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Apple MacBook Pro 2011 (17-inch) review

Apple's 17" top-of-the-range notebook leaps forward

Our Verdict

A major power boost for the top-end MacBook Pro, with Thunderbolt offering exciting possibilities.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1200
  • Processor Core : Quad-core

View full specification

For

  • Great new processors
  • Powerful new graphics chips
  • Thunderbolt port
  • Excellent battery life
  • Strong, light unibody construction

Against

  • Expensive
  • Same old optical drive
  • Hard drive a little slow
  • No blu-ray option
  • Antiglare option costs extra

The 2011 MacBook Pro refresh is far more radical than it might seem. At a glance, the aluminium unibody Apple MacBook Pro line-up – including this top-of-the-range 17-inch model – look pretty much the same as their predecessors. But under the hood, they feature significant and very welcome advances.

Intel's new second-generation Core series processors (Sandy Bridge) are used throughout the MacBook Pro range, even the 13-inch model, which missed out on the first generation of Core series CPUs due to a mix of legal disputes and practical issues.

The MacBook Pros have finally left behind the ageing Core 2 Duo chips, and no doubt the rest of Apple's notebook line-up will also do so the next time they are refreshed.

In a welcome move, Apple has skipped the entry-level Core i3 processor and equipped all early-2011 MacBook Pros with at least a Core i5. This top-of-the-range 17-inch model, costing £2,099, brings us a quad core 2.2GHz Core i7, which you can boost to a 2.3GHz chip for an extra £200 if you order online at the Apple website and avail yourself of the custom option.

The 15-inch models also offer quad-core Intel Core i7s, with the high-end 13-inch MacBook Pro giving us a dual-core Intel Core i7, and the cheaper 13-inch model a dual core Intel-Core i5.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel, AMD
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000, Radeon HD 6750M
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
FireWire/i.LINKYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DVIYes
Product FamilyMacBook Pro
Processor Modeli7-2720QM
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.7 Lion
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size43.2 cm (17")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1200
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.99 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Gold
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 384 MB, Up to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height25.4 mm
Width392.9 mm
Depth267 mm
Screen ModeWUXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC725B/A
Product NameMacBook Pro MC725B/A Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTrack Pad
Product LineMacBook Pro
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberMC725B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

Strength. Lightness. Beauty. Seamlessly integrated. MacBook Pro is machined from a single piece of aluminum, 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 MC725B/A Notebook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • AC Wall Plug
  • Power Cord
  • Software DVDs
  • Display Cleaning Cloth
  • Printed and Electronic Documentation
Limited Warranty1 Year