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on August 15, 2014
I'm coming to this Macbook Pro 13inch Retina laptop from a 2010 model Macbook Air that I absolutely adored for nearly 4 years. The Air was so light and portable that I reluctantly gave it up, but concerns of weight vanished once I got my hands on this beauty. Yes, it's slightly heavier, but only slightly. What I like most of all is how the body isn't tapered from back to front like the Air. It's a solid piece of symmetrical aluminum, and it just feels so well built.

One of the reasons I eventually gave up and sold my Air in favor of this was the Retina screen. I've never seen one on the Macbooks, so I bought this sight unseen, but I had a vague idea of how it might look because I also own a retina iPad Mini and that screen is lovely. The screen on the mini is out-done by the amazing screen on this Macbook. I can't believe how good it is. And what's more, this Macbook only cost 100 dollars more than the latest Air. Why would anyone not pay the difference for this screen? It's totally night and day between the Air's screen and this one. The Air is by no means terrible, but it cant compete with this.

The audio is also a nice surprise on the Macbook with Retina. It was good on my Air, but it's far better on the Retina. There's no speaker grills either, so I assume they're below the keyboard. Regardless they sound amazing, albeit low on bass.

My Air didnt have a backlit keyboard, so this was a nice surprise. No more hunting and hoping at night in bed. Another nice addition I didnt have before was HDMI-out. Now I can simply connect my Macbook to my HDTV and play Hulu on my TV. No reason to pay for Hulu Plus. On my other computer it wouldnt allow Hulu to output to TV, but its not being blocked on the Macbook for some reason. I wont complain.

Anyway, I'd list some dislikes, but I don't have any. The keyboard and trackpad are Apple's usual brilliant keyboard and trackpad. They're unmatched.

If you're on the fence about getting one, just go for it. I'm one of those people that easily get buyer's remorse, but I have none of that with this laptop. So good.
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on February 18, 2015
I had a 2009 13" MBP before it recently died on me. I replaced my old one with this one, expecting the extra screen size to make it heftier in my book bag. NO. This laptop is super light, very thin, and it turns on within seconds because of its onboard flash memory. I bought it directly from Amazon.com, saving myself an extra $100 compared to the Apple price, and getting it within two days (which really helped for school!).

I love this laptop so much. Literally everything is perfect about it. Currently, I have it dual-booted for OS X Yosemite and Windows 8.1. I've run into no major problems except for initially trying to encrypt my hard drive and then run bootcamp (tip: don't do that!). Seeing as that is a software glitch, I'll let it slide for this review. Some other laptop downsides were the lack of an ethernet port and the lack of a DVD drive. This MBP compensates by providing you with an HDMI port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 2 lightning ports.

Read/ Write speeds are phenomenal with the built-in flash memory. Programs download and install rapidly. They open up lightning quick. Even in Windows, the immense speed of this computer is evident.

Graphics are great. I've only tested the graphics on a CAD program in Windows (Creo Parametric 2.0) and Runescape in Yosemite, but it works superbly with both. With Runescape, I was able to run the game at full frame rate and 1080p graphics. I had no issues with pixel scaling. In Creo, there was no lag whatsoever.

The retina display is something you didn't know you need. Before I bought this computer, I thought it was an unnecessary luxury. I was wrong. I use my laptop for a lot more web browsing these days, a lot more news reading, and now I can actually enjoy writing reports. Whenever you open any file on your Retina MBP, what you see on your screen is pretty much what it's going to look like on paper when you print it out. It's great.

I give this a 5/5 all around for its speed, high quality, beauty, excellent battery life, and the nice feeling of satisfaction it leaves inside of me everything I use it.
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on August 22, 2014
I've never really understood those in the PC camp who sneer at Mac users for being "sheep" - and having gone to a techie school for college, I've met more than my fair share. I've used both PC's and Macs throughout the years, and although I prefer certain aspects of the PC over its Mac counterpart, I've been swayed by the relative stability of the Mac's OS X operating system over Windows. Plus, once Boot Camp (a program that lets you install Windows on your Mac) came out, I was able to get the best of both worlds in one computer; I've stuck with Macs ever since.

Although my 2012 Macbook Air was no slouch, my new 2014 Macbook Pro ups the ante in many respects. Although there's certainly been a performance boost - everything runs buttery smooth, and the SSD is blazing fast - the retina screen has been the selling point for me. When I first used the Pro, even the desktop icons were so clear the my eyes had a difficult time focusing at first, if that makes any sense at all. My eyes are now thanking me for purchasing this computer, and I would have a hard time going back to displays that are not at least close to retina level.

