The Portable Workstation Benchmark: MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

By on July 31, 2012, 4:15 AM

Apple’s coveted Retina display has finally found its way to a full-size notebook courtesy of the latest MacBook Pro. But anyone familiar with this new system knows that Apple didn’t simply add a higher resolution display to the standard MacBook Pro frame. Instead, there’s an entirely reworked chassis that’s nearly as thin as the MacBook Air and weighs more than a pound less than the standard Pro.

Customers can also configure a Retina system with up to 16GB of RAM and 768GB of flash storage, versus a maximum of 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid state storage on a standard Pro. But hey, who are we kidding, the only reason that most people are going to dish over the extra cash for Apple’s latest and greatest is the 2880 x 1800 resolution goodness of the Retina display. And I’ll go ahead and let you in a little secret: it’s a thing of beauty.

If you didn’t know that this was the Retina display system, one look at the display even with the power off would point you in the right direction. For one, there is no traditional bezel surrounding the screen. It looks similar to say, the Infinity display found on the HP Envy 14 but the key difference visually is that the actual panel is just as dark black as the “bezel” around it.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 15

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm obviously not going to by a Mac, but for people who might be interested, and are current MBP owners, in your opinion, how far back in the MBP line would you have to go back to make this a worthy upgrade?

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sure, there are other systems that have more powerful graphics cards but for the average user, the increased screen resolution and lightning-fast flash storage are good tradeoffs.

The thing is, I don't think the average user, even the average Apple user will be jumping to this. As much as the Retina Display makes me salivate and wet mah britches, I still find the current generation Macbook Pro (w/o Retina) to be a better option. Though if you are a graphic designer or photographer/editor and have the money to burn, it's very close to being irresistible.

I'm obviously not going to by a Mac, but for people who might be interested, and are current MBP owners, in your opinion, how far back in the MBP line would you have to go back to make this a worthy upgrade?

Being privy though not an owner of the last three "updates" of the MBP and primarily a PC user, I'd probably say a late core2duo or early i5 model might be a good jumping point, but that depends on the money you have to spend. I have a friend who has a MBP from late 2010 that is going to get a retina MBP, so I'll post back when he does.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It sure is pretty, but at the end of the day its still a Mac and would never buy one. Nor am I in the market for a laptop any time soon, and at $2200 way outside a reasonable budget. Oh I see the argument coming, but it has a retina display, shove it.

Guest said:

This review is not apples to apples. There should be same specs a different notebook for Windows.

BMfan BMfan said:

It sure is pretty, but at the end of the day its still a Mac and would never buy one. Nor am I in the market for a laptop any time soon, and at $2200 way outside a reasonable budget. Oh I see the argument coming, but it has a retina display, shove it.

And don't forget the Apple logo.

1 person liked this | lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It sure is pretty, but at the end of the day its still a Mac and would never buy one. Nor am I in the market for a laptop any time soon, and at $2200 way outside a reasonable budget. Oh I see the argument coming, but it has a retina display, shove it.

You just said you don't like Macs, and that this particular model is out of your price range, why would anybody argue with you to get this? Lol.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've never been much of a mac person, but I happened to be in the market for a 15" laptop right when these came out, and I got one (2.6 Ghz, 512 Gb SSD, 16 Gb ram). It is certainly not the best bang-for-buck in terms of raw hardware, but the combination of great screen, performance, and portability happened to be exactly what I was looking for in a laptop.

Also, I'd like to point out that the native resolution without any scaling can be enabled by using softwares called Retina DislpayMenu or SwitchResX. I've been using it set at the full 2880 x 1800 since I got the laptop, without any scaling, and text is completely readable. Using the full resolution makes it far more useful as a desktop replacement for me, as it actually has more desktop real estate than my desktop's 3 monitor setup does.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You just said you don't like Macs, and that this particular model is out of your price range, why would anybody argue with you to get this? Lol.

Lately people have been arguing over the most ridiculous thing, including personal opinion, I just figured I deter them from the get go.

Guest said:

Got to be said I've got one and though it's very nice and I bought it hope the screen would be ace. It is ace, however it's just not 'right' that huge res in such a small space is a pain. Yes you can use the OS X settings to 'scale' it but then you don't get the full resolution. Anyway, use one for a week and you'll see what I mean.

The rest of the machine, no optical drive, USB 3, SSD as standard, the size and build quality make it great. A really great laptop.

Guest said:

I wonder if they have any on display at Best Buy. When it came to retina display on iPhone and iPad, I drooled. Pre-retina the displays on iOS devices were eye sores. You could count the pixels if you wanted to.

I never really felt that way about my 1440x900 15" MBP. I can't really see any of the pixels where I hold it. I'm sure that the retina display looks better, but I think that we may be in the area of diminishing returns for non-graphics (not a photographer nor do I edit movies) oriented users like me.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Admittedly they have excellent screens but to be honest I have yet to hear anything legitamitely awesome about Apple products besides that.

P.S. The comparison between it and the asus is sketchy when the specs are different. Idk about mbp, but the asus ultrabook outperforms the mba with approximately the same specs.

Guest said:

the Asus N56VZ is 910 euro here, compared to 2920 euro for the Mac...

just saying

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Why is the GT 650M in the apple ~50% faster than the GT 650M in the asus machine?

Why is this review comparing an SSD to a 5400 RPM HDD in file transfer tests?

havok585 havok585 said:

Why is the GT 650M in the apple ~50% faster than the GT 650M in the asus machine?

Why is this review comparing an SSD to a 5400 RPM HDD in file transfer tests?

so it can fool some apple fanboys ? D' OHHHH !!!

Dariog said:

The reason why the macbook has faster graphics benchmark is because the macbook uses ddr5 memory in the 650m graphics card, the Asus uses the slower ddr3!

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