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222 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning build quality, beautifully designed. Great laptop
If you're like me, you'll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for a Mac.

Quick word of warning: I'm a recent (this model Mac) convert from Windows to a MacBook Pro, and was lucky enough to recently upgrade to a stunning 13 inch Retina. While I love Apple products, I'm...
Published 6 months ago by John Ryan

versus
56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great notebook but no free upgrade to Mountain Lion
I think the Macbook Pro is a great machine but considering that Apple promised a free upgrade to Mountain Lion for users who bought a Macbook Pro with OS Lion but would not honour this agreement I am returning the Macbook to Amazon. The reason Apples update service refused the ugrade is because Amazon do not put the part number or the serial number on the invoice of the...
Published 17 months ago by Brian Booth


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222 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning build quality, beautifully designed. Great laptop, 31 Dec 2013
By 
John Ryan "One man and his Kat" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
If you're like me, you'll have spent ages comparing features and specs before splashing the cash on a new laptop. I certainly did, and I finally settled for a Mac.

Quick word of warning: I'm a recent (this model Mac) convert from Windows to a MacBook Pro, and was lucky enough to recently upgrade to a stunning 13 inch Retina. While I love Apple products, I'm not a Mac expert, and this review is for similar non-experts who are thinking about "converting". Because it's a review of the MBP range, you'll find the same review on other specs - skip to the end to see the specifics on this model.

Be aware, this is NOT the very latest hardware (it's been replaced by the "Mac Book Pro with Retina"). However, there's a strongly compelling reason to buy this model (aside from the fantastic price), but you'll need to read on to find out.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It's nicely thin and relatively light, and the screen looks surprisingly big sitting here on my lap. In common with all Apple MacBooks it's beautifully carved out of a solid slab of brushed aluminium, with a huge track-pad and a beautifully made back-lit keyboard. Apple traditionally don't brag about their hardware specs (as it's all about the experience of the machine - not just about comparison of numbers, but....

In terms of hardware you get:-

* * 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 4Gb of Memory (pretty zippy)
* * 500GB hard drive (huge amounts of space for photos and videos)
* * 13.3-inch LED-backlit display 1280 by 800 pixels
* * Built-in FaceTime HD camera (for FaceTime or Skype calls)
* * 8x slot-loading SuperDrive DVD - The last Mac Book Pro model to include one
* * A Thunderbolt port for high-speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort to attach a monitor
* * SDXC card slot (for photos), a FireWire 800 port, two USB 3.0 ports
* * Gigabyte Ethernet connection and 802.11n Wi-Fi for wireless internet
* * Beautifully designed backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor
* * Preinstalled Mac OS X and iLife (free upgrade to Mavericks)

Apple hardware (when comparing by pure spec) is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you really do get what you pay for, and they come with incredible attention to detail. This includes the cleverly designed "Mag Safe" magnetic power socket - so if a small child accidentally pulls on the power cable it disconnects from the laptop rather than dragging it crashing to the floor.

The only complaint I have is, all the connections are on the left hand side - including both USB ports, and it gets a bit cramped (I have two USB devices where the plug is too wide). I soon solved this by adding a set of external USB ports. Other than that - it's an wonderful laptop.

As a prior Windows laptop user, the multi-touch trackpad is a real revelation. You can scroll down web pages (two fingers up/down), or scroll through web history (two fingers left/right), and the "System Preferences" window where you can configure the options includes a handy video demonstrating the options available. It's hard to over-state the benefit of this. It's so wonderfully accurate, it makes your laptop a real pleasure to use (again compared to my Windows laptop).

As already stated, the keyboard is fantastic. Island style black keys - nicely spaced out, and back-lit. There's a set of dedicated keys along the top to control features including screen brightness, play, fast forward and stop, plus sound.

Of course this is one the the last machines to get a CD/DVD drive - but even still all software is available online through the Apple Mac Store, and another nice surprise - consistently cheaper than equivalent windows software, and without the annoying collection of boxes, software keys and disks to avoid losing.

Battery life is quoted at something silly - and I ran an entire day of general use (web browsing, videos, mails etc), in the end I got at least 6 hours before I started getting warnings - so you should be able to take this on a longish flight or a long train journey without any problems..

Sound quality is not bad, although not as good as I'd have hoped - but I plug in external speakers myself - or better still, stream music to my Hi Fi speakers via an Apple TV. It's worth noting - you can stream anything on screen (videos or Netflix) to an Apple TV - including high quality sound. A great bonus.

Although I don't often play games, I'm told the MBP is not a serious gaming machine, for for web use or video streaming it's more than capable. I can't really comment more than that.