While considering what kind of computer to buy, I almost went with the 2014 Macbook Air over the Pro. I knew that I wanted a relatively portable machine future-proofed with 8GB of RAM and a 256 SSD. But when the Pro came out a few weeks back, I noticed that Apple (finally!) upped the standard memory to 8GB for the same price as last year's model. The Air's standard memory is still stuck at 4GB, so I would have had to pay to upgrade to 8GB. That, coupled with the discounted price Amazon was selling it for, convinced me to go for the only slightly more expensive Pro; the price difference between the Pro and Air was only $80 at the time of purchase. The now-standard 8GB of memory is probably enough, but I recommend upgrading the SSD to 256GB if possible; 128GB can get cramped fairly quickly, unless you are happy with an external hard drive or don't work with large files. Apple's made it a bit difficult to switch out the internal hard drive after the fact if you're inexperienced with computers, although it's doable. The memory can be upgraded through the online Apple store if you aren't satisfied with 8GB; if you go that route, make sure to get the education discount if you are a teacher or have an .edu email address.

If you travel often and portability/battery life are important factors for you, I would consider the Macbook Air. Just keep in mind that the 13-inch Pro is only about a half-pound heavier than the Air, and I still get almost 10 hours of battery life from the Pro with the brightness set in the middle (although the specs on Amazon state that the Pro's battery lasts for up to 9 hours). This is only a couple of hours short of the Air, and gets me through the day without having to bring along the power adapter. Plus, you get a better processor + Intel Iris graphics for the power users, better audio, more ports - two Thunderbolt ports and an SDXC card slot are welcome additions - AND the retina screen. For these upgrades alone, the price difference was too slim for me to pick the Air. I prefer the design of the Pro as well, and personally think that the build quality is a notch above that of its lighter brother (or perhaps sister?). If you're still on the fence, head up to an Apple store if you have one near you and test both to see which you prefer.

The price is relatively high, but in my opinion you do get what you pay for. I'd prefer the Pro to have more upgradeability options - it does carry the moniker 'Pro' after all - but this flaw is not enough for me to drop a star from the rating. I'm satisfied with my purchase, and I encourage anyone in the market for a laptop that offers a nice blend of power and portability to give the 2014 Macbook Pro a try. One final note: Don't forget to put a cover on it! Applecare doesn't cover accidental damage from drops, plus Apple laptops don't depreciate in value as quickly as their Windows counterparts; if your machine is in relatively good shape after a year or two, you can sell the computer and upgrade to a new one for a few hundred bucks (This method is a no-go for me. I am a klutz and apparently like to break expensive things.).

I feel like I've been brainwashed by Apple just for saying this, but I'll go ahead and say it anyway - "it just works."

Rating: 4.7 stars.
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on December 8, 2014
We have had two of these units and both within 35 days have had screen failures--per Apple different hardware related issues. We have several other macs, including the large iMac's, and have to say we are disappointed with the failure rate of these laptops. Not sure if we are "unique", but be warned that appears to be a developing issue.

Amazon and Apple have been good about returning the first one and then repairing the second, but the time lost (as a professional photographer), has been very disappointing. I use this machine while on site shoots as well as for portability in the evenings (away from our office and connected to our NAS). Now on our third screen, I am leery of trusting this machine / model.
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on November 19, 2014
Don't usually do reviews, but I will on this one because it may help other people. I run windows 8.1 on my MacBook pro Retina with 16gb, 750 ssd. I have run this computer like this for over a year, and cannot even remember my mac OS password. I run windows in boot camp. I am a developer and screen space is critical for me. I don't think you can purchase a better computer to run windows if this is what you want. From my MacBook, I have 2 dell 30 inch monitors hooked in through the thunder bolt ports. Each of these are running in dual dvi 2560 X 1600. The incredible 15" MacBook retina display is running at 2880 X 1800. Sometimes you have to squint a bit, but it is a great and readable display - even at that resolution. Also :), I have a Wacom Cintiq 13HD (pen based display) plugged into the DVI port running at 1920 X 1800. Primarily I use this display for OneNote because I had draw a lot of notes and diagrams. This computer runs all 4 of these displays and just screams! It does not get hot. Many won't believe, so I will try to post a picture.
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on October 11, 2015
I could not have been happier purchasing this 2014 model (MGXC2LL/A). I consider myself the average consumer and I will write my personal review based off of my "average" usage and preference. I mainly use this computer for school (taking notes and writing papers), surfing the world wide web, basic Photoshop, basic video and audio editing with Adobe software, and to "Netflix and chill".

Before purchasing this 2014 model, I was considering the 2015 model. After doing additional research and comparing the main specs between the 2014 and 2015 15-inch models, I came to the conclusion that there wasn't a difference in specs between the two models as far as processor, processor speed, SSD storage size, RAM, display size and resolution, and number and type of connection ports (these features are my main concern).

