The Good The second-generation Apple MacBook Pro Retina Screen adds internal updates to its Wi-Fi, Thunderbolt, SSD, graphics card and processor. The result is a faster laptop with better battery life and a lower starting price.
The Bad The changes are only internal and not significant enough to update if you have last year’s version. For $ 999 to get started, it’s still a very expensive laptop. Both the 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro have a much better battery life.
The Bottom Line The slimmer body and screen with the higher resolution of the original Retina MacBook Pro were a revolutionary leap. This upgrade adds modest internal updates for moderate improvements, but lowering prices for both 13-inch and 15-inch models weakens the deal.
Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, recently upgraded to current-generation Intel processors (just in time for the holiday shopping season), is retaining its position as a favorite premium notebook for power consumers. But this long-awaited update, presented at Apple’s October 2013 press conference, came just in time.
High quality, high quality versions of Retina Display previous MacBook Pro stuck in an unusual position. While other systems, from budget notebooks to premium hybrids, have all moved to the latest Intel processor platform known as the fourth-generation Core i-Series, or codenamed Haswell, the MacBook Pro used last year’s processors.
MacBook Pro with Retina Display 2013 hands-on (pictures)
The first Macs to acquire Haswell were the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air back in June 2013. After that, the iMac all-in-one desktop became. That left the MacBook Pro more expensive with its less expensive Air counterpart in terms of processor power and battery life. This is important because our Lab testing has shown that Haswell offers significant improvements to battery life on PC and Mac systems.
However, please note that this processor upgrade only applies to thinner MacBook Pro models with Retina displays. At the moment, there is only a 13-inch version of the “classic” MacBook Pro. The 15-inch version He probably fell into the same lonely afterlife as his long-standing 17-inch relative. For the sake of convenience, we will now refer to the current 13-inch and 15-inch Retina Display models simply as the MacBook Pro.
Updated components and a lower price
The flagship MacBook Pro retains a very high screen resolution, resulting in clearer text and clearer photos (2,560×1,600 pixels for a 13-inch model, 2,880×1,800 for a 15-inch model). Unlike some Windows computers with higher resolution screens, OS X is more interested in scaling your screen content to make it look better (or what Apple thinks would be best) rather than give you full unhindered access to this very, very high resolution. However, the look of the tile interface in Windows 8 does something similar to the several higher resolution computers currently available.
Like the latest MacBook Air and iMac updates, the new MacBook Pro models also feature Wi-Fi 802.11ac, a faster PCIe Solid State Drive (SSD), and Thunderbolt 2 ports for data and video output.
We were pleasantly surprised when the 13-inch MacBook Air saw a starting price of $ 1,099 earlier this year. Following this is the MacBook Pro: its prices drop from $ 2,199 to $ 1,999 for the 15-inch version (and from $ 1,499 for the 13-inch version to $ 1,299). This is a break from traditional Apple pricing, where prices will remain the same for generations and upgraded components add value.
The 15-inch default version has 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD (which Apple has tentatively described as “a quarter terabyte”). Our 15 inch MacBook Pro review configuration is an in-depth model (and a big step) for $ 2599, with faster 2.3GHz Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and Nvidia GeForce 750M GPU.
In our hands-on testing, this new model looks and looks a lot like the previous generation, so if you bought one last year, you don’t have to reach for your wallet. However, if you don’t already own a Retina MacBook Pro, the promises of longer battery life, slightly improved performance, faster Wi-Fi and lower start-up prices are enough to make it a major global upgrade.
|15-inch Apple MacBook Pro (October 2013)||Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display (June 2012)||Alienware 14|
|Display size/resolution||15.4-inch, 2,880×1,800 pixels||15.4-inch, 2,880×1,800 pixels||14-inch, 1,920×1,080 pixels|
|PC CPU||2.3GHz Intel Core i7-4850HQ||2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM||2.4GHz Intel Core i7 4700MQ|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR3 SDRAM||8GB DDR3 SDRAM||16GB DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M||1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M||2GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 765M|
|Storage||512GB SSD||256GB SSD||256GB SSD + 750GB|
|Networking||802.11a/c wireless, Bluetooth 4.0||802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||OS X Mavericks 10.9||OS X Lion 10.7.4||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
Powerful slim design
As in the the first generation of these MacBook Pro models Starting in 2012, current versions exist somewhere between the weird “pro-level” idea, the power laptop, and the slim perfect ultrabook. More dense than it may seem at first glance, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is not exactly a pack that can be carried on a daily basis, although it can be seen to be taken several times a week.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is more impressive than the 13-inch, especially considering that its slim chassis includes a decent discrete graphics card. And yet, from the outside, at least, it’s the same MacBook Pro as last year. Like the MacBook Air 2013 and iMac updates, the new features are internal or software-based, if you think OS X Mavericks is part of the general package.
The keyboard and trackpad remain the same as in the last few generations of the MacBook. Other laptops match, but do not exceed, Apple’s keyboard illumination, with the exception of Lenovo, a keyboard research and development company like any. The large glass trackpad with its multi-finger gestures remains the industry leader, even as Windows laptops move to more touch screen controls, at least in part, to offset the hassle of using a touchpad with Windows 8. The ability to make lightweight four-finger fingers and scrolling in web browsers, this is something that Mac users always have problems with when migrating to a PC. However, clicking should really be enabled by default. Instead, you will have to go to the settings menu to enable this obvious feature.
