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  • MrCromulent - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the thorough review! I was really looking forward to the 13" version of the rMBP as a possible desktop replacement machine for development, but I guess I'm going to pass this year.

    Multi-monitor performance (internal display plus 2 external ones) would be excruciatingly bad, I presume? Or is it acceptable because most of the stuttering seems to be caused by CPU issues instead of a GPU bottleneck?
    Reply
  • Freakie - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I would encourage you to pass. This 13" rMBP has COMPLETELY lost it's "Pro" name. Dual-core with no dedicated GPU, only 8GB of RAM, paltry amounts of storage, and a screen that's only good for resolution, not for quality, makes this a stupid choice for any art professional. The thing can't even run a Safari window with Facebook on it without dropping below 30fps! Add the $1,700 price tag to all of this and you have to be out of your mind to buy it. And trying to multi-monitor is going to drive you nuts performance wise.

    And now for a slight rant on the Review it's self:
    "You don't sacrifice display quality at all in the move to the smaller panel. Brightness, contrast and color reproduction are all great."

    This line particularly bugged me, which shows Anand's bias for Apple yet again. Brightness is good, not great, and color reproduction is horrendous. You DO sacrifice a lot in switching to these displays. Artwork on this display is color suicide. And I haven't seen a computer screen have after images like you described in well over 6 years. In my opinion quality has gone WAY down.

    So not only is your built-in display crappy for work, but if you plug another screen in then suddenly you've maxed out your CPU's performance, and that's before you've even started working.

    I'm sorry, Anand, but this entire review seems to dock points off again and again, and yet you still manage to say that it's nearly perfect in your conclusion. While I do appreciate that you've been more forward towards issues on the devices in your Apple reviews as of the last few that you've done, in the end it seems like you just conveniently forget about them and write apologetically about them where as Dustin would, and does, expose all of a laptop's flaws and strengths and does a good job of not sugar coating or glazing over problems. When Dustin sees a machine not living up to what it is supposed to be, he doesn't pull back any punches and calls it out. It seems obvious that this machine is not "Pro" in any way imaginable and I really feel that should have been pointed out.
    Reply
  • guidryp - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Nice Rant. Too bad it is nonsense.

    Horrendous color reproduction?

    The screen has the best contrast of any tested and the second best color accuracy. Also this is an IPS screen with superior color stability vs angle of view. Much better than the TN screens that occupy the vast majority of laptops. It is a fantastic screen in terms of resolution, color accuracy, contrast and color stability.

    Image retention is the only real fault and if it was a significant issue, return it.

    As far as it losing "Pro" status for not having quad core/discrete GPU, that is no change, it was like that last year as well. If this is your definition of Pro, I am sure you can find a suitable cheap Dell that has quad core.

    Bottom line. I do think it is probably early to jump to this Retina Model because of potential performance hiccups, and you are better off waiting for a Haswell model. But there is no need to resort to nonsense ranting to state that.
    Reply
  • Freakie - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    IPS means next to nothing. It's just one small part of the entire range of components and technologies that go into making a good display. IPS is chosen for high resolution displays for different reasons other than color.

    And it's Delta E value gains nothing from being second best, as best is so far ahead of it it's ridiculous. Anandtech's method of obtaining Delta E is taking the best value after repeating the test multiple times, and with how close it is to so many other monitors, and how even a screen being on for 5 minutes versus 10 minutes can affect screen color tests small amounts, it actually isn't that hard to summarize the test results by saying that it essentially has the same color representation as the 5 notebooks behind it.

    And Color Space is VERY important for artwork. It's nice to have a good Delta E but without a wide color space, you're still shooting yourself in the foot and your results will be noticeably inconsistent and will require a lot more fiddling within your editing programs to get right.

    And my definition of Pro is what the MBP used to be, a powerful laptop that could reliably be used for professional work when you aren't at your desk and that sacrificed some weight and size in order to deliver the power that you need. This MBP does not live up to the MBP name and should just be a regular Macbook (but of course they got rid of those and just turned the MBP's into normal Macbooks).

    But no thank you on the Dell :) I wouldn't never own one of their consumer models and their professional models are rather pricey. I'd rather just Build-To-Order a nice ASUS and pay the extra $100 for the 95% NTSC Gamut Matte screen.
    Reply
  • guidryp - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    95% NTSC screens are just about useless for 99.99% of users.

