook Pro is available in five base models: 13 inch 2.3GHz dual-core i5, 13 inch 2.7GHz dual-core i7, 15 inch 2.0GHz quad-core i7, 15 inch 2.2GHz quad-core i7, and 17 inch 2.2GHz quad-core i7. All models include a base 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (upgradeable to 8GB) and the Intel HD Graphics 3000. Hard drive options range from 320GB to 750GB 5400-rpm depending on the model, but upgrades are available if you would prefer a 7200-rpm drive or a solid state drive.
The MacBook Pro 13 inch features a glossy 1280 by 800 pixel display, which is actually worse than the 1440 by 900 pixel display found in the 2010 MacBook Air 13 inch. The MacBook Pro 15 and MacBook Pro 17 displays have a few more options. Each model can be purchased with a glossy or antiglare display. And the standard 1440 x 900 MacBook Pro 15 inch screen can be upgraded to 1680 by 1050. The MacBook Pro 17 inch resolution is only available at 1920 by 1200.
Each MacBook Pro model comes with one high-speed Thunderbolt port (which has replaced the Mini DisplayPort), two USB 2.0 ports (the MacBook Pro 17 inch has three), a FireWire 800 port, FaceTime HD camera, Multi-Touch trackpad, full-size backlit keyboard, an 8x SuperDrive, and an SDXC card slot (except the MacBook Pro 17 inch, which instead features an ExpressCard/34 slot). Battery life for all models is rated for approximately seven hours of wireless web browsing.
Every MacBook Pro comes preloaded with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife ’11 (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD), the Mac App Store, and FaceTime for Mac.
The MacBook Pro 13 inch models are priced at $1199 and $1499, the MacBook Pro 15 inch models come in at $1799 and $2199, and the top of the line MacBook Pro 17 inch is priced at $2499 at the Apple Store. Although at Apple Sliced, you don’t ever have to worry about paying retail – you can expect to save a few hundred dollars on each model.
See all the pricing options for the MacBook Pro family.