In terms of software, these are well provided for straight out of the box including free copies of:-

* iPhoto - to import, edit and manage photos - including from the "cloud" (any photos taken on an iPhone or iPad)
* Garage Band - a drum machine on your laptop
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Calendar, Mail and text editor etc
* Reminders - to remind you

Since I bought mine (July 2012), Apple announced anyone buying a new machine will also get a free copy of Pages, Numbers and Keynote (their presentation program) - but I'm not 100% sure if this includes this model as it's no longer the latest available. Even if you don't these are only around 10-15 each - not the 100-150 we're used to paying for Word. Excel and PowerPoint.

During the past 18 months I've also noticed how the OS is becoming even more integrated with the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. For example, you can now write a Pages or Numbers or Keynote (Word, Excel or PowerPoint for the rest of us) on a Mac and then view and edit them on an iPad (and the software is also free on a new iPad). You can also set a reminder on your iPhone and see it pop up on your Mac, or take a photo on your iPhone and see it appear (no wires, in fact completely automatic) on your Mac in the iPhoto application. This may not be a compelling reason to buy THIS particular model, but it is a great advantage if you already have (or plan to buy) and iPhone or iPad.

But, (and this is ironic really), one the best reasons to buy this particular model of machine (and not the very latest Mac Book Pro with retina display), is you can upgrade it. It's a little known fact, that starting with the 2013 Macs, Apple decided to prevent ANY upgrades - including memory and disk. (The memory is literally soldered in place). If I understand it correctly, this is one the very last MBP models you can actually increase the memory or replace the hard disk. For example, I bought and installed a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5 inch Basic SATA Solid State Drive to upgrade the hard drive, and it now REALLY FLIES. Much faster than it was before, and it means I'll get a few more years out of it.

Whenever I can afford it, I'll also buy a memory upgrade from 4Gb to 8 or even 16Gb.

On balance - I'd have to say I love Apple Macs - and indeed all Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad included) so it's hard to give a purely objective view. But this is a beautifully designed, well built machine. Highly recommended

Hope you found this review useful - Many Thanks !
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get one while you can!, 24 April 2014
By 
S. C. White (Deepest North Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
I bought this Macbook Pro from John Lewis (more expensive, but a free 3 year warranty included) in preference to the newer Retina Macbook Pro or the Macbook Air. While it may seem counter-intuitive to buy an older product while achieving only a 10% price saving, I think there are three very sound reasons NOT to buy the newer model....

Firstly, the display - the Retina is beautiful when you are about 6 inches away from the display, and the quality is amazing. However, when in normal use (sitting at a desk) you are at such a distance from the screen that you won't notice the difference.

Secondly, future proofing. This model of Macbook Pro is the last that is modular i.e you can take it apart and swap RAM and hard drives very easily. The new Retina models have everything soldered to the motherboard - so you will never be able to boost performance in a few years. This Macbook supports up to 16GB RAM and it is a common modification to change the hard drive for a SSD (solid state drive) giving a huge performance increase. You can even remove the Superdrive and put it in an external enclosure, and put a second hard drive inside the machine for increased storage. Such changes are impossible in the Retina or Air models.

Lastly, repairability. A website called ifixit.com gives the Retina 1/10 for repairability, as all the components are glued and soldered in place - a construction method that Apple presumably chose to decrease the physical size and weight of the Retina and Air. If your battery fails in this machine, order a new one, take the bottom cover off and change it. If the same fault occurs on a Retina, you have to battle with very strong adhesive - not really a job for the owner. The same is true for most of the components in this machine - they are easy to obtain as spare parts and easy to replace.

NB - Superdrive - this is almost certainly the last model of Macbook that will come with a CD / DVD drive.