    We live in an sRGB/Rec. 709 world, and that should be the goal for most screens, and the Retina MBP is very close to this much more important standard. Actually Anand should actually report the sRGB match in his reviews since it is so much more important for most users.

    Wider gamut than sRGB screens simply cause more problems than benefits, causing jarring color inaccuracy as you move back and forth between color managed and non color managed applications.

    It is a fallacy to simply think, a bigger number is always better when it comes to color gamut.
    Reply
  • Freakie - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    It's not for 99.99% of users, MacBook Pro's were meant for professionals, but now because Apple wants more money, they got rid of the regular MacBooks and put crappier hardware in their Pro's. So for the people who buy the Pro's because they need a Pro machine, a 95% NTSC DOES matter.

    And even in the sRBG the Retina displays suck. 64% of AdobeRBG is still below 90% sRBG so it doesn't get any extra points even if you wanted to try to argue that for some reason sRBG is better. And I would disagree that wider than sRBG is problematic, especially when switching between color managed situations. Yes, switching from a non-calibrated screen from a calibrated one is weird if the non-calibrated one sucks, but who cares? The whole point of having the wide gamut, calibrated screen is so that your work comes out correct, not so that your browser window looks right -_-

    And it's not fallacy :P When you're working on something that you're going to print, or display through high resolution means like digital signage or movies on a projector... Those devices and mediums that your are going to be displaying it through will have wide gamuts. Obviously print has a wide gamut, and most digital signage uses the same 32"+ high resolution high gamut displays, and a professional movie projector for films will also have the same. So if you work on your project on an sRBG screen you will be sorry when you see it displayed/printed elsewhere.
    Reply
  • jmelgaard - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    I Seem to be confused here... But you seem to imply that you only belong in the professional segment if you use your computer for graphical work?...

    Damn... And here I thought I used mine for Professional Application Development... BUMMER!... Ill better start looking for another job, one with Pictures and Colors and Gamuts and Colors and OMG my head hurts now...
    Reply
  • WebJester - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    I see you glossed over the comment about calibration. Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Color reproduction was only part of his reasons for noting that there should be a distinct difference between a Macbook and a MacbookPro. I have to agree with him. The Pro was for Professionals that did not mind the extra weight or size as long as they could get the options and upgrades they needed. The fact that you mention stupidly that maybe he should go get a Dell if he wants a 4 core CPU should slap you in the face as obvious that the MacbookPro is not a Pro if a cheaper model offers what it does not. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I have been waiting for this review, because I already upgraded from an older 15" dual-core MacBook Pro to this laptop. I did notice the minor "choppiness" when scrolling web pages, but it's not intolerable. I was expecting the HD4000 to be a total dog at 3D. To my surprise it wasn't all bad. To be honest though, I play mostly older games.

    The display is easily...hands down...no questions about it...the best I have ever used. Game over - thank you for playing. Now, when I look at non-retina displays, I immediately notice the difference - and I don't like what I see. I desperately want a 27" Retina Thunderbolt display. Maybe they can add discrete graphics to the display for the best of both worlds. Please Apple, make this happen.

    But where this laptop really shines is it's portability. Having used a 15" Pro laptop for the last eight years, the difference is striking. I was tempted by the 13" MacBook Air, but the grey bezel around the screen felt like a step back from the edge-to-edge glass that I have grown to love. This feels every bit like the Pro Machine I have been using for the last three years. I can't express how comforting it was to drop so much weight, yet retain the same great keyboard, trackpad, quality construction, and performance. Truly an amazing feat and why the "Pro" moniker is deserved.

    This isn't the laptop for everyone, but for me...web browsing, coding, and just always having a great computer at my finger tips...it's pretty close to perfect.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    The 13" MacBook Pro always had a dual core processor and never had discrete graphics. The Retina version is no different in that regard. If it isn't a "Pro" than neither is the non-Retina version.

    As an 11" MacBook Air user, the weight difference and extra thickness are more noticeable to me. Hopefully Apple comes out with an 11" MacBook Pro with Retina Display, since it does look very nice (I saw one in the store and it blew away the screen on my Air).
    Reply
  • Arbee - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Much as the original Air was basically an engineering placeholder waiting for SNB to make it good, this seems to be a placeholder waiting for at least Haswell, and possibly Broadwell. Reply
  • jeffbui - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Anand, your aspect ratio chart is off. The MBPs are still 16:10 Reply
  • jeffbui - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Oops, looks like you switched the 16:9 chart with the 16:10 chart. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I wonder why Apple do not all stick to the same 16:10 ratio. The New iMac is 16:9, while all notebook are 16:10. Reply
  • Aenean144 - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    iMacs have >20 inch screens. When you get that big, there's enough vertical screen space so that wider aspect ratio screens are tolerable.

