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164 of 183 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many fake reviews
UPDATE: 12/11/12

After following Anandtech and their WebKit beta benchmarking awhile back, I've been testing all the newer WebKit builds over the past week and the scrolling gets better and better every few releases. The Pinch to Zoom on text is actually MASSIVELY better than the current actual Safari release. I think it goes a long way in proving, the point...
Published 20 months ago by Adron Gardner

versus
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars first disappointment with Apple
First of all, I'm an Apple-addict :) Have almost all their products. 1) Don't agree with those that the price is too high. MAC's have never been cheap. If you don't have enough money, go and get yourself a Lenovo... 2) Design, feel, all at usual for Mac levels. I personally just hate touching my employer's PC after a weekend home. Feels like plastic that is working 3...
Published 18 months ago by Evgesha


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164 of 183 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many fake reviews, November 4, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
UPDATE: 12/11/12

After following Anandtech and their WebKit beta benchmarking awhile back, I've been testing all the newer WebKit builds over the past week and the scrolling gets better and better every few releases. The Pinch to Zoom on text is actually MASSIVELY better than the current actual Safari release. I think it goes a long way in proving, the point that better threading, Intel 4000 drivers or GPU off loading - or all the above - making everything much snappier on Ivy Bridge SoC retina machines. Surely not too far from an actual Safari update. You can grab a webkit download for free and test it yourself. Updates come out nearly everyday or more often.

***

If you don't own the machine - don't review it. You are polluting the purpose of why Amazon has these here in the first place. To all the people who have "tried" the machine out for 30 seconds scrolling web pages and claim the 15 inch Retina is a better buy - you are wrong. The 15 inch model which I also use at work also depends on the Intel HD4000 for everything on the OS aside from video rendering, Photoshop GPU load or games. The UI performance and web browser scrolling is THE EXACT SAME on the 15 inch model if not worse. You have no business "reviewing" a product without using it for an extended amount of time.

If you are buying this - you are paying for the display. That's all there is to it. I reviewed the 15 incher Retina when we received it at the office and just about everything I said there applies exactly as it does here. The unit I purchased with my own money direct from Apple has been configured with the option Core i7 and 256gb SSD. I will reiterate my standings. I am a daily news and sports photojournalist and also an IT Manager. I work long days and long hours on both. I work with Linux, OS X and just about every flavor of Windows desktop or Server. I need fast, portable and reliable machines for tearing through my .NEF images from my D3 and D700. I need something fast and friendly for accessing Windows via Bootcamp. This 13 inch Retina Macbook is exactly what I need. But just like all of Apple products, it is not for everybody. That is why Apple has such a diverse catalog of machines - somewhere in there, you will find something for your needs at the right price.

PROS:

This is a Macbook Pro through and through. It has a speedy processor that blows through most tasks. Though it's only a dual core, unlike the quad core 15, I/O is still really fast: startup, Application launches, saving, exporting - they are all blisteringly fast for something this small. I can process batches upon batches of RAW images in my now "old" copy of Photoshop CS4 with zero hesitation. It just wipes them out.

Size and weight are PERFECT. The 15 inch Retina is a freaking boat anchor compared to this. It's simply too wide to be truly portable. My 11 inch Macbook Air is a cramped pain to edit more than a few dozen images at a time. This 13 inch Retina weighs marginally more than a 13 inch Macbook Air but not enough that feels significant.

It has a chunky keyboard and comfortable palm rest area.

Who needs a CD drive anymore? Dirt cheap and fast USB flash sticks are quickly becoming the new swappable storage. If you do need one - the USB superdrive isn't bad, but a normal 15" model may be better in this price range.

Speakers and sound quality are simply astonishing for a laptop. I can't hear half what I play on my 11 inch air, here, you can Smokey Robinson or Vampire Weekend boom throughout the room with a real attention to clarity and low distortion.

It's built like a vault and feels more expensive than you will ever pay for it.