I'm simply delighted with this machine - it's current performance is great and I know I can improve it hugely in the future if I feel the need. Everything just works - printers, internet connections etc all work without the need for install disks, drivers, settings etc. I love this machine!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So far so good, 10 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
Bought on recommendation from friends after trying and failing to get to grips with Windows 8, and after years of using microsoft/windows. We already have an iPad mini and iPod so it made sense to use all the same. It is different from Windows, but most things are much easier to learn how to use. So, so far we're happy.
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264 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rolls Royce (well, Mercedes maybe) of Laptops, 17 Sep 2012
By 
John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
We bought this MacBook for various reasons. I expect to be travelling a lot during the coming year, and needed a small laptop too take with me, and our ageing and rather heavy Acer laptop is on its last legs and will need to be replaced soon anyway. We chose a Mac because we already have an iMac desktop, and have been very impressed with it. This is our first Mac laptop. It was a toss up between the 13" MacBook Pro and the 13" MacBook Air. We chose the Pro because of the extra ports, particularly the CD/DVD slot. Yes, I know, we're a bit old fashioned like that, but it was nice to load all of my favourite CDs onto iTunes and I'm sure it will come in handy for lots of other things. I also liked the solid feel of the Pro compared with the Air, though the professionals tell me that the Air is in fact the more robust of the two because of its solid state construction and lack of moving parts. I like the keyboard and the screen. With the naked eye I can't tell the difference between the display on the Air and the Pro. The MacBook comes loaded with the latest iLife applications. The one I've use most so far is iPhoto, and this is certainly an improvement on the previous version. If you need office applications you can download the iWork suite from the excellent app store. We just transferred all of our apps and files from our iMac by following the simple instructions. This was easy, though it did take several hours for the process to complete itself. The built in speakers aren't great, but connected to external speakers or headphones the MacBook gives a good sound. The MacBook is neither as hot nor as noisy when running as I had been led to expect, though I understand that this may not be the case if you play a lot of games, which we don't. The trackpad took some getting used to, but now that I am used to it I find it better than a mouse, especially the two fingered scrolling, and you can always make changes to its functions in 'system preferences' if you want. Lastly, I just think it's a beautiful piece of kit. Is it worth the extra price? I think it is. That's it, then. Not a technical review, but even a non-techie like me can appreciate a quality product like this. And by the way, I was very impressed with the speed of the free delivery from Amazon; it arrived the next working day after ordering.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expensive, but very good, 6 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
Having had windows based machines since 3.1 was the latest thing, I have become increasingly frustrated by the incessant updates taking over my machine every single time I turned it on. Many a time, needing to access something urgently, I've wanted to send it flying to the end of the garden because the updates are slowing everything to a standstill. The answer was, as it always is, buy a faster, more powerful computer. Alternatively, given that just about everyone in our close family, has iPads and/or iPhones, consider an Apple as the main computer. This model is not the latest retina screen version, but it does have the CD/DVD I required built in, unlike the latest machines, for which it is an add-on, purchased as an extra. So given my needs, it seemed to fit the bill. Still available direct from Apple, it was 150 cheaper through Amazon, so no contest.
Out of the box, as we already have an Apple ID, set up was so easy. (If you don't have any other Apple products, you will need to set up this ID, which can be done beforehand, ready for the computer to arrive.) With a program downloaded from Apple on to the old PC, all documents, music, photos and desktop transferred wirelessly to the new machine. When an Office document or spreadsheet is then opened it is instantly converted to the Apple format.
There are differences in the way programs are accessed, but there are plenty of tutorials available, and you soon get used to it. Coming up against a problem of operation, can sometimes involve a bit of a hunt online, as what manuals there are (again found online), only really cover the basics.
The price is the only reason I dropped a star off. However, Apple don't hide the fact that their products sell at premium prices, and I decided the reduction in my stress levels during operation, was worth it on balance.
In the world of computer geekery, views of Apple vs PC can become very heated, but in the end, as it always is, it is entirely up to you, how, when and where you spend your money. I am very happy with this, and (as my other half will confirm), I've had it a few weeks now, and haven't shouted at it once!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No contest, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
People say that you cannot change your first impression, very true. But when I removed the ample packaging from my Apple MacBook the gorgeous laptop that was revelled left me in no doubt about my first impression, I was stunned, how could something that looked so delicate pack so much power, I should not have been concerned, it fulfilled all of my expectations. I would not hesitate to recommend the Apple MacBook, the Pro Retina with DVD and 500gb gives me everything I require, the screen and keyboard are a joy to use, and the trackpad is a revelation, its a pleasure to be able to move around the screen so easily. The initial introduction to Apple did wrong foot me several times, but the knowledgeable and polite staff at Apple patiently went through the system with me, no rush or superior attitude or comments that I should know more than I did, until they were certain that they had solved my problem, they sold me my MacBook. I thought long and hard about changing from MicroSoft after many years, but it was a good move, and a good choice, that leaves me very satisfied.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apple Heaven!!, 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
Really glad I got this laptop. It's so fast on the net and no looking back fo me, My old computer is a dinosaur compared to this! I also bagged a bargain too by buying on on the internet and not in the shops!!
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282 of 317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Windows....to MAC!!, 30 July 2012
By 
Mr. J. D. A. Bloor "JoshyBloor" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
Before you read this review, two things are worth pointing out.

Firstly, before I bought this Laptop, I had only ever used a Windows computer. And secondly, the price tag is there for a reason. It's because it's worth every penny.

I used Windows to it's maximum potential, and there is nothing wrong with Windows, but for years I felt as if something was missing...And please forgive me for saying this, but I have found what was missing.

::POSITIVES::

Apple is not lying when it says that this laptop is 'not just an ordinary laptop'. It really isn't. And that is the prime difference I found with Windows, they always seemed "dull", and were often too concerned with simply getting the job done, without the experience being pleasurable for the laptop user.

