More Mac Notes

While browsing the web, I often lie down and use one hand to navigate.  On my old laptop, I typically use the page down key a lot.  As I mentioned earlier, I found using the function key along with an arrow can achieve the same effect but it requires two hands.  Today, I found I can use the option key and the arrow key in the browser to do it and since there’s an option key on the right side of the space bar, it only requires one hand.

I found the firewall in Settings -> Security & Privacy.  It defaults to the off position, much like Windows XP before Service Pack 2.  I wonder why Apple chooses to do that.  Maybe it works differently than a Windows PC?

I have used the 15” MacBook Pro for a couple of days now and find it takes a bit of getting used to but overall, it’s very nice.  The $1800 price tag still bugs me.  That’s more than my previous two computers combined.  After having used the 14.1” HP dv4i for two years, the 15.4” MacBook Pro’s screen seems huge.  I truly forgot just how big that is (my laptop before the dv4i had a 15.4″ screen).  If it actually gets the 7 hours of battery life it’s advertised as getting (with wifi on), I’d be truly impressed.  I find I’m not really using the whole screen though and so that coupled with the high price tag made me consider switching to the 13.3” model instead.

I went down to the Apple store and sought out Big E again (my salesman’s name), and bought a 13” MacBook Pro.  I plan to use it for a while and see if it works out.  I’ll be sure to return the computer I decide not to keep.  They have a 14 day return policy.  I’m in the process of changing its settings to be like the other one.  I’ll then try to compare the two a bit and of course use it to do things to see if it’s an acceptable alternative.  The screen is almost an inch shorter than my HP but the resolution is exactly the same (1280 x 800) so I’m hoping I’ll still be able to read text on it comfortably.  The 15” has a 1440 x 900 screen.  Whereas the 15” laptop is ever so slightly lighter than my 14”, the 13” Pro is 1.1 lbs lighter than the 15” coming in at 4.5 lbs.  That, coupled with its smaller form factor, makes it a lot more portable.

I compared the 13” MacBook Pro’s screen with a 13” MacBook Air screen at Micro Center.  They had them side by side.  The Pro’s screen was much richer and just overall more beautiful than the Air’s screen.  The latter looked like it had a matte screen instead of the nice glossy screen.

Like the 15”, the 13” ships with OS X Lion 10.7.3.  The 10.7.4 update, along with iTunes and a few other system updates, total 1.35 GB.  The 10.7.4 takes up the vast majority of that.  The Mac App Store has two updates, one for iPhoto (391 MB) and one for iMovie (1.35 GB).  That’s about 3 GB for something that just got released this past Monday.

Comparing the two Pro’s specs, there are a few differences.  The 15” will fly past the 13” in performance but since I am keeping the desktop, I really don’t need a super-powerful processor.  If I were looking to replace the desktop, the 15” would be the clear choice.

13” MacBook Pro

15” MacBook Pro

$1199

$1799

2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz) with 3 MB L3 cache

2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz) with 6 MB L3 cache

13.3” LED-backlit glossy display

15.4” LED-backlit glossy display

1280 x 800

1440 x 900

12.78” x 0.95” x 8.94”  4.5 lbs

14.35” x 0.95” x 9.82”  5.6 lbs

Intel HD Graphics 4000

Intel HD Graphics 4000

Nvidia GeForce GT 650M with 512 MB of GDDR5 memory

Audio line in/out

Audio line in

Audio line out

63.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

60W MagSafe Power Adapter

77.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

85W MagSafe Power Adapter

Both computers have:
4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 memory (up to 8 GB is supported)
500 GB 5400-rpm hard drive
720p FaceTime HD camera
MagSafe power port
Gigabit Ethernet port
FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
SDXC card slot
Kensington lock slot
802.11 n Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.0
Stereo speakers with subwoofer
Omnidirectional microphone
Full-size backlit keyboard with 78 keys with ambient light sensor
Multi-Touch trackpad
Up to 7 hours wireless web

Both also come with OS X Lion which includes Mail, Address Book, iCal, the Mac App Store, iTunes, Safari, Time Machine, FaceTime, Photo Booth, Mission Control, Launchpad, AirDrop, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, Quick Look, Spotlight, QuickTime, and more.  iLife is also included which includes iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand.

Apple is also giving a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion when it gets released next month.  As a student, either computer comes with a $100 discount.  Apple is also currently running a promotion where they’re giving students a $100 Mac App Store gift card.

The 13” does not have a discrete graphics card but the Ivy Bridge processor is supposed to improve graphics performance by a good amount over the Sandy Bridge processors.