The display is just stunning. It's silky and subtle you don't notice fully until you see something else. I had a field assignment yesterday and packed in the Macbook Air 11 because I don't yet have a protective case for this Retina. I about threw up in my mouth for how bad - terrible even - the display on that Air is compared to this. You simply cannot go back.

CONS:

Battery life isn't that great. The five hour range isn't out of the questions, but don't expect a whole lot more than that.

I prefer the Magsafe connector that is parallel to the chassis and not perpendicular like this. That's picky but most Apple users are.

8 gigs of RAM forever sounds scary, but with the fast SSD, it is far less important than it would be with a slow platter drive. The soldered RAM is more of a talking point than actual problem.

THis is not a gaming laptop. PERIOD. I have owned EVERY SINGLE form factor iteration of the Macbook and a good deal of the Pro line, even back to the freaking Powerbook 160. Yes a 160. I can say with authority, the 13 inch Macbooks have NEVER done gaming or video on any level more than passable. I have a fire breathing GTX 670, SSD and 16gb of RAM PC at home for games and we have MacPros at work for FCP and Video.

Though most things are snappy, because of the Ivy Bridge 4000 Graphics, expect Mission Control and some scrolling on graphic heavy websites to drop frames. You can tell there's a struggle to push all those millions of pixels. The 15 incher performs EXACTLY like this. The nVidia discrete graphics acceleration is only called for heavy lifting apps, it isn't used for OS navigation at all. The biggest issue with the graphcs power has nothing to do with Apps - the slower UI navigation shows up most obviously in the "MORE SPACE" display res mode of 1680x1050. Same as the 15 incher. This not a deal breaker though.

If you like to use your machines for work this is a fantastic computer in most ways. If you like buying computers to stare at how quickly Launchpad comes up while pressing the button for it really fast, then this is an expensive machine for that. If you want a gaming laptop - buy a Razer. This computer does just about everything well, save gaming, with a display that is just in a class of it's own. This is totally in line with Apple's product DNA going back the old late 90s Cinema Display driven off crappy ATI Rage graphics with 16(!)mb of VRAM. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

8/10

UPDATE 3:

After living with this machine day in and day out for some time, I am 100% satisfied with my purchase. I will address the "whys' Apple chose the supposed "cheap" Intel 4000 over another discrete unit. Agree or not, this is why:

- Manufacture, dev costs and higher margins. Duh
- Lower power, better battery
- Apple is in love with integration. They are pushing Intel and trying to give them incentive for bulking up their SoC silicon.
- High spec gaming is niche. Fact. Metro 2033 and Battlefield 3 are MIA for Mac and few designers or photographers I know even know they exist.

iOS devices have great integrated graphics and in two years after Haswell and later Broadwell, I would think discrete graphics are facing complete extinction for all X86 mobile computers. Time will tell.

UPDATE 2: Well I had to amend my review. Turns out this thing is in fact pretty good with video. Exporting and manipulating files in FCP is pretty swift. I would say gaming and the CoreAnimation performance are the only two relative weak spots.

UPDATE: Just some Geekbench numbers to toss out there. On the free 32-bit suite, my Retina 13" i7 kicks out a 7759 score, within striking distance of 8580 score for my homebuilt Sandy Bridge i5 3.3ghz quad core with SSD, GTX 670 FTW and 16gb of RAM. Pretty impressive. My Sandy Bridge Air 11" with i7 comparatively scores a 5870. So for the numbers people, this is a reasonable indicator that the machine is a performer. Just not if you're trying to run Battlefield 3 on Ultra in Bootcamp.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal portability and resolution, 4.5 stars, December 4, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The new Retina MacBook Pro is outright gorgeous in terms of its form factor and screen resolution. There are several improvements in this version compared to the 2011 MBPRO 13" that I owned previously:

SIZE - Feels significantly lighter and thinner. Somewhere between the MBAir and old MBPRO. It's almost a full pound lighter than the 4.5lb older MBP. A much more portable feel to it compared to the old MBP.

