Buying guide: 2012 Macs

By Roman Loyola, Macworld |  Hardware, Apple, computers

The standard MacBook Pro is also the only Mac laptop with a built-in SuperDrive. If you need to burn or read optical discs and youd rather not use an external drive, the standard MacBook Pro is the laptop for you.

Apple used to offer a 17-inch standard MacBook Pro, but phased it out in favor of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

How do I connect stuff? Like all Mac computers, the standard MacBook Pro has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. What makes the standard MacBook Pro more attractive than the other Mac laptops is that it offers ports that Apple has phased out of the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pro.

First, if you have FireWire 800 drives that you use on a regular basis, youll be happy to know that the standard MacBook Pro comes with a FireWire 800 port. None of Apples other laptops have FireWire. If you dont want to carry an adapter for your FireWire drive, the standard MacBook Pro is your only choice.

The standard MacBook Pro also has a gigabit ethernet port, which you cant find on the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pro.

Like all Mac laptops, the standard MacBook Pro has two USB 3.0 ports.

How fast is it? Both 13-inch standard MacBook Pro models are slower overall than the 13-inch MacBook Airblame the performance hit on the MacBook Pros hard drive, which cant keep up with the MacBook Airs flash storage. However, the MacBook Pro has a huge performance advantage over the MacBook Air on tasks that are processor intensive and dont have to read or write to the storage device a lot, such as video editing.

The top-performing standard MacBook Pro is the $2199 15-inch model. To get even more speed from these laptops, you can customize your order and swap the hard drive for a solid-state drive, but youll have to pay between $100 and $1000 extra, depending on the size of the SSD. The SSD will boost the Pro's performance to the extent that it surpasses the performance of the MacBook Air.

Macworlds buying advice: The standard MacBook Pro is for the mobile user who doesnt want to sacrifice a lot of features. The hard drives create a performance bottleneck, so if you want to get the best performance, consider customizing the laptop with an extra-cost SSD that replaces the hard drive. The fastest standard MacBook Pro is the $2199 15-inch 2.6GHz Core i7 model. If you want a laptop for travel and cant decide between a standard MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air, go with the MacBook Air unless you really need built-in FireWire; you might also consider a Retina MacBook Pro.

Read our complete review of the standard MacBook Pro (Mid-2012)

Retina MacBook Pro


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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