89
6.0
final rating

reviewed on
purchased on
this review has been viewed 4125 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features Could use some more features. good
  • Design and form factor Soldered Memory, Battery, Hard Drive, no way of replacing/upgrading later poor
  • Battery life The Retina screen drains it more than the reviews show. I got 2-3hrs with normal/heavy use. good
  • Display Great display (for the programs that support it). Terrible for those that don't (and probably won't for a long time). good
  • Durability No comments good
  • Expandability Not an option. awful!
  • Noise very quiet (but so is the non-retina) great!
  • Portability (size / weight) Is pretty good for a 15" power computer. good
Detailed review
Pros: Size, Screen/Retina
Cons: Lack of upgradability, lack of repairability in case something as simple as a battery needs replacing, lack of hard drive space (unless you have $3000 to spend), Display good, but honestly not that much different than the "non-retina" model. Speakers were not as good as claimed, I think the non-retina model's are better. Size is nice, but not that much different than non-retina model, Lack of Optical Drive, Non-proprietary applications appeared blurry and scaling issues. Also, while the benchmark data is great for this laptop, the benchmark data is even better for the non-retina model.

I returned mine after one day and purchased the Non-Retina MacBook Pro. 2.6 Processor, 768gig HD, 8gig RAM for the same price as the base retina MacBook. For me, it was the right choice!
review history
2012-06-23
Portability (size / weight) rating changed from 3 to 4
Durability rating changed from 3 to 4
2012-06-15
Updated overall rating
Noise rating changed from 4 to 5
Battery life rating changed from 3 to 4
2012-06-14
Edited comment on Expandability
Rated Expandability a 1
Rated Durability a 3
Rated Portability (size / weight) a 3
Edited comment on Portability (size / weight)
Edited comment on Display
Edited comment on Noise
Rated Noise a 4
Rated Battery life a 3
Edited comment on Speed and features
Rated Speed and features a 4
Rated Display a 4
Rated Design and form factor a 2
Edited comment on Design and form factor
Edited comment on Battery life
Updated detailed review

Comments (23) subscribe to this review's comments

imariopereira

"...not that much different than the "non-retina" model."
Probably you have some vision problem, that's why...
SmithLaw

Nope. Thanks for your concern though. 20/10 here.
imariopereira

It's the only explanation for people that can't see the difference between a retina display and a regular one.
But who cares... your opinion worth as much as the grade you gave to this amazing new product.
Cheers!
SmithLaw

I never said I could not see the difference. I simply said there wasn't enough of a difference to warrant choosing it when you give up some of the many features I find more valuable.
dxanato

I confuse why you choose in Design and Form factor to listed item that should be on expandability. The fact you cant expand the memory nor storage should be list elsewhere. I find your review a bit questionable
SmithLaw

It can actually be one in the same. Apple designed it to not be serviceable, upgraded, etc. that is design. The fact that it does not have an optical drive- yep, design.
imariopereira

The best display ever made - "good"

One of the computers with the highest performance in what's about of battery life - "so-so"
8-16GB RAM | 2.3/2.6GHz quad-core with T.B. up to 3.3/3.6GHz | 2 USB 3.0 ports | Two thunderbolt ports | HDMI | Retina display | "good"
The best computer ever made on it's materials and construction - "so-so"
Probably one of the most silence computers on market while working ever made - "good"

Are you playing around with gdgt community1?
I'm serious, this is a professional and respectful high tech website, with a lot of people dedicating their lives trying to make this one of the most credible sources in what's about product reviews.
You should have more respect and be more responsible when gdgt give you the opportunity to write about any product, in a place where everybody in the world can see it and sometimes be influenced by.
dxanato

Design or Need on an optical drive?
This time next year both Microsoft and Apple will have online store to DL software, Movies can stream, Music can be stream and if the purpose of this to computer is to last next few years an optical drive would be the last thing it needs.

Your decision to blend internal component architecture design to Design and Form Factor category is wrong IMHO. I will leave at that.
SmithLaw

imariopereira - Who are you? Are you serious with this stuff? Wow.

