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The price drop of the latest iteration of retina MacBook Pros means the MacBook Airs have new competitors abutting their top-tier models. I come at this review as someone who has not upgraded her computer in almost exactly three and a half years. I ended up selecting the mid-range 13-inch retina MacBook Pro, as the top-tier option comes with an unavoidable $300 bump to a 512GB drive (and an improved processor).
The only upgrade I took for my Pro was for the RAM—to 16GB from the stock 8GB, because a healthy portion of my job involves photo and video editing.
The slightness of the MacBook Air’s design and uneven weight distribution may affect this perception a little.
Like its larger 15-inch brother, the retina MacBook Pro has a full-size HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, two Thunderbolt ports, a headphone jack, and a port for the power cable.
The 13-inch retina MacBook Pro, here stacked on top, is a fraction of an inch shorter in both length and width than the 13-inch MacBook Air. The hinge vents in the 13-inch retina MacBook Pro seem absurdly large, but then, the model is down to only one fan. Most of the keyboards Apple now makes are near-identical in design, but I do notice that key travel on the MacBook Air is a little shallower than on the retina MacBook Pro. This isn't a point of comparison but something that seems worth noting: almost as soon as I brought the Air and Pro into the same house, they began a power struggle over the Wi-Fi connection. One of the reasons I originally made the jump from the original MacBook to the MacBook Pro line was the speakers. Casey Johnston is the former Culture Editor at Ars Technica, and now does the occasional freelance story. The Good The new 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display adds a screen that's nearly as high-res as the 15-inch version, making for incredibly crisp text and images. The Bad Considering that this looks and feels a lot like the 13-inch MacBook Air, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock, especially as the base model only includes 128GB of SSD storage. The Bottom Line While the Retina MacBook Pro is easily the most desirable 13-inch Mac laptop to date, the high price and lack of discrete graphics make it a tough call versus either the more powerful 15-inch Retina Pro or the more affordable 13-inch Air. I am a business information technology major, and I've been told if I get a MacBook I will have to purchase parallels and switch between Yosemite and Windows. If you intend to write software, the Mac would offer potentially more paths to developing software. 2: I love the IPS screens and I like OSX scaling better than windows for retina displays, I also like OSX virtual desktops on smaller screens but Windows 10 might have something similar. When the MacBook Pro with Retina display is in the game, Apple's "regular" Pros may seem a bit like also-rans. Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro may not be the star of the show now that the Retina model is in on the scene, but it nonetheless offers solid performance and a attractive, sturdy design.
Look and feel The latest MacBook Pros look nearly identical to their 2011 predecessors, with the same aluminum, unibody construction, backlit, island-style keyboard and glass trackpad. According to the post on Apple knowledge base page, users are facing problems in the trackpad and keyboard of new 13-inch Retina MacBook and company is working on it to fix it asap. Another forum poster was also told by an Apple rep that the problems are rooted in software.
If Apple indeed plans to release a software update in the next two to three weeks in an effort to rectify these freezing bugs, we can only hope that the patch will come sooner rather than later.
The 13-inch Macbook Pro Retina late 2013 model which just arrived on store shelves last week comes with an annoying error that can render the keyboard and mouse useless while the owner is in the middle of typing something.
We shared a few possible fixes for owners to try when the 13-inch MacBook Pro keyboard and mouse become unresponsive and now Apple is acknowledging the problem with a short-term fix and the promise of an update to address the cause.
In a new knowledge base article Apple offers a one-minute fix for an unresponsive trackpad and touchpad, and plans an update, but does not offer an estimated release for the issue. Users who experience the freezing mouse and keyboard on the MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch late 2013 model do not need to go to an Apple Store or send their new notebook in for repair, so this looks like a software issue. If the MacBook Pro Retina freezes while you are working on something, putting the computer to sleep for a minute will fix the issue. In one week of usage we’ve run into the unresponsive touchpad and keyboard once, while in the middle of writing an article.
