Q&A: Disadvantages of a MacBook Pro

Q I am tempted by a new MacBook Pro with its thin case and gorgeous display. Are there any hidden disadvantages, though?

A Alluring though its Retina display is, the MacBook Pro is still an ultra-thin laptop. If you need a highly mobile computer, then its only competition is the MacBook Air, which is thinner still but offers only 1440 x 900 pixels on its display (13″), a quarter of that of the 15″ MacBook Pro.

If you are not intending to move it around, then the compromises in its design must be borne in mind.

Although both MacBook Pro and Air use SSD rather than hard disks, so do not generate much heat, the battery, processor, and large chips can get hotter than those in a desktop system such as an iMac or Mac Pro. This tends to shorten their working lives, something exacerbated by other aspects of their compact design.

When they do go wrong, repairs are usually more complex and expensive. Expansion and upgrade options are more limited, in most situations now relying on external Thunderbolt docks and other peripherals.

Finally laptops are popular targets with thieves, and with MacBook Pros being so attractive and resellable, you will have to keep them well away from those with light fingers. If you get one, don’t let it out of your sight!

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 16, 2012.