Customer Reviews: Apple MacBook Pro ME293LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION)
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on December 24, 2013
Let me preface my review by saying, I own this machine. I am not one to write a scathing review for an Apple product just because it's an Apple product. I have an iPhone 5, an iPad Mini with Retina Display and this laptop. You can check my other reviews and see that I say plenty of good things about Apple products and accessories.

That being said, this laptop is not worth the asking price. No doubt, it boasts highest specs in the consumer laptop market at the moment. However, there are some critical flaws:

1) Creaking noise: As mentioned by some of the other reviewers, this laptop is full of creaks. Whether because the chassis is so thin or because the bottom cover of the laptop is not screwed in tight enough, there is enough creaking to annoy even the least OCD person. The creaking is strictly a problem of aesthetics, but when you're plunking down an equivalent of a downpayment for a car, you should expect quality befitting the price.

2) Retina-ready apps: Despite being on the market for over a year, there's still abundance of non-retina ready apps and websites that make you just want to rip your hair out. I'm working for a company that uses a JAVA Applet, and the application just looks bad every time I use it. Even Microsoft Office 2011, which supposedly is retina ready, has some elements which haven't been completely redesigned for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

3) Performance: Even with the new Haswell processor and the IRIS integrated GPU, there are lags present in many website (Gmail scrolling...).

4) Screen Brightness: One of the first things i've noticed with this laptop is that the brightness is well below most high-end laptops in the market. I googled to see if anyone else noticed the same thing, and sure enough, I read an article that said that the brightness in the MBPr has been reduced by as much as 20% from the MBP in the past in part due to battery life...

5) Battery Life: Which brings me to another annoyance with the MBPr: lackluster battery life. Despite the new Haswell processors sipping power, the battery life is hardly any better than the MBP 13" 2011-2012 that my sister has.

6) They keyboard has low travel. That is, when you press on a particular key, you kind of want that solid push/feel. It's a feedback that tells you, yes, you did indeed press the key. Compared to MacBook Pro Classic or even the MacBook Air, the keys on the MacBook Pro Retina doesn't push down as low. I had a hard time the first few days of using this laptop, but I've gotten used to it so I suppose it's not a huge issue.


Don't get me wrong, this is a powerful machine that rivals almost any other laptop in the market. I'm going to keep using it until its wheels fall off. I only want to warn potential buyers that there are issues with the laptop which you should know about before pressing that yellow Add to Cart button.
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on October 28, 2013
Purchased October 23, 2013 from Delivered October 25.

Pros: Fast. Good battery life. Light. Thin.

Cons: Inconsistent display (probably doesn't matter to 90% of users). Non-upgradable hardware.

Cons (sort of): No Ethernet port, CD drive, DVI out. Wi-FI/USB DVD drive/HDMI are your only options there.

In some ways the satisfaction of any product is related to the expectations you go in with beforehand. With respect to anything in the bottom half of this computer, it satisfies or exceeds expectations.

I'm not a chiclet keyboard guy myself, but that's the way all laptops basically are these days. This is as good of a chiclet keyboard as any and probably better than many.
The touchpad works great once you switch it back to normal scrolling instead of reverse scrolling. I also recommend enabling tap-to-click. The giant button that is the trackpad is a little stiff. No 10-key numpad. May be annoying for some. I personally prefer Windows keyboards, but I'm not sure how relevant that is, since I hope everyone is aware that Macs have different keyboard setups.

Fast. Everything I've done on the computer so far has been as good as instantaneous. Wi-Fi works great. I haven't felt in any situation where the higher-specced Macbook would have been noticeably better.

Battery life
As far as I can tell, lives up to everything promised. With light use (Internet, word processing, 70% brightness), you'll get a good 7-8 hours.