1.
"The best display ever made - good"

Who exactly said it was the best display ever made? Was it you? Was it a writer? Was it Tim Cook? Yes, it is a GREAT display when it is used to view optimized material ready for the retina display. HOWEVER - when you use it to view other/regular/non-retina ready material, it is just GOOD. The fact that you have to go into the display options and change the settings makes it only GOOD at this point. Yes, in a way it is the Best display ever made, but for the reasons I stated, it is GOOD, in my opinion and others.
2.
"One of the computers with the highest performance in what's about of battery life - "so-so"
8-16GB RAM | 2.3/2.6GHz quad-core with T.B. up to 3.3/3.6GHz | 2 USB 3.0 ports | Two thunderbolt ports | HDMI | Retina display | "good"
The best computer ever made on it's materials and construction - "so-so"
Probably one of the most silence computers on market while working ever made - "good""

- Whatever you meant by all of that. You seem to think I am comparing this computer to all of the HP/Dells out there or something. I am comparing it (as my review states) to the other, non-retina MBP. The materials that most of this new retina MBP are made are identical to the other MBP. So are the materials that much better? NO. Is the screen different and better, yes, it is (please see #1). As far as all of the specs (other than the ones I am about to list for you again) it is NO different/better/worse than the non-retina MBP.
a. Battery - The battery is SO-SO compared to the other MBP. In fact, it does not seem to last as long when doing the same tasks. Yes it has a huge battery, but it is to power the display. Also, the battery is infused into the guts of the computer so you cannot replace it on your own if something goes wrong with it. Instead, you have to pay to send it back to Apple. These reasons give it a SO-SO.
b. Silent Computer - The computer is GOOD. It is silent. However, using BOTH the retina MBP, and the new non-retina MBP, I can notice NO difference in noise. They are both good, silent computers.

3.
Are you playing around with gdgt community1?
I'm serious, this is a professional and respectful high tech website, with a lot of people dedicating their lives trying to make this one of the most credible sources in what's about product reviews.
You should have more respect and be more responsible when gdgt give you the opportunity to write about any product, in a place where everybody in the world can see it and sometimes be influenced by.

You should take some of your own advice here. I am a professional. I came on here to give my own opinion from experiencing both the retina MBP and the non-retina. Every single review or article about this new retina-MBP seems to be so one sided it is pathetic. I wrote my review to actually give people something else to consider instead of being blinded by the sunshine. Is the retina-MBP an awesome, great computer? YES. Is the non-retina new MBP an awesome, great computer? YES. But - no one is writing about the non-retina MBP. The last thing many of us want is for them to stop making MBP's like the non-retina one and just go to the completely closed up, non-upgradable version like the retina model. So before you attack someone thinking you know whatever about these computers, my experience, or my intentions - step back and think about it more.

Just because Tim Cook said in the Keynote that this is the greatest computer ever built doesn't mean that the word is final. Remember MobileMe? People need to look at both new MBP's and they all need to be promoted. Not just the retina version because it looks pretty. It has its flaws and I just came here to point them out for people that are interested and wanting to know the truth.

Also, I have some magic beans that will make you lose weight, be attractive and incredibly smart at the same time. I would even say they are the best beans ever. Would you like to buy some?

Please keep in mind, I am what I consider an Apple fan. I have MacBook Pro, have had older MBP's, iMac's, iPhone(s), iPad 3, and iPods. I am not bashing Apple at all. I love Apple. I just don't think this retina MBP should be promoted so highly when the other non-retina version gets no love and is not being compared head-to-head with it.
imariopereira

See!? This last comment should have been your review! ;)

I disagree in a couple of things, because this is suppose to be "The Next Generation MacBook Pro"... so, like the name says, in it's specs and features, it is a computer for tomorrow for sure!
It does not support CD already when many people use it, and uses it's new AMAZING retina display and probably like you said, a little bit early for the times we live, but that's because they are the first many times, releasing this revolutionary new products, and heyy... this is the future!
The way we experience and use technology around us, is always changing, and Apple, in my opinion, it's always looking forward!
And that doesn't CHANGE the fact of this being a GREAT machine! I think you cannot or should not talk, in a certain way, bad of this product, just because our life style is not yet ready for this technology!

