I hate to bump this thread, but I think it's only fair to post a follow-up.
I work for a K-12 school district that is heavy Mac. I have been doing the buying, so I am partially responsible
Anyway, since I posted about my bad MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo experience back in mid-November, I have had to purchase a few MacBook Pros very recently.
Q.C. seems to be better. I wouldn't call the displays fantastic. But the two 15-inchers I have received seem to be much more evenly backlit than the one that I got in November. They are still slightly darker on the right side than the left. But mine was just plain horrific to look at and I can't say that about the two that arrived this week.
I also purchased a 17-inch MBP and while the lighting is pretty uniform, there is a little light leakage along the bottom, and it seems to have a narrow horizontal viewing angle. So I brought the 17-inch MBP home and used it until the battery was drained and now have it sleep mode for calibration. During the 1 hour 1/2 I used it, I didn't even really get warm. Of course I wasn't doing much. I contemplated throwing Handrake on it and doing an encode, but I just couldn't waste that time since I wanted to calibrate the battery tonight. Speakers sounded great. Pretty decent for a notebook.
So in summary, the overall build quality of all 3 MacBook Pros seems to be good right now. If you're not *incredibly* fussy over the screen I think you will like what is out now. I think Apple has worked through a lot of their kinks. (Of course, the real irony here is that this is probably close to the end of this design. It has been around for 4 years. The real change is coming with LED backlighting, HD resolution display (thanks to Leopard Resolution Independence), Robson caching technology, and of course the new 800FSB coming this spring from Intel. Good times now, better times lie ahead.
Hope this helps you fence-straddlers!