    For smaller screen laptops, vertical space is at a premium. 16:10 is at best a compromise to me. Going to 16:9 would make it less usable.
    Reply
  • yserr - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I have a MBP 15" (no Retina). I'm willing to give up GPU or quad, but not both, for portability.
    Do you think haswell will bring quad core to the 13" MBPr.

    I think with the dismiss of the 17" and the trend to smaller, light devices. The 15" will be the new 17" and the 13" will be the new 15".

    The 15" rMBP has two soldered ram banks the 13" rMBP has one.
    Are there 16GB modules which are reasonable priced for one bank (which apple could offer)?

    I will wait for haswell and than decide between 13" and 15".
    My dream machine will be 13" rMBP with 16GB Ram and quad.... so I hope haswell will deliver my dream :-)
    Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Quad Core as standard and 2x Graphics Improvement. That is what i am hoping for as well. But with the 4x increase in Pixel count i doubt even Haswell is even good enough in Graphics Department. I just hope Broadwell will bring at least 3x performance over Haswell. Reply
  • yserr - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    At least you see here (http://bit.ly/PalAfy - Haswell Preview) on the haswell slides that they will support 4k and High Resolution Displays. Lets see if they can deliver the performance needed for that. No question Broadwell will be better than Haswell. I hope Haswell will be fast enough for my needs. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Actually Ivy Bridge does support 4K displays if they are being driving by two DP.

    Haswell will implement DP 1.2 so it will be able to drive a 4K resolution display over a single cable. The GT3 + eDRAM versions of Haswell should be able to handle accelerated GUI without much issue. Gaming on the other hand at such high resolutions is something even high end GPU's (Radeon 7970, GTX 680) are struggling with.
    Reply
  • jeffbui - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    How are you displaying wifi xmit speed in OS X? Thanks. Reply
  • timmyj9 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    looks like the bands for the wifi test might be the other way around
    greater range and less throughput over 5GHz (comp. to 2.4GHz)?
    Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I was about to post that. the 2.4Ghz is faster then 5Ghz and they concludes Very good WiFi? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the correction :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Option + click on the WiFi indicator to display the additional details. Generally speaking, option-clicking on various things in OS X tends to reveal more information.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Henk Poley - Monday, November 19, 2012 - link

    Hold Option and click the WiFi menu icon. Reply
  • Henk Poley - Monday, November 19, 2012 - link

    Ah doh, comment threads wrap around page boundaries on this site.. Reply
  • Galatian - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    The MBA may be lighter, but Apple definitely blurred the line between the MBA and MBP with the 13-inch Retina.


    You know the 256GB SSD 13" 2012 MacBook Air runs at 1362€ on the Apple Store(with Apple on Campus rebate). The 11" is even less with 1275€. For a very similar specced 13" rMacBook Pro I'll have to spend 1802€ which is roughly 500€ more. I can understand the lack of discrete graphic card but not the lack of quad cpu at this price point. As much as I would like to have a retina display, as I use my MacBook Air mostly in university to write stuff and look at my ebooks, 1802€ get's you actually in the territory of "high" performance notebooks. even then bigger 15" rMacBook Pro is "only" 200€ but in my eyes bring so much more value on the table. Either the 15" is priced to low or the 13" to high IMHO.
    Reply
  • hvv - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Personally I think Apple made far too many compromises to get the device retina enabled. No 16GB Ram BTO option, No quad core option, no discreet graphics. What's left is essentially a thicker, heavier MBA with retina screen and some additional ports. Even the CPUs in the 13" rmbp and the 2012 mba's (notably absent from the perf charts above...) are similar in real performance. Oi. Reply
  • jramskov - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    "Once again, UI elements, text, windows and icons are also rendered at 4x their size so everything remains legible, but things like images and videos remain unscaled allowing you to fit more content on your screen at the same time."

    This makes the machine much more interesting. I thought everything was scaled and hence made the machine "unsuitable" for things like working in Lightroom.