The problem comes with the screen. As far as I can tell, I do not have any of the ghosting problems of generations past. However, the screen is not color uniform! There is a yellow tint on the bottom left and across the right side of my screen (alternatively, there's a blue tint in the middle and upper left of my screen). It's fairly faint and not something 90% people would notice in casual use, to be honest. But I'm color sensitive (check your color sensitivity by Googling x-rite color challenge) and I notice these things and I want to edit photos and video, so color uniformity matters to me. Anyway, I'm taking it to the Apple store this weekend to see if they'll exchange it, and will report back with an update.

Update: They will not exchange it at the Apple store because I bought it online (???), so I have to wait for a replacement unit in the mail.

Update 2: Got the replacement in the mail. So far as I can tell, the color issue is gone, but the viewing angle isn't quite as good. Worth the tradeoff to me.
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on May 1, 2014
I seldom write reviews but I have now had my MacBook Pro with 15" Retinal Display for 6 full months typically using it for 8-10 hours a day and I am absolutely thrilled with it. I am a technologist and it has been a long time since I have been really excited about a product so I decided I should give a testimonial.

I have been a PC user since 1983 and typically buy the latest and best windows computer I can find every 3-4 years. Last fall it was time to replace my Fujitsu laptop with something new. As a technology and management consultant that lives on my PC, I needed a great laptop that I could work on while at client sites and I needed to work mostly in the PC world due to a number of my PC based applications being required for my consulting. Further I also trade the stock market and many of my trading tools are PC based. I also do a lot of public speaking, teaching, and presenting so needed a computer that can connect to projectors and other display devices with ease.

After extensive research looking for the perfect PC I kept coming back to the Mac Book Pro with 15" Retina Display as the best machine I could find. Unfortunately it was not a PC but because many of the names I usually buy, HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Winbook seemed to be focusing on the lower end of the market I was having difficulty getting excited about their products. While the MacBook Pro looked interesting, I have never been an Apple person so was very hesitant to take the plunge and further Apple had only a 14 day return policy so that wasn't a sufficient amount of time for me to really try a new computer and hope to return it if it didn't work out so that equated to high risk for me. Then during the Christmas holiday's Apple came out with a promotion where they extended their return policy from 14 days to include the entire holiday period so I could still return it after the Christmas holiday. With about a month and a half to try it out I decided to give it a try receiving my computer in early Nov 2013.

My configuration is 2.6 Ghz I-7 CPU, 16G memory, 500GB SSD. I use two 27" Samsung monitors in addition to the 15" MacBook Pro display. I drive one display off a thunderbolt to VGA adapter and the other directly off the HDMI port and this configuration works flawlessly. So I have three monitors running at all times when trading the market or working from my home office. I also bought a 3rd party 256 GB SSD external thunderbolt drive and a 3rd party 1TB USB 3.0 drive for additional storage. Initially I installed Windows 8.1 Pro under Bootcamp. It has been six months so I don't remember all of the issues I came across but it was not a good solution for me as there were to many compromises. Then I install VMware Fusion 6 and was able to import the Win 8.1 Pro bootcamp environment I had originally installed. This worked pretty good. Well better then pretty good as it meets all of my needs and is really cool. I now have three different separately licensed Win 8.1 Pro virtual environments, in addition to a Win XP environment running on my MacBook Pro with no noticeable impact on performance. All run very stable and reliably. Also I am using the Mac OSX environment for some things as well. So this is like having four computers all in one easy to carry unit.

Finally I travel a lot so was looking for a laptop with a big screen but still small enough form-factor to fit into the little room safe you now find in many hotel rooms. That way I can lock it up and not worry every time I leave the room. My Macbook Pro fits nicely into the room safe so no issues there. So I don't forget to mention it, let me also add that battery life seems to be more than adequate.

