The display is beautiful, and I’ve always thought that Apple’s MacBook Pros had a great looking display, but this is off the hook beautiful.
I have a new iPad with the Retina display and for some reason I wasn’t as impressed with the difference between it and my old iPad 2. The difference between the new Retina display on the 15” MacBook Pro and my six-month old 13” MacBook Pro is flat-out mind-boggling.
The new MacBook Pros with Retina displays come in two basic flavours at present, although I’d expect that to change in the near future. Both versions are 15” models, with the $2,229 version having a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with a turbo boost up to 3.3 GHz, 256 GB flash storage. For $600 more, the $2,829 version sports a 512 GB flash drive, a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel core i7 with a turbo boost up to 3.6 GHz.
Both come with 8 GB of onboard RAM and the Intel HD Graphics 4000 NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M video card with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory. You can customize your MacBook Pro by adding more RAM, a bigger flash drive – that sort of thing.
Basically all that means is that the MacBook Pro with Retina display is fast; has a graphics card that figures out whether you’re on battery power or not and changes accordingly; has a super fast flash storage drive – and, did I mention it’s fast? It runs fast, boots up fast – it does everything fast – and to tell you the truth when you look at your photos on that Retina display you won’t really care how the thing works or what’s under the hood. The display is mesmerizing and once you’ve tried it out you’ll never be happy with another computer without it.
The new MacBook Pro with Retina display is also leaner than any other MacBook Pro. It’s 1.8 cm thick, compared to the MacBook Pro, which is 2.41 cm thick and the MacBook Air, which is 1.7 cm thick at its thickest part. It weighs 2.2 kg, compared to a regular MacBook Pro, which weighs 2.54 kg and the 13” MacBook Air, which weighs in at a svelte 1.35 kg.
The Retina display offers a resolution of 2880 x 1800 – way above any other computer Apple makes other than the new iPad.
The computer has the ubiquitous MagSafe power port, although it’s the new MagSafe 2, which is a little different than previous models. This means other MagSafe connectors won’t fit; two Thunderbolt ports, 2 USB 3 ports (one on each side), 2 HDMI ports (one on each side), an SDXC card slot, and a headphone port. It offers up to seven hours of battery life for web surfing, and up to a 30-day standby time. My tester came with the new OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion installed, which is significant update from previous versions of OSX.
What it doesn’t have is a CD/DVD ROM, so it’s like the MacBook Air in that regard. It also doesn’t come with an Ethernet port, which means you have to spend around $30 on a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter cable.
The three things that most impress me and make me want one of these MacBook Pros with Retina display are the display, the thinness (if that’s a word) and the flash storage. To me, everything else is a bonus. It’s almost thin and light enough to take along as the primary computer on a trip – except for the 15” size. When I travel for work, I always take my MacBook Air – which is one of the most common computers you see journalists with at the various events. This computer is starting to go down the road toward the MacBook Air size, but with a lot more capability.
It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for in this world, so I think it’s a good value.
PROS: Amazing Retina display that’s way more impressive on a 15” computer than an iPad; slim – nearly in MacBook Air territory; flash storage for fast boot ups and fast access – many more pros than I can list here.
CONS: It’s expensive; right now it’s only available in a 15” version; no Ethernet port, no CD/DVD port.