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Customer Review

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Computer I Have Ever Owned or Used, July 28, 2012
This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro MC975LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
One year after purchasing a 2011 MacBook Pro 15" with a high resolution screen upgrade I have upgraded once again to this new model. I am very glad to have done so.

Originally, I loved my 2011 MBP and it was, up until I received this model, the fastest computer I have owned. About 2 months after purchasing the MBP I purchased an 11" MacBook Air for portability. Ultimately, I ended up using the Air more than the Pro due to its weight and solid state flash hard drive, which made it safer to use while moving. This new Retina Pro has an SSD and weighs less than my previous Pro. It is also as thin as my Air, making it a much more portable machine. Booting up the Retina Pro is extremely fast, normally less than 20 seconds for me.

As far as the display goes, it is quite impressive. Apple says that it is less prone to glare/reflection than previous generation MBP glossy displays, which is true. I compared it outside next to my 2011 Pro and it does reflect substantially less light. It still is more reflective than the matte screen on the Air but also has better color for movies. I also went ahead and downloaded an app called SetResX which allows me to set the screen to its native resolution. This is remarkably clear but does require you to get close to the screen to read anything. It is definitely not a usable resolution but is fun to demonstrate to people curious about the screen. I personally have mine set to the highest "scaled" resolution (1920 x 1200), which was the native resolution on the 17" MBP before it was discontinued. For me this resolution works great, allowing more windows to fit on the screen at one time. In case you are curious I have also discovered that putting iLife apps into full screen mode does switch the screen to its native resolution. I found this by opening iPhoto in full screen - my 14 megapixel photos were scaled down and filled the screen, but 4 megapixel photos did not fill the whole screen, they were shown exactly pixel-for-pixel. The apps must scale up their text and buttons to make them readable.

The speed of this computer is another huge boost. It comes standard with a faster processor, better graphics cards, faster RAM, and a SSD. All of these improvements combined make for a better computer experience than all previous generations of MacBooks. It even has USB 3.0 now, allowing for cheaper-than-Thunderbolt high-speed USB hard drives to be used. Since it only has 256GB of hard drive space, I have purchased a 64GB SDXC card to hold movies and infrequently-used apps. The SD slot and class 10 card allow me to read at 45MB/s and write at 40MB/s, which is much faster than I expected and allows me to use this card to directly run apps from. I also use iTunes Match for my music, allowing me to store about 5GB worth on the SSD and download more of my 30GB library as needed, normally at better-quality than it actually is since all iTunes music is 256Kbps.

All of the Apple claims for this machine are true. It is thinner, lighter, and faster than the previous model. It sports an incredible display, the ability to connect up to three external displays at the same time (tested and it works), and extreme speed. The battery does last 7 hours when doing basic tasks at 60-75% brightness. OS X Mountain Lion makes the new computer even better, improving its wake from sleep time and adding many useful features.

I highly recommend this computer to anyone looking for something powerful, thin, light, and with excellent graphics. I had considered waiting for a 13" MacBook Pro Retina but am glad I did not, as it will have a lower resolution and less space to work with. Unless you need massive amounts of built-in hard drive space this computer is the best you can currently buy. Its specs are on the same level as some high-end Windows gaming laptops but has twice the battery life and almost 3 times the display resolution. Therefore, $2,200 is a fair price for what you are getting.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 28, 2012 11:38:59 AM PDT
Oswald63 says:
How's the scrolling?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:08:55 PM PDT
Jake says:
I have experienced no trouble with the scrolling at all. As a 4-year Mac owner I prefer the former type of scrolling (swipe down to scroll down) so I have the "Natural scrolling" disabled. I personally find it difficult to use Windows machines now since most have trackpads that do not compare with the ones on MacBooks. I love the multitouch and use it all the time - 3 fingers to swipe between Spaces, 2 fingers to scroll up, down, left, or right, and two finger click to right-click.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:15:53 PM PDT
Jake says:
Also, after viewing these videos I performed some testing. If you have many apps/tabs open, videos playing, or other multitasking going on (like all the sample videos did) it may seem to scroll somewhat slow. By turning off the "automatic graphics switching" the scrolling instantly goes back to perfect, so it must be trying to use the Intel graphics when it needs more power. I believe this is because it will only automatically switch if one app is using tons of graphics power, so there will likely be an update soon to fix that. Anyway, it is clear that the computer can do all of these tasks quickly at one time, it just needs to use the Nvidia graphics card instead. Yes, this will cut the battery life shorter but that is just the price you pay for extreme multitasking on an extremely high resolution screen.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:20:59 PM PDT
Oswald63 says:
This continues to be a mystery. Apple has said nothing and the update to Mountain Lion made a slight improvement according to Anandtech and some posters in Mac forums, but the issue still exists with theories running in multiple directions.

Is it true that in the non-scaled native 2880 resolution that there is no lag?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:29:35 PM PDT
Jake says:
Well I have it running scaled and do not experience lag and it works the same in native resolution. The only times I have experienced scrolling lag were when I had 5 other apps open, including a movie playing, and when I was using the multitouch zoom on Safari and trying to scroll on a zoomed-in page (with 6 tabs open). This is a mystery but does not annoy me, so I do not see it as a problem. Also, in both circumstances above, when I would turn off the auto switching to force the MacBook to use Nvidia graphics, the scrolling lag would immediately cease. I think it must be that a combination of the high-res display, scaled resolution, and multitasking can start to overload the Intel graphics, but the computer does not automatically switch because using the About This Mac it still shows Intel graphics are in use. Apple probably needs to improve the automatic switching software somehow, but that could cause more people to complain about reduced battery life.
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