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back to article Apple MacBook Pro 13in Retina display review

When I reviewed the latest version of the 13in MacBook Pro just a few months ago, it seemed to me that Apple was getting a bit complacent. The mid-2012 update did gain a new Ivy Bridge processor, but the modest speedbump that this produced no longer justified the MacBook’s starting price of £999 – especially with classy new …

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Anonymous Coward

I'd like to see people dismiss the price and say it's the same old stuff you can get elsewhere for less money.

So go find a 13" laptop with a screen resolution like this for a cheaper price, I think you'll be looking for quite some time.

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What good's a Retina display, Mr. Coward...

... if you don't have dedicated graphics card to drive it with?

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Maybe, but ...

Now go and find a 13" laptop for any price that doesn't have an f-ing ethernet port included as standard!

I'm annoyed enough about the missing optical drive, but dropping the ethernet port is just Apple taking the piss.

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K
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Trollface

Its apple..

That alone is enough for me to dismiss it..

That is all!

PS down vote cause your a fanboi :D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

£25 adapter and you are done. As for the optical drive - personally I use one perhaps 3-4 times a year so am more than happy to have an external one and benefit from better battery life instead. Old laptops often let you remove the CD/DVD drive and replace it with another hard drive or (more often) a second battery - I'd say the vast majority of the ones I saw opted for battery++

You will always get people who want every type of port going - oh I have a milling machine that uses a centronics port wahhhh - but for the vast majority of people this is near perfect if you want an amazing display and overall great laptop.

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@ K

One hopes you apply more critical thinking than this in your real job.

But going by this post, I'm not even sure you're old enough for paper round.

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Re: Maybe, but ...

Come on, an Ethernet port isn't the same as RS232 or whatever. Its damn near impossible to find an office with no Ethernet jacks. Heck, it's pretty rare to find any building without them!

I use the Ethernet port on my laptop every single day, and I'm not doing anything particularly special.

All the MacBook users I know also use the Ethernet port most of the time, and any adapter is annoying and easy to lose or forget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

Most of the offices I go in have wireless and surely portability is the main reason for buying a laptop...?

I carry an adapter in my bag for the rare times I may need it and at my main office I could use wireless or connect 'wired' - but if I needed wired in the same place every day I would just leave the USB or thunderbolt adapter connected and it's still just the one thing to plug in.

A colleague has a Macbook Air and it's probably too thin for a ethernet port.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

Your office does not have wireless? Offices I visit typically do not have all the Ethernet wall ports 'live' and I'd rather not carry an Ethernet cable if I could help it.

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Re: Maybe, but ...

No wireless in my office and we're routinely chucking round files that are hundreds of megabytes. Even if we had wireless, that’s a lot of tea breaks.

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Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

No, I was buying laptops before wireless, so that isn't the reason. It's nice (and required now maybe) but I don't use it exclusiefly - even at home. Try copying a few gig across a wireless connection that lots of people are using.

As for the Air not having space for an adapter. No.. Not really. It is the wrong shape for an ethernet port, but it is certainly wide enough for one without the form over funtion design of it.

My Vaio Z has a gigabit port and is the same thickness as the air.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

Your usage is probably more 'the exception' - so you just buy the adapter and plug in a a Gbit connection.

No wireless though - bizarre. You see in our office people move around so being tied to a ethernet cable or having to plug / unplug would be a pain. I agree wireless is not as fast as a Gbit cable - but it would only really be a big issue if everyone was chucking hundred meg files around at the same time and everyone was on wireless and everyone used the same access point.

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JDX
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Re: Maybe, but ...

I can't remember the last time I used a CD/DVD but while WiFi is ubiquitous now, it's not always very good. Where I work, they have WiFi but it's a bit spotty so everyone uses ethernet whenever possible. I'm sure this is not unusual.

Also - have El Reg stopped giving scores now?

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Holmes

Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

But your vaio Z is not running ios 10 is it.

Im no fan bois but id never go back to a windows laptop love my macbook air. it does everything i need fast and far quicker than most comparable windows machines and easier to configure printers and such like to. the only issue is BThome hubs dont like airplay. So i use my old Fujitsu lappy for that with media player

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Happy

Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

I'm glad that OSX works so well for you - but I have tried it for a couple of months on a Sandy Bridge 13" MBP and both me and my partner thought it was awful to use. It's now sitting gathering dust whilst waiting for someone to buy it.

