The iPad Mini may have stolen the spotlight at Apple’s product release event, but one day later the 13-inch Macbook with retina display is all the rage and the reviews prove it. The new Macbook is sleeker, clearer, and slightly more expensive than the 13-inch Macbook Pro, the Retina Display’s predecessor, which came out back in June. For $1,699 Retina Display users get a 2.5-GHz, dual-core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (For an extra $300, users can purchase an extra 128GB of storage). Buyers can also opt for the dual-core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU. The updated Mac is only 0.75 inches thin, 20% thinner than its predecessor. It weighs in at 3.5 pounds, making it the lightest MacBook Pro ever. For user convenience, it comes pre-loaded with Mac OS X Mountain Lion and supports 802.11 Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Apple has promised up to seven hours of battery life.
The specs are all fine and good, but how well do they work? To find out if the 13-inch Macbook with retina display is poised to offer the end all-be all of laptop experiences we turned to the experts.
PC/Mag: “For most college students, for example, the Retina-equipped model will be a hard sell, offering little utility to students who don’t work with high-definition video or professional graphics. The other side of the coin, as it were, is for those who won’t think twice at spending an extra $300 for a better product. If you need professional-level graphics support for video and photo editing, there’s nothing out there that offers this blend of clarity with this level of portability. And if you simply want the best, no matter the cost, then the decision appears to be easy.”
The Verge: “We only had a limited amount of time to test performance, but the 13 only hit 50 percent CPU utilization when we played the 1080p Iron Man 3 trailer while simultaneously playing back a multitrack GarageBand file and scrolling around a 21-megapixel RAW file in Aperture. That’s impressive — and very encouraging considering the relatively weak Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. We’ll see how it handles a more intense (and normal) workload when we get a review unit, but for now it appears Apple’s done a fine job of using the available power here.”
Engadget: “Without question, this machine raises the bar for the ultraportable category. You could easily argue that this is the sexiest, most capable Ultrabook on the market — after all, there’s nothing stopping you from loading Windows 7 (or, soon, Windows 8) on board and calling it a day. For Mac users in the market for a laptop upgrade, this guy should absolutely be considered. It’s engineered to be a workhorse without being a burden in terms of size, and those who frequently find themselves latched onto Gogo from the coach cabin will appreciate its stature.”
SlashGear: “As before, those who want an integrated optical drive can still find a MacBook Pro to deliver that. The existing 13-inch model remains on sale, though you don’t get the Retina display. It’s also the cheaper option; the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina may be $500 less than the entry-level 15-inch version, but that still means a $1,699 starting price for the 128GB model, or $1,999 for the 256GB version. Still, you’d have to really, really be addicted to CDs and DVDs to not prefer the form-factor and performance of the new Retina 13-incher. It demands few compromises in graphics processing, either, and further extends the distance between the Pro and the Air branches in Apple’s MacBook range.”
The new 13-inch Macbook with retina display’s strength comes in its clarity and its size. Its a bit bulkier than the Macbook Air but its still more compact than other Macbooks while offering virtually the same features. Also noteworthy are the CPU and OS which give the Macbook a smooth yet powerful performance in terms of computing. The only real drawback at this point is the price tag which runs upwards of $1,600, not exactly affordable for college students or young professionals in a still struggling economy. But the early reviews indicate that the laptop is worth every penny.