This is not a good permanent fix, especially if the freeze happens while on a video call or during another tim sensitive moment, so Apple is working on a fix.
Apple experienced issues with the new MacBook Air WiFi soon after its release and pushed an update out over the Mac App Store, which is where we expect to see this update arrive. Last year at the iPad introduction Steve Jobs announced that Apple is a mobile device company. It shouldn't come as a surprise that when Apple launched its 2011 MacBook Pro lineup last week that it did so with little fanfare. The biggest letdown in the design has been the hinge connecting the display to the rest of the chassis.
Other than screen size, ports and internals, there's nothing that separates the 13-, 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros from one another.
Battery capacity hasn't changed compared to last year, although power consumption on some models has gone up (more on this later). The new MacBook Pros are still equipped with DVD drives and thus Apple still distributes OS X and the application preload on a pair of DVDs. My laptop before this was a “mid-2010” 15-inch MacBook Pro that recently took as many as 10 precious seconds opening the System Preferences menu while having fainting spells over simple GIFs. For that amount of money, I decided it would be better to beef up my home storage situation and try to carry less material around on the computer itself. These tasks are already fiddly and moderately enraging enough without a beach ball cropping up for a few seconds after every action. I expected this weight difference to be barely noticeable when spread over the whole body of a computer, but the relative heft is easy to feel in the retina MacBook Pro. But stacked on top of each other and standing side by side, the Macbook Pro is actually more compact in length and width while sitting lower to the ground than the Air is.
I will cop to being someone who is less affected by this feature, or at least, I don’t melt into a wailing puddle when I meet a 1366x768 screen. Eventually the Air established dominance and blocked the Pro entirely, unless I put the Air to sleep.

There's more power, and videos and music sounded less like they were taking place in an Altoids tin. It may not display this or other websites correctly.You should upgrade or use an alternative browser.
I currently have the MacBook pro from when I was a sophomore in high school, and it is extremely slow and old.
I was curious if you know anything about the Lenovo X230t and the MacBook Pro 13 inch (2015) retina display and which one you would recommend. While it works to run windows on a Mac, I used VMware fusion and Parallels both, it isn't ideal.
The trackpad behaves a lot better under VMWare or Parallels, though you'd have better battery life with straight windows on bootcamp.
You can get IPS screens on windows laptops (that Lenovo has one I believe), you just have to research them before you buy.
Macs are like Toyotas on the used market, you don't lose much money reselling and upgrading them. After all, why would you choose them when you could get a brilliant 15-inch 2,880 x 1,800 IPS panel and a Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor?
More than one new MacBook Pro with Retina owner noted that when speaking with Apple representatives, they were assured that the issues are software related and have nothing to do with a hardware problem.
For me this was a very expensive investment and the issue of freezing has more than taken the gloss of the purchase. I closed it for a bit, reopened it, had a screen up, but still an unresponsive mouse, and after repeating this process several times, I eventually forced shutdown and restarted a few minutes later. Just last week Steve returned to introduce the iPad 2 and point out that the majority of Apple's revenue now comes from products that run iOS. There was no special press event and no video of an unusually charismatic man on a white background describing the latest features of the systems. They all feature the same excellent backlit keyboard (keyboard size is constant across all models) and a variant of the same high quality display.
I was hoping Apple would go to an all-USB distribution starting with the MBA but it looks like we'll have to wait for another generation of Pro systems before we see that.
I nearly pulled the trigger on the MacBook Air refresh earlier this year, but the possibility of a Haswell processor, even better battery life, and a retina screen in the next generation of MacBook Pros stayed my hand. In this review, I’m holding the Pro up against a 2013 MacBook Air with an i7 processor at nearly the same price point. I never liked this march of key wells toward being almost nonexistent, and I don’t really like the flat tactile feel of the MacBook Air keyboard. The disparity in volume and quality between consumer and pro Apple laptops is less than it once was. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy, and Ars Technica Addendum. Apparently, if I buy the Lenovo off Amazon, it is a $600 price difference as compared to the MacBook Pro, which is always appealing. You end up losing a lot of the nice things about the Mac (cool running and good battery life go away) once you use virtualization software and run Windows.