I don't buy the Mac's do it better than the equivalent windows machine. Macs do it better than the cheap laptops that I would never recommend anyone buy (750 euros and less), but whilst I can't compare the 13" MacBook with anything else I own (as they all cost twice the amount and perform sooo much better) my father in law has a 15" MBP that cost more than our windows laptops. And it doesn't come close to the performance (how could it - it has processors, memory and HDD that just are not in the same class as the windows machine). Of course they replaced an aging cheap laptop that I told them not to buy so they think it's amazing.

I don't buy the easier to conifugre printers either. Our windows machines connected to our printers in seconds (both the USB one, and the wireless one that replaced it),with full options and the ability to print at the higest resolution. The MacBook refused to use anything other than draft and had all of the options greyed out.

But, as I said, if it works for you - great! At the end of the day that is all that matters. But it doesn't for me and that is also all that maters :)

So I have to ask, why the no shit sherlock? :)

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Re: What good's a Retina display, Mr. Coward...

>What good's a Retina display if you don't have dedicated graphics card to drive it with?

Intel's HD Graphics 4000 integrated GPUs aren't as shabby as their forebears. As long as you don't won't to run the latest games, or some particular CAD packages in BootCamp (for both of which you'd be better served by a Win PC), it shouldn't cause you any issues at all. If you really want to push Photoshop or media encoding hardware acceleration, get the 15" version.

I recently built a silent PC, and the integrated GPU meant I didn't have to worry about cooling a discrete graphics card.

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Re: Maybe, but ...

" it would only really be a big issue if everyone was chucking hundred meg files around at the same time and everyone was on wireless and everyone used the same access point."

Such as an office full of Mac users all trying to download the latest OS X and iOS updates?

It's even worse in the dev tank when a new beta of iOS and Xcode arrives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

No, it got 75%.

Buying the adapter isn't a big deal IMHO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

My air is too thin to take an ethernet port and if you are asking would I have a thicker laptop to have one the answer is no. Do I mind carrying an adapter for the odd occasion I need one - no. It's the same argument of DVD drives - I'd rather more battery life that I use every day than a DVD drive I use no more than once a month.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ...

Sounds more like crappy wifi - you can increase performance by having more access points and splitting the users between them.

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Happy

Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

I'm sorry, but it's just not. It's the same thickness as the Vaio Z ( +/- .7 inches) and about 30% heavier - and the Vaio is jam packed with ports (IMHO no one can engineer a top spec, thin laptop like Sony...). The problem is that it is designed to look thinner than it actually is and so you can't put a port on there. I'd rather take a laptop that is the same thickness all around (which I prefer the look of anyway) and have all the connectivity I need without having to carry any adapters.

I'll agree on the DVD though. The external PMD of the Vaio is a great idea. BluRay and discrete graphics when you want it, thin, light and long battery life when you don't. Best of both worlds.

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Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

Nope, it doesn't matter how many access points you have. 144MB or 300MB wireless is never going to give the performance of 1GB wired. if you want to move big files, and work from network drives (which with such small SSD's you need to unless you want an external plugged in all day) then you need a wired connection to make things zippy.

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WTF?

The crime rate in Cupertino must be 0%

Also missing is a slot to attach a lock to, like every other notebook has (including last-gen macbooks).

How hard would it've been to drill an effing hole? Don't answer that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

"But your vaio Z is not running ios 10 is it.

Im no fan bois but id never go back to a windows laptop love my macbook air."

Holy shit, what's it like in The Future? Do you have a foil jumpsuit? Is all your food in pill form? Is that weird pidgin dialect how language will evolve? So many questions..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

Nobody said it would - but that is obvious - but having multiple access points mean fewer people share a single connection onto the 'wired' network so it makes it 'better'.

As for working from a network - well even Gbit ethernet is up to 100Mb per second - a local SSD drive should outpace that 3-5x so if it's performance you are looking for! No-one ever said don't use wired ethernet and a small, £25 adapter solves that issue right away - but your usage is not representative of most users.

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FAIL

Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

Err... I have a local SSD drive... And yes it is blindingly fast in the Vaio as it's 2 * 128 in Raid 0 (giving 1000+MB per second - it was a main selling point of the machine over the less than half of the speed MBP SSD's) Sorry, I don't get your point.

