Apple MacBook Pro 13.3" Laptop - MC374LL/A (April, 2010) Reviews

Apple MacBook Pro 13.3" Laptop - MC374LL/A (April, 2010)

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18 months in...

Jan 7, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Quality of Tech Support:

Pros:Very durable, easy to upgrade, gorgeous design

Cons:Slight battery decline after 18 months heavy use

The Bottom Line: After 18 months of heavy use, still works great and looks great. Easy to upgrade and only very slight decline in the battery


I know I risk not getting a high rating from my epinions peers for this review, because I am not going to spend time re-writing all the specifications that have already been posted here in several other reviews.

But I am going to write a different kind of review that hopefully you will agree is equally helpful - to give you an owners perspective a year and a half into the experience.

I have owned this 13" Macbook Pro since the summer of 2010 and here is a report of how it has gone so far:

BATTERY

I usually get about 5 hours from a charge, that number could be higher but I keep the screen relatively bright. If you dim your screen way down you get more out of the battery. After a year and a half, the battery is just slightly less in terms of duration after a charge. Its still pretty good but I notice it needs charging just a little sooner than it used to. The difference is very small, I don't feel I need a new battery at all. I use mine daily on battery and recharge it a lot so I am probably an example of someone who is going to consume the battery faster than average.  So its a good sign that its still going strong at this point.

DURABILITY

Sadly I have dropped my Macbook a few times, and almost had a heart attack each time it happened; but it held up like a champ. Not a mark on it (lucky it was never dropped on hard pavement so no scratches). It looks as gorgeous as it did when I took it out of the box for the first time and no problems. Every few months I wipe it off with a soft, damp cloth and it shines up like new. I carry this with me a lot, its been tossed in and out of airport bins at the security check, etc. A for durability.

I did have a hard plastic InCase cover on my macbook for a few months, to protect it. But it adds weight, and it covers up the beauty of the macbook, so I stopped using it. When I took the plastic cover case off my macbook, I noticed a bunch of crud had accumulated under the case and the top lid of my macbook looked horrible. This kind of shocked me. I was worried the macbook case was permanantly stained. I had to wipe it off pretty good to get it clean - and was relieved to see it looked as good as new. Anyway, suffice it to say, my choice going forward is going to be to keep my macbook without a cover. I like it better that way.

LAPTOP DISPLAY SCREEN

Looks good as new, never got any stuck/dead pixels. They say that if you don't have a problem within the first few months, you should be okay. My screen is perfect. But then again the macbooks of this model are not known for having a lot of problems with the display. Macbooks in general have a great reputation for gorgeous, bright, crisp displays that are high quality and problems are rare.

UPGRADES

After a while I wanted to add more space for data and apps, and more RAM to make the PC zippier for photo editing, etc. I did do a few upgrades and this is something you might be interested in. I upgraded the HD to a 500GB model, about 6 months in. Changing the hard drive in a macbook pro is EXTREMELY easy. Its designed for the user to do this, very good instructions in the user manual, and it does not invalidate the warranty. It takes about 10 minutes to open the case and swap the drives.

The longest part is copying the image from the old drive to the new, but that is easy too. If you are curious how to do this, just google it. Lots of good info and also how-to's on YouTube. I also upgraded the RAM from 4GB to the max 8GB. This is also very easy, its designed for the user to upgrade, and also does not impact the warranty.

Another note about upgrades, its much cheaper for you to buy your Mac RAM memory or updgraded hard drive from Amazon or OWC or some other parts supplier, shop around on the web. Don't buy it from apple, its the same parts but the price will be much higher.

The next thing I am going to do is install a 500GB SSD (Solid State Drive - no moving parts) to replace the spinning platter I have in there now; this will give me better battery life, make the Macbook run cooler, be completely dead silent, and more importantly should give a significant speed boost to boot up time and the time it takes an app to start up.

SSD's are going to become the standard in a few years on all laptops, but right now they are a bit pricey for the bigger sizes. A 500GB SSD for my macbook is costing me $699 from Amazon, which is a very good price. Apple charges well over $1000 for an optional SSD of this size in current Macbooks.  

Anyway, the speed boost from the SSD will give my (already aging) Macbook a nice performance boost so it will give me a few more years of useful life - running todays apps that are more demanding. Funny how quickly technology changes! If I get a new Macbook in a few years I can re-use the SSD in another PC or make it a backup drive - so its an investment I will get my full use out of.

I will update this post after I have installed the SSD and used it for a while.

CONCULSION

After 18 months, the macbook has held up well, the battery is still going strong despite my daily use of it and lots of recharging, and the design of the macbook pro has made it easy for me to upgrade hard drive and RAM myself. I am feeling like this was a great investment, it still looks brand new and is a pleasure to use. It has held up well through lots of travel and heavy use. People still admire it when they see me using it. Not a single problem with it.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 1100
Operating System: Macintosh
Processor: Other
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: 13 inches
RAM: More than 256
Internal Storage: CD-RW and DVD
Hard Drive (GB): Over 50

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