Apple MacBook Pro 13in (2011) review

An excellent laptop that teachers and students will adore, albeit at a price

Simon Fisher
17 Jun 2012
Price when reviewed 

Everything about the MacBook Pro screams precision, from the unibody construction through to the glass trackpad. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the price: at nearly £800 exc VAT for a 13in model, it slips into premium laptop territory.

Still, performance matches the price. It’s powered by a 2.4GHz Intel i5 dual-core processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which helps it move at a spritely pace: it scored 0.7 in the PC Pro benchmarks.

Pupils were immediately drawn to the MacBook Pro. The well-weighted keyboard and silky smooth multitouch trackpad make it comfortable to use. The 13.3in LED backlit glossy display produces bright and vibrant colours, and the native 1,280 x 800 resolution is a good fit for the screen size, balancing clarity of text and a reasonable working area.

Apple MacBook Pro 13in (2011)

At 2.04kg, the MacBook Pro is heavier than you might expect, but it’s still very portable. Connectivity is limited, with only two USB 2 ports, and Apple doesn’t help things by placing them close together: a large USB device such as a flash drive may restrict access to the second. There’s also a FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt port; the latter supports daisy-chaining of devices and doubles as an output for a display, although note that HDMI, VGA and DVI screens will all require an adapter.

Powered by a 63.5W lithium-polymer battery, the MacBook Pro is up to theoretical seven hours S of light use, and in tests it managed a credible 8hrs 59mins. Some schools shy away from Apple equipment due to concerns about software compatibility and network integration, but now that the company has its own selection of apps for everything from word processing through to video-editing, this argument no longer holds much water. A MacBook Pro is a serious investment, but it could be worth making.

Price when reviewed 
940exc VAT

Physical specifications

Dimensions 325 x 227 x 24mm (WDH)
Weight 2.040kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 13.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000


Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

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