So... I can have a laptop that has to work over USB (losing a USB port and won't have 1000gb performance) *and* I have to carry an adapter. Or I can use the built in GB port on the machine.

And you think carrying the extra adapters is the better idea. Wow.

As for representive of the general public. Maybe not, I never said I was. But I am representive from most of the people I know - we are all ametuer photographers and working with folders full of RAW images (or even hi quality converted jpegs) needs quite some network speed.

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Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

"So i use my old Fujitsu lappy for that with media player" - so it doesn't really do everything you need, does it? One of the companies I look after issues Macs as standard "because we're creative". One of the women refused point blank to have one and got a Dell laptop. Now they all want one. You might not like it, but it's true.

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Re: Maybe, but ...

It's not so much this missing ethernet port that bugs me, it's the audacity of being charged £25 for a connector for it.

If I pay £1500, I expect to have this cable thrown in for free, otherwise I can't help but feel robbed.

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Anonymous Coward

Department of redundancy department...

In "hoi polloi", the word "hoi" means "the" - it's just hoi polloi, no "the" required.

However, as "hoi polloi" were the top 5% or so of Athenians, can't we just kill this overused expression anyway? In Ancient Greek terms, those of use with our sub-£1000 laptops are metics - people who have jobs, rather than people who want little computers to fit on those little tables at Starbucks.

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Headmaster

Re: Department of redundancy department...

Metics were foreigners and slaves, never a majority, even in Athens.

Hoi polloi literally means "the many" or the majority, and was never used for the category you're thinking of. If anything that would be hoi oligoi. I don't know what Apple fanboys would be called in Ancient Greece, but I'm pretty sure it would be rude.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Department of redundancy department...

Some people just LOVE wikipedia.

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Firewire Power

Did you try any firewire kit via the thunderbolt adapter? The port on the MBA hasn't got enough poke to drive many peripherals.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Firewire Power

I've not tried loads of devices but it worked with with 2 different external (bus powered) hard drives I tested.

The adapter is £25 - a new USB 3 (and significantly faster and probably larger) hard drive would be perhaps £40-70 so seems to make sense you would just buy a new hard drive. Sure I appreciate it's different if you have multiple firewire devices etc. but seems hard drives have been the biggest issue.

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Anonymous Coward

My next laptop - I want a bit more than the 'Air' can provide and the retina screen is beautiful.

Don't really agree Apple should have included adapters for gigabit ethernet and firewire as that would be incurring an extra cost for people who do not need them (probably the majority). Some people will have legacy firewire devices or need wired ethernet (and probably a higher proportion of people on here are likely to need them) but no point making everyone pay when perhaps only 25% of people will need them.

I have an old 320Gb firewire external drive on my existing Macbook but that will be staying with that and I'll get a faster, larger 1Tb USB3 or Thunderbolt drive for the new one. Yes I guess I could have moved the drive over but then the old Mac (which is going to a new owner) would have no backup drive.

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Re: larger 1Tb USB3 drive

I have had a 2TB USB3 drive (2.5" WD) for almost a year, it's better than my 1TB Samsung S2 (works on PCG-U3 while Samsung doesn't, for example).

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Anonymous Coward

RE: no point making everyone pay when perhaps only 25% of people will need them.

At £1500 the cost of that adapter is well and truly covered so why should they charge anyone any extra? How about Apple reduce their legendary profit margin by a fraction of a % to cover it?

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Anonymous Coward

It's worth the money

Just to avoid windows 8 and it's horrible interface.

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Boffin

scales?

what makes you think that some "Jamie Oliver Kitchen scales" are more accurate than the one in Apple's lab?

Consumer digital scales are not calibrated and they may have 20g resolution but the linearity is typically much worse.

Use a mass-comparison balance with weights like 50 years ago for accurate results.

OK i'll take my coat, it's the one with "Metrology for the anally retentive" hardback in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: scales?

I doubt Apple just 'lied' about the weight - it probably depends on the exact specification and as you say kitchen scales are not necessarily all that accurate. Either way it's pretty light and it's a tempting upgrade from a 13" Macbook Air as well.