In general, it’s wise to not opt in early on new tech, as newly released gear often comes with initial bugs.
In our experience closing the lid for just 10 seconds was enough to trigger the reset and get us back to work. This is my first Mac, and want to love it, but this hang up may prevent me from being able to. All we got two weeks ago were a few pages describing the high level features of the lineup, a short outage on the Mac Store and five new configurations available for sale.
These models fundamentally implement the same updated unibody shell that was introduced in 2009. Even brand new, out of the box, the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have its display move by a not insignificant amount if you tilt the machine 90 degrees so that the display is parallel to the ground.
All of them have the same front facing 720p camera and the same large glass-covered trackpad. The last generation had a common GPU between all 15" models, the main difference being video RAM.
During photo editing, it’s now extremely evident which of my pictures are really, really sharp and which are just slightly, maddeningly blurry.
While the Air can get decently loud, it was slightly cracklier and tinnier at the highest volume levels.
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Conde Nast. While we walked away from our Retina MBP review mighty impressed, that model starts at $2,199. The term unibody comes from the fact that the base of the chassis is machined out of a single block of aluminum.
A number of readers have written me over the years asking if Apple has improved the locking ability of the hinge in each new version of the MacBook Pro. Now they have completely different GPUs, one being REALLY fast and the other not much better than the one that was in the models from last year. If you happen to be using my same Netgear router, this is an apparent incompatibility worth looking out for. The latest crop of Pros, meanwhile, keep the same pricing scheme as last year's models ($1,199 and up), but step up to Intel's third-generation Ivy Bridge processors. Most of those connections, including Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt and the SDXC card slot, are crammed on the left edge of the machine, with the slot-loading optical drive occupying the right side.
We took the entry-level 13-incher for a spin to get a feel for how the dual-core Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 4000 stack up to the competition.
While the Retina Pro and the latest MacBook Airs sport new MagSafe 2 connectors, the 13-inch Pro (along with its 15-inch sibling) still has the last-gen version. We won't spend too much time rehahsing the MacBook Pro's keyboard and touchpad, as they haven't changed since we last took a peek. Apple has been shipping unibody MacBook Pros since 2008 and from my experience the design has held up pretty well.

Still, it's worth reiterating that these are two of the strongest weapons in Apple's hardware arsenal. Typing on the chiclet-style keys is a pleasure, and the glass trackpad is smooth and responsive. The 1,280 x 800 panel delivers crisp images with accurate colors, and viewing angles are wide enough to comfortably watch movies from off-center.
That said, we wouldn't mind a higher resolution -- after all, the 13-inch Samsung Series 9 boasts a stellar 1,600 x 900 panel, and ASUS' Zenbook Prime lineup includes systems with up to full 1080p resolutions. And while we appreciate that the speakers pump out sufficiently loud audio, songs have a thin, somewhat tinny quality to them. If you're going to spend $1,200-plus on a laptop, you may as well spring for some desktop speakers too.
On synthetic performance tests such as Geekbench and Xbench, at least, the 13-inch Pro doesn't set any records.
The Retina model scored more than 4,000 points higher on Geekbench, and MacBook Pros of years past with discrete graphics also blew this guy out of the water. Its score of 368 tops all older Macs we've tested -- save, of course, for the new Retina-toting model.
Interestingly, its results painted a similar picture to what we saw when running Lion (we ran these tests before the Mountain Lion upgrade hit, though as we said in our review of the new OS, performance gains are negligible).
The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3, with discrete graphics and a Core i7 processor, crushed the Pro with a more than 5,000-point delta in 3DMark06, but other systems with integrated graphics, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U310, landed in the same ballpark, though most still scored a bit higher.
