Top positive review
49 people found this helpful
Best Laptop Right now.
on December 14, 2013
Coming from a 13" mid-2009 MBP, this new 13" Retina MBP really is a huge improvement. I had upgraded my old MBP with a 128GB OWC SSD and 8GB of crucial RAM over the years so it wasn't too lagging, but the new Haswell based CPU and retina screen are phenomenal.
The LCD screen really is the reason to buy this laptop. At the "Best" scaled 1280x800 display setting, pixels are none existent and everything looks super smooth and crisp. View angles are excellent, truly viewable out to 178 degrees plus minus, horizontal and vertical. The option to have a 1440 & 1650 scaled resolution is also super useful when you need more desktop space. Text starts to get tiny at those sizes, but everything remains super clear & crisp.
Size wise, it has a marginally smaller footprint than my old MBP and even the new Airs. The 3.47lb weight makes the biggest difference for portability and holding an rMBP next to an Air, the difference really is negligible.
Battery life is also very good. I get the claimed 9 hours doing moderate web surfing. Watching HD movies (non-iTunes) or playing some light games brings battery life down to 5-6 hours range which is still pretty good.
Performance wise, it's handled everything I've done so far. No problems with high-res photo editing in Photoshop. The SSD really is faster, took far less time transferring data to my new MBP than pulling it from the old. I've never really seen the CPUs go above 30% and I monitor them with iStat. I'm not sure if it's the way Mavericks handles RAM, but I'm regularly engaging 4.5GB where as I'd usually hover around 3-3.5GB on Mountain Lion doing similar tasks. Hasn't been an issue so far having 8GB. Moving up to a 512GB SSD is really refreshing vs my old 128GB OWC SSD. I was always free up space to do things, now I've got about 320GB free. Under CPU load, my old MBP would get hot (just watching HD youtube). This new machine can get warm, but hasn't gotten hot yet. I haven't seen the CPU proximity temp go above 140F yet, whereas the old would got as high as 168F.
The port selection is another big reason for choosing a MBP over an Air. I like having the full-size HDMI port for playing movies on my HDTVs. Yes, there is AirPlay which mirrors/extends to an AppleTV just fine. But for playing back HD movies, the transcoding/wifi playback just can't keep up and stutters occasionally with both 720p and 1080p playback.
For me the choice was between this configuration rMBP or a BTO upgraded 13" Air. After seeing the screen in an Apple Store, the choice for me became a no brainer for the rMBP. The HDMI port for me was a huge plus too since most of my movie collection is digital now. Performance wise, a souped up Air isn't much slower (because of the lack of retina display). So the choice is really do you want ultimate portability and battery life (Air) or a tad more weight, a tad less battery life but an awesome screen and a tad more performance (rMBP). For me I opted for the screen and slight performance bump.
The biggest drawback of this laptop is that it is non-user upgradable. So get the best configuration you can afford now if you plan to keep it more than a couple years.