Using a 2010 13″ MacBook Pro

macbookpro2010.pngAs evidenced by the slowly changing CPU market right now it’s not surprising that a technically “ancient” computer can still survive today with no real issues. Recently I was given this MacBook Pro (of which I am writing this on at this very moment) and I have been using it as my daily driver for nearly 4 months now. How do I fare? Let’s find out.

The 2010 MacBook Pro 13” was the pinnacle of Apple’s laptop line in 2010. Fully equipped to do some real computing on the go it was praised for it’s unique aluminum unibody case. This example was donated to me by my sister after she returned from teaching overseas and buying a MSI gaming notebook (/jealous).

Anyways it comes specced with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR3 1067MHz memory, 250GB 5400RPM HDD, SuperDrive (DVD/CD burner) and a nVIDIA Geforce 320M utilizing 256MB of memory.

Now it came to me with a dead battery so I have replaced that and I also attempted to install an SSD but apparently due to my lack of research the particular drive that I purchased was one of the very few that does not play well with the MacBook Pro. The battery gives me about 5 hours on a full charge and eventually when I get an SSD that works with this system I hope to see that battery life increase quite a bit.

That said how is it to use? Well MacOS is still a great experience as long as nothing goes wrong. Thankfully, unlike Macs I have used and supported in the past, this one has not been an issue.

This MacBook is capable of running the latest MacOS (El Capitan as of this writing) and I have been really happy with it. At heart I am a Windows guy and Windows 10 has impressed me as well but if I had my choice I would run MacOS on everything. That said while there are some games that run on MacOS you really don’t have access to a lot of the major recent titles. That also said you won’t be running any recent games on this system. One of the reasons my sister bought a new notebook was the gaming performance. This MacBook gets so hot when gaming it’s uncomfortable to play anything with it and on top of that while playing Guild Wars 2 (which is one of the few big MMOs that run on MacOS) it would get so hot it interfered with the monitor controller and it would start warping the picture when playing. That’s pretty hot folks (though it never melted the cooling fan unlike another laptop of mine – more on that another time).

But can this be used for regular tasks like word processing, email, YouTube and so on? Absolutely. In fact I think MacOS is particularly suited for these tasks.

Nowadays Apple has been known to basically build disposable devices. Most of their notebooks and desktops as designed not to be opened or upgraded. I can happily say that that is not the case with this MacBook Pro. It has a few screws on the bottom holding a huge panel on that when opened gives you access to everything that can be upgraded. The HDD is easy to access and change. The battery is easy to change as well and adding another stick of memory to get the MacBook Pro up to it’s maximum 8GB allowed is super easy. That’s really all you’d want to do with this notebook.

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Oh and something else Apple seems to be super interested in doing nowadays is removing ports. I mean what the heck, Apple? ONE FREAKIN USB C PORT? That’s stupid. I don’t care how thin your laptop is. Anyways the 2010 MacBook Pro comes before the port deletion madness that is Apple now. It includes a Mag-Safe power adapter port (best power plug on the planet bar-none), one ethernet, one firewire 800 (which no one uses sadly anymore), one mini display-port, TWO USB 2.0 ports, one SD card slot and a combo microphone/headphone port. Really the cream of the crop when it comes to ports. There is an IR receiver for Front Row which used to be included with MacOS. Dunno what you’d use that for now.

The Wi-Fi card in this notebook is also very good compared to the junk card included with my budget-minded Lenovo. Still only has Wireless N but it’s capable of seeing wi-fi networks at 3/4 bars of a maximum 4 where my Lenovo can’t even see the network at all.

The display is pretty high quality but it’s no retina display. While better density than the panel on my 15.4” Lenovo (1366 x 768) at a resolution of 1280 x 800 but on a 13” screen.

Should you buy one? Well that’s really a personal preference question. In a day and age that you can purchase a $299 laptop that can do all these things I wouldn’t recommend one unless you can find a good deal on eBay. While this is a nice laptop the slot-load dvd drive has issues with ejecting (which is a known problem with these drives) and it really is incredibly heavy. Compared to my Lenovo G50-45 15.4” laptop the MacBook Pro is nearly as heavy though retaining nearly the same thickness. I can only attribute this to the aluminum unibody of the MacBook Pro.

I am really happy with the MacBook Pro. The only upgrade I really need to do is install an SSD to really make it scream. The battery life is around 5 hours so you can get a lot of work done while not tethered to a wall outlet.

Do you have a 2010 MacBook Pro? How has your experience been with the notebook?

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