The Retina 15-inch display remains the highlight of the sale, with the Retina brand now crossing between iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. Some new and upcoming Windows laptops have even higher resolutions, and it’s not foolish to ask when we see this little thing on the MacBook Air line. The Retina screen is a 2 880 x 1800 display that best displays text or professional photography. Video rarely exceeds 1080p, and most Mac games cannot display higher resolution.
As originally noted last year, the Retina Display looks great, though you’ll probably notice it when compared to a non-Retina laptop. A great way to see the screen in action is to zoom in on plain black text on a white background, as we did with the original Retina MacBook Pro.
By going to the settings menu, you can set the scaling to look like text and icons on the screen as they would in a number of general resolutions, although I would love the opportunity to get a full unmatched 2880 view.
|Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2013)|
|Video||HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt 2|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, combo headphone/microphone jack|
|Data||2 USB 3.0, 2 Thunderbolt 2, SD card reader|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
Connectivity, performance and battery
Apple may make people a little worse when it comes to ports and connections, but over the past few years, some versatility has caught the eye of many Macs, adding slots for SD cards and HDMI ports for many models. Like last year’s model, you get two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports (now Thunderbolt 2) that also double the Mini DisplayPort outputs, an SD card slot and Bluetooth, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
HDMI and Thunderbolt video outputs can create two additional external displays up to 2,560×1,600 pixels (I installed the Retina MacBook Pro with its Retina screen, which is stitched with two high resolution external monitors, and it becomes a whole command center).
If you are looking for outdated items such as Ethernet, optical drive, or FireWire, keep looking. And yes, Apple obviously considers Ethernet a legacy.
Although our review is a (much) more expensive $ 2599 model, you can easily trade up to $ 1,999 unless you need extra storage space or a discrete GPU. For hair smaller than 2 grins, you get 2.0 GHz Core i7, and you cut the RAM and SSD in half, up to 8 GB and 256 GB. In the less expensive version, you get Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, the higher version of advanced integrated graphics that comes with Intel’s Haswell processors.
In our benchmarking, you can fairly expect that the high-end configuration provided by Apple will be extremely effective. Some of our tests, including Photoshop and iTunes, demonstrate a natural offset of OS X, but in each of the tests it turned out to be excellent, except for a Photoshop test with one application, which suggests that the program may not be fully optimized for Mavericks. In practical use, it felt as fast as the original model, meaning it was more than enough power even for heavy multitaskers, video editors and photographers. Estimates reflect a modest to average jump in most cases for the 2012 version of this system, as shown in the diagrams below. However, real power users are no doubt waiting for the Mac Pro $ 2999 and above, which will be available in December 2013.
Upgrading from last year’s Nvidia GeForce 650M to the newer 750M is a great excuse to run multiple games on your MacBook Pro, especially since it’s easier than ever to be a Mac gamer. Steam, GOG.com and other game distributors now have robust partitions for Mac, and Windows games are ported to OS X for months, not years.
Both BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light, excellent 2013 PC games, are available on Macs, albeit in slightly limited versions that limit graphics and resolution, preventing them from truly demonstrating what a MacBook Pro can do . Diablo III allows you to fully raise the resolution to 2880 x 1800, and the game works with settings at about 23 frames per second. Lowering the resolution to 1,968×1,230 (16:10 resolution close to 1080p), the game ran at 44 frames per second.
Our old Mac standby mode, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, was clocked at 35 frames per second with the highest detail settings and full resolution of 2880 x 1800. The game ran on 81.2 at a more reasonable resolution of 1,680×1,050. Last year, the Retina MacBook Pro ran this test at 70.8fps (1,680×1,050) and crashed at higher resolutions.
One of the main reasons for moving to the current generation of Intel processors is important, since improving battery life is always a key factor in a laptop. Apple promises 8 hours from this system, and last year’s model ran a little less than 7 hours. In the summer of 2013, the MacBook Air – the first Haswell MacBook – exceeded Apple’s own ratings in our tests, which lasted more than 12 hours. Our 15-inch MacBook Pro 2013 got right between the two numbers, running 9:52, which is particularly striking for a 15-inch laptop.
If you like the idea of investing in a higher resolution laptop and living without the optical drive (a deal that seems more reasonable every day), the updated 2013 Retina MacBook Pro version, especially its 15-inch version, remains irresistibly powerful but quite portable laptop.
It’s been a year of gradual, and mostly internal, upgrades for Macs, from Air to iMac, but a handful of price cuts to the base models help make the whole lineup feel too stuck in time. The only truly “new” Mac to come out this year is the Mac Pro, which is far from casual / consumer-friendly, but is idolized by anyone interested in technology design and aesthetics.
Its $ 2599 price tag is a major obstacle (as is the base model $ 1,999), but this year there is no other laptop (or last) that combines powerful components, design, display and flexibility like the MacBook Pro.
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (October 2013)
OSX 10.9 Mavericks; 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7-4850HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M + Intel Iris Pro Graphics; Apple SSD 512 GB
13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (October 2013)
OSX 10.9 Mavericks; 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-4258U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Intel Iris Graphics; 256GB Apple SSD
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (15-inch, June 2012)
OSX 10.7.4 Leo; 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM; 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M + 512MB Intel HD 4000; 256GB Apple SSD
Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1.749 MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128 GB SSD
13-inch Apple MacBook Air (June 2013)
OSX 10.8.4 Mountain Lion; 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5 4240U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1,024 MB (Shared) Intel HD Graphics 4000; 128GB Apple SSD
13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (October 2012)
OSX 10.8.2 Mountain Lion 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 3210M, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz, 768MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000, 256GB Apple SSD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M; Hard Disk No. 1 256MB Lite-On SSD HDD No. 2 750GB, 7200 rpm Western Digital