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It's a huge investment buying a new computer. I converted from Windows to a Mac, and here's why....

Quick word of warning: I'm a recent (July 2012) 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.

Firstly, the hardware - which is just stunning. It's incredibly thin and light, and the 15 inch screen is just gigantic - even if you intend to attach an external monitor for much of the time.

In common with all Apple MacBooks it's beautifully carved out of a solid piece of brushed aluminium, with a huge track-pad and a beautifully made back-lit keyboard.

In terms of connectivity you get:-

* Mag Safe power plug.
* 2 x Thunderbolt ports - to attach to fast external disks etc
* 2 x USB 3 ports (one either side - nice touch)
* Headphones output for external speakers
* An SDXC photo card slot
* A full size HDMI port - so you connect an external monitor

Apple hardware is more expensive than the equivalent running Windows, but you 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.

These machines don't come with a wired network connection - it's assumed you'll connect using WIFI, but they are well future proofed - as they support the latest 80211ac standard - basically the same as before but faster. Be aware you may need to update your router to make use of this. My existing router is fast enough - but it's nice to have the future proof design.

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 you don't get a CD/DVD drive - but 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. You can of course buy an external DVD drive if you really need one.

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 9-10 hours before I started getting warnings - so you should be able to take this on a long haul flight or a long train journey without any problems.

Where this really shines though is the screen. It's apparently 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, and looks just stunning. In fact it's so good, I think I'm going to need to replace my ageing external monitor for when I use it desk-bound. Videos are crisp and clear, but where is really shines is reading or writing text.

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, but 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:-

* Pages - a fully featured word processor similar to MS Word
* Numbers - Excel spreadsheets for Apple
* Keynote - PowerPoint equivalent
* Calendar, Mail and iPhoto editor and organiser
* Movie Maker - to edit and publish home-made videos
* Reminders - to remind you

I love the fact the Macs now work well with the iPhone and iPad. That means (for example) you can set a reminder on your Mac and have it automatically appear on your iPhone. Likewise, enter contacts on one device, and they're available on all. You can take a photo on your iPhone and it automatically appears on your Mac (and iPad) without having do do anything. Finally, you can even start a document on your Mac and then continue to edit on your iPad by saving stuff in "the cloud".

But a final word of warning - and not something Apple tend to shout about. I'm used to being able to upgrade hardware when it starts to slow down. Be aware you can't upgrade ANYTHING on these machines. Even the memory is soldered in place so buy the best you can. OK so you can always attach a large external disk, but it's a bit disappointing you can't upgrade the internal disk or memory.

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 - just buy the biggest, fastest you can afford - or accept you'll be selling it on eBay in two-three years time to replace it.

In terms of this model, it's pretty much top of the range on the CPU processor (2Ghz quad core i7), and should have lots of grunt to edit large video files. Likewise, with 8Gb of memory, you should be able to run a huge number of applications without it slowing up much. However, personally I think the 256Gb SSD is a perhaps a little small on disk size, with (maybe) enough space for videos, music and photos.
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on 1 March 2014
I purchased a Macbook Pro ME293B/A from Concept Tech through Amazon "fulfilled", ordered 28th Feb 2014, delivered 1st March. Described as brand new. IT WAS USED. The previous owner's details, Apple message ID, Safari history and system log from 20th February was all there for me to read. Amazon gave me a returns label for pick up but I assume Concept Tech are still flogging old as new.

Edit 4th March 2014. Days later, "Concept Tech" mysteriously and suddenly turned into "Xtra Cubby". Google "Amazon Macbook Fraud" for the full story on this.
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on 30 March 2014
Being an owner of Apple computers for many years and always being drawn to all things shiny and new, decided to increase my screen real-estate and upgrade my 2012, 13" MacBook Pro with Retina to the 2013, 15" equivalent. As well as the usual increases in CPU, performance and lightning-fast Wi-Fi from the new 802.11AC adaptor (thanks to an earlier AirPort Extreme upgrade I now have 1gbit wireless) I was hoping a bigger screen would lessen these headaches and eye strains from long hours of use.

So I took the plunge and ordered from Amazon - I had looked around the High Street and was well aware of the full £1699 asking price for this spec of MacBook, but having seen the discounts available on Amazon I was more than tempted. I'd seen previous warnings about non-UK versions...but I was ordering from Amazon, so that couldn't happen....could it?

Well the item came yesterday (thanks Mr. Parcelforce for being decent enough to carry on past the usual 1pm cut-off on a Saturday and getting all your parcels delivered!!) and I must admit I was almost Christmas-morning excited. Unfortunately, after opening the box and seeing all labels removed from the Apple brown carriage heart began to sink.

Even more so when opening the outer box to see the MacBook Pro box nicely shrink wrapped (so it wasn't a refurb, but a nice new item) but with 2 massive stickers on the shrink-wrap covering over where the model number and serial number are on the box. Anyone smell a rat?

Thanks to some glue desolver, care and time I was able to remove the labels and there it was...what I was dreading...ME293ZP/A. I'd read another review warning that this could happen, but buying from someone represented by Amazon I was hoping that there was some form of assurance. Sadly I was wrong and this was NOT a UK model as listed, but a Hong Kong variant.

After sitting and staring at the packaging (it was still sealed), reading numerous articles about warranties and buying abroad; even starting to complete the Amazon returns form for the computer...I decided to keep the MacBook Pro. After hours of deliberation, I decided that a saving of £300+ was too much to outweigh a few different keys on the keyboard (as another reviewer stated). After all, it's a Mac...there's always been different placed keys!! The spec is identical to the UK model and it even included a 3-pin plug as Hong Kong use the same as the UK. On top of that the warranty is I am covered in case of a need for repair. There may be delays while they source non-UK parts (particularly if it's the keyboard) but they will honour the warranty...believe me, I checked!

