Apple MacBook Pro 13—Some Quirks as a PC

Yes, there are quirks, but not as many as one might suspect. For the most part, the MacBook Pro functions as any PC notebook would, though with some of Apple’s features present. To smooth out the transition between the designed-for-OS X hardware and the Windows system, Apple has included a Boot Camp utility to customize settings with the mouse, keyboard, and which operating system the notebook should boot on the next restart.

The keyboard settings are pretty sparse; you can choose between having the F-keys default to F1, F2, F3 etc., or default to the brightness and volume changing utilities, with a press of the function key to use the standard F-keys. The trackpad settings are more interesting: you have two finger right click, two finger scroll, and various options to lock the touchpad in drag mode (it’s hard to describe, but makes sense instantly when you use it). The best part is turning the bottom right-hand corner of the touchpad into a right click button. Tap anywhere else, you get a left click; tap at the bottom right (where you’d expect the right click button to be on a PC notebook) and it’ll give you a right click. It’s pretty brilliant, and rectifies one of the chief complaints with running the older MacBooks and MacBook Pros under Windows, where it was necessary to Ctrl+tap to get a right click.

Overall what struck me was how cohesive the experience was in Windows. Everything translates over pretty well—Apple has coded in the same popup animations for the hardware control shortcuts (volume, brightness, etc) for Windows, and the two finger scroll is simply the best in the business. I don’t know how or why, but two finger scroll on the MacBook Pro just works better than two finger scroll on normal Synaptics touchpads, and the entire touchpad just works. It amazes me that basically nobody else has figured out how to do a buttonless/single button touchpad yet (Dell, HP?), but Apple’s is pretty great, especially with the new right click corner. Maybe it's just the size of the touchpad—bigger is better?

The keyboard wasn’t as easy to adjust to though. I go through a lot of laptops, so I’ve gotten pretty adept at switching between various layouts, but for some reason the MBP threw me more than most. I don’t remember having trouble adjusting to any of the previous two dozen-odd notebooks I’ve had in the last few months, so it was definitely different. I’m not entirely sure why, probably just a combination of things. Apple likes to switch the control and function keys, Lenovo-style, and I think I got used to the OS X shortcuts on the Apple keyboard (which is odd because I never actually used OS X on this system beyond running the Boot Camp partition utility the first time). Unfortunately, Apple+C and Apple+V aren’t copy and paste in Windows.

But other than that and the occasional annoyance at having to use the function key to get some keys (Fn+Bkspace to get Delete, Fn+Up/Down for page up and down), the keyboard was as awesome as it always has been. As I said before, it’s the best chiclet keyboard out there, even better than the ThinkPad chiclet keyboard. It just underscores this point: everything that makes the MacBook Pro a great notebook in OS X still makes it a great notebook under Windows, with a couple of quirks along the way to give it character.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 - Introduction Apple MacBook Pro 13 - Awesome Display
POST A COMMENT

117 Comments

View All Comments

  • MrDiSante - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Regardless, Apple is notorious for shoddy Windows drivers (and shoddy Windows software in general - iTunes, Safari, QuickTime, need I go on?) Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    The 13'er doesn't have a dGPU. Must be something else. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Charging $1200-1500 for what is essentially a 2 year old laptop is one reason why I can only buy a MacBook Pro every 2-3 years where the "Apple tax" really rears it's head when it comes to performance per dollar across all lines of notebooks. Reply
  • solipsism - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    “If ASUS can manage to fit a Core 2010 processor, the chipset, and a dedicated graphics card into a system with similar dimensions to the MBP13 and a 33% larger battery, then Apple could have too. Simple as that.”

    How is it as simple as that? I’ve seen the Asus to which you refer and it’s significantly thicker over most of the chassis. That means more vertical space for cooling and more room for heat sinks fan or whatever for placing a dGPU. It also means more vertical space for the battery so even if it’s 33% larger it could have a lower footprint thus allowing the Asus MoBo be larger for that dGPU.

    If you considered this and now for a fact that the MoBo isn’t larger then please post some images or links to images disproving this possible reason.

    "Apple products aren’t reknowned for their value for money quotient, but even by Apple standards, this is pretty bad.”

    If you are going to define “value” as the cost of a computer based on the type of processor used or it’s rating in a speed bench then you should denote that is exactly what you mean, because there is a lot of value that can be had from a system that focuses on a complete package and has a resale “value” much higher than other vendor’s systems. By what I assume must be your definition of “value” any notebook is crap because a desktop can be had at a cheaper price with a faster processor.

    Finally, you seem to be basing your price of the entire product on the performance of the CPU. How does this make any sense? Personally, I’d rather have a C2D with a better GPU than the i3 with IntelHD. I’m also willing to pay more for a better chassis, better display, better trackpad and those little things that this article triumphed and then latter pooh-poohed as being irrelevant to the cost of the entire system.

    if you need/want the fastest the processor that’s fine, but for many the CPU is already fast enough, it’s the other things that are lacking in most vendor’s machines. Same goes for the display resolution. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people determine which is “best” by only looking at the resolution and aspect ratio.

    Honestly, I wish more PC and CE companies would focus on details that aren’t easy to market on a spec sheet.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    What about the Sony VAIO Z? That's smaller, and has the Core i5, a dGPU, plus space for two solid state drives (yes, I know it's significantly more expensive). The Asus was just an example, there's plenty of other 13" notebooks to choose from that have Core 2010 and a dedicated graphics card.

    See, the MBP13 and 13" Aluminum MacBook were a decent value right until most of the world moved to Core i3/5/7. A $1200 notebook with a two year old processor is not a good value, regardless of how you try to spin it.
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Smaller? The Z is ~120% of a 13" MBP. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Wait, what? The VAIO Z weighs 3.04lbs...that's 50% less than an MBP13. Same thickness as the MBP (don't believe the specsheet; the body is an inch across, but the rubber grips in the back raise it up higher), smaller footprint, etc. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    Aluminum is heavier (denser) than plastic. You're right about the footprint, and I acknowledge the Vaio has the little foot, but I'd bet my lunch money the Z displaces more volume.

    Maybe you can get Apple and Sony to agree to a liquid submersion test? ;)
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs-13inch.html

    Click the Specifications tab here.
    http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet...

    Do the math. If it's got a smaller footprint and is nearly the same thickness, how would it displace more volume?

    And for the record, the Z is carbon fibre, not plastic.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    We have both the 13 inch macbook pro and the Sony Vaio Z, and the Sony Vaio Z is significantly lighter, smaller, and faster (we have one of the RAID SSD Models). It also looks more stylish, has at least as good build quality, and all the other features you might look for such as an illuminated keyboard.

    We have a case specifically for the Macbook pro which fits snugly, but when we put the Vaio in there there are inches of room all around the case, so I am very confident that the Vaio is significantly smaller in terms of volume, as well as the already proven weight and footprint.

    It's a better all round laptop, extremely long battery life, every good feature you would need, stays extremely cool (whilst running Windows 7), lightning fast even in Stamina mode (6-8 hours battery), smaller, much lighter, amazing screen, and excellent build quality.

    I'd recommend the Vaio every day of the week.

    To respond to another comment, where the guy said that Apples are partially more expensive due to the development costs of OS X, are you completely forgetting that every laptop comes with an OS, which adds to their cost too? And a better OS, at that.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now