Gaming While Intel HD Graphics 4000 are an improvement from the 3000 edition, the lack of discrete graphics holds you back from any soul-crushing gaming power. Still, you're not buying a MacBook Pro to get your frag on (or you shouldn't be, anyway), so the MBP's modest graphics performance is far less important than its day-to-day capabilities. Throughout our testing, we worked across three browsers, ran a chat client, wrote in TextEdit and did some light gaming, all without noticing any glitches or sluggishness. That longevity is also on par with other Macs, including the early-2011 Pro, which lasted about 40 minutes longer. When we ran the test on the Windows side, the system logged four hours and 25 minutes, which puts it in line with ultraportables such as the 13-inch Series 9. More anecdotally, the laptop's 63.5Wh battery gave us roughly five hours of runtime when we had about six programs running in the background while surfing the web, writing emails, working in the word processor and doing occasional photo editing. Software and warranty The new Pro originally shipped with OS X 10.7 (Lion), though if you're a regular reader of this site you know that Mountain Lion has arrived.
If you purchase the new Pro or one of Apple's Ivy Bridge-powered MacBook Airs now, you'll get 0S X 10.8 out of the box.
You can get a more in-depth look at the OS in our full review, but a few highlights include deep iCloud integration, all-new features such as Messages and the Notification Center. Like other Apple computers, the MacBook Pro is covered by the company's one-year limited warranty, which includes 90 days of free phone support. You can extend that coverage for up to three years with the Apple Care plan, which will set you back $249. Configuration options and the competition Our configuration of the 13-inch Pro goes for $1,199. Though our version of the Pro ships with a 13-inch display, the laptop is also available in the 15-inch form factor. Incidentally, the larger version is configurable with a 1,680 x 1,050 screen, which could be reason enough for some to make the step up. For the sake of keeping the list relatively tidy, we'll stick to similarly speced systems in the 13- to 15-inch range.
The Retina display model may be an expensive alternative to the standard Pro, but the new MacBook Air is similarly priced (starting at $1,199 for the 13-inch model) and offers faster performance thanks to its SSD. The $1,400 HP Envy Spectre 14 offers a Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU, Intel HD Graphics 4000, a 128GB SSD and, most importantly, a gorgeous 1,600 x 900 display.
If you prefer the 15-inch size, the Envy 15 -- going for $1,100 for a Core i5 CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and AMD Radeon graphics -- is a solid contender.
Its design unabashedly evokes the MacBook Pro, though, which depending on where you stand could be a bad or a good thing.
The 1080p, IPS Radiance display offers great viewing angles, but colors, especially red and purple, were a bit off when we tested the machine.
The $1,300 Dell XPS 14z comes with NVIDIA's GeForce GT520M CPU along with Intel HD Graphics 3000, plus a Core i7 CPU. Its performance on graphics benchmarks isn't much different than the Pro's, though it's worth mentioning it runs a Sandy Bridge processor. What the laptop does have in its favor, though, is a comfortable keyboard and a nearly bezel-less design that gives you plenty of screen real estate. Likewise, the XPS 15z is a worthwhile option for those of you who prefer a slightly larger screen. A $1,100 configuration gives you a Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA graphics with 2GB of dedicated memory and a 750GB hard drive. For the same price, the 15-inch VAIO S 15 includes the same processor, a 1,920 x 1,080 display and NVIDIA GeForce GT640M LE graphics, all in a magnesium alloy body that weighs 4.42 pounds.
If you're willing to venture north of the MacBook Pro's asking price but need to stop short of the Retina's realm, the 13-inch VAIO Z (now $1,600) is very nice indeed.
It packs a Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU with 128GB of solid-state storage, and its 2.6-pound, carbon fiber design is both lightweight and understated.
The external Power Media Dock offers discrete graphics, not to mention a Blu-ray drive, so you can get more solid graphics performance if you're willing to shell out $500 more.
Wrap-up Equipped with a new Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor and Intel HD Graphics 4000, this year's MacBook Pro is a capable machine.

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