Aditya Agarwal
Different Perspectives

blog

The New Macbook Pro with Retina Display reviewed. The world is so "Yesterday"!

image

Finding words to describe the first look at Apple’s new Macbook Pro with Retina display, I came up with just one. Astonishing.

Over the past many years, Apple has set the standard for notebook design. This time they upped it many folds.
It just so happened that while I was attending the WWDC 2012 keynote in SFO, Phil Schiller announced the new Retina MBP. (Yeah! I do get bragging rights for being at WWDC. Its the coolest event on Earth). As he was revealing how amazing the new machine was, I could not help notice that I suddenly just wanted to get out of the keynote, rush to the nearest Apple store and check one out. But I didn’t, cause a lot of other cool things were about to follow.
But I stood in a line at 6AM the next morning at the local Apple Store and managed to get me one. It was a crazy feeling of achievement. An achievement where I blew a lot of money. ;-)
So how does the new MBP compare and to its predecessors? What does this mean to Mac users? Lets take a dig.
DESIGN:
The ever so popular MBP has shed weight. And a good amount. Now it weighs just 2 Kgs, has lost the Superdrive, lost “legacy” ports and looks fitter than ever. Measuring just 0.71 inches thick, the new MBP feels a lot lighter to lug around. The enclosure is the same perfected unibody design which I believe Apple will hang on to until they can commercially use the liquid metal tech they are woking on.
image
DISPLAY:
Seriously. ITS GOOD. ITS BRILLIANT! Its even better than the iPhone/iPad retina displays. I am not kidding. You MUST see it to believe it. The display carries a whopping 2880x1800 pixels in 15.4 inches of sheer perfection.
Though Apple advertises the enhanced resolution, what is does not, is the HiDPI technology it uses. What HiDPI does is that it doubles the resolution of text and graphics but the desktop space is the same as before. Only super crisp. So effectively the 2880x1800 resolution is displayed as a crisp 1400x900. You also have an option to scale the display to higher effective resolution to get more desktop space whilst making things look smaller.
image
The retina display on the MBP outclasses every other display available on this planet and takes Apple ahead at least 2 years in this segment. Other things like colour accuracy, black levels have also improved considerably.
Though a picture wont do justice, still…. you can make out the “ZERO PIXELATION”
image
image
The retina display itself would command an upgrade to this machine, if you can spare this much mullah.
UPGRADABILITY:
Generally, I would not have discussed this. But in this case it kinda matters. The new MBP Retina is completely “non upgradable”. The RAM is soldiered on to the motherboard. Though Apple was generous to give 8GB across the line. The flash storage is a proprietary design and will not work with 3rd party off market upgrades.
This might be a deal breaker to some. And some might not be bothered with this.
But whatever it is, either get the highest possible config now, or forever hold your peace.
PERFORMANCE:
The MBP uses the new Intel Ivy bridge Quad Core processors and are incredibly fast compared to the earlier machines. In fact in the Geekbench tests, it trumps the Mac Pro. This is some serious computing power.
image
image
EXPANSION PORTS: 
When Apple announced that the new MBP’s have got USB 3.0 now, a lot of Windows fanboys flamed them for bringing it too late. But what Apple did better was to have a common port for USB 2.0 and 3.0. Unlike the PC/Windows Laptops which have a “BLUE” Port for USB 3.0. Seriously???? “BLUE”???.
Other than that the MBP has 2 Thunderbolt ports, enough for your data/video/expansion desires. Now that a lot of companies offer thunderbolt accessories, this is a good and welcome upgrade.
The machines also has a dedicated HDMI port. You can directly connect to your TV now and enjoy a big screen experience. Also helps a lot with presentations.
image
 image
BATTERY:
It was a challenge for Apple to drive the 5184000 pixels on this machine and still be able to provide a good battery life. The innards of the machine now has a major area dedicated to the battery. The battery still gives a claimed 7 hours backup which is pretty nice.
ENGINEERING:
There are tons of improvement inside the machine which the average user might never come to know. They will just get used to it over time. The asymmetrical fans, the new heat ventilation system, the new logic board layout and  most importantly the Retina display in the incredibly thin enclosure. All engineering marvels.

FLASH STORAGE:

The new MBP has the same kind of flash storage that was shipping with the Macbook Air since 2010. But it is almost 200% faster. In fact it is one of the fastest available today. In all my tests I got consistent write speeds of above 400MB/s and read speeds of above 440MB/s.

image
WHATS GONE:
1. Superdrive
2. Battery indicator on the outer shell
3. Firewire Port. Though there is a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter coming out soon.
4. Ethernet Port. You need to use a TB to Ethernet adapter.
This machine is a showcase of the future Apple holds for its notebook lines. And surely within a year all notebooks from Apple would be on similar configs.
Again, this is one of the best notebooks available as of today.