Belated first look: MacBook Pro

Apple’s latest Intel-based notebook computer has been out on the market for a few weeks now. I was able to get my hands on a demo unit briefly during January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

It’s impressive to say the least. Sure, there are concerns about running older software on the new computers, but the Intel chip has put some speed back into Apple’s notebook lineup. My conclusion is based on my very basic testing method — movie playback.

The Apple employee helping to demo the machin loaded 3 high-definition movies into QuickTime Player. The computer played all three simultaneously. The playback looked quite smooth even as I used Expose to zoom the playing movies in and out.

Compare that performance to the sluggish time a G4 PowerBook had playing one HD movie. It’s a powerful indication of where we might be going with this new processor.

Aside from the Intel chip inside and the slight redesign of the MacBook Pro (which suceeds the PowerBook line), the operating system and the overall experience remains consistently Mac-like.