RESOLUTION - No question, the resolution is what this device is all about. Refreshing new look as the screen is incredibly crisp (and that's an understatement) with it ridiculously high pixels and also more on-screen real estate to work with. The screen is less reflective compared to its predecessor, making it easier to work in bright conditions.

PORTS - Great improvements in my opinion - addition of an HDMI port and moving the second USB port to the other side, giving a USB port on both sides. Makes using them slightly easier. Firewire port replaced with an extra Thunderbolt port. Ethernet port and optical drive eliminated.

MAGSAFE 2 - Original MagSafe connector replaced with MagSafe 2 connector. I personally am not aware of any advantages of the new connector in terms of charging/data transfer speed, but this was annoying because I had to buy another $80 MagSafe 2 charging cable for my office - I leave one at home and one at work.

SPEED - Flash storage makes using this device significantly faster. Boot up time and loading time for apps is super fast. Opening up the screen from standby takes less than a second.

BATTERY - not sure of the battery specs but I get about the same use on this as I did with my older MBP. If I am away from a wall outlet, a full charge is god enough to get me by the day with 20-30% battery remaining. This could of course vary depending on personal usage.

STORAGE and RAM - The rMBP comes with 128GB of flash storage and is also available with a 256GB configuration at an additional $200 or so. A device with higher capacity storage can be configured but that pushes up the price pretty quick and pretty steep. The processor is a 2.5GHz dual-core i5, the Apple rep told me there was no option to get a quadcore processor for this device. Only upgrade possible was I think a i7. If the storage or processor is a deal breaker for you, consider getting the 15" rMBP which comes with a i7 quadcore processor and 256GB flash storage. Performance wise or based on configuration options available, the 15" fares significantly better than the 13" but it is quite a bit more expensive.

Bottomline - the 13" rMBP in my opinion offers a good balance across all MBP and MBA devices - it offers fantastic portability (only slightly thicker than MBA) and great performance (falls short of rMBP 15 but better than other models).

At the end of the day, whether or not to buy this device is entirely a personal decision based on several factors. IMHO, if portability is a major factor for you, the MBA might be better suited though I think if you try both devices side by side, the difference is insignificant. If performance is a must-have in terms of computing power and storage, the 15" is definitely the better option with the additional $500 price tag . If you don't care about either and just need a good functioning Mac, the older version MBP would be perfect and it's much cheaper at $1199. That being said, once you see the resolution and form factor of this rMBP, it would be difficult to go back to the old MBP!
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110 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this may be just the right mix of power and portability for the goldilocks out there, October 24, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
WARNING: My laptop which I fully stand behind the 5 star reveiw and am in LOVE with was STOLEN during intenrational travel. This is just a warning to other users, turn on your find a macbook feature during setup!!! It does work abraod. I am not sure if I set it up in mine but it is not showing up in my icloud :( neither is my other stolen apple device. Only the device that wasn't stolen is surfacing. The device has to be connected to wifi for it to show on the map which is the one downside. Consider installing other anti theft software as well. A huge investment down the drain if you have it lost or stolen so be VERY careful with it!! Once I can afford it I plan on buying the same one again. I paid $2012 for this laptop at the apple store and for this current amazon price I would DEFINATLEY recommend this laptop.

Got my hands on the new macbook pro retina 13 inch 8gb i5 256 today retailing at apple for 1999.
First impressions:
PROS:
-the screen is indeed INCREDIBLE. Images and text appear crisp sharp and stunning. I can't look away. It makes anything look so vivid.
-the size is a plus, the footprint is a little bit smaller than the macbook air. you can probably find pics of the comparison online.
-keyboard is easy to type on, backlit as the others. There is no backspace or page up down key so far those are the differences Ive noticed from my other non mac computer.
-sound is also pretty nice so far. It is actually coming from little slits along both bottom sides of the computer. Although its on the sides it isn't touching the bottom because of the tapered design of the sides. Pretty cool design. Doesn't muffle the sound I find so far.
-it is very thin at first glance from the sides when you look closer you see that the sides are tapered so there is more to it that kind of goes off at an angle underneath.
-weight is about 3.57 pounds. it is noticeably heavier than the macbook air by a little, but not enough to break your back or rule it out as an option for an ultraportable powerful laptop. you can hold it in one hand but it def isn't as fabulous as holding the 11 and 13 airs, few things are.