I don't know if you understand what I am trying to say, probably because of my english...
I was a little bit rush in my reaction to your review, and for that I'm sorry, but I was just trying to understand why such a bad grade on this product, witch I deeply disagree, that I think it's so AMAZING!!! :)
Mário P.
SmithLaw

I understand, and I apologize if I came across a bit rough. Honestly, I think I am just more upset that everyone is talking about this machine like it is so great and forgetting about the non-retina one. I can understand comparing it to the previous year's model, but when reviews mention benchmarks and all of that, they make it appear it is ONLY the retina MBP when in reality, both of the MBP's are receiving such great numbers.

The new retina machine is revolutionary, that is for sure. In my opinion, it should be named something other than MacBook Pro, though. Now, it completely gets all the attention and is confusing as to which computer is which in the Apple lineup. It should have been called the "Air Pro" or something like that. There will always be people out there that want access to the hardware and different options. I don't think Apple should do away with that (which they still allow with the original MBP).

After reading the comments and reviews it has made me question if going back to the non-retina MBP was the best decision. While yes, I thought the retina display was beautiful, now is not the time for me to jump on that bandwagon. Once Apple makes the a MBP with the retina screen, larger, standard HD, and upgradable RAM, I am all about it. For now though, the retina version just isn't quite there yet in my opinion. Looking back - I should have maybe rated it around a 6. Once gdgt puts up a review for the non-retina MBP I just may do that!
tilley

You comment on not being able to take it apart to change something as simple as the battery. The battery isn't very simple at all. It takes up more than half of the computer. These days Apple provides most of their service for little to no cost on new computers. there's no reason for you to do the repairs yourself unless you live too far away in which case you can ship it. This is a computer that is pretty far beyond its time. It does not need to be expandable. Like any Mac it will serve you for 5-6 maybe even more years without needing an upgrade. Even if you are a professional using it to its maximum potential every day this will be more than enough for years of creative work.
skjetne

  • Giving the design and form factor minus because of the expandability is bonkers
  • Speed and features is also a tad bit wrong i feel. Yes, its missing a ODD but, it has two TD-ports and HDMI, should be a plus for that one.
  • Engadget clocked over 9hrs on the 2,3 GHz model, and everyone else gets 7hrs plus.
  • The display is awesome, because the apps doesn't support it, doesn't make the display worse. (If you are a tall man, but you're clothes are to small, doesn't make you small. just a poorly dressed man)
  • Durability is exactly the same as non-retina mbp, (unibody) plus it has a SSD, not a HDD
  • And the portability is better than the non-retina mbp, since It's thinner and lighter.
Just food for thought..
SmithLaw

Tilley: While I agree with you about Apple doing much of the service for free, etc. - I don't agree with no need to be expandable. Many professionals need/want the ability to add more RAM and HD space later as time goes by. Many people want the ability to replace the RAM themselves and cheaply rather than having to take it to Apple when the RAM goes out and it is soldered to the motherboard. These things happen and sometimes happen before 5-6 years.

Skjetne: You make some very good points. The one thing I will comment on though, is the Engadget battery claims. I don't know what kind of stopwatch they were using, but there is no way in h### the MBP Retina will last anywhere close to 9hrs performing any kind of task. Perhaps only using TextEdit with the brightness all the way down and everything else turned off. But, who does that? Not sure where they got 9hrs from but NO ONE else has claimed such. I know the one I had would not come close to 9hrs. With a normal workload, maybe 4, and that is pushing it.
skjetne

I know the engadget battery results are astonishing, but they did rerun the test several times and did get the same numbers. But all other reviews out there clocked in 7hrs with normal surfing og wifi at 50%, which i do all the time (i only use full brightness in sunlight and when its really needed.

I also read your mbp 15 2012 review, and thats spot on, but butchering the rMBP which is basically the same machine but without ODD, ethernet and fw, but has a better display (not only resolution, but its an IPS with better colors and contrast) an extra td-port and hdmi (which you gave the mbp a minus for) is very questionable.
skjetne

Ofc you are right to have your opinion, but as imariopereria said, this is gdgt, a place to be objective and scoring products for what they are, not what you feel they are.