    Do I understand correctly that the images I work on in Lightroom will not be affected by the scaling?
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    As of a few days ago Adobe updated Lightroom to include Retina support in the Develop window. That means the UI will scale while the image remains at a 1 for 1 pixel mapping and is unaffected by scaling. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    In your chart noting the different screen ratios, you have Retina MacBook Pro under 16:9 - clearly incorrect, 2560x1600 and 2880x1800 for the 13 and 15 inch respectively are 8:5 ratios (16:10 in common terms). Reply
  • Beerfloat - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    A MacBook Pro needs a GPU, period. Sure, performance of the Intel solution is getting stronger, and may soon reach parity on the low end. But more importantly, the mature driver and ecosystem that Nvidia brings will still be an advantage for some generations to come.
    This kind of corner cutting is almost acceptable in the Air. But not in a Pro.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Shame, but definitely a compromise too far. Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    " I definitely noticed the missing cores (and decrease in clock speed compared to the higher spec'd 15),"

    What are you doing that makes use of 4 real cores ? And is the 200mhz speed difference really noticable ?
    I would say that in normal surfing+office apps, a SSD would make all the differences between CPU redundant...
    Reply
  • jramskov - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Lightroom would be one answer. Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    But does Anand even use it ? Regularly ? Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Why would someone buy this for "surfing+office apps"? It's meant to be a machine for professionals and high end users, hence Pro. Reply
  • smurray - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    What app is being used to measure the FPS of the UI during things like Safari scrolling? I currently have an 13" rMBP w/ the upgraded i7 CPU and am curious what my results would be compared to what was experienced in the review. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    For instantaneous tests like Safari (where you see the speedometer-styled FPS indicator), we use Quartz Debug. For average framerates over a period of time we use the GL Injection Tool. Reply
  • James5mith - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    One of the biggest advances the Windows OS made was moving from a strictly CPU driven windows management interface, to a GPU accelerated one. (Vista, Win7, Win8)

    It stopped things like the classic "trail of artifact windows" you could do when your old WindowsXP and earlier machines were bogged down. Since the desktop was drawn by the CPU, it wouldn't refresh properly until some CPU cycles were freed up.

    Seems Apple did not learn from the past, and is now doomed to repeat it.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Actually Apple introduced GPU accelerated window composition with Quartz Extreme nearly 10 years ago, a few years ahead of Microsoft.

    However there are several layers to GPU acceleration. The earliest solutions could do window composition on the GPU, but the contents of the windows themselves were still generated by the CPU. Since then both MS and Apple have been moving more and more of the workload on to the GPU as it makes sense to do so. But no one is 100% offloaded, so the CPU still plays a part and consequently can still be a bottleneck.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    The bias is strong Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    Yes, the bias is strong... in you.

    <ul><li><a href="http://www.anandtech.com/tag/windows-8>http://w...
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    But not yet. One maybe two generations to go before perfect.

    1. One obvious use of this will be to watch movies on go (especially on long business trips) but once again Apple ignores 1080p resolution (if there someone at Apple who hates this resolution, because they try and ignore it in every device they produce)

    2. Card reader is flaky - is it because of chassis flex or just a bad reader?

    3. storage needs to be bigger, I gues next generation will be 256gb.

    4. A bit extra horse power obviously needed, but probably not a lot.

    The real question though is as tablets get better, is there any point in the 13" Mac?
    Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    What software do you use to test the framerates of the browser? Reply
  • Jorange - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    $1700 and laggy UI. Come on Apple fans admit that you buy their products for the image, and for fear of being seen as gauche in the eyes of your vapid clique. The best Apple zealots are those whom purchase the things on credit, look how wealthy I am, whilst paying off the monthly installments:) Reply
  • boblozano - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    This is the first review that I've read that captures the essence of this machine -- it is a machine of excellent balance, and in that balance lies it's real reason for being.

    Came from a mid-2011 mbair (1.8 i7, 256gb), and before that a mid-2009 mbp 15. Workload is a mix of writing, photo editing (lr, ps, etc.), and some video creation. Lots of travel. Went to the mbair after good friends with a heavy dev emphasis swore it was excellent. It was/is.

    Considered the 15 rMBP since the price is effectively the same, and there is obviously more of just about everything. But size for travel and general mobility was a significant concern (the air allowed me to switch from a full-size backpack to a much smaller messenger bag).

    The reason why I've settled on 13 as just about perfect for my present usage is simple: with the increasing number of full-screen apps, 13" is just about perfect for writing in a full screen, while 15 just feels overwrought. Even better, with retina the photo and video editing remains very usable.

    With that as a background, the 13" rMBP was a real step up in everything that I liked about the air, with hardly any compromise (small bit of weight). Ended up with the 2.9 I7, 512gb. Everything I do is faster, better (though definitely not cheaper), and that screen just makes you smile when opening it up to work. It is good enough that I'm even going back to using the device open on a stand (trying the new twelve south height-adjustable stand) when docked.

    Sure it would be nice to have 4 cores and a discrete gpu (particularly for rendering), but as of now there's no doubt it would have compromised mobility and/or battery life. About the only indisputable criticism is one of value, but such is life.

    Undoubtedly (and always) there'll be something much better down the road, maybe even only a year from now. Good. But as of today, this is the best computing device I've ever used on a daily basis.
    Reply
  • caleblloyd - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Anand - the Primary Storage for the 13in MBA that you have listed on the table on the first page should be 128GB. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    "In reality USB 3.0 is good for about 400 - 500MB/s (3.2Gbps - 4.0Gbps)..."

    The actual reality is that USB 3.0 provides a physical layer gross bit rate of 5 Gbit/s, and a physical layer net bit rate of 4 Gbit/s due to 8b/10b encoding. The net bit rate delivered to the application layer is unlikely to ever exceed 80% of that, or 400 MB/s, in the real world. Even using UASP, which clearly looks to be the case in these tests, I've never seen peak SuperSpeed USB transfer rates much in excess of 350 MB/s. USB 3.0 is good for 300 - 350 MB/s with the hardware shipping at this point, although we may see the upper bound approach 400 MB/s in the future.

    "This is Intel's most capable Thunderbolt SKU as it takes four PCIe 2.0 lanes combined with DisplayPort and muxes them into four Thunderbolt channels (2 up/2 down) with two DP outputs."

    This sentence has some problems as well. The DSL3510L has connections on the back end for 4 PCIe 2.0 lanes, 2 DisplayPort 1.1a sources and 1 DisplayPort 1.1a sink. On the front side it has four 10 Gbit/s, full-duplex Thunderbolt channels, 2 per port (i.e. 2 up/2 down per port or 4 up/4 down per controller). Each port can also operate in legacy DisplayPort signaling mode when a DisplayPort device is connected directly.

    On another note, it's frustrating that Apple failed again at the SDXC card reader, and it appears to be a mechanical issue once again. iFixit's teardown photos seem to have omitted it, but if Apple used the same controller as in the 15-inch MBPR, then it's a Broadcom controller that supports SD 3.0 features such as SDXC and UHS-I paired with a PCIe 1.1 x1 back end. This should make it far more capable than a USB 2.0 based solution, but no, instead they made it useless because half the time it doesn't read a card at all when inserted.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    And just to further clarify, Thunderbolt does not really mux DP and PCIe signals, it takes the packets from both protocols and transports them via a common switching fabric, so that wording is slightly misleading. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    In my time with these, I find there is just a bit of UI lag to most things compared to an Air or the regular Macbook Pros, most of the time it's hard to even notice unless they are side by side. The calender flip animation and sometimes the green button re-size are particularly painful, you can literally count out the frames on the former. On the 15" you can force it to use the dGPU on AC power which fixes that, but there is no fallback for the 13". Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Speaking of which, if switching to the dGPU fixes some of the lag does that mean more of the rendering pipeline is given to the Nvidia chip unlike the HD4000, as otherwise that would put a hole in the single threaded performance theory? Reply
  • sputnik78 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    "There's not much you can do here other than wait for faster hardware or buy the fastest CPU available on whatever system you're considering. "

    Yes there is. Use Firefox or Chrome.

    I could not believe the depth of detail in the investigation of the scrolling in Safari issue without the simple test to swap out with Firefox or Chrome and see how much of the problem is Safari rather than the OS/Hardware.

    With Firefox, you can enable and disable GPU accelerated UI as well, to see if that helps or hurts.

    My experience with all three browsers is that each can have various performance issues with some websites and situations, but that when one does, one of the others tends to be OK.
    Reply
  • MrCromulent - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Firefox doesn't even have Retina support yet, does it? Last time I heard it was planned for version 18.

    Disabling hardware acceleration in Firefox would probably just result in even worse performance since it is enabled by default and the CPU single-thread performance is going to get even more maxed out otherwise.
    Reply
  • paravorheim - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Dear Anand,

    you mentioned in both the Intel S3700 and 13" rMBP reviews that OS X did not respond well to high IO latency. Could you expand on what you meant by that? Or is the explanation too complicated to put into layman's terms?
    Reply
  • AmdInside - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I don't see how this is a much better option for someone who travels a lot and uses it mainly for typing. I love my MBA and only wish would be that it had more RAM and IPS display. If i had to do it all over again, I think I would still buy the MBA over the rMBP. If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I guess I'd go with the rMBP though. Reply
  • thefizzle656 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    IMO what is wrong with the 13" rMBP is not just that the word "Pro" doesn't at all describe the hardware specs and capabilities of the machine, but that it is so so overpriced for what you get. Even Apple Fanbois are have been criticizing Apple for the complete ripoff that the 13" rMBP is. Reply
  • spronkey - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    You know, I have to agree with those who say there's a bit of Apple bias going on here. So many important criteria here have been glossed over - remember the pricing of this machine puts it far out of reach for most 'consumers', who go and buy $500-700 dell machines. It's a high-end part for a high-end prosumer/professional.

    The bottom line is - 8GB of RAM as a maximum ceiling (note - my *2008* MacBook Pro had the same limit) is far too low, and Anand you of all people should know that in the usable life of this machine (lets say 3 years), that limit is going to be hit - especially when it's not uncommon for web browsers with media-heavy content to eat 2+GB. And the move to 64-bit for stuff like the Adobe creative suite, which is a common use case for this particular machine, will eat even more RAM. I'm running 8GB on my MBP at the moment and I max it out very frequently.

    I'm also not sure how you can recommend this over the 13" Air. It's much more expensive, the hardware is largley similar, performance isn't *that* much better, it doesn't offer anything in terms of upgradability other than Thunderbolt connectivity, and it's bigger and heavier. Not to mention in the real world, in 2012, it's a laggier experience.

    Now, lets imagine an alternate universe where Apple decided not to shave quite so much off the size of the previous 13" pro, and instead gave us a quad core i5/i7 and a couple of RAM slots. Perhaps even a dedicated GPU and a 2.5" bay. Now that would be an improvement. What we have here is an expensive Macbook Air with a pretty display for text, that makes almost everything else look awful.
    Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    When will we stop the insanity with this complaint about memory. Times are different, memory requirements are not going to quadruple again in the next four years. The world is not gearing up for Microsoft Gargantuan 9 which will require 8GB of RAM to load the desktop. If anything the world is going more mobile, and memory requirements will likely stagnate. Consider than an Ipad has just one GB of RAM, and they are selling about as many of those as casual consumer PC's nowadays, and you can see where we're heading.

    Furthermore, any browser worth its salt that's pushing 2GB of RAM based on some standard media heavy tasks will drop that RAM in an instant without a huge user experience impact if you start nearing a system limit. It's just caching everything in sight because it sees that you have 16 GB of RAM; it doesn't mean your system would grind to a halt with only 8!
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - link

    I'm not so sure....

    If you take a 13" MacBook Air and upgrade the specs with a 2.0GHz processor, 8 GB of ram, and a 256 GB Flash, you''ll spend $1699. You can order the entry level 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display from Mac Mall for $1630. Yes, the MacBook Air would have twice the flash storage, but the 13" Pro would have a Retina Display and slightly faster processor - plus an extra Thunderbolt port and HDMI port . If you consider the trade-offs, the 13" MacBook Pro is actually priced more-or-less the same.

    If you're warehousing tons of data on your laptop 256 vs. 128 Gigabytes of flash isn't going to be much of an improvement. But if the Retina Display is more important to you, the 13" Pro is the way to go. It's kind of cool that Apple is offering much more in the way of choices right now than ever before.

    BTW, I have a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display and it's easily the best laptop I have ever owned. The scrolling choppiness is noticeable, but far, far from unbearable. The screen really is a vast improvement over anything that has ever been offered in this size of laptop.
    Reply
  • geok1ng - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Apples decision to glue the non-serviciable battery to the chassis has made the retina MBPs the worts case scenario in a long series of impronvingly unrecicleable products by Apple.
    The batterys are rated for 300 charges. That is about 2 years usage.
    Since there is no easy or safe way to replace the abttery, these retina MBPs are destined to remain plugged toa charger for the remaining of their short life.
    And it irks me no end that not a single reviewer outside IFixIt has pointed towards this major "it is not a bug, it is a feature".
    The retina MBPs are the epithome of planned obsolescence, and shame on the reviewers who miss this crucial information.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    "The batterys are rated for 300 charges"

    To be fair Apples batteries are rated to 1000 cycles due to some charging circuitry.
    Reply
  • whiteonline - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    As noted, the machine is a tradeoff.
    I originally purchased a 13 MBP in early 2011. Loved the size, but the screen resolution was unusable for me. So I wound up getting the high-res 15". What I really wanted was a high resolution 13" MacBook Pro.
    And here it is.
    It's not as powerful as the 15", but the portability compensates for that. Price....well, would have loved for it to be less. But I'm not going to find another 13" notebook with a super high 16x10 resolution screen anywhere.
    Reply
  • Zodiark1593 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Even though this sounds almost blasphemous, I wish both the rMBPs had the option for standard, high capacity HDDs as even a 512 MB SSD is way too small for me. I know there's always the external HDD, but extras like that, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of mobility more so than weight. Reply
  • phexac - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    This actually includes a lot of programs, especially Microsoft office. Text is blurry and boxy at the same time and far inferior to a regular resolution computer. So yes, for the most basic tasks it works great. If you have to use any program not specifically designed for it (really most programs at this point in time) it's quite a poor experience. Go to the Apple store and fire up Office on this or the 15" version. You'll see the difference immediately.

    Due this shortage or properly optimized software, the retina macbooks remain a gimmick. I would actually like to one, but I do not consider them useable just yet. I will probably take a few years for software to fully catch up.
    Reply
  • robco - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6318/office-for-mac-...

    http://retinamacapps.com

    The list just keeps growing. I think most app developers understand HiDPI displays are the future and are working on updates.
    Reply
  • akdj - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    Not sure where you've heard or seen this---I'm using the MS suite; Excel, Word and Power Point. They don't look bad AT ALL!!! In fact, the text in Word/Excel is amazing--the UI isn't 'blurry' or 'boxy' period! I use them all day, everyday. Perhaps one of my latest MS updates fixed an earlier issue...as I've only had my 15" rMBP for about ten weeks
    As well--I use the entire creative suite from Adobe: Premier, After Effects, PS, LR, Illustrator and In Design---Acrobat Pro as well. All. Perfectly. Usable...and unbelievably FAST on these computers!!! This pixelization, fuzzy, blocky/boxy embellishment is ridiculous--I've YET to find a professional app to be 'un-usable' or even bad enough to complain.
    The WWW is a bit different. Lots of 'low rez' photos that're obviously not ready for the high resolution these monitors bring us---but it's coming, as are 'official' updates to premier software like MS & Adobe. In the mean time--I'm sure most will find them 'just fine'

    Jeremy
    Reply
  • just4U - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I was just looking at the cost of the one there and geez.. $1700 /w a dual core cpu and integrated graphics? That's insane... I don't care how good that 13" screen is.. It's simply not worth the price their asking. Reply
  • mike71 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    You forgot to mention since June 2012 Apple has quietly dropped the audio line-in from all non-15 inch models. So Macbook Air and 13 inch pro's do not feature the same combi audio input/output that existed in previous models. I can only think Apple did this to save a few pennies and increase profits. Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I just cannot understand Apple's spec selection for this laptop.

    They are selling this as 'Pro' laptop, with fixed 8GB ram, 128GB starting storage space (and HUGE overcharge for slightly more useful 256GB) and no external graphics.

    I don't think this is any better than recent full-HD ultrabooks from other brands, usually around $1000 price tag recently. 1080p is more than enough on 13" screen, and they provide cheaper storage upgrade option (256GB mSATA drives are now cheap around $200), and some even has external GPU. And face it - 2.5Ghz i5 won't give a huge performance edge over 1.8Ghz i7 ULV with turbo boost for most applications.

    Yes, I know it will still sell like hotcakes.
    Reply
  • lukarak - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    That`s the only problem. Simply put, a dealbreaker, especially for mac users , that inherently have an above average need for virtual machines.

    Everything else is expected.
    Reply
  • bji - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    Anand - the image retention flaw on the 15 inch rMBP is a real issue. I have written you several emails asking if you'd like to address this using your testing tools but never received a response. You haven't acknowledged this issue in this review either.

    Is the 13 inch rMBP subject to the same image retention flaw?
    Reply
  • bji - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    WHOOPS - I am wrong. You did address this, I just didn't see that paragraph somehow.