CONS:
-price, about 2k, yikes!! The odd thing here is that with the apple education pricing for about $7 more you get the base configuration of the 15inch rMBP which gives you more screen, speakers on the sides of the keyboard, an NVIDIA graphics card and an i7 processor in the base model. The 15inch is about a pound heavier a little thinner but longer and wider. It seems like the better deal at this price point so the contemplation will be over how much size and weight matters to you comparatively with the specs you will gain. Ultimately this will depend on how much you will carry the laptop around and what you are buying it for.
-the bottom seems to be heating up quite a bit while streaming videos. I hope this doesn't become a big issue since I really like this laptop!
UPDATE: the part near the screen top and bottom does heat up a bit, I think that is where the battery is. I noticed when I stream videos it can get quite hot, but when I used the HDMI cable to stream videos onto a large tv it did not heat up at all. You have to be careful to make sure not to block the vents at the back of this laptop which are in the hinge area under the screen. I found it not enough of a reason to take it back.

TBD:
-battery life. not sure if it lives up to the 7 hours, so far its still going strong since I pulled it out of the box earlier today. check into professional reviews when they put it through the paces, not many are online yet but will likely be popping up tomorrow and onward.
UPDATE: while streaming videos the battery can be quite short like around 5 hours depending on the settings, but while traveling and without video streaming I was finding it was about 7 like promised.
-HD 4000 graphics card- the biggest concern of mine for this laptop and probably the biggest reason most people won't choose it over the air is that it only has the one HD4000 graphics card which people seem to think may not be enough and no separate NVIDIA graphics card. I am not sure how much this will effect the graphics and video streaming etc in the long run so this is still tbd for me. The apple people said that the extra NVIDIA card is only needed or noticeable when doing 3d gaming or intense video editing so in that case it may not be a problem. So far the videos I have streamed look great and have been playing just fine. Will have to see how much this matters in the end.
UPDATE: video streaming on this was a dream. I only had it stream slowly once I think it may have been the internet connection, but for my usage light editing of pics and vido streaming while watching movies and shows I did not feel like the HD 4000 card was underperforming. Also as other reviews have noted to those who are screaming that just the 4000 card in this machine is a downgrade for a pro, currently all 13 inch mac laptops have the same 4000 graphics card and no other supporting graphics card from what I saw. If you want the extra graphics card go with the 15inch rmbp.

Comparison with 13 inch macbook air:
Graphics quality: I had both the 11inch and 13 inch macbook air previous models but took them both back because although the design of the computer is beautiful there were a few things that I couldn't get past, mainly there was too much noise and fuzzy quality to the graphics when streaming videos which would always catch my eye and bother me. For most people I don't think this will be an issue and although the retina screen is prettier, I don't know if it will be pretty enough to justify $400 and .57 pounds heavier. But for me this was a real sticking point and in this category Pro wins. Although they use the same graphics card everything seems to look better on the pro.

Price: Since you can configure the airs with the same specs as this pro for around 1600-1700 there is def a premium price for a few more ports (mainly addition of HDMI port in the pro) and the screen. Air wins in terms of pricing and for most users the air will likely be the way to go for now. The price is the biggest disappointment in the pro laptop. For the $300 to upgrade the flash storage, you still only get an i5 processor. I think the price/value will improve after a few refreshes but I guess the premium price is for whoever is willing to pay to start using this laptop right away. The education pricing for the pro also only takes $100 off for the 13 inch as compared to $200 for the 15inch. The 15 inch offers a much better value at this price point but for ppl going between the air and the rmbp the size and weight of the 15inch may rule this out leaving you with the option of paying more for less specs in the 13 inch.

