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13-inch Apple MacBook Pro review

The 2012 refresh gives Apple's most portable MacBook Pros an exciting upgrade

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • New processors
  • Better integrated graphics
  • Unibody build
  • USB 3.0
  • Excellent screen

Against

  • No discrete graphics
  • Limited upgrade options
  • Only a small speed bump
  • Slow hard drives
  • Cheaper model only Core i5

We put the entry-level £999/$1,199 13-inch MacBook Pro to the test, and it fared very well. The new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset certainly proved its worth, which is very important, since the 13-inch notebook doesn't have a discrete GPU.

In our gaming tests, Doom 3 ran at 87.8fps, and the more recent Call of Duty 4 at 64.6fps. To put this in perspective, the more expensive of last year's 13-inch MacBook Pros, a 2.8GHz Core i7, only managed 70.9fps and 46fps, respectively. This year's entry-level MacBook Pro comprehensively beat a model that cost considerably more and is less than a year old.

The take-up of USB 3.0 in Windows PCs has been very fast, much faster than Thunderbolt has caught on with Mac peripheral producers. This means add-on devices such as external hard drives and flash drives are extremely common.

Apple macbook pro late 2011 (13-inch) review

Super-speed USB debuts on the Mac with the 2012 notebook refresh, and very welcome it is too. USB 3.0 can carry up to 4.8GB/s, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0's 480MB/s. It's backwards-compatible with the older USB standard, so your USB 2.0 peripherals still work with the new MacBook Pros.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro's two USB ports are both USB 3.0, unlike many PC notebooks, which offer a mix of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

The 13-inch laptops are inevitably the most portable of the MacBook Pro range. Although not as light and slim as a MacBook Air, at under an inch thick and a little over two kilograms, you can carry it around all day without straining your back. If you want a very portable machine but with more configurability and storage than a MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is ideal.

Apple macbook pro late 2011 (13-inch) review

In operation, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is very quiet, and it rarely gets too warm, unless you're really maxing out the processor. But audio quality is merely average, especially compared to the 15-inch models.

Music played through the 13-inch notebook speakers sounds tired and lifeless, with little bass or depth. To be fair, laptops are never noted for audio reproduction, especially the smaller ones, but if you want to use your 13-inch MacBook Pro to listen to music on the move, it's best to buy a pair of USB speakers to go with it.

Like all Macs, the new 13-inch MacBook Pros come supplied with the latest version of OS X and the iLife suite. As we mentioned before, new Macs purchased before the release of OS X Mountain Lion get a free upgrade.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
FireWire/i.LINKYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DisplayPortYes
Product FamilyMacBook Pro
Keyboard BacklightYes
ThunderboltYes
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.7 Lion
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2.80 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.04 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Gold, ENERGY STAR
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 384 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height24.1 mm
Width325 mm
Depth227 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMD314B/A
Product NameMacBook Pro MD314B/A Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTrack Pad
Product LineMacBook Pro
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberMD314B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing InformationThe inside story. And the outside story too.

With its durable unibody enclosure, Multi-Touch trackpad and energy-efficient design, MacBook Pro looks beautiful. And works beautifully.

Strength. Lightness. Beauty. Seamlessly integrated.

MacBook Pro is machined from a single piece of aluminium, an engineering breakthrough that replaced many parts with just one. It's called the unibody. And the first time you pick up a MacBook Pro, you'll notice the difference it makes. The entire enclosure is thinner and lighter than other notebooks. It looks polished and refined. And it feels strong and durable - perfect for life inside (and outside) your briefcase or backpack.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • MacBook Pro MD314B/A Notebook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 60W MagSafe Power Adapter
  • Display Cleaning Cloth
  • AC Wall Plug and Power Lead
  • Printed and Electronic Documentation
Limited Warranty1 Year