The story about the regular MacBook Pro's display is more about what it isn't (game changing) because we already know what it is (very competent). As always, the display is a very high quality one, essentially the same as the previous 3 years of MacBook Pros and testing very similarly to the other 15" MacBook Pros we've reviewed over the last few years. Our evaluation unit had the base 1440x900 display, though I'd have preferred the matte WSXGA+ panel. The higher resolution is nice to have, and with the matte screen finish, it was one of my absolute favourite notebook displays.

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

In terms of display performance, the 2012 MBP matches up very close to the 2011 and 2010 models, with very good contrast ratio and colour reproduction. But that’s the thing with the regular 2012 MBP – it’s just like the 2011 and 2010 MBPs, just updated to IVB/Kepler. 

The real story here is about what you’re giving up. After using an rMBP, it's actually a little bit difficult to go back to a normal MBP display. I mean, this is by far the biggest differentiating factor between the two, and if you’re looking for a solid reason to put the money down for a Retina, this is it. The normal MBP has a good display, a very good display if you go for the matte high-res option, but the Retina MBP display is just on a completely different level. Like the new iPad, the resolution difference doesn’t add to the screen real estate so much as allowing for a vastly improved UX with higher resolution UI elements and better text rendering. It’s difficult to quantify, and it’s easy to dismiss on the surface, but when you actually use a super high-res panel for a prolonged amount of time, you understand the difference it makes. Obviously, there are still some bugs, and it’ll take probably one full development cycle for most applications to be updated to Retina-spec textures and UI elements, but that is all to be expected in a radical shift such as this. If you’re comfortable sticking to the tried-and-true MBP display, it’s not a bad way to go, but I’d advise you to use a Retina MBP before making a decision to go one way or the other. 

Performance and Battery Life - Ivy Bridge and Kepler At Work. The 13" MacBook Pro - What Now?
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  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Any info on that? Does this have the new fan as well? Reply
  • NCM - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Thermals shouldn't be much different than the previous model, since the internals are very similar, as is the TDP. See also the iFixit teardown here: <http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-15-Inch... Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    The case design and airflow are different though. This doesn't have those side vents, more space for air though. And the whole heatsink design looks different. Reply
  • akfanta - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I think the side vents and different case design are only for retina mbp. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I know. That's why I'm asking if the thermals and noise are different between the two. Reply
  • gnumantsc - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    For $2200 that is absolutely a waste of money on a machine that has a 1400x900 and poorly spec'd. I would rather get the Zenbook pro over Mac any day of the week. Reply
  • coder543 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    For $2200, you should get the Retina Pro which is better than any Zenbook Prime by a good margin, and I would say better than any laptop on the market. (if someone points out a 10lb desktop replacement gaming laptop with an hour of battery life, they are only considering raw number crunching performance. A product is not defined by one number or another, but by all numbers considered at once.) Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    $2200 or $1799 or even $1599. I'm just not going to pay those prices for a notebook (anyone's notebook) no matter how good it is. They are just outside the price range I'm willing to pay. Reply
  • michael2k - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Did you notice how the $2200 MBP compares to the 2008 8 core Xeon Mac Pro?

    You're paying for a portable workstation, here.
    Reply
  • iSayuSay - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    A workstation from 2008 .. yeaah .. sure. Might as well say my iPhone is faster than Pentium III workstation box from 1998. I'm paying for a phone more capable than a full fledged computer 12 years ago. How can that be different? Reply

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