Design: Another prob I had with the airs is while the tapered design was beautiful the bottom edge would dig into your wrists while typing and it would be noticeable after a little while and very comfortable. I got around this by putting a case over it which had a soft cover for everything but the trackpad, so it is not an insurmountable problem. So far I don't notice the same problems on the retina pro because the edge is thicker than the pros. I think the airs do look extremely sexy as a laptop even though the external design is pretty much the same as 2008 it is still the best looking laptop out there. The two are kind of tied here. The air and pro are both very beautifully designed computers.

Screen: besides the pixel/quality of the screen, I don't think much can surpass the retina screen in terms of quality but the air screen holds up well on its own, for most users. If you mostly do web browsing email and document processing, I don't think you will miss all of the pixels on the retina screen, even though it makes things look nicer. Where it really is noticeable is in video streaming/editing and picture editing etc. One thing I was worried about was what websites, apps, videos etc that are not "optimized for retina" would look like on this computer since there is some talk that they look terrible and fuzzy. However so far everything I've viewed from many different types of websites and a few apps looks great. No fuzzy jagged edges. I also haven't noticed glare on the screen which is a def plus. A minor difference is preference between the silver bezel and the black bezel edges. The airs silver bezel edges are wider and more noticeable. I think the black looks nicer in terms of it is much narrower and when putting things into fullscreen barely noticeable. Pro wins.

Those are just some first impressions to help others who are thinking of buying this laptop. I waited months and months and months for the air refresh (to see if the graphics improve) and then for the rMBP 13 inch to come out once rumors surfaced so I am glad to finally have found what I think may be the right mac for me. I think most users will go with airs but the pros may be for some users who need just a little more especially in terms of image and graphics quality and are willing to spend extra for it. The price/value/purpose is something that should merit some serious reflection though before pulling the trigger on this one since upgrading to the 256 flash storage takes you above 2k. So far I am very happy with this laptop and find that it addresses everything I wanted in a laptop and then some. If the price was a little less it would def be more palatable. But I hope that this will be an excellent laptop and investment that will last for quite awhile.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars first disappointment with Apple, January 7, 2013
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
First of all, I'm an Apple-addict :) Have almost all their products. 1) Don't agree with those that the price is too high. MAC's have never been cheap. If you don't have enough money, go and get yourself a Lenovo... 2) Design, feel, all at usual for Mac levels. I personally just hate touching my employer's PC after a weekend home. Feels like plastic that is working 3 times as slow as a thin and great looking piece of art. And the tactile feeling that you get! unmatchable! 3) All flash architecture really works - it's literally lightning fast. Even with 20-30 MB RAW photos in Photoshop, not to mention pages and keynote applications. The new rMBP is a great machine, but...

1) I don't know what i'm doing wrong but never ever came even close to proclaimed 7 hours, even when web-surfing... 3-4 max. It's not that bad, but I can spend the whole day using my I-Pad and I want the same flexibility with this machine. It's promised by Apple, but not fulfilled
2) Somehow, if you use your gestures to increase the text size on a web page, not the "command+" combination, the web pages start to scroll really slow!!!! as if somebody turns off your graphic processing capability... try the hockey news site for example
3) Fully agree with those that say that the new MagSafe2 power cord falls off every time! I believe, it's because they made it perpendicular to the machine. I bought their adapter for 9.99 and use the old charger. It hold as it used to...

Hope you find it useful. And final hint. The Macrumours site says "wait" as cycle is approaching its end. Carefully look at the number of days and don't wait, if you decide to buy this machine. MacBooks have never been renewed in less than a year. So, don't expect the new one until 2014...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional machine, December 13, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Skeptical from reviews by those such as Vicky, I still went with this machine and have been settling into it after a week now. All I have to say is wow, if you think this thing is not worth it and you're just paying for the screen that is ridiculous! SSD are expensive, because they are new technology! What a difference this is, I hold it up to my ear and it does not even make a faint hum it is completely noiseless. The responsiveness is incredible with many tabs open in Safari as well as other programs.