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I had been waiting for 4 months for Apple to release this laptop (15" is just too damn big). I got use one in an Apple store and it's quite simply the best looking notebook I've ever seen. It's also perfectly engineered. Then I thought about the price. The base model comes with just 128GB of storage, I'd need to up it to 256GB to cover my needs for the next 2 years, so I was getting close to the two grand mark. Two grand for a machine with HD 4000 integrated graphics driving that display? Unbelievably I was still tempted. Then I read a few reviews. It seems that it will be fine for the next 12 months but we all know how fast technology moves. HD 4000 is going to really struggle beyonf 2013.

This notebook will be a far more viable purchase once Haswell arrives. With up to twice the performance of HD 4000 it will be more than sufficient for most users needs and will make the 13" rMBP a much more sensible purchase. I guess I'll have to wait until June when Haswell arrives. Having said that, if they revamp the MacBook Air and equip it with a Retina display then they will be very little need to opt for the Pro unless you really need a standard voltage CPU and a few extra ports.

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Anonymous Coward

"I guess I'll have to wait until June when Haswell arrives"

Of course there will be something better in the future - that is the case with all tech - but not sure I'd put off a purchase for 7 months (and it seems unlikely they would refresh this model so soon) for that alone.

You buy a camera or literally anything 'tech' or 'electronics' today but it would be naive to assume there would not be a better one in 6-12 months.

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Anonymous Coward

If I had to wait 4 months for them to release it (when no-one actually knew it would definitely be released) and then you are going to wait another 7+ months even for the new chipset and then the time for a new model to be released - seems a long time to wait. Sounds like you want it but do not need it.

If I needed something I may be able to wait a short time (as in weeks) if I knew it was about to be upgraded etc. but you could be easily waiting a year or more.

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Anonymous Coward

I plumped for the 15.4" Retina a few months ago, and easily sold my 3+ year old 13.3" unibody for 45% of original cost, maybe the total cost of ownership should be considered in these comparisons, as it is with cars?

The Retina model is bit of a disappointment, sure it is superfast, while I prefer the 13" size.

I couldn't wait for this 13" Retina.

The new one creaks and cracks loudly when handling it, I sometimes bang an optical disk into the side and then remember it doesn't have a slot, and the new magsafe connector pops off every 5 seconds when in use on a lap and not a flat table.

The screen is good for applications such as Final Cut X because of the additional pixel 'real estate', but in a side by side comparison looks 99% the same as the old model for general use.

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Yes, I understand where you are coming from. I have a 2011 MacBook Air and a 2010 Vaio Z and my thinking was to replace both of these with a 13" rMBP. However, the 13"rMBP doesn't meet my requirements/expectations so I am happy to wait. Two grand is a lot of money. But I know what I want and I know Apple will deliver it, with Intel's assistance. I'll just have to wait.

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Anonymous Coward

That's probably why they still keep the standard screen as well - not everyone needs 2560 pixels (however nice they are) although by the time you factor in a solid state drive and extra memory the difference is closer. I actually prefer the 13" over the 15" but it probably depends how portable you need it to be.

I also agree with your point on resale value - most Windows laptops are so beat up or getting out of date they just get given away / put in a drawer but Apple stuff really does keep a lot of it's value - I'm not going to argue with your 45% - at a stab I would have said about 50% anyway. We looked at this where I work and the TCO for Apple was lower.

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In Cars....

"maybe the total cost of ownership should be considered in these comparisons, as it is with cars?"

Well it costs about the same as my car, so you are probably right.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In Cars....

Really something you want to boast about?

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Holmes

Resale value, my experience:

I sold a unibody mbp that cost me $1400 for $650 after 11 months of pampering. I was afraid to move it around much to avoid scratching it, it pretty much sat on my desk for the time of ownership and managed to get only one tiny scratch on the back.

I just swapped my Sony Vaio S for a newer one, cost $900, sold for $500. I lagged it all around the world for the past year and a half, used it daily, in and out of backpack, and the thing looked like the day I pulled it out of the box (less the windows license stickers on the back, those faded a bit).

So that's $750 loss on the MBP in a year (that I was afraid to carry around), $400 on the Sony in a year and a half (a sharp looking kit that can actually be used as a laptop).

Based on my experience, I'm never buying an aluminum laptop again. Not only did my Sony get better resale value, but it actually worked as a mobile computer.

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As a complete fanboi with a 15" rMBP...

...and almost all mod cons, I have to agree that this isn't a winner.

Dual core only, no discrete graphics, and there's only £100 between the 13" and the 15" with 256Gb of disc! That one needs to be at £1399 or so to make any sense.

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