Despite all the articles of defective Mac Book Pros, we decided to order one. We were disappointed when we saw how many problems the unit had. The first problem encountered was the loud hissing sound, which occurs when the LCD‘s brightness was turned up all the way and the CPU wasn’t being put to work. The sounds didn’t seem too bothersome at first, but became extremely irritating after working with it for about 30 minutes. The biggest problem we ran into was with the touchpad. The touchpad on the unit we received was smashed in the top and was pushed off to the right. It wasn’t noticeable at first glance, but after working with it awkwardly for a few minutes we could tell that something was wrong.
With all the reports on its awesome performance, it was hard to believe how slow our 2.0GHz Dual Core Processor with 1GB of ram was running. For some reason it took us over 10 seconds just to launch iTunes with no other programs running. Apple’s new Front Row application was also quite slow and buggy. After pressing the “menu” button on the remote a few times, nothing happened. But after about five minutes it suddenly started to take in all the previous actions we had given it, making it go crazy. The computer also kept saying the DVDs we put in were corrupt until the 3rd time we restarted the machine. Apple has a lot of work to do with this.
With so many issues, I suggest that to anyone who plans to purchase a MacBook to wait until a “rev. b” is released. A new version soon should be expected soon if too many units are running into these problems. Note: Apple may have some big announcements on April 1, 2006, which is their 30th anniversary.
Links: MacBook Pro | TUAW Report
Recent: A Faster MacBook Pro
I read visit your site daily, but I was a little dissapointed with this review. The front row issue has apparently been addressed. Critisizing for a touchpad issue that would be fixed by taking it to an apple store is really not fair either. I’m no mac fanboy, and that hissing issue bothers me still, but maybe you could be a little more fair.
Hey Terc, we just wrote our experience with this unit. I was not aware that the front row issue has been addressed. Please provide a link to more information on that, we always want to be informed on what we write. I also seen a few articles on some “Mac blogs” that stated that there were a lot of touchpad issues, so I assumed I was not alone. We are getting our MacBook replaced as soon as we can & when we do we will be sure to put up a new review. If you see any other discrepancies with this post please let me know & I’ll be happy to fix it.
Here’s a link for you. Sounds as though it’s exactly the issues you were having. http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1536
as far as the touchpad, you’re right, I’ve missed those. I’ve been pretty excited about the intel macs, now that xp is running on them I’ve been looking into getting one. Just wanted to say though, thanks for such a great site.
Another issue that I have heard about and seen is a big problem with the magnetic power cord. This cord seemed to burst into flames on someones Macbook. More info here at Gizmodo
This sounds like maybe it’s a defective/damaged unit more than “Rev A” issues? Hissing sound aside, the machine is fast.
Hissing sound aside, the machine doesn’t feel any faster than my 12 inch powerbook. And also hissing aside, that doesn’t explain my wi-fi connection getting dropped repeatedly, my mouse freezing up constantly when I have “ignore accidental trackpad input” enabled, and the 50/50 chance that when I try to wake my MacBook up from sleep, that it won’t wake up and I have to force-shutdown, then restart. On top of that, five system crashes, just sitting idle doing nothing, in five days. That’s more crashes than I’ve had in the last 1-1/2 years with my Powerbook. Sorry, but lets be fair and say it like it is. Lets not kid outselves into thinking this is some kind of magic MacBook. It has plenty of issues, and honestly, using apps doesn’t feel fast, like we have been told this processor is supposed to do to everything. Launching Mac Mail opens the Mail window almost instantly, which feels faster, but then it is frozen up for a while until you can do anything with it! So, that’s not faster. Lastly, like someone said above, the 15 inch MacBook Pro is 3 inches wider than the 12 inch Powerbook. Before you say, duh, 15-12=3, remember that this is supposed to be diagonal. The MacBook is really large. Too large to pick up with one hand, like a book, and walk around the house, like you can the 12 inch Powerbook. It’s too big for a middle-size laptop. It honestly feels like a 17.
On the positive side, the screen is very nice. But that’s really about it for the positives. Sorry, but true.
I’ve returned two MacBooks so far. Both had the same problems.
I’ve been searching for reviews of the MBP, but found very few that were detailed and balanced enough to form an educated decision. So, I decided to take a plunge and buy one, test it out for some time and then decide if I want to keep it.