I have been an avid PC enthusiast/builder and PC gamer since i could click a mouse, and I finally went to the dark side. I hate to love this thing! I would not even consider it a "laptop" its so much more! The connectivity with my iPhone effortlessly setting up this machine was amazing. It's like my gadgets were talking to each other and I didn't have to worry about the nitty gritty tech details. The first time I opened the calendar on my retina, it already contained everything scheduled on my iPhone!

The retina display is phenomenal. The text is so crisp it makes everything a pleasure to read and write. This machine went way above and beyond my expectations and surprised me with things I didn't even consider like noise level, comprehensive track pad navigation, incorporation of iPhone style layout apps, and incredible responsiveness...this thing is worth every painstaking penny. Also, the speakers sound great just to add another observation. Can't wait to really max out the potential on this thing because I feel I've just scratched the surface.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning display and powerful laptop in a small package, October 28, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
As the first verified purchase review, I can say that this computer exceeded my expectations. I was considering a maxed out Macbook Air, but when the new MBP was released, I reconsidered this. For a few hundred dollars more, I got a Retina display, more memory, and a faster processor while keeping the 13 inch form factor. It is about a pound heavier than the Air, but compared to my old unibody MBP (late-2009), this laptop is very light.

The build quality is very high, as one would expect from a unibody aluminum Macbook. Its very thin, lightweight, and has all the ports you would expect from a MBP. The power button is now a key on the keyboard (which is different from my old MBP). The keyboard feels responsive and not too "clicky", the trackpad is responsive, and its very comfortable to work on in any position.

Once you turn it on, you get the usual Mac experience but with a screen resolution that is simply stunning. This translates to an amazing experience regardless of how you use your Mac, whether its for web browsing, photo editing, watching videos, working in Office, etc. In fact, when I tried to use my old computer, it was hard to readjust to the lower resolution! The SSD is quiet and very responsive, which means it boots up quickly and wakes from sleep almost instantaneously.

The battery life has been very good so far. I get at least 6.5 hours in real world situations, a little less when doing CPU or network intensive tasks.

As for the price, yes this is not an cheap laptop. It will appeal mainly to people who want a powerful but portable laptop that has high end finishes (high resolution display and SSD). As with all Apple computers, you pay for the build quality and dependability along with the excellent in-person support.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime!, March 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
This is simply a paragon of its kind; the best in its class. If it sounds like I'm using hyperbole to convey my point, I'm not. It's really that good of a laptop.The laptop packs all the latest processing power from Intel, a screamingly fast SSD, plus memory that is much improved and is 8GB standard - which is plenty for just about anyone not performing major video or photo manipulation, a keyboard and trackpad that work beyond any other laptop out there, and lastly a battery that generally provides 6-7 hours of battery usage. But we all know the main selling point of this laptop: the screen. Oh man, where to begin. In one word, and as the title implies, it's sublime. Working on it makes any other non-high resolution screen an eye sore; it truly spoils you.

Overall, this is what I would consider a perfect laptop. I could go on and provide in depth details of every single facet to this laptop, but that would be rather banal, and also others have expatiated on it much more, and also with a lot more knowledge than I ever could. All in all I am outstandingly pleased with this purchase. I would highly recommend this laptop!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's The Display, January 24, 2013
By 
Gary Awad "Gcawad" (Ypsilanti, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The retina display is great, performance has been excellent. Long time Windows user moving over to Apple. I recommend no smaller than a 256 GB drive
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lifetime PC user loving my new Mac, December 6, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The stunning retina screen, perfect touchpad, and sturdy design were enough to drag me to Mac after only using Windows machines for the last 21 years. First, a little about myself and my use. I am an ex-teacher turned law student family man. My Win 7 Asus laptop has treated me well for the first two and a half years of law school, and it is still going strong for the most part. About two months ago, I decided to upgrade my laptop, and I did tons of research on new Windows 8 machines. I was about to pull the trigger on the Acer S7, but an amazing deal for this Macbook fell into my hands. I was able to pick this up brand new, sealed, for $1500 cash (no tax).

