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
POST A COMMENT

79 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now