final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features The machine's speed is good, though it's disappointing that when using a scaled resolution that the processor loses some performance. good
  • Design and form factor It's sleek, it's pretty, it's sexy to hold and to look at. great!
  • Battery life Even on a scaled resolution, you're easily on 5-6 hours, 6-7 on the native resolution. great!
  • Display It's Retina. What else do you need? great!
  • Durability So far there's been no weird creaks, or other flaws that make me feel it's a weak computer. great!
  • Expandability There's options out of the box, but once you're in, you're in. You know this going into the purchase, though, so while it IS poor, it's expected. poor
  • Noise There's no noise coming from this bad boy unless I'm watching LOTS of video or playing World of Warcraft. great!
  • Portability (size / weight) I wish it was a *little* lighter. I would love an 11" Air with Retina, but this is also good. good
Detailed review
It was a hard decision between the 13" and the 15" Retina, but in the end, I decided to go with the smaller machine. Coming from a MacBook Air 11", I've grown to appreciate the smaller size. Besides, I knew I would probably run it in scaled resolution for the most real estate possible.

I enjoyed that when I got it, but after awhile, I began to notice performance deficiencies when running it in scaled resolution, so I eventually went back to the native one.

This is what you'd expect in a Retina Pro. With flash storage, data access is fast, and the unit boots up in 8 seconds flat. With only an Intel HD 4000 powering this many pixels, some things are slightly laggy, but not in any meaningful way; for instance, sometimes opening the Applications menu from the dock, or swiping pages in the Calendar app, show a slight framerate decrease, but everything that matters is fast.

The Retina display is the centerpiece, and it doesn't disappoint. In native resolution, I feel like I'm working on paper, or something maybe even better. It's a joy to look at this screen every day, and the only downside is stopping every so often to marvel at how good it looks. (I'm doing it right now.)

Running WoW or Diablo in native resolution is okay, but not as good as on the 15", and you'll have to lower the graphics settings on those games, but if you can live with that, this can be your primary work driver and still be able to handle games.

This is obviously not as light as an Air, so there's been some shoulder strain as my body gets used to toting a notebook that's over 3 pounds again, but it's not overly heavy. The keys have better travel than the Air, and it feels solid and not cheap. For the price, it may be something you hold off on, and if you have the means and the shoulder strength to carry around the 15", that's an even better machine, especially for gaming, but you might also wait for that price to come down. While it's beautiful, not everyone will want to pay this price, but if you'e dying for a MacBook Pro with one hell of a display, you will not be disappointed.