I was recently in Seattle for meetings with my partners (protip: the Bell Harbor Convention Center is an awesome meeting venue). During that time, my team landed a project that requires use of a Mac, so I made the (easy) decision to hand my first-generation MacBook Pro (2.16GHz, 2GB of RAM, plus a 250GB drive I added earlier this year) to Tim and replace it with a new machine. I used it all day yesterday and quite a bit last night, and now I’m using it on my flight home. Here are my first impressions:
- Despite its odd “chiclet” look, the keyboard has a great tactile feel– it’s much less mushy than my old MBP, and it compares favorably with Lenovo’s keyboards (still the best IMHO). Apple has changed around the function key behavior, meaning that I finally have keyboard shortcuts for iTunes control. Interestingly, the cursor arrows still work as paging keys when you hold down “Fn” but they don’t have the labels on them. I sort of miss the small “Enter” button to the right of the space bar, but I’m getting used to it.
- I love the new trackpad, except that it’s a bit noisy. I already used tap-to-click on my prior machine, so the noise isn’t a huge deal. I didn’t have any trouble adapting to the click-and-drag behavior of clicking with my thumb on the pad’s bottom edge and then dragging with a finger. The multitouch behavior is handy, when I actually remember that it exists and use it.
- Screen brightness and quality is outstanding. In my limited testing so far, I haven’t had any problem with the glossy screen finish.
- Battery life is a HUGE improvement over my old machine. I will easily get 4 hours out of this battery on my default workload (mostly Word, some Ecto, and an occasional TV show in iTunes).
- The body structure is a major improvement over the old machine. The screen hinge isn’t floppy, so the screen stays put even with my hardcore typing style, and the perimeter of the case on the bottom half has no flex or give.
- The Migration Assistant did a flawless job of moving about 85GB of data to the new machine over an Ethernet connection. John was quite envious of this feature.
- It’s easier for me to open the lid since there is no longer a release button. (I still prefer Lenovo’s slide-to-unlock mechanism, though)