MacBook Pro: Is This a True Road Warrior’s Machine?

by Matthew Bookspan May 22, 2007

Last week, I traveled to Portland for RailsConf 2007. It was a great show, and although I could only attend for two of the four days, I met some truly wonderful folks in the Ruby-on-Rails community. This is the first time I have used my MB Pro while on the road.

The MB Pro is a pretty decent machine to have on the road. There are definitely some imperfections, but I am pretty pleased with its overall performance. Here are some key takeaways:

1. The form factor is good, although if I could have my ultimate design, I would request a 12” super-slim with no media drive (externally attached). The issue with the form factor is the bulk, not the weight. I just happen to like the smaller machines (I used to have a Lenovo Thinkpad X60).

2. The battery life was surprisingly better than expected. I was able to work for close to three hours. Of course, I wish I could work closer to 6-8 (even if I had to have a two-battery notebook).

3. I use a privacy screen and that really helped. When you have a ton of random folks around and your notebook display is open, it’s great to protect your corporate or personal data. Many folks do not use these, which is somewhat surprising to me. It was a really critical tool when I was on the plane. It’s an unfortunate human behavior, but people just have a natural tendency to let their eyes wander.

4. I had to use the EVDO card as the WiFi at the conference was really slow. I also had VPN connect issues with the conference WiFi, whereas the EVDO card worked flawlessly. I was pretty impressed with the EVDO coverage in Portland. It was better in my hotel than at the Convention Center, although it was good enough for me to get work done.

5. I had to purchase a Marware wrist-rest just to make it easier to type over extended periods of time. Although the industrial design of the MB Pro is beautiful, it is painful to type with on an ongoing basis. My watch also happens to hit right at the base of the built-in wrist rest and I wanted to prevent any scratches or long-term damage to the machine.

6. Ok, I lied about #1. Weight is an issue. If this machine weighed in the 3-4 lb. category, I would be thrilled.

Yes, this is an even numbered list, and it is not a top 10 list. These are just some thoughts I had while using the MB Pro on its first road trip. The funny thing is that I had originally brought an extra battery, fully expecting to use it during the trip. I also brought the new magsafe/airplane adapter in case I needed power on the plane. Of course, they don’t tell you that very few planes support the adapter…. wink

I also used my new Incase backpack for this road trip. Great bag, lots of cubbyholes for holding all of my work-related items (biz cards, etc.). One complaint with it—the bag doesn’t have a slot for sliding the bag onto my Tumi roller suitcase that I use when traveling. I have had bags that do this and they are definitely great when you are running for the plane that you might just miss.

The net-net is that the MB Pro is turning out to be a very good choice. I am curious to see how it performs on a longer trip (5+ days), so when that occurs, expect another article on the topic.

Oh, and a follow-up from last week’s article on WLB: I am getting better at it. I hope that all of you are as well.


  • Hey I’ve got a complaint about my MB Pro…..the damn button that opens the computer that’s too slim to push in with your finger so you push it with your fingernail and i winds up getting the metal scratched off bit by bit, it’s an ugly sight that makes the MB look old and beat up even if it’s only a couple months old

    Nemin had this to say on May 22, 2007 Posts: 35
  • If your watch is bumping against your laptop try turning it around (rotate it 180 degrees about the long axis of your arm). This is what I do when typing on my 12” powerbook.

    bob-bob had this to say on Jun 07, 2007 Posts: 12
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