Very little, actually. I would much prefer a Retina Display on my Macbook Pro, but this 2011 model covers all of my non-gaming, every day needs. If you have an old Mac which is a little slow, simply put in an SSD. Check out ifixit.com to check your specific Mac model and how easy or difficult it is. If it is even possible. The older Macs – both laptop and desktop – are usually very easy to upgrade.
The trackpad and keyboard are excellent, the functionality is excellent, the responsiveness is perfect, the connectivity is adequate – the BT4.0 upgrade was easy, and the design of both hardware and software leave nothing to be desired. I had a 2012 Toshiba laptop, and after Win7 stopped being supported, I installed Ubuntu on it and gave it away for free.
I have difficulty contemplating buying a new MBP, as I would then have no need to use this one. I resurrected, refreshed and upgraded this into the 2010s, and beyond, and I feel pride in my efforts, and in Apple’s product.
About the new Macs, I hate the non-upgradeability, but I understand Apple’s need to facilitate exclusivity, performance, status and profitability, so I don’t feel so righteous in complaining about any of that. The post-2015 MBPs are stunning examples of integration and technological development.
Back to my 2011 MBP, the non-retina is a joke compared to the following generation but having said that, watching anything at 720p is perfectly clear – it’s only 1080p or higher where there seems to be no difference in regards to a change in clarity. But with my eye-sight, there is no discernible difference.
I do find it unbelievable that a ‘Pro’ could have shipped that didn’t have support for 2K video, but there you have it. Back in 2011, the iPhone 4S had just shipped with Retina, but the tech to produce an LCD with that level of refinement at this size was limited to very expensive phablets and extremely expensive professional monitors. But Apple then upgraded the MBP LCD from 2012.
I’m annoyed that the 2011 cannot upgrade to MacOS Catalina, but I’m very happy to blame Intel’s 3000 ‘HD’ graphics card for that. And annoyed as I may be, I would much rather Apple continue its advance of technology than not.
My main computing device while out of the house since 2012 has been the iPad mini and then the Mini4. Since 2016, I’ve been using iPad Pro as my main computer, and iPhone since 2010 except two weeks when I went insane and tried an Android. Which went in the bin where it rightly belonged.
I read other peoples’ comments stating that they keep reaching for the trackpad when using iPad with a keyboard, but I’m the opposite – my MacBook Pro usage only began in February this year, 2019, so I’m a touchscreen kinda guy. I keep touching the MBP screen to no avail.
The main points which impressed me with iPad Pro, way back in 2015, were initially the design, and the speakers. Apple Pencil was interesting but has ultimately proven to be mostly useless, And Retina Display which had already become standard by 2015, and iOS, which had already been infused with iPad-specific use-cases.
The most impressive part of the iPad Pro for me was and still is the quad-speaker system. The sound that comes out if this thing, and the 2016 9.7 iPad Pro which sports the same A9X processor, is simply wonderful!
After years of the acutely deficient audio output of both iPhone and iPad, Apple’s wizard acquisition of Beats and their audio tech, shifted Apple out of Toshiba’s league and into Bang and Olufsen. Placing four speakers behind the screen is the correct placement, as there is no cognitive dissonance – sound and visual cues have the same origin.
iPad Pro is a stunning piece of technology.
And this is the horrible thing about the MBP – the sound. Even after replacing the internal speakers and subwoofer, it is tinny, weak and has very poor range. The sound emerges from the base of the computer, further weakening the already tenuous connection between visual cue and audio locaiton.
Thusly I bought a Taotronic speaker, with a lovely retro design, to sit behind the MBP screen and reduce the aforementioned cognitive dissonance. These provide the base and stereo sorely lacking from the pitiful built-ins. I refused to spend more.
So, to wrap-up, I love the MBP for the way I was able to replace and upgrade components, and its responsiveness and reliability. I’m not so worried about the lo-res screen. But I am horrified by the poor audio quality this thing emits. Yet, considering how cheap and easy it was to ameliorate this one flaw, I am still deeply in love with this old DIY laptop, which has already passed its eighth birthday.
I wonder if my 2015 iPad will still be as functional, and as lovable, in 2023 – it certainly won’t be as upgradeable!