The only differences that I found to be remotely mentionable, but not affecting my decision, are the differences in graphics card, maximum supported external resolution, and the track pad. The differences in these three aspects were not enough to persuade me to spend extra dollars to purchase the 2015 model.

Instead, I opted to spend my dollars to purchase this 2014 model (MGXC2LL/A). The benefit I found in purchasing the 2014 model is that, for my average usage, I get more for paying less. Let me BRIEFLY elaborate:
1) For 2015 model, $1999 (Apple MSRP) will get you a slower processor (2.2 GHz) and smaller SSD storage (256 GB)
2) For 2014 model, $1899.99 got me a faster processor (2.5 GHz) and a larger SSD storage (512 GB)

Overall, I can definitely recommend this 2014 model (MGXC2LL/A). If you identify with my type of daily, average usage and you would like to save money, then the 2014 model may be for you. If you desire and require the latest technology Apple has to offer, then this 2014 model is not for you. As always, do your own research before purchasing any product for your individualized preferences.
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I am writing this review using this very model of laptop. Amazon did a superb job at preparing and shipping this computer to me. It came preloaded with OS-X Yosemite ver. 10.10. During setup, I decided to check "software updates" and now I am running under OS-X Yosemite ver. 10.10.2. I am seeing ZERO problems with this laptop and it runs at blinding speeds. I almost suckered myself into purchasing a Win 8.1 whatever, but now I am extremely glad that I did not. I have been a hardcore Apple user since 2007 and never regretted the switch. This machine even came with the battery charged which made setup go a lot faster. I was perfectly configured, up and running and crunching data within 4 hours. 100% the truth. This retina display is a sight for sore eyes. Plain and simple. About all that I can really say here is that if you want a laptop that is quiet, powerful, stable and just plain works, then this machine is for you. Also it does not get HOT like a lot of these other type laptops. The battery life is really good and the overall quality is 100% on the positive side. If you are doing that "tug of war" thing between a Windows laptop and this one, there is only one logical decision. This is it. Wished I could give this laptop 20 stars. Amazon gets 10 > ;)
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on February 27, 2015
I will be honest with you right here. I love windows 8. I decided to buy this computer purely as an experiment to see just what people thought was so amazing. Some things I'm impressed with others I'm not.

Students:
As a student in computer engineering this computer will never satisfy my needs at school. There are too many windows programs I need to run, and it will never be a note taking machine in my technical classes. I never bought it for such a use but I feel I need to talk about it because people are so determined to compare it to the Microsoft Surface Pro. They are completely different machines and there is no good direct comparison. My Surface Pro 2 is my daily driver in school for note taking and windows programs and I honestly would have never bought this laptop if I didn't have the Surface. This laptop is extremely nice for writing reports and research papers. It all depends on what you need but it is an undeniable fact that the Surface Pro does note taking in a way that this computer can't touch.

Build Quality/Usability:

Excellent build. This is what I love most about this computer. The body feels extremely solid and it looks great. The touchpad also feels great and is large and extremely comfortable to use. The keyboard is very nice and has a great feel when typing. Being able to choose the exact brightness for the backlight on the keyboard is awesome. The screen integrates into the lid in a very attractive way and the lid itself is extremely thin which I like.

Now the thing I hate the most about this computer. The charger. I have never been so frustrated by just a charger. The smallest thing touches it and the magnet is too weak to really keep it connected to the computer. Sometimes I like to put this on the charger overnight so it is ready for school the next day but I found I can only do that on a table. If I put it on a couch or anything similar chances are the plug will rock right off of the port on the computer and leave me with dead battery. I wish the design was closer to the surface pro 2 charger end.

Another thing that bothers me is the fan. The fan curve for the fan in this computer is very poor, it avoids running the fan hard at all costs. I was concerned when my computer was getting extremely hot while running certain things and the fan was barely running. Apparently Apple chose to have the computer run hot rather than have the battery life reduced and extra sound of the fan pushing a lot of air. I had to download smcFanControl so I could manually change the fan speed when needed.

Sound:

Good for a thin laptop. About the same quality as similar thin laptops from other brands I have experience with.

Operating system:

Not a fan. There are too many small annoyances that get me every day. The green button (that is maximize in windows) is one of them. Before the Yosemite update that button would either change the window to some other random size or do nothing. Now it goes to full screen in Yosemite. I can't help it but I find maximize much more useful than either. One piece of advice, buy BetterSnapTool. It should be functions that are already included but it is just the way things go.

