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Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro Review

It can be hard to keep up with the technological landscape, at the speed at which it changes, when technology that still feels new needs regular updating or fails to work adequately with the new apps and software we require for regular use in business and at home. There is little more frustrating than having a deadline to meet or hitting your creative groove when our trusted technology fails us. The technology we use to carry out important tasks is increasingly vital and we rely upon its flexibility and functionality in being capable of doing what we need it to do, when we ask it to do it. As fate would have it, it is often at the most important times, when we need it most, that what we rely on fails us. I believe it is for this reason that the Apple MacBook has proven so successful despite its considerably higher price point. It isn’t only the technical features, intuitive usability & beautiful design that drive our decision to purchase; it is the emotional benefits that we truly buy in to.

So Why Buy A MacBook Pro& Which Model?

Buying a MacBook Pro gives us peace of mind that for years to come, we will be able to carry out the tasks required of us, easily, without fear of running out of memory, the fan breaking down, the computer slowing down and freezing or getting a virus that wipes out all our work. That peace of mind is priceless. It is why Apple has largely been the technology of choice for creative & those in the tech industries for many years. The Pro (minus retina display) starts at £999 although it appears that Apple are phasing out this older 13” model – as only one sans retina display model is for sale at the online Apple Store – in favour of the retina display versions starting at £1099. Despite the higher price, the processors in the 13” retina display models are slightly smaller and have less boost (2.5GHz boost to 3.1GHz vs 2.4GHz boost to 2.9 GHz in the lower end retina display models) which means they may be a fraction of a second slower when dealing with powerful applications.

One key difference is the storage unit in the various models. Apple is moving to a smaller, but much faster flash storage rather than the traditional hard drive. This sacrifices 500gb for 128gb although the speed of read & write tasks is greater and flash storage has no moving parts meaning it is less likely to break. With more & more of our data being saved in the cloud and with media consumption primarily taking place online through companies such as Netflix & Spotify, the smaller storage is not such a problem. In recognition of this, Apple has removed the C: drive (no DVDs or CDs), which can be an annoyance for those with large disc-based media collections, although the size and weight of the overall unit is reduced which is a big plus.

Where Do I Buy & Are There Any Discounts?

You might want to shop around online for the best price although Apple keep that fairly well regulated so it is unlikely you will find a bargain on a new model anywhere so it may be best to buy from Apple directly, either from their online store or from one of their famed, customer experience based retail stores (not to be confused with an iStore). According to the apple website, students with valid cards - and those working in educational institutions – can expect to receive up to £175 off the purchase of a MacBook Pro. Military personal can hope for 5-10% off and those fortunate enough to have a business to run it through can pay in instalments from as little as £49 a month if they choose to purchase through Apple finance at 14.9% APR with £99 down. Alternatively, there is the option to hire at a very similar expense to the finance option. You can learn more about spreading the cost with financing at http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/campaigns/finance/spread_the_cost.

There truly are many great, powerful laptops on the market today to suit many people’s needs. For peace of mind however, the MacBook Pro comes up trumps - providing you can justify cost.

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We are five friends, not professional reviewers, with a combined age of 161 (that's 25+40+35+37+24).

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