But for me? In the PC industry today, smaller is better. Most manufacturers focus their engineering and marketing muscle on inch laptops, or Apple's design formula is predictable, and excellent. But the MacBook Pro is no ultrabook. Its silver aluminum body is as well-crafted and attractive as ever, even as other manufacturers copy its design in not-so-subtle ways.
The backlit keyboard is good, clicky, well-spaced, and flanked by two impressively loud speakers. And the trackpad really, really matters. And as always, the exceptions look terrible: blurry, large, just ugly. I gave up opening browser tabs to try and cripple the machine after about 50, and everything from 4K footage to iMovie ingestion and rendering happened faster even than I expected.
I've definitely used better gaming machines, but not many. Portal 2 kept up beautifully as well, never doing more than dropping the occasional frame while I plotted and schemed against GLaDOS. The library of games available for OS X still trails Windows, so the hardest of hardcore gamers should look elsewhere, but everything I found ran beautifully.
This is a hugely powerful machine, and it held up to absolutely everything I tested — and then to most of those things all at once. It resumes from sleep in about three seconds, and boots from dead in about The most impressive part, though, is that all this comes with almost no penalty to battery life. The inch Pro lasted 9 hours, 35 minutes on the Verge Battery Test, which cycles through a series of popular websites and high-res images with brightness set to 65 percent. I also played more than two hours of Portal 2 without killing the battery — this laptop is built to last.
The inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is probably the best all-around laptop on the market. I hope Apple follows its iPad strategy next time, and slims this high-end machine down while bringing its gorgeous display and horsepower to the cheaper, smaller model. A inch MacBook Air with Retina display would be awfully close to perfect. Since then, Windows notebook makers have rolled out Retina-like competitors, but now Apple is out to leapfrog the field again.
Plus, Apple now includes its new iWork and iLife suites for free. The result is a 4. Apple didn't change anything about the inch MacBook Pro's design, but we're not complaining. The silver aluminum chassis has the same solid and premium look and feel as before, with a black bezel around the display providing a pop of contrast.
On the lid you'll find Apple's trademark backlit logo, and the deck houses a backlit keyboard flanked by two speakers. Weighing 4. This machine isn't ideal for frequent travelers it's about a pound heavier than the new inch Pro but if you really need a lot of horsepower on the road you'll probably be fine with the larger footprint.
Click to Enlarge The left side of the inch Retina MacBook Pro houses two new Thunderbolt 2 ports that promise twice the bandwidth of the original Thunderbolt. We're talking up to 20 Gbps, or four times faster than USB 3. As the world waits for blazing-fast peripherals to match, you can use one of two USB 3.
The MagSafe 2 power connector, headphone jack and dual microphones also line the left side. In addition to a second USB 3. We still find it annoying that memory cards protrude from the notebook when inserted. While running various benchmarks, the MacBook Pro's fan occasionally got loud enough for us to hear it from across the room, but it wasn't too disturbing. The inch MacBook Pro can run quite warm under stress.
After playing "World of Warcraft" for 15 minutes, the bottom of the notebook and the center of the keyboard reached degrees, We consider anything above 95 degrees to be uncomfortable. At least the touchpad stayed a cool 80 degrees. Fortunately, this laptop remained fairly chilly after streaming a Hulu video for 15 minutes. The bottom center area registered 84 degrees, the touchpad 78 and the area between the G and H keys 91 degrees. That same hot spot from our gaming test--the underside near the hinge-reached 94 degrees.
This panel is bright and offers a fantastic amount of detail along with rich and bold colors. With a resolution of x pixels, everything from app icons in Launchpad and text on websites to high-resolution photos looked razor sharp. When viewing the full HD trailer for "Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the Shire looked so lush that it felt like we could reach out and touch the grass.
We could also make out every wrinkle in Gandalf's forehead. Thanks to the degree viewing angles, three people can easily gather around this notebook to view content. Click to Enlarge We also enjoyed an ornate x pixel image of a Japan pagoda at night. The gold-and- azure-blue structure popped off the screen, and we could discern very fine details in the facade.
The inch MacBook Pro's screen is plenty bright, too. The panel measured lux on our light meter, compared to lux for the Asus Zenbook UX51vz. The category average is lux. Our only complaint about this panel is that it can be difficult to read outdoors due to glare. Viewing angles were narrow as we tried to take some photos of the screen. The only inch notebook we've reviewed that comes close to this MacBook Pro in terms of resolution is the Asus UX51Vz, which has a x pixel screen.
With two speakers on either side of the keyboard, the inch Retina MacBook Pro offers clear audio even at maximum volume. The notebook filled most of our hotel room with sound when we cranked up Ellie Goulding's "Burn. However, we do wish this MacBook had a richer bottom end. The x p camera atop the inch MacBook Pro captured a warm and accurate image of our face as we waited for a flight.
There was a bit of fuzziness in the shot, but we could easily make out details in our shirt and jacket. Click to Enlarge The inch MacBook Pro line keeps the same great layout as it predecessor, with black keys that provide plenty of travel and snappy response.
Each key is individually backlit, making it easy to type in dim lighting. We also noticed zero flex as we typed this review. The top row houses several handy direct actions keys, including brightness controls, shortcuts for Mission Control and Launchpad and media controls. The 4. We especially like the ability to show the desktop spread with three fingers and launch Mission Control four fingers up. Swiping in with two fingers from the right shows your alerts in the Notification Center.
Unlike many Windows machines, pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling is like butter. We reviewed the high-end configuration of the inch Retina MacBook Pro, which was built to delight multitaskers. Our model features a fourth-generation 2. Click to Enlarge Whether you're processing RAW images or transcoding video, you'll have a hard time getting this system to flinch under a heavy load.
Plus, the Pro flew through various benchmarks. The inch MacBook Pro started off strong with a second boot time, which is a second faster than the last-gen model and more than twice as fast as the average Windows notebook. On Geekbench 3, which measures overall performance, the latest Pro notched 13,
Thanks to its pixel density of DPI , the human eye could not see individual pixels. The first models with this IPS display had issues with ghosting, but that was fixed very quickly. The price for such a notebook is still very high. However, fans of Mac OS and the Retina resolution can be happy about a positive price development.
Thanks to the combination of performance, a sturdy aluminum case and the comparatively low weight, it qualifies for multimedia purposes. However, the competition does not sleep. We will use notebooks from several price ranges for a comparison with the MacBook Pro Retina. However, it has a higher-resolution touch display with x pixels. We are talking about notebooks with graphics cards based on Nvidia's Kepler architecture, which was already replaced by the Maxwell architecture in March , so there is probably going to be an update from Apple and other manufacturers soon.
The case is manufactured from a single piece of aluminum and this did not change compared to the first Retina model. It can still convince us with its sturdiness and the perfect build quality; only the front edge of the case is somewhat sharp at the corners and was not reworked for this version. Overall, the aluminum leaves a dignified impression and also feels splendid.
The keyboard and trackpad layout of the two devices is very similar as well. You can open the base unit when you loosen five Pentalobe screws, but all you can do is look at the components, you cannot actually maintain anything. Similar to all Retina models you can neither remove nor replace the battery.
This is not necessarily the price of the slim chassis when you look at the Dell XPS 15 , which gives you access to all of the important components at this point. Nothing really changed in this category at a first look, either. The problem with this is the high price of the corresponding adaptors. Apple offers optional Thunderbolt adaptors when you buy the notebook. A new feature is the maximum resolution for external displays. The port layout is convenient in the rear area of the notebook, so there will not be any issues with attached cables.
The problem with a slim 18 mm case is that thicker and protruding USB sticks can lift the notebook, which we noticed in the review of the inch version. While the predecessor supported the IEEE The completely subjective performance during normal web browsing and downloading appears very smooth and fast. The router was one floor above the review units and we determined a reasonably constant transfer rate of 50 Mbps.
Apple does not only save money on the box, but also in terms of accessories. Apart from a microfiber cloth and the extension cord for the MagSafe 2 you do not get anything. We already mentioned the bad maintainability of the Retina-series because of non-removable components in the Case section. Our colleagues from iFixit only rate the notebook with 1 of 10 possible points as a result. As usual for Apple devices, you just get a one-year manufacturer's warranty with all support features after the purchase.
The black chiclet keyboard with a stage background illumination can convince us in every respect with precise pressure points and convenient feedback. Clattering noise from the keys is minimal, which results in a pleasant noise during typing. The keyboards of all MacBooks are similar, so there are no size differences between the inch and inch MacBook. Unfortunately, this also means there are no special keys or shortcuts, even though the space is available. Instead of special keys, you get microphone and speaker grills on both sides of the keyboard.
Apple is essentially the pioneer concerning the trackpad when you are looking for a mouse replacement and multi-touch. Gestures like wiping or zooming are very smooth and no problem with up to four fingers. The trackpad reacts very precisely and directly. We could not determine any issues in the peripheral areas, either.
Primary and secondary clicks can either be executed with one and two-finger taps, respectively, or in the lower corners with a mechanical feedback. All in all the glass trackpad can still convince us and allows, depending on the scenario, a similar working speed as with an external mouse. Under Windows via Boot Camp, you cannot use most multi-touch gestures and the overall operation is noticeably slower compared to Mac OS.
Unfortunately, there are no settings for the gestures at all. Apple still uses a high-quality IPS panel with a maximum resolution of x pixels. The display got more anti-reflective over the years, which is actually clearly visible with light sources from behind. However, this is still a glossy display, which results in brilliant colors, but it creates problems in certain environments.
The first versions of the Retina model used an IPS panel from LG, which had issues with ghosting where objects burned into the display. This is fortunately not the case anymore. The comparison between Windows and Mac OS still shows that the high resolution creates compatibility problems under Windows. Application windows, symbols and some games have scaling issues. Some buttons can easily disappear in deformed windows.
High resolutions have become established under Mac OS by now. Applications and symbols are displayed without visible pixels and without issues. Most manufacturers also updated their software with high resolutions since the introduction of the Retina-series, so there are no problems during operation.
The presentation under Windows and Mac OS can vary due to the use of different color profiles. Under Mac OS we can measure a contrast of and an almost perfect color temperature of 6, K. The resulting black value of 0. However, the MacBook Retina is clearly beaten in terms of maximum brightness. Compared to the Acer R7 , the MacBook falls behind in the contrast and black value. A contrast of almost 1, and a slightly lower average brightness of The analysis of the color presentation reveals above-average results.
Multimedia notebooks from the last couple of years had an average DeltaE deviation of 9 for the grayscale. This result is similar for the colors with a DeltaE deviation of 1. Even though the Apple display is anti-reflective for direct light sources, it is still far away from a matte panel.
The contrast and the brightness are sufficient to work in the shade. However, you should look for an alternative if you frequently work outdoors, especially in brighter environments, since Apple waived the matte display option with the launch of the Retina-series. Thanks to the IPS display, the viewing angle stability is perfect in any direction.
Colors and the brightness are hardly distorted, or not at all. Even extreme angles from the sides are no problem for the display. The maximum opening angle could be a bit bigger , but it is sufficient for use on your lap. The inch Retina-series is divided into two sub categories. One with an integrated graphics card, and the other with an additional dedicated graphics card from Nvidia.
Intel specifies the maximum Turbo Boost with 3. We will check the effect on the battery runtimes later in this review. Now we compare and analyze the benchmark results. The Cinebench benchmarks show that there is no appreciable performance difference between Windows and Mac OS. The small differences are a result of the variance of these benchmarks. The MacBook does not have an advantage over its rivals, but it is on the same level.
We could not determine any throttling under Mac OS , despite our continuous stress test with a Terminal process, a Cinebench loop and the Unigine benchmark. The Turbo Boost is immediately activated again as soon as the CPU cooled down after a period at the nominal clock. The throttling behavior changes dramatically under Windows.
The CPU performance is not affected on battery power according to the Multi-Core test of Cinebench R15 and the results do not differ from mains power. Subjectively, the system performance and the reaction times in particular are very fast. This is also confirmed by the PCMark 7 score under Windows.
With 5, points , the MacBook is pretty much on the same level with the Dell XPS 15 and the first Retina from is also pretty close with 5, points. The MacBook Pro Retina 15 has a clear advantage over its smaller inch sibling. The differences are even bigger compared to the MacBook Air. Another interesting aspect is the comparison with the Dell S , which ran this test suite under Ubuntu. One reason for the high system performance of the MacBook is the integrated storage solution.
We know this problem since the change to the PCIe interface. The Nvidia GPU is familiar since it is used for many multimedia notebooks. Apple will probably use the new Nvidia chips in the upcoming MacBook-series. This means the GPU of our review unit uses the maximum amount of memory , so the GPU should have an advantage over other versions of this chip in the benchmarks. We can see a dynamic switching of the two graphics cards under Mac OS X Mavericks depending on the application.
This also means that the power consumption under Windows will be much higher because the switchable graphics does not work, and that the battery runtimes are shorter compared to Mac OS. The variety of games under Mac OS was improved significantly over the last couple of years, thanks to services like Steam and Origin.
Still, most games are just ports that usually result in lower performance. We managed around 60 fps with Tomb Raider on the lowest settings, which is roughly half of the frame rate that we measured under Windows. As a result, we focus on Windows in terms of gaming and test some interesting titles. The most current games can be played smoothly with medium or even high details. For instance, Titanfall that was released this year runs with 43 fps and high settings.
Wolfenstein was no problem either with 60 fps and medium details. Compared to its rivals, the MacBook is usually on the same level or even a bit faster. Only the Dell XPS 15 manages a few more frames per second in almost every title. The comparison with the new series is interesting and, as we already assumed, it offers significantly more performance. The very complex game Company of Heroes 2 can be played with The MacBook Pro Retina is quiet, very quiet. We can hardly hear anything during idle and with light workloads like office tasks.
This impression is confirmed by our measurements. As soon as you stress the Apple device, the fans slowly start to increase their rpm levels. The resulting noise is, however, always pleasant and does not include any annoying frequencies. The notebook stays very quiet under Mac OS thanks to the activated switchable graphics and the sophisticated fan control.
We can see that the rpm level of the fans always slowly increases to the maximum level under Windows , even with light workloads. In this load scenario or with the maximum rpm level of the fans, respectively, we can measure The following picture shows the noise characteristics of the MacBook Pro 15 Retina in our review configuration. Both fans are spinning at rpm while idling. Aluminum has the advantage of a stylish design and the distribution of local hot spots. The problem is that this material warms up somewhat quickly and, because of the thin construction of the device, it can result in unpleasant temperatures.
Especially striking is that the hot spot of the heat development is on top of the keyboard. Dell's hot spot of Still, the heat development is subjectively always fine in practice. As we mentioned in the Processor section, we can see a drop below the nominal clock under Windows, but not under Mac OS. A 3DMark 06 run after the stress test did not show any restrictions and resulted in 16, points.
The stereo speakers convince with their sound diversity during music playback and the whole sound spectrum is available. Bass could be stronger, but it is okay for a notebook without a subwoofer. Compared to a inch Retina MacBook we can hear a significantly richer sound.
The power adaptors from Apple are rather small for the application and get noticeably warm as a result, so you should not cover them with blankets or put them on sofas. Intel Core iHQ 4 x 2. Apple introduced its reworked inch MacBook Pro Retina last autumn. This year's MacBook Pro 15" is one of the best laptops we've reviewed for this form factor.
Anyone who loves quality images will love this computer. Our only qualm with it is the limited number of ports. Everything else is great The new Haswell based processor doesn't give it a huge boost in performance but gives it even more running time such that people can get a full performance laptop that runs as long as an ultrabook.
Does it last much longer than any other laptop in its class? But does that mean you should buy one? The inch model, however, is where things begin to get really interesting. This is one of the best large-screen laptops on the market.