Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (preview)
The new slimmer, lighter 13-inch Mac notebook gets a high-res display
- Ultra high-res Retina Display
- Updated processors
- Fast flash storage
- No option for 1TB storage
- No discrete graphics
- No removable memory or hard drive
Apple’s Retina notebook display comes to its 13-inch MacBook Pro, as does a processor update and the introduction of flash-only storage. The portable Mac powerhouse does get harder to tinker with after you’ve bought it, though.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
Alongside the fanfare of the iPad mini and new new iPad, Apple released a slew of updates for its desktop and laptop lines. The MacBook Pro upgrade sees a new high-resolution ‘Retina’ display for the 13-inch model, as well as some changes under the hood to keep up with constantly-evolving PC competitors.
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display: the screen
The Retina Display that has been so lauded in the iPhone 4, the new iPad, the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and most recently the iPhone 5 isn’t much more than a brand name — each product has a different amount of pixels per inch.
The idea is that from a standard viewing distance, a viewer with standard 20/20 eyesight shouldn’t be able to distinguish individual pixels on the screen, making everything look smooth and detailed and crisp.
The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display gets a 2560-by-1600-pixel display for its 13.3-inch screen, which is 227ppi, slightly above the 15-inch model’s 2800-by-1800-pixel 220ppi. This resolution is commonly used on 27-inch desktop monitors, so it’s impressive to see so many pixels in such a small area.
It’s an IPS display, so expect wide viewing angles, and improved contrast and anti-reflective coatings compared to current models.
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display: the hardware
New processors — an Intel Core i5 dual-core 2.5GHz CPU with Turbo Boost of up to 3.1GHz (on a single) core, and an optional Core i7 dual-core 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz for $200 extra — are the centrepiece of the new MacBook Pro’s engine room upgrade.
More interesting, though, is the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s move to entirely flash-based storage, abandoning spinning-disk hard drives in favour of solid state technology. Flash storage is much, much faster than magnetic-disk storage — about four times as fast according to Apple’s testing — but it doesn’t offer the same storage density per dollar.
The only difference between the two models of 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display offered is the choice between a 128GB or 256GB flash drive as standard. You can also choose a 512GB or 768GB flash drive, with commensurate bumps in price — from the base 13-inch 128GB model, the 256GB, 512GB, and 768GB drives can be optioned for $300, 800 and $1300 respectively.
The 13-inch models don’t get a discrete graphics option like the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Both 13-inch units on sale use Intel’s HD Graphics 4000 chip, running on the processor itself as a function of the move to Ivy Bridge hardware. This GPU will run the screen’s native resolution just fine in desktop, productivity and photo/video editing applications, but don’t expect great performance from demanding gaming or 3D graphics apps.
13-inch MBPwRD (what a lovely acronym) models have 8GB of DDR3 low-voltage 1600MHz RAM as standard, with no option to upgrade to 16GB or any larger sizes. Since the memory modules are soldered onto the notebook’s motherboard, there’s no chance of upgrading them at a later date.
Apple also touts a FaceTime HD camera, dual mics, better speakers, ‘three-stream’ 802.11n Wi-Fi (that’s a maximum of 450Mbps through three 150Mbps 802.11n connections), Bluetooth 4.0 and the updated MagSafe 2 power connector among the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display’s specifications.
Naturally, the new notebooks are running the latest Mac OS X Mountain Lion operating system. A battery rated for seven hours of ‘wireless web’ and 30 days of standby time is a slight upgrade from previous models, although the inclusion of Mountain Lion’s Power Nap standby does handle mail, calendar and reminder updates while the system is asleep, and sorts out backups and patches when the system is plugged in and hibernating.
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Conclusion
The new miniature MacBook Pro gets a screen that’s arguably better than its larger brother’s, and includes hardware upgrades that keep it competitive. If you like your laptops properly portable — and 15-inch models can be a bit bulky, we agree — the new MBP looks like it’s the new non-Ultrabook benchmark, as long as you don’t want to upgrade its internals after you buy it.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSenior Life 400 DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Mobile Application DeveloperNSW
- CCDemand/ Resource AnalystVIC
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- TPSharePoint AnalystQLD
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- CCApplication Solution Designer (Automation) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCUnix Systems AdministratorNSW
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCLevel 2 Helpdesk Support (CISCO)QLD
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)ACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - Technical BackgroundQLD
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedVIC
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BSA
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW
- TPChange and Communications CoordinatorQLD
- FTHead of ApplicationsVIC
- CCIntegration DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Business AnalystNSW
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- TPJunior Project ManagerVIC
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC