89
6.0
final rating

reviewed on
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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features For the very expensive price, I would expect the fastest speeds to date with an amazing SSD to pair. so-so
  • Design and form factor No comments great!
  • Battery life I got about 6 1/2 hours on this guy before I needed a charge. That is a rare scenario though because I usually leave mine plugged in. good
  • Display Couldn't have asked for a better display. The resolution is like no other, nearly double the size of full HD is great when editing HD video clips. great!
  • Durability I feel like if I were to close this thing a little faster that usual or carry it around without the utmost care, the screen might break off. so-so
  • Expandability The GPU is not even expandable which is something I very much wanted. Not sure if the 1gb 640 GeForce will be sufficient a few years down the road. poor
  • Noise Quiet is an understatement. great!
  • Portability (size / weight) No comments good
Detailed review
Great laptop here but really had to fork over some change to get this piece. It's very fast and the screen is great with an overall great design but paying just over $3000.. not sure if it will happen again. I will be running windows on this piece anyway. The price is what lowers my overall rating. If this MacBook were $1700, it would be fantastic and comparable to a PC.

Comments (22) subscribe to this review's comments

purfikt

When have laptops have expandable GPU's? Why would you expect that...
Even more dumbfounding: you dropped 3 grand on an Apple portable to run Windows on it?!
What are you smoking, seriously?
johnnychoiboy

Many professional/gaming laptops (Alienware, MacBooks, xps, thinkpad w series, Samsung 7&9 series, vaio l series) have been able to expand GPUs for the last 3 years at least so it's not unreasonable to ask for that from apple.

$3,000+ is a bit excessive, but even you have to admit apple hardware makes windows run better.
garen

On a laptop with high quality screen like this i agree with the importance of expandable GPU...
mhamson

Everyone is talking about an "expandable" GPU, but I question this expectation considering that this unit is the most ultimate in compact design. There would have to be a size trade-off to accommodate a means to pop-out the GPU. Not to mention the fact that Apple has never provided this "feature" in its modern line-ups.

Also, people have to realise that this is not "gaming" kit. This is for a different type of workload and the machine is geared towards that workload specifically.

I also wonder about Danrichter94's use of this machine for windows. How is this even reasonable? To me it would be a waste of money since Windows does not, and will not in the foreseeable future be able to gracefully scale.
mikeswelch

@johnnychoiboy: "Many professional/gaming laptops (Alienware, MacBooks, xps, thinkpad w series, Samsung 7&9 series, vaio l series) have been able to expand GPUs for the last 3 years at least so it's not unreasonable to ask for that from apple."

So MacBooks both do and don't have the ability to expand GPUs?

There are very few if any current laptops that have expandable GPUs. Even if there were, there is no place that sells laptop GPUs!

If you want a new laptop GPU in two years, buy a new laptop.
cdpage

How's the glare on the display?
I really wish there was an anti glare option.
whskytng0fxtrt

"The GPU is not even expandable which is something I very much wanted. Not sure if the 1gb 640 GeForce will be sufficient a few years down the road."

First, the word is UPGRADABLE. Also, MXM cards are generally more expensive than they should be; you're better off getting a whole new laptop than you are upgrading that card for the most part, especially if you have to modify the heat sink.

Second, it's a GT650, which is actually pretty decent for gaming. Even then, this isn't the laptop for gaming; this is the laptop for video editing and graphic work, and possibly audio work if you don't mind the interface being shrunken and the lack of firewire interface ports built into the laptop.
pcworth

When I read reviews I always find myself wondering what the reviewer was thinking. This is true regardless of whether it is a positive or a negative review. I feel that, regardless of what is being reviewed, someone needs to create a "fault" that can be used to downgrade a review and create sensation.

At $2199 for one of the world's thinnest, lightest, and fastest notebooks, I would hardly call this expensive. Sure, it is not inexpensive like a $300 netbook, but reviewers should not expect it to be. How can a reviewer assess the perception of value without something to compare against? There are no other machines in this category of "retina" with all solid state and a weight of under 4.5lb. The only thing it can be compared to is an ultrabook. So, lets take a look at the Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook with a starting price of $1499. This is one seriously pretty computer, but for that price you get a 1.6 GHz i5, 128GB SSD, 1600x900 on-chip graphics, all in a 3.5lb aluminum case. This is a great deal, but for $600 more you get a much higher resolution screen with dedicated graphics, thunderbolt (if you need it), a 2.3 GHz Quad Core i7, and twice the SSD capacity. That is a significant increase in performance over the Samsung, although I could be easily persuaded that the Samsung is still better looking when it is closed!
ssstraub

Bizarre: Buying a $2,200 laptop who's main claim to fame is a retina display only to run an OS that doesn't support usable DPI scaling anyway.
twburger

I'm surprised there are no comments about the lack of an optical drive. Is the DVD and Blue Ray dead? Admittedly I stream off of my media server or use Netflix more and more and my DVD collection gathers dust on the shelf but is not software installation still an issue?
rclarke6002