OS X has been just as buggy as windows. This one surprised me. I have common occurrences of it just hanging at spots like the log in screen and navigating files and every once in a while in the system preferences. It is very similar to small issues I would have in windows. I think the biggest comparison issue is when people compare cheap windows computers vs macs. I see it far too often that people say they are just going to spend the extra money for a mac. No. Comparisons should be made at the same price range. Staying in the same price range gives about the same reliability in my experience.

Not all of the programs I need run on OS X. As I said before many school programs don't run on OS X and software I use at work doesn't either. Although it is nice to have a unix operating system for basic programming.

Battery life:
Battery life is excellent and will definitely get you through a lot of use. On average I get about 9 hours.

It is a very nice computer as long as you know what you need and make sure the features of this computer fit the best.
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on February 23, 2016
First off I want to say that this is a beautifully designed laptop. Not only is the physical appearance stunning, but the operating system is as well. It has some very useful features such as having two windows split on your screen, screen capture, etc. It's not too heavy and it's a very fast machine.

What I do not enjoy, and why I will not buy another Macbook Pro:
The screen will get destroyed by tiny dust particles. I have had my laptop for less than a year and I noticed two tiny nicks in the screen. Weeks later I noticed several more. I was furious to find out that my 2,000 plus laptop has over ten tiny scratches in the screen so I looked online. There were forums filled with users who have had the same issue. Apple's response was that this is a cosmetic issue and we can pay hundreds of dollars more to repair a 2,000 plus laptop; yeah no.

My second issue is with the magsafe2 charger. After five months my charger gave out. Of course Apple does not have a warranty for their chargers so due to their poor design I had to pay 80 dollars for a new one.

I know it is more than improper use, and it is caused by the fact that Apple cut corners when creating their products. This is apparent by how many report the same issues. I am afraid that if I am having these issues within the first year of owning the laptop, how much more will I encounter? I was hoping this laptop would last me five years plus.

In conclusion, the laptop design is gorgeous, but this laptop was too expensive to be encountering these issues so soon. Please do your research and really weigh your options before you purchase a Macbook Pro. They are appealing, but they are not worth the price you pay. Choose wisely.
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on June 3, 2015
Backstory:
I have been using Macs since 2002, when they were still using Apple OS9 in my Junior High School Computer lab. I had the privilege of helping our teacher set up a brand new Mac Pro with OSX...needless to say I fell in love. Up until that point I had been a Windows user since Window 3.1. About a month or so later I convinced my dad to buy an iMac G5 with OSX, I made a believer out of him too.

Since that point I have owned 3 Mac laptops including this one.

Review Comparing this Mac with Others:

Upgradeability: 4 out of 5
I have always been the type to tinker with my computers, building my first windows computer in 6th grade. When I first got my original Macbook in 8th grade I immediately pulled the hard drive and upgraded to a bigger one, same with the RAM. I did the same with a 15" Macbook pro that I purchased in 2010. Just last year I bought this computer to use in college, I new that the new PCI-Express SSD could not be upgraded at the time due to Apple's proprietary hardware, but I had no idea it would take this long for a third party hardware developer to release any sort of upgrades for this computer. Obviously the RAM on this system is soldered to the Logic Board (Motherboard) so there is no upgrades there possible. This is the only reason I would dock a star from this laptop.

OS: 5 out of 5
Apple has always been light years of Windows because their software just works. I know I sound biased but I use a Windows 7 machine every day for work. I use a Windows 8.1 machine as my home server. Obviously their are things my Mac just cannot do and I understand that, like I said I bought the computer for work.

The OS is beautiful, intuitive, and elegant. To uninstall applications you right click and delete. There is not hunting for add or remove programs and waiting for a sometimes lengthy installation process. Their are no viruses, I have never had a virus program installed on my laptop, never felt the need to. (Anti-Virus is the first thing I install on a Windows Computer)

Display: 5 out of 5
Apple is known for their stunning displays, the colors on this laptop are amazingly vibrant and accurate, and I find myself using the display in the lowest of brightness settings because of how bright the display can be. When I do turn the display up, I am consistently complimented on how clear it actually is.

Battery: 5 out of 5
I charge my computer maybe once a week, I can usually get anywhere from 8 to 10 of web browsing/movie watching/word processing. The charge typically charges the computer in 1.5 to 2hrs.

Design and Weight: 5 out of 5
The design and weight really got me with this computer, especially after moving from a 15in Macbook Pro back from 2010 that would take a strong hand to carry. This computer is so thin and light I can pick it up from it display without having to worry (although I don't recommend doing so). As for the thunderbolt ports on the computer I have never used them. I stick to USB 3.0

Summary:
I am a Mac and Windows user, both have their strengths and their weaknesses but as far as Apple however, their strengths definitely outweigh their weaknesses.
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