The configuration I got was: MBP 2.0 / 1GB / 100GB. Here’s my $0.02:
The presentation, look and feel are great initially. The casing is sturdy, the keyboard is excellent, and the trackpad and mouse button are great. Some of the softare is quite neat (e.g. expose, search functions, remote controllable audio/visual), and some freeware is great (e.g. QuickSilver, TinkerTools). The usability / productivity turned out to be less than anticipated.
I was very well aware of the “whine” issue, and researched it enough to find out that it its various variants it is related to a faulty inverter for the display and a faulty logic board used with the Core Duo. Some users have reported getting Apple to tacitly acknowledge the problem and begin replacing the faulty components.
In practice, the notorious whine can be an issue, depending on how sensitive your hearing is, and/or when your MBP was manufactured. People who haven’t yet lost hearing in the upper register (e.g. women and younger men) can hear the whine very well and are quite irritated by it. Older people and those desensitized by 5-hours a day of iPod use cannot.
I’m in the former category, and find the “whine” or “hiss” to be at a particularly irritating frequency that makes it rather unbearable, despite its low overall volume.
I had to download QuietMBP to silence the machine. This is probably the best / least processor intensive “fix” that’s been documented in the user community. However, it does decrease the battery life by about 30 minutes. This is out of a total of 2.5 – 3 hours on average display brightness, bluetooth off, wireless internet on. (I had conditioned the battery as per instructions.)
In use, whether plugged in or on battery power, on whatever performance setting, with much less than 10% average processor intensity, the laptop still got quite hot. Around the area where the screen meets the laptop it was simply too hot to touch. Elsewhere, the keyboard and palm-rests were hot enough to make my hands sweat constantly, leaving visible salt deposits over the silver surface.
Finally, I’d like to say a few words about using Mac OS for professionals and others that are considering switching from Windows XP.
I had used a Mac in 1990’s, and didn’t mind it at all – actually preferred it to a PC. Since then, however, most of my professional experience/use (I’m in science/technology/academics) has been mostly on Windows (95 and XP). The majority of programs I are available or have equivalents on a Mac, with a few notable exceptions: Microcal Origin, AutoCAD, and some others. My workhorse applications are Word, PowerPoint, and Acrobat. Despite being well aware of the benefits of the TeX variants for typesetting, and the great advances in the OpenOffice applications (all of which I have tried and use on occasion) if you collaborate with enough people, Word and PowerPoint are indispensible; that’s just a fact.
I found that about half of my PowerPoint slides are not displayed properly on the MacBook Pro. The problems range from having the text garbled and plot labels misplaced, to colors mixed up and some plots / figures not showing up at all. These issues carry over to Word as well. In general, I’ve experienced multiple problems with conversion of slides and Word documents to PDF on the Mac. While the PC experience is by no means trouble-free in that regard, I’ve gotten a pretty good understanding of what happens and have gotten very good results on Windows. Less luck on the Mac OS. If you deal with these programs regularly, you’ll find that switching over can be a major hassle. Furthermore, if you collaborate with enough people that don’t use a Mac (which seem to make up about 90% of computer users), this will be a problem.
Another usability issue that is also highly user-dependent, is the display / text rendering. The technical term is Anti-aliasing (feel free to google for an explanation) and it can either be a non-issue, or drive you nuts. The short of it is that to me, the text on a Mac always looked “fuzzy”. I learned to fiddle with the anti-aliasing settings in the OS to minimize this effect, and recommend a program called TinkerTools for greater flexibility with the settings. (Among other things, it lets you relocate the Dock.) Still, the display quality falls short of the glossy offerings by Sony, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and matte displays of IBM and… well, pretty much everyone else in the business.
The connectivity and synchronization options are fairly limited for switchers, and I feel that Microsoft and Apple are equally guilty of this. Still this doesn’t help solve the problem. For example, chances are that your SmartPhone device won’t sync easily with a Mac, and your MS Outlook calendar and contacts cannot be read by MS Entourage (made by the same company, mind!) or iCal. I found Mark/Space – a $40 program that let me transfer my Outlook info from my Audiovox SMT5600 SmartPhone. Since the phone syncs seamlessly with Windows, it served as my vehicle for porting all the vital info.
I cannot identify a single issue that was the deal-breaker for me. Rather, the combination of high-pitch noise, heat, poor battery life, file conversion issues, and the hefty price tag made me return the computer. Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the experience is the blithe manner in which Apple Geniuses and the tech persons on the phone tended to dismiss my (politely worded) concerns.
