MacBook Pro with Retina display review (13-inch, 2013)
Thanks to a lower price, longer battery life and lighter design, the 13-inch Retina MBP is a better deal than it was a year ago. It's so compelling, in fact, that you might even choose it over the Air.
- New, lower price
- Gorgeous display
- Thinner and lighter than before
- Long battery life
- Good graphics, improved SSD speeds
- No discrete GPU option on the 13-inch model
- Fans can get loud
When Apple held its last big keynote, it unveiled some new iPads, just like we knew it would. But it also used the 80-minute news conference to refresh its Mac lineup, announcing a new Mac Pro desktop and some slimmed-down MacBook Pros, all running Apple's brand-new operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks. In particular, the MacBook Pros sort of flew under the radar that day, mostly because they look more or less like last year's models, just with slightly thinner chassis. There wasn't a lot to say -- at least not after a few minutes of hands-on time.
That doesn't mean this isn't a meaningful upgrade. This time around, as you'd expect, Apple used Haswell processors, though it also went with Intel's brand-new Iris and Iris Pro chipsets, which haven't actually been used in that many notebooks yet. Meanwhile, Apple moved to PCI Express SSDs for much-improved transfer rates, and upgraded the wireless card to 802.11ac for faster streaming. Sounds like a simple sales pitch: They're thinner, lighter and speedier. And, in the case of the 13-inch model, it's cheaper too: The starting price is now $1,299, versus $1,699 a year ago. So does that mean the 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro offers better value than it did then? More importantly, with a lower price, lighter design and a claimed 10 hours of battery life, is it starting to veer into MacBook Air territory?