But a warning to others...I can live with this compromise, but before you order your nice, shiny, heavily-discounted MacBook Pro from Amazon or a seller...decide if you can. If you aren't worried about it being non-UK then order away and I guarantee that this machine is well worth the upgrade. But, if you are in the slightest bit unsure, then shop around. There are other deals out there and ways of ensuring you get exactly what you expect...a nice, shiny UK MacBook Pro.

And finally, a word to the sellers. Please don't stick labels over model numbers or remove any model-specific identification from the outer packaging. If it isn't a UK model, tell us...let us decide if we'll buy the item and take the risk. Don't try and deceive us, it only makes the situation 10 times worse.

Well, back to my a product, it's brilliant!! I just wish the buying of it was as good... Hope this helps at least someone else and thanks for reading these ramblings. And if you are a new MacBook Pro owner...enjoy it!!
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on 21 May 2014
In view of the large number of USA and Hong Kong market MacBook Pro retina display models are on sale on Amazon, I thought long and hard about buying one here. in the Amazon Marketplace Gadget Heaven clearly state that theirs is a UK market model, so I took the plunge and bought from them, with fulfillment by Amazon. And I am very happy to advise and confirm that it is indeed a UK model, thank goodness! And a saving of exactly £400 from the list retail price was a tremendous bonus. The quality of my high resolution Canon DSLR photos at the resolution on the retina model is breathtaking. And that was the main reason for getting this model. Setting up from a MacBook Air Time Machine backup via a Thunderbolt external HD took just over 10 minutes (80 GB worth). And carrying out a HD test using the excellent and free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test gave both read and write figures of around 730 MBS for this 256 GB SSD, which is staggeringly fast!
UK (and Ireland) market MacBooks have the country code letter B before the forward slash at the end of the model number. US market have the letters LL in the same location, and Hong Kong is ZP.
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on 13 June 2014
I've been using Windows since 3.1, say 20 years, at work and home. Also Android tablet a couple of years.
The user experience on Mac is so much better. I love the touchpad, you can do everything you need to without having to touch the screen.
Graphics is fast although I'm not a gamer. Screen res is exceptional. WiFi range and strength is excellent.
I spent a long time comparing Windows 8.x models before choosing the Macbook. It's expensive for sure, but considering the screen resolution, and that you are getting an SSD drive, you would have to pay close for a comparable Windows machine.
Applications are similar to Windows equivalents, and I purchased Office 2013 for Mac which works fine.
I feel a bit more pressure to conform to Apple - e.g. when you register you are pulled towards iCloud etc, but you can keep enough distance - e.g. you can link Mail to your gmail account and store your files in dropbox.
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on 17 November 2014
I ordered the MacBook Pro, advertised as a UK model from Amazon Marketplace. When the laptop arrived, the label on the outside of the box was ME293B/A, the UK model I had ordered. When I opened the box I noticed sticky labels over the model number on the underside of the laptop so I removed the sealed plastic cover and noticed the actual model sent to me by Amazon was ME293ZP/A.
I looked this up on the web & discovered it was a HONG KONG model, complete with UK style power adaptor but a totally different keyboard. If you want an Apple Computer, buy it from Apple. It may cost you more, but you get what you ordered!
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on 7 June 2014
I have only had my Mac Pro 15 inch laptop for three days but if it continues as it has why on earth have I been on windows systems all this time there have been a lot of reviews posted saying that a lot of the mac pro"s are fakes or have not got the right keyboards well mine has got the english keyboard and the serial number checks with apple that it is genuine so hopefully it will continue as it has started and at nearly £400 of the list price what more can I say.
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on 2 February 2014
I love my new 15-inch MacBook Pro, I don't feel I need to review the product itself as this is done in so many other reviews. For the price, I am happy, however there are a few reasons why this MacBook is cheaper than other retailers:

1. the seller is in China and it took several weeks for the MacBook to arrive. I had an email warning that I may have to pay import duties, which would be refunded. When the MacBook did arrive, the description on the packaging was "Unsolicited of Audio FM Transmitter (No battery) for [:My Name]; not for resale and no commercial value. This is obviously false, presumably the seller is using false description to avoid paying import duty. I was never asked to pay any import duties.

2. the Model No. of my MacBook Pro is A1398. Part No. ME293ZP/A. The specification is as specified by the seller, however there is no £ sign on the keyboard which is slightly annoying. I assume this is because it is not the UK (B/A) version as advertised. I had to do a bit of research on the internet to find out how to get the £ symbol (Edit > Special Characters).

3. The seller offers and extra 2 months guarantee if a positive review is posted on I have not been swayed by this, but I don't feel comfortable knowing the seller is attempting to bribe people into writing positive amazon reviews.

All in all, I am very happy with my purchase and the service I have received from the seller. I feel waiting an extra 2 weeks for delivery and having no £ symbol on the keyboard is a fair trade off for paying £300 less than the Apple Store price.
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on 22 May 2014
Macbook is just a beauty not to subscribe. I find no words for it. I Really don't.
It's really a wonderful machine!
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on 8 October 2014
Ordered 294B/A model (quite clearly stated on your web-site) but received a 294ZP/A model. A '294B/A' label had been stuck over the original '294ZP/A' label on the carton to hide it's true model type. A good saving on RRP but still a bit of a 'con'.
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