So in summary I was able to move from a long life in PC land onto a blended OSX, Windows environment. The transition was painful for the first few weeks due to having to learn OSX and working through what didn't work well (bootcamp) or worked different. But after those first few weeks it just got better and better. I really enjoy working on this computer.
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on December 16, 2013
This is the best machine money can buy. Don't settle for the smaller 13 inch version. You'll lose sleep and be thinking about this computer. It's faster and just down right dominant. It's worth the extra money to shell out and get what you deserve. A quality product that will last several years than that Dell or Sony you just bought on sale over Black Friday.
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on January 19, 2014
This is an expensive computer, but it is worth it.
15" Retina display is awesome.
Computer is very fast. Huge upgrade over my 2010 Macbook. SSD is awesome, but wish that it was larger considering the price.

Overall very satisfied.
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on April 25, 2014
I had my 2nd MBP for 6 years -- about twice as long as any other computer I've owned. I'm a manufacturing guy by trade and experience. I love the manufactured quality rather than the cheap plastic junk sold by others. Of course, the computer aspects are the reason we buy these things: Retina Display is quite amazing -- beautiful dense color; the flash-based storage makes the computer boot and respond very quickly. Applications seem to be very snappy compared to their counterparts on my 2008 MBP. When they get an affordable Terabyte of flash memory in one of these things, they'll really have something. The speed is exceptional and the boatload of fully functional on-board apps makes the computer totally capable out of the box. I knew it only had 256Gb of flash drive going in and I'm dealing with it, but, for me, that is the only downside. BUT that much memory does not invite much use of the iTunes store (especially in the video departments) and I find that a little ironic.
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on January 18, 2014
For the last year or so, I have been using an iphone and an ipad. I have never tried an apple computer before, I have been using pc's since about 1984 exclusively and I know them well. Decided to go with a macbook based on comparing windows 8 laptops and the mac's at the local best buy.. The mac looked and felt like a higher quality machine. I am blown away with how it works. It does take a little getting used to but I think I am a convert to the Apple way now.
The things I like best are the speed of startup and speed of getting around online. I can't think of anything that I don't like about it. Yes the price is high, but you get what you pay for.
My son is a computer geek and I can barely pry this thing out of his hands. It is his first in depth experience with an Apple computer and he is sold on them too.
I would give my highest recommendation for this computer.
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on May 22, 2014
Very simply a fantastic computer. I bought this as a birthday present for my wife. She was using a four year old Mac Book Pro that had been a workhorse for her business and personal computer needs.
With Apple sometimes it is hard to discern the magnitude of the upgrades to their hardware when your old Mac is doing fine. However, the quality of the meticulous construction is apparent when you compare side by side.
The weight difference and depth of screen acuity is stunning. They look the same but after the obvious you notice the speed difference immediately running Mavericks.
With a larger hard drive and screaming speed we have been very happy with this purchase!
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on October 13, 2014
Solid Laptop, i was concerned about the 2.0 processor for gaming, i have windows 8 duel booted via bootcamp and i can play battlefield 4 everything low settings and a slightly lower frame size than 1920x1080, and the laptop get's pretty damn hot, i use a laptop fan underneath idk how much it helps, Other people on you tube play metro last light with this aswell and keep in mind this is with IRIS Pro Graphics...

anyway over all I love the OSX interface i use it for music production/artwork/video and boot into windows for gaming needs, If i had the money though i would have saved a little longer and got one of the ones with the Nvidea 760 dedicated graphics just so i could enjoy games like battlefield 4 a little more when im on the go....and to be honest Windows 8 runs great on the ssd or flash, if u really just want a gaming laptop i would go with the lenovo YS50 ultimate, still has retina display and a way better graphics processor and everything will still load like butter just make sure you have a nice sized SSD or Flash hard drive....

mac osx handles things way different from windows and will take some getting use to for an avid windows user but over all this laptop is a good investment if you can find it refurbished or used like new and dont get it with 256gb flash if u plan on gaming more gb hard drive the better !
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on April 28, 2014
I am still new to the mac and getting used to the different OS and keyboard shortcuts which will take a while but the laptop is great. The combination of a fast processor and fast hard drive makes this very responsive and it boots up and shuts down in seconds. Its also a work of art
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