We have our hands on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro here at CNET, and have been putting it through its benchmark paces. In the meantime, we've been eager to see what differentiates this 2010 update from the 2009 version. While we had a wish list of features we wanted to see included and were disappointed that a handful were omitted, there are some key improvements that we're glad to see.
The 2009 13-inch MacBook Pro was one of our favorite laptops, and we were greatly hoping that the 2010 update would feature Intel's new Core processor series. It turned out that Core i5 and i7 CPUs are only in the 15-inch and 17-inch 2010 MacBook Pros, while the new 13-incher still has a Core 2 Duo processor that's been bumped to slightly faster versions.
It's a bit disappointing, as it puts the aluminum 13-incher a step behind its older brothers for the time being, and makes the 2010 MacBook Pro 15-inch the leader of the new MacBook pack.
On the other hand, there are other modest but notable improvements. The integrated Nvidia graphics have been updated to Nvidia's new GeForce 320M processor. It's an improvement over the already serviceable GeForce 9400M integrated graphics the 13-inch MacBook Pro has had since fall 2008, and should help this MacBook keep pace with current games. It's not a high-level processor, but it's far more than any thin portable laptop in this range usually has.
Most importantly, the battery life on this new MacBook Pro has been boosted again. This year's boosts, according to Apple, come from a combination of CPU efficiency and new battery chemistry, despite having a similar-size integrated battery in the same slim chassis. Our early benchmarks show six hours of run time on our video playback battery drain test, approaching an hour longer than last year's model. … Read more