final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features No complaints at all. Blazing fast for all of my apps. But pls note: I am not a gamer. Speakers are the best ever put on a Mac/Power -Book. great!
  • Design and form factor LIKES: Beautiful, clean lines. No more flashing LED when asleep. DISLIKES: No more battery indicator. Power brick still big and heavy. good
  • Battery life I only get around 6 hrs, one short of the advertised 7. With the previous generation of MBPs delivering 10, the new model's batt is a bit of a disappointment. so-so
  • Display Stunning w/ high res images and HD 1080p videos. Majority of sites and apps still look terrible (17/6). SD and 720p vids look a little pixelated, esp on YouTube good
  • Durability Only time will tell but right now the device feels sturdy, nothing is flimsy and I'd say the build quality exceeds that of all previous MacBooks. good
  • Expandability You can't upgrade RAM, you can't upgrade your SSD, you can't swap out the battery. Any questions? I give it 2 stars for the 2 USB 3.0 and 2 Thunderbolt ports. poor
  • Noise Asymmetrical fan does seem to be working. It's audible but a lot quieter than even my MacBook Air. It did get a little hot when migrating files. good
  • Portability (size / weight) It's no ultra-book, but it makes the right concessions for portability and leaves all the right stuff in. I just wish it had a lighter power adapter. good
Detailed review
With an updated, even-thinner unibody design, gorgeous Retina display and stellar performance, it's hard not to fall for Apple's latest MacBook Pro.

The Retina display is a little before its time and it is going to take web and app developers a while to adjust. Even though there is little doubt that the PC world is about 3 to 6 months away from heading in the same direction, where screen resolutions are concerned, it might take even longer than that for most of the web to come around to the idea of making desktop sites responsive to different screen sizes as it would have implications on content production costs, hosting and bandwidth. 'Til then, us MBP users with Retina displays will just have to get used to the odd pixelated image. The tradeoff is still worth it and the user-experience on the notebook does not really suffer that much for it.

Where you might feel the pinch though is with standard definition and 720p videos, particularly on the web. Even then, it's not sharp and garish pixelation but sort of soft, fuzzy and blur, the kind of experience you might have on an older monitor; it doesn't really offend the eye.

Upscaling for 1080p HD is great, however, and it has become one of my favorite screens in the house to watch a movie on.

Battery Life is disappointing but only because my expectations have been set very high by Apple's previous models. We've been conditioned, by the last two revisions, to expect to make it through a whole workday on a Macbook Pro without having to lug around a power adapter. You can't last that long on this new MBP.

I get between 5 and a half to 6 hours with just web browsing, email and music. If I play a video or open up photoshop, office or final cut, I get 3 to 4. It is comparable to the battery performance on my 3rd generation Macbook Air. The MBP's power brick is much larger and heavier though, and if you're spending a solid day in back to back meetings, having to lug it around with this 15 incher isn't a treat. Still, it's a small gripe for a notebook that definitely outlasts most of its Dell and HP branded brethren.

The lack of expandability was a small issue for me, considering how much above market rate Apple charges for SSD storage and RAM. But the tradeoff is of course that sleek, beautiful design and the MBP's fuss free performance.

There is so much depth of thought put into each design touch that I don't at all feel shallow for appreciating this book because of its cover. It's a beautiful piece of machinery that's a pleasure to use, even in the face of the most trying work projects.

I recommend you seriously consider it as an option but go in with both eyes open and be sure its features and specs cover your needs. It won't make everyone happy, but it definitely pleases this Mac user.

UPDATE July 18, 2012: Battery life has improved with recent software updates.
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Edited comment on Speed and features

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UPDATE: With recent OS and Firmware updates, battery life has improved.