    It would still be great if you used the tools at your disposal to analyze this. There are reports that the heat of the display (air conditioned versus warm room) have an impact, and of course it's well known that only LG displays suffer this issue. Having all of that confirmed by a reputable reviewer would be great.
    Reply
  • edgarperez - Saturday, November 24, 2012 - link

    I am trying to decide on a replacement for my 2gb mba 13" . The UI references including "Also if you're looking to minimize UI frame rate issues as much as possible you're going to want the upgraded CPU (although that still won't eliminate low UI frame rates)." truly scar me away from the rMBA. I am on my machine 12 hours a day regularly. the thought of the UI lagging scrolling on applications This is not something i noticed when i looked at the machine in the store but certainly something that would drive me batty once i have noticed it. I think I am going to have to think more about the MBA vs. the MBP non retina and pass on the retina for now. Reply
  • Zink - Wednesday, December 05, 2012 - link

    It's not really lag, just low frame rates. It works just as fast as it should but looks a pit more choppy while moving. Reply
  • marioyohanes - Friday, December 07, 2012 - link

    Well, I'm one of those people who always complaint about "Pro" in 13" MBP/rMBP, it should be named MacBook, without Pro because it is not a Pro machine. And maybe we could get lesser complaint on Mac App Store comment section for 3D games just because they thought 13" MBP can do 3D game.

    As for 13" rMBP, here my two cents after using this thing for a month (I got it for free anyway, so...):
    - 8GB RAM is not an issue, period! You just trolling saying it needs 16GB! You just don't run 2 VM, 100megs AI files while running FCPX on this machine, you just don't do that.
    - 128GB SSD for $1799 laptop? This is annoying! Seriously? 128GB? And yet you still calling it a Pro? I'll be damn!
    - Display is awesome, super awesome, even though, I prefer to have 1440x900 resolution over native retina. The only thing I hate from 13" MB/MBP is the resolution barely usable for professional work. However, if you're iOS app developer or UI designer, this thing rocks! No more scrolling madness for testing app on retina simulator or designing retina artworks in Adobe!
    - UI performance is not an issue, at all, some websites simply just another prove of bad programming. And retina aware apps are widely available, if they're not updating their app to be retina aware until first half 2013, it means the app is either no longer under development or its developer simply not serious selling Mac apps.
    - Gaming or anything 3D? Forget about it. Unless of course, by gaming you meant Angry Birds, but for me, gaming is stands for Steam, AC3, Diablo 3 and the list goes on.

    So who is this for? Professional who does a lot of work developing or designing retina UI but hates 15" rMBP portability. Or, it could be great for business professional, you'll be thank to its retina display for saving your eyes for working too long in front of your computer.

    This is not for me, obviously, I switched back to my 15" rMBP after a month. This is well overpriced on my opinion, but then again, no competition whatsoever. And yes, please stop telling me ultrabooks $1000 etc, the closest ultrabook price with this thing is cost more than $1400! But then again, if you're making money with your laptop, why bother with price, as long as its beneficial for you to have this rMBP (also works for boosting confidence), just buy it and don't look back. Haters will be haters, don't listen to them.
    Reply
  • .Chris. - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Grate in-depth review wish I found this 2 weeks ago
    I bought a maxed out air then sent it back after seeing the retina display in store.
    Since then I’ve been trying to decide if the upgrade to the faster cpu is worth it for the rMBP. Sounds like it is and as I am paying education prices which brings it in at £1383 (which still hurts but not as much as £1609)
    Reply
  • AirieFenix - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I would love to see a 13-inch "non-Retina" Macbook Pro with some of the goodies of the rMBP. For instance, I need the Ethernet port (yes, there is an adapter, but I'd rather prefer o have it out-of-the-box); I also like the battery life on the non-Retina model, and to have upgradable hardware is almost a must-have for people that don't buy a new notebook every year (for instance, me).

    In the other hand, I don't use the DVD drive on my computers since... I don't even remember. And the 1280x800 is a low resolution right now.

    But most important, I'd rather prefer to have a consistent fluidity through all the UI than more than a lot of pixels (yes, it's a nice display, but I'm not a photographer, it isn't a must-have to me) and the price. The price of the Retina model is just too absurd.

    Why don't make a 13-inch Macbook Pro with Air's display (a not Retina, but still good) and without DVD-tray (although I can live with it, would be nice to have more space for battery life)? That would be my dream machine.
    Reply
  • alidoors - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    greatest and latest Retina Macbook Pro suppliers http://www.eternalteams.com/Laptop-Computer-Apple-... Reply

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