Review update Apple MacBook Pro 17 Early 2011 (2.3 GHz quad-core, matte)
The following article is a review update for the comprehensive review of the 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro 17 Early 2011 basic notebook. Due to this the primary areas of focus are the matte 17" display, and the powerful processor. All the other descriptions and ratings can be found in the review of the basic model, since the case, cooling system, input devices, and interfaces are identical.
The optionally attainable matte display officially offers the same specifications as the reflective version covered with a glass sheet. With 1920x1200 pixels the resolution is relatively fine, and still provides the meanwhile almost extinct 16:10 format. A brightness sensor integrated into the notebook controls the keyboard illumination, as well as the intensity of the LED backlight. As usual for Apple, the full brightness is also available when the notebook is battery powered.
According to our measurements the matte version of the display provides slightly more brightness (maximum and average). The black level also rises slightly, whereby the maximum contrast remains at a good 600:1. The illumination is clearly worse though, with 73% compared to 87%.
Due to the high maximum brightness and the non-reflective display surface, the MacBook Pro 17 is very well suited for outdoor use. Although under direct sunlight only transreflective displays are usable without restrictions, use without the sun shining directly at the display is definitely still very satisfactory.
The viewing angle area is good compared to other TN displays. IPS displays, such as those used in the HP Dreamcolor notebooks, in the iPad, or in good desktop monitors, are still noticeably better though.
The color space of the matte display is comparable with the reflective version in our review. Thus the anti-glare display also exceeds the sRGB color space to a small extent. The color space of the Dell XPS 17 with full-HD display is also similar. For the best possible color representation we recommend the calibration with a colorimeter.
In the synthetic benchmarks the faster processor is able to prove its processing power. The multi-thread benchmarks showed that the 2320QM is about 2-3% faster (Cinebench R10 and R11). While the single-core tests showed an advantage of up to 11%. This is also the case with the Geekbench total score. The processor thus definitely provides for good performance improvements.
|Benchmarks Mac OS X 10.6||MBP 17 2.2 GHz||MBP 17 2.3 GHz|
|Cinebench R10 single-core||4254||4735 (+11%)|
|Cinebench R10 multi-core||15469||15878 (+3%)|
|Cinebench R10 OpenGL||7542||8314 (+10%)|
|Cinebench R11.5 CPU||5.45||5.56 (+2%)|
|Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL||35.52||36.71 (+3%)|
The picture looks a little different when it comes to the XBench 1.3 system benchmark though (also using Mac OS X). In this case the faster CPU wasn't able to make a significant difference. The average results are practically the same as those with the slower 2.2 GHz version.
With an entry price of 2799 Euros, the version tested by us is definitely not a bargain. The 250 Euros additional cost for the faster processor will only be worth it for very few users. 3-11% improved performance was determined by us using the synthetic benchmarks. Also the graphics performance of the integrated Intel graphics is improved by the larger cache memory. In XBench the improvement in performance is dulled by the more general score of the benchmark. The performance advantage is therefore only noticeable in rare cases.
The 50 Euros for the anti-glare version of the display can be recommended for all users. This allows for tireless use in bright surroundings, and also the use outdoors is noticeably more pleasant. Thanks to the weight of 2.9 kilograms, and the flat shape of the case, the mobile use of the DTR notebook is definitely possible. The display rating remains more or less the same, since the device tested by us showed a noticeably reduced illumination compared to the device we tested with a reflective display.