Dan,
I have to agree with some of the other commenter about your expectations: what were they?
This is undoubtably the fastest machine pound for pound in its class: quad i7, and with an untouchable display. You anted up for the top spec so I don't get your complaints about the expandability of the GPU either, short of a holodeck this is the BEST display out there......so what give? What were your expectations.....really? There won't be a viable windows contender for at least another 12 to 18 months. I wish I had the 3K to fork over for it. Probably be set for the next 3 years, easy.
Danrichter94

Rclarke6002,
It is true that this is a top notch computer with fairly good speeds. I guess my expectations were a little high when buying this. I come from a background of desktops loaded with double TB hdds and very powerful GPUs that could be bought for a fraction of this overall price. For a laptop, I believe the high price comes in the sleek design and portability. It is true that you can "spec out" PC laptops to be better than a MacBook pro for a lower amount of money but when buying a Mac, you are paying for the name and that is a name of quality. As I said in my review, I lowered my overall rating based on the price along with a few other problems I caught along with that, speed value being the most important.

Another person asked "what am I smoking" for running Windows on this top. Well it turns out I am not smoking anything at the moment.. I run both Windows and Mac OS on this computer because of some features that both operating systems have.
jetrois

WoW you have some horrible expectations. Most laptop gpu's are not upgradeable. The ones that "are" are horrible fatties. And apparently there is some GPU expansion available using thunderbolt port from MSI. Do your homework kiddies before you post such neg reviews.
KurdiMo

I think they should have added 2GB of ram to the display chip. The GPU is powerful but it can't handle gaming at high res because it runs out of memory.

Also, I prefer Windows 7 over OS X. It have a better lunch bar and it have the "half screen" window option. I had to write my own half-screen script to be able to use OS X. I suffer when I use a friend laptop that runs OS X :'(
justinhub2003

@KurdiMo

You can easily download a free app called BetterTouch for your Mac which lets you "Windows Snap" like Windows 7. Its actually more customizable than Windows Snap actually.
KurdiMo

I already wrote my own script to do that :p, it's just that people don't usually have it on their laptops. I like OS X, I just find it less functional then 7.I have fun showing people who argue that OS X is better in terms of usability while all what they do is open 1 browser window on their laptops and nothing else how wrong they are. Again, I think it's kinda of Coke/Pepsi argument.
KurdiMo

I have fun showing people who argue that OS X is better in terms of usability, while all what they do is open 1 browser window on their laptops and nothing else, how wrong they are.**
chadecoleman

Pretty sure you don't have this computer... nor would you pay that much just to load Windows on it. And surely you knew what you were buying and the high price wasn't sprung on you at checkout. You can't ding it for its price in this sort of review.
dkbaj

Using this machine for Windows? Would that not defy the purpose of purchasing and using this laptop? I'm pretty sure a cheaper laptop would be sufficient for your needs.
mwdanger

Everything you are dinging the MacBook with Retina Display for are things you would know by doing your homework before completing the transaction. You could have saved half the cash and gotten a more fully loaded Windows laptop with better support options INCLUDED in the cost instead of having to pay EXTRA for Apple Care, where everything is the end user's fault. I owned a 2011 MacBook Pro for Best Buy's full 45-return day window, returning it for a same-priced, better spec'd, better performing, more functional Dell laptop. What Apple does with pricing and omission of integrated devices, components and ports is insulting to everyone's intelligence. The biggest innovation only being poor repair-ability and an unnecessary screen resolution that will be underutilized and will only increase bandwidth demands, your money is better spent on improving yourself, not Apple's fiscal performance. No matter what anyone says, humans are more intelligent than computers. Apple's approach to simplicity and industrial design has convinced some to believe differently.
puma2

I don't understand how this can get anything more than a 0 for expandability. What the hell could you possibly upgrade on it? A case?? jbundy's advice goes for all in general IMO "You could have saved half the cash and gotten a more fully loaded Windows laptop with better support options INCLUDED in the cost instead of having to pay EXTRA for Apple Care, where everything is the end user's fault." Right on. There is NOTHING special about Mac OS X, it hasn't been really updated in any real way for years! No wonder why this poster is running windows on it, but I agree with most on here... waste of money.
rakitha

Danrichter94. you have good review but there are facts thats incorrect about your review such is the VGA which is not a 640 but instead its a nvidia 650M with 1 GB of GDDR5 ram , and the claim of you spending $3000 on the Macbook pro to run windows is the stuff Legends are made of as apples pricing is pretty consistant at $1999 in which case you have spent $1000 extra which is a lot it does not cost that much for even the maxed out version.

But have to say the macbook pro retinas are the least upgradable of all the macbook pros. so its better to get the upgrades at the purchase of the macbook pro . VGA aside not even the Ram is upgradable once bought due to the fact its soldered to the motherboard .