As of now, I’m back to my 3-pound ultraportable with a 133 dpi x-brite screen and 7 hour battery life. After nearly 2 years of heavy daily use the keyboard is finally starting to feel a bit cramped, and I’ll have to get myself a bigger laptop… Sony SZ and ThinkPad T43 come to mind, and I’d welcome any recommendations :-)
FIX: Apologies… one paragraph above unintentionally conflates the issue of anti-aliasing and screen quality. (Couldn’t find the edit function.) What I meant to say was that I haven’t been able to find a good solution to the text rendering problem on the Mac OS (and many people seem to have the same issue).
Only somewhat related to that is the issue of the contrast ratio on the typical matte LCD and the newer glossy versions. I find the latter far superior, for both graphic-intensive uses, and for text editing.
I think you’re just unlucky. I have had zero of the problems that you have had with your Macbook, and neither have any of my friends and other people I know that have order one. It sounds liked you decided you were going to find problems with it before you even received it. By the way, if anybody wants the truth, its takes approx. 1.5 seconds to open iTunes on a MacBook.
I had my MBP for all of three days and had massive failure – after 3 weeks they finally replaced both the faulty logic board and the LCD screen. No apologies from Mac, poor customer service – the whine is annoying. Not half as fast as promised. I am now fighting to return it.
As I mentioned on TUAW: The left side of my MBP has a very quiet but noticeable fan-like whirl on all the time. I took it in to SF “Genius” Bar and they said that it is either the fan, processor, or hard drive – couldn’t say which!!! – and completely normal. All of their power books have the same noise they told me and all their new MBP’s. An irritating bunch there. They also give out the lie to potential customers of MBPs that the machine is only hot because they have to stay on all the time in the store (“since 9 AM …etc”). Unbelievable!
My MBP also accesses (briefly spins up) the optical drive when you turn it on, restart, wake from sleep, or load iDVD.
Both noises are soft and I guess tolerable, but at this high-end cost shouldn’t have to be tolerated.
I have a MacBook Pro since three weeks: I am very satisfied. Maybe this is of newer production and has already some of the early issues fixed.
Compared to my iMAC G5 and the IBM ThinkPad notebook I use at work it feels very fast. Also, it is the most silent computer of all three (yes: there IS noice).
I can confirm it is getting warm, but for me this is no issue (still below my “pain” threshold but at the limit to use it on the lap).
“For example, chances are that your SmartPhone device won’t sync easily with a Mac…”
You’re kidding, right? My Sony Ericsson P900, which I had endless trouble syncing *at all* on both Windows and Linux, synced out of the box with iSync. I don’t think this is a terribly mainstream phone, either. On the contrary, UIQ phones seem to be mostly ignored in the software market.
I have the same spec MacBook Pro and with photoshop and iPhoto open, iTunes opens in under 2 seconds, and Safari is almost instant. It’s stunningly fast.
I removed the whine in my macbook this way:
open the terminal an copy/paste the following 2 lines:
sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext /backup
type your password, reboot…
The whine disappear on my macbook.
i have had a macbook pro now for just over 2 weeks, i am now sending it back. The main problem i have with it is the fact that the airport extreme is very temperamental, also it overheats very quickly usually within 10 minutes and it begins to burn. I have experienced any other problems as well such as the use of the built in webcam, i bought it under the belief that i would be able to use it in conjunction with instant messaging programs such as msn or aim, however it is only able to do this with apples own instant messaging program which isnt a fault of apple it is a problem with having a built in webcam if anyone is cosidering buying a macbook pro.
Overall i have not been best pleased with this purchase and do not reccomend to anyone buying a unit till all of these problems have been addressed!
You may have missed the news Alex M, but most of these issues *were* addressed in Rev.C and later. Mine is apparently a Rev.E so it has no major issues, just the whine. If yours is earlier then replace it. But don’t warn people off if the problems have already been fixed in any model they’re likely to obtain.
Let me say how happy it was to see this thread. I’m on my second MacBook Pro, as the first was returned to the Apple store, and when they saw what was happening (it was so bad that I didn’t even have to worry about it not doing what it does at home). The Genius Bar guys shook their heads, said “yeah, there’s something wrong with this” Replaced without question.
So I get my second MacBook (typing from it now in the Apple Store), and I have some of the same problems. Same exact issues as Todd above relative to the system crashing. I leave the laptop on, go to lunch, and have to reboot when I come back because it will not ‘wake up’ via mouse or key input.
