The 13-inch Retina Display in Numbers

The latest rMBP features a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 LED backlit IPS LCD panel. Apple maintains a total of four aspect ratios across all of its product lines:

Apple Display Aspect Ratio
Aspect Ratio 3:2 4:3 16:9 16:10
Apple Product iPhone 4S iPad, iPad mini 11-inch MBA, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (5th gen) 13-inch MBA, MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook Pro

I'm not sure if you can read anything into this, other than Apple seems to be fine with choosing a different aspect ratio to fit the form factor of whatever device it's building.

The 4MP panel has around 226 pixels per inch, compared to approximately 220 pixels per inch on the 15-inch rMBP's display. The slight increase in pixel density isn't really noticeable.

Pixel Density Comparison

At first sight, the 13-inch rMBP panel is somehow less impressive than the old 15. Part of the problem is the 15-inch surface is just so much larger that it manages to deliver a pretty substantial impact. It's the problem of being compared to such an overachieving sibling: anything you do is just never good enough.

Despite its inability to outshine the 15-inch rMBP panel, the display on the 13-inch model is gorgeous. Viewing angles are great thanks to the use of IPS technology. Brightness and contrast are both top notch as well:

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Contrast

Color accuracy and gamut are both within the range of the 15-inch model, putting them among the best we've tested:

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

I also ran the 13-inch rMBP through our CalMAN smartphone/tablet workflow to compare it to Apple's iPad and iPhone 5. The results are very impressive (remember for the dE2000 values, lower numbers are better/more accurate colors):

CalMAN Display Comparison
  Apple iPad (3rd gen) Apple iPhone 5 13-inch rMBP (uncalibrated) 13-inch rMBP (calibrated) 15-inch rMBP (calibrated)
Grayscale 200 nits Avg dE2000 3.7333 3.564 1.7825 1.6997 1.8074
CCT Avg (K) 6857K 6925K 6632K 6545K 6583K
Saturation Sweep Avg dE2000 3.193 3.591 2.1663 1.2269 1.335
GMB Colorchecker Avg dE2000 3.0698 4.747 2.4521 1.0966 1.1714

Straight from the factory, the 13-inch rMBP display is a bit more accurate than what you get from the 3rd gen iPad and the iPhone 5. With an additional calibration pass using our i1 Pro spectrophotometer the rMBP display is in a different league. Once again we see relatively similar performance between the 13 and 15-inch rMBP displays.

Achieving Retina - Redux Retina Display: Scrolling & UI Performance
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  • 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

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