Firstly, the specs speak for themselves; An Intel Dual Core i5 (Ivy Bridge), with a 2.5GHz processor, with a hefty 4GB (I upgraded to 8GB via crucial.com), and a massive 500GB HD Drive, and a beautiful display with exceptional Graphics. HD camera and an impressive 7 hour battery too. Yes it's true that you can get a Windows computer with the same specs for 350/400 cheaper, BUT, that's just for the same specs, a laptop is much more than specs ;-)

The design trumps any PC I have yet to come across. It's beautiful feel and the aluminum unibody crossed with the black keyboard and surrounding screen is easy on the eye whenever I pick it up.

The OS however is what makes the Mac. Watching Windows attempt to move towards Mac over the years (With a similar Mac dock in Windows 7) is easily understood. But Windows is far off ever competing with Lion or any MAC OS. The touchpad gestures and the ability to configure them, means that you will not need to use a mouse ever again. Simply things, such as switching from programs, or fast multi-tasking is made slick and simple. The ability to create more than one desktop is so useful too, as I can move across to it by simply swiping three fingers left or right on the touchpad.

I have had this computer for nearly 6 weeks now, and I have experienced nothing but speed, slickness, and exceptional performance all round.

Also, the free applications that come with the Mac are incredible, and something that you will never find on a Windows computer.

Finally for the positives. There so many great things about this Laptop, and I have recently upgraded to the Mountain Lion OS, and this integrates amazingly if you have an iPhone.

::NEGATIVES::

Okay, so despite the positives, the price tag still remains high. This is one negative if you are tight for cash. But as an investment, and as a much more for filling experience, I think it can be made into a positive by a stretch.

Dashboard: The Dashboard in Lion (and still Mountain Lion) is quite useless in my personal opinion. I think its a waste of RAM and space, so I got rid of it in Terminal....

MICROSOFT OFFICE: Office became a problem since the entire country uses it, so I needed it, and got it online for 40. Which again is a stretch, but that personally was the only "major" negative.

::CONCLUSION::

Despite all the negatives, and despite myself pondering whether to buy a Mac for about a year, it is a must buy if you need a new laptop which is amazing.

It's fun to use, and despite getting bored of all my windows PCs, Laptops etc, I look forward to getting on my Mac everyday.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2012 MacBook Pro, 15 Feb 2014
By 
Rob Appleby "robapple" (Canterbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
This is the last of the 'upgradable' MacBook Pros which means if you want to upgrade the memory or hard drive at a later date. It's also the last of the MacBook Pros to have a DVD drive if you still have the need for one.
The main image used here is not the 2012 MacBook Pro though, its the more modern retina screen, so it's not as slim. Also be aware it is an American keyboard, so remember Shift>3 will be the pound sign and Alt>3 is the hashtag.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MacBook Pro, 15 Sep 2013
This review is from: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Dual Core i5 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, HD Graphics 4000, OS X Lion) (Personal Computers)
There is a reason you hear of loads of people turning from Windows to Apple, but not too many doing the opposite.

I recently bought a second hand MacBook Pro on a whim because I needed a new laptop and it was at a very reduced price. It is probably the best product I have ever bought. Even if I had to pay the full price it would still be worth it.

I've always been dubious about Apple products. I always stuck to walkmen's because until someone brought me a nano for christmas and it turned out to be fantastic. I've had it for year and probably use it around 6-8 hours everyday. It's been bashed around, left in bags, sat on etc... and it's still going (touch wood). The thought of buying a mac never even crossed my mind (despite wanting to buy a laptop for around 800), so I am really grateful for the opportunity to get such a good offer and get to see how great they are.

I've only ever had a windows laptop worth about 500 before, but I have had plenty of windows computers and seen people with more expensive laptops. They all seemed to go downhill after a few months of running. Mac are faster, smoother, easier to use in my opinion. The programs are better and cheaper. The is more of a personal touch where you can make things run how you want them. The screen quality is great and I love to watch videos and edit pictures etc... I can run about 4 different desktops, about 8 programs including; 2 or 3 Google Chrome browsers (each running about 10 tabs - including YouTube videos), 2 or 3 word documents, GIMP, another Apple photo editor, adobe reader, background programs etc... No problem. It runs just as fast as if I had just one program running. I would never have been able to do this on my windows laptop (or computer). I was lucky if it let me open more than 2 programs at once, even then it'd get stuck and sometimes crash.

I love my MacBook :)!

Getting around the laptop is a lot easier and simpler. Aside from typing you mainly only need to use the touchpad on a daily basis. It is far easier and smoother to use than any mouse or touchpad I've had before. You can go previous/forwards, move between desktops and programs, zoom in and out, get to the desktop, launchpad and mission control with just using hand gestures on the touchpad. All this is stuff you can personalise so you chose what gesture does what.
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