Powerpoint: WHERE DO I START? Abysmal. If you have any graphics of size, it takes up to 20 seconds to advance between slides. Was the same with previous MacBook. And when the Tech guy here tried the presentation I had on another MacBook in the store, same issue. I’m about to buy Keynote, as I can’t wait around for Apple/MS to fix this…
I just bought a brand new Macbook and was very disappointed with the quality of the unit – the lid with the display portion of the cover was actually warped (gap where 2 quarters would comfortably fit in) and neither Apple or the reseller will replace it – even though I just took it out of the box. Is this quality and customer service you would expect from Apple?
Very disappointed customer.
I confirm that MacBook Pro that I received in SWITZERLAND around March 30th has all aforementioned problems like: does NOT wake from the sleep and you have to force start the system (10.4.6.).
I didn’t notice any problems with Powerpoint but didn’t test it … the DVD drive often swirls … NO, it is not lighteningly fast either …in short, the Apple representative told me they will accept it back as apparently there are some faulty series !?!?!
I have had my MacBook Pro for 1 week – using it professionally as a consultant, on 14 hours a day, running latest OSx release, latest firmware, etc. Here is my feedback:
1) Noise- very slight noise when on battery power, have to put my ear on the machine to hear. Quietest laptop I have ever had, and I have owned 1 Dell, 3 IBM and 1 Toshiba.
2) Speed: Universal binary apps (mail, address, keynote, pages, etc) are very fast and smooth. Open office on X11 is quick and responsive once loaded. Word/powerpoint/excel are not faster than on a typical older machine – quite usable, but not any faster. I think when the universal binary version comes out they will be much faster, if the other apps are anything to go by.
3) Wireless: still working out the configuration issues but successful to both public hotspots and my older linksys router at home. Takes a bit of trial and error to determine which settings both ends like – I have had similar config issues with every single wireless device I have ever used. Works fine once set up.
4) sleep issues: none.
5) Lid fit: not great, 1.5mm space on one side, due to slight bow in base, lid is true. Worth swaping for ? nope.
6) Heat: warm on bottom, top is fine. My old Dell used to heat up right under your left hand!
7) Overall as first time Mac user, great machine, cool apps, and if I need a windows program — now I have BootCamp.
My advice: what apps do you use? if available in UB, go for it. If not, wait until the apps come out. the purpose of the machine is to do stuff.
I’ve just bought a Rev D (I believe) MacBook Pro with serial number starting W8611. It’s a standard spec 2Ghz/1GB machine and although I had already read many comments about the various ‘issues’ I thought I’d go ahead anyway.
I had no real issues with heat or backlight/TFT brightness but on the first evening of using it in a quiet room did notice a background ‘hiss’. Did a bit of digging around blogs etc and narrowed it down to the logic board hiss rather than the TFT/inverter problem.
I downloaded and tried the QuietMBP prog which sorted it completely but I also read somewhere about a firmware update which can be found here:
[Bad Link Removed, Try http://www.apple.com/support/ ]
Ran this and the after the reboot it reported I had version 1.0.0 and the hiss was completely gone.
Hope this helps some of you folks.
Apologies but it seems I may have jumped the gun a little there. The problem hasn’t been fixed by the update at all – my Apple wireless mouse which I started using after the update and just stopped using was actually ‘fixing’ or hiding the problem.
Using the mouse does make the machine silent though :-/
Has anyone been able to run AutoCAD in XP on a MBP yet? Currently I have an Imac G5 at home and a Dell Inpirion for the sole purpose of drafting. I haven’t yet bought a MBP because I am waiting to see if others have had success with AutoCAD.
Also, I have to say that I think that some of the comments on this site are a little harsh. In my opinion you have to expect that there will be bugs in the initial releases of any hardware; if you really want a flawless machine then wait a few months…
I have just had one week with my MacBook Pro and reading all the above comments I may not have bought it had I read this 10 days ago! All I can say is that I am completely and utterly delighted with it. Using Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Bridge, iLife, Safari, Mail, NoteTaker and all is well. It is silent (but hot), it has synced with my Treo and all my diaries, and 3,000 names and addresses are all up to date on both machines. If anyone is deliberating, I would say go for it. These bugs being talked about here are short lived and this machine is a dream. It is by far the best computer I have ever used, laptop or desktop, and I just love it it to bits.