Saying the design and form factor is poor because the expandability is poor (which it really is) is just wrong. It's like judging a fish by It's ability to climb a tree..
SmithLaw

Well thank you for the kind words about the other review. I do see where you are coming from and I do think the retina MBP is a good machine. I just do not think it is the answer and the replacement of the other MBP's that most people claim it to be. It is a good option for some, there is no doubt about that. I just don't want people (and Apple) to think it should replace the other machines.

Since my review I actually upgraded from the standard MBP non-retina to another 15" non-retina MBP, but with the upgraded Hi-RES HD display. I can say it made a huge difference and I am VERY, VERY happy with this new display. While I originally thought the 1440x900 was good enough, I noticed the difference immediately. To me, it is the perfect balance between the retina and the standard. There is no scaling or problem with 3rd party apps. Also, I upgraded from the standard 750gig 5400rpm HD to the 750gig 7200rpm HD. Tests showed immediately the difference was positive.

Also, for what it is worth, I originally had my total score for the retina-MBP lower and adjusted it up after realizing I was being a little too hard on it.
skjetne

I really want to upgrade my mbp 13 (e2011) to the new macbook pro, either the retina or the hi-res. But i really cant decide. I really don't care that much for the retina display, (1980x1200 would been enough for me) but I'm so sick of the "old" mbp design, and i just love the retina design. Love that its so thin, the hdmi, and extra td, i really don't want to daisy chain.

First world problem..
SmithLaw

Objective view - In law, means that of a reasonable, prudent person. While my review does appear to be somewhat subjective (of one's own opinion or what they thought or perceived), I still feel it is objective. I did not go into the different views of how one could view each area as good or bad because there are enough reviews on this product out there to tell you all about the "good". However, a reasonable, non-hype believing, practical person that uses his/her MBP in ways similar to my own would very possibly find my review spot-on. But - after all, it is just a review by one person so should be taken for what it is worth.

If gdgt actually had a problem with the review, I am sure the moderators would have deleted it or sent an email advising me to change it. I have gotten no such email as of yet.
skjetne

But you can see when you are rating the portability of mbp "good" and the retina "so-so" when the retina is the same size, just thinner and lighter, you can se how people can get confused? And the same with the durability; i mean, Its made from the same aluminum, and they are both apples own unibody.
SmithLaw

skjetne: If you want my honest opinion, I will give it to you. Hopefully someone else will chime in as well. I had both of them sitting side by side. While the new retina MBP is smaller, the difference really is NOT that much noticeable. I have read reviews where people said they couldn't imagine carrying the non-retina MBP in their bag walking for several blocks because it would hurt their shoulders/back too much but the retina model would be easy. Seriously? It is a pound difference! Now, either these guys writing those reviews are either A. paid a commission for every retina MBP that is sold, or B. Elementary school children that have problems lifting 5 lbs.

The retina MBP looks skinny when you see it. However, the non-retina looks skinny and is very sleek as well. Only when the two are side by side do you even notice and even then it isn't jaw-dropping. I have had a couple of people ask me if mine was the new skinny retina model. In the grand scheme of things, the MBP is a skinny, sleek machine that is amazing. Just look at it compared to the HP's, Toshibas, etc. that everyone else is carrying around out there.

If you are hung up on the retina display for whatever reason, I say get it. I know if you are like me, you will not be satisfied until you get what you absolutely want. That is why I took the retina model back as well as the 1440x900 display non-retina. I am very satisfied now and the fact that I can upgrade the computer, have the ODD, a large HD and all of the other same great components that make this an MBP makes it the perfect machine, for me.

There are pages of comments and reviews comparing the retina - non-retina MBP over on the Mac forums (not sure of the exact address or I would give it to you). I think it is the Macrumors site.
SmithLaw

I see what you are saying and you are right (about the durability and portability). I just changed them.
skjetne

I know what you are meaning, because it sucks that theres no expandability. I've pulled out my odd and switched it for a hdd, installed an ssd and upgraded to 8gb's of ram. So thats a big minus for my part. Good thing you did! Now the review just earned a "good review"