THE SWITCH
It took me a few minutes to figure out how to install programs, but after that I was able to get most of the programs I use installed easily. I like how OS X 10.8 makes it really easy to start the computer for the first time and install programs. Safari is a terrible browser, and I can't figure out how to do some of the more complicated stuff I do with it. Lastpass does not integrate well with Safari at all. I installed Firefox 18 beta, because it supports Retina graphics, and it works wonderfully.

BUILD
Honestly, my primary reason for buying the Macbook is its appearance and sturdiness. PC guys have always been jealous that they couldn't have a great looking machine (until the recent Asus zenbooks and the Acer S7). I bought my wife a Macbook Air in July, and I loved how it felt like it wasn't going to break in my hands. This Pro feels even better. It feels heavier than it looks. From above it looks just like the Air. There is no flex to the chassis, and the milling of the unibody is excellent. The Pro is thin, and fits in a manilla envelope.

I like all of the ports. HDMI, not just mini-HDMI makes it so I don't need any adapters to connect to my TV's. However, there is no VGA output, so I have to buy an adapter to connect to projectors.

The 256 GB SSD is fast and pretty big. OSX only took up 5 GB of space, leaving 250 GB of free space for all my apps and content. Compare that to Windows 8 installs which might take up to 60 GB.

The screen is amazing. It is all everyone has cracked it up to be. Is it worth the extra money alone (not considering SSD and lighter, thinner build)? Yes.

The power brick and magnet connector work great. The brick is small and takes up about half of the space as my Asus brick. It's also much lighter.

GAMING
I play a few games, mostly using Steam. I was happy to find out that some of my favorite PC games also work on Mac, and I don't have to repurchase a new license. I played Civ 5 so far, but the performance is mediocre. Default settings of 1280x720 and low graphics (fog, terrain, etc) make the game play without any hitch, but nothing looks very good. At 2850x1650 and medium setting, the screen looks pretty nice, but the frame rate is very low. Games load fast, and the processor calculates the bot civs moves faster than my UL30.

NEGATIVES
I am lost without OneNote. Right now, I am typing on my PC because I am forced to use it because finals are this weekend. I tried the OneNote Web App, but it does not work right in a Mac. The keyboard shortcuts are lame on a Mac, and do not work in the Web App. I tried Evernote, but that program is a joke in comparison. I hate to waste money and hard drive space to run Windows on this Mac just so I can use OneNote. This one problem might be enough to make me sell this computer in the next week or two.

Programs without retina support look terrible. Even mainstream programs such as Firefox are just now able to support the Retina display. Steam, Filezilla, and many others do not, and they look like they are being displayed on a 1994 monitor.

CONCLUSION
This is the best built 13 inch laptop on the market. But, the OS and its limitations might make a power PC user go crazy. I don't think the laptop is worth $1999 + tax. I paid almost $700 less than what others are paying, and I think I still paid more than its worth. Apple really needs to make their own notetaking software to compete with OneNote. For people who like to live unorganized lives with apps spread all over the place and lacking good organization software, this might be the way to go.

If you already have your life confined within OS X, then upgrading to the Retina Pro will not hurt you at all, and you will have the best laptop on the market.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best laptop I have had, April 8, 2013
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This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MD213LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
This is my 5th laptop and the best one ever for my use. Applications and documents open instantly due to the total flash memory. The picture is sharp and photo modifications are easy. Light weight make it easy to take most anywhere you might take a tablet and there is so many more benefits to the full computer.
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