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Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 10:30 am PT (01:30 pm ET)

Review: Apple's next-gen MacBook Pro with 15" Retina display




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Wrap up



The new MacBook Pro is the best notebook Apple has ever built to date. Its Achilles' heel, if it could be called such a thing, is its price. Starting at $2,200 for the entry-level model, this notebook is a glimpse at the future, when all of Apple's notebooks will offer power and performance, and a beautiful Retina display, inside a thin-and-light enclosure. That day isn't here yet, which is why there is only one 15-inch model for the new Retina MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro


But if you want that future today, you're going to pay the price. Consider the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display carries a price tag $400 more than the entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro with an optical disc drive and without a Retina display. That extra $400 gets you double the RAM to 8 gigabytes, but it also offers half the storage. While the entry-level next-generation MacBook Pro has 256 gigabytes of flash storage, the 15-inch legacy model has a slower but larger 500 gigabyte 5400 RPM hard drive.

In our view, the additional cost and the concessions made for the new design are worth it. The only question that remains is: Can you afford it?

Score: 4.5 out of 5



4.5-stars


The Good


  • The Retina display is gorgeous and very practical for pro users
  • New thin design is aided by finally ditching the optical drive
  • Battery life is h2 even with the demands of the Retina display
  • The Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia GPU are h2 enough to justify calling this machine "Pro"
  • Built-in HDMI port is an unexpected and welcome addition


The Bad


  • Starting at $2,200, this notebook is a serious investment
  • Pro users, particularly those who work in design, may want to wait for popular third-party apps like Photoshop to be updated for the Retina display


How to Save When Buying



AppleInsider, through its sponsor MacMall, is offering the lowest prices anywhere on new MacBook Pros with the coupon code

APPINSDRMWB33196

. The coupon code knocks an additional 3% off the retailer's already reduced pricing, which fluctuates on a daily basis along with the rest of the market. Several other Apple Authorized Resellers are also offering competitive pricing on new MacBooks as well as extending discounts of up to $650 on 2011 models. Full details are available in the Mac Price Guide.

MacBook Pro
13" MacBook Pros w/ ...
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
2.4GHz 13" (4GB,128GB) on order $1,197.94* $1,199.99+ $101.06
2.4GHz 13" (8GB, 128GB) n/a $1,333.74* n/a yet n/a $65.26
2.4GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) on order $1,382.24* $1,499.00+ $116.76
2.4GHz 13" (16GB, 128GB) n/a $1,546.18* n/a yet n/a $100.00
2.4GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $1,600.49* $1,579.00+ n/a $120.00
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 128GB) n/a n/a n/a n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) n/a n/a $1,499.00+ n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) $1,699.00 $1,648.99* $1,699.00+ $150.01
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a yet n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 128GB) n/a n/a n/a n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a on order n/a yet n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $1,891.49* $1,849.00+ n/a $150.00
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a yet n/a $100.00
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 128GB) n/a n/a n/a n/a $100.00
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) n/a $1,745.99* $1,649.00+ n/a $150.00
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) n/a $1,891.49* $1,999.00+ n/a $107.51
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order $2,349.00+ n/a $150.00
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 128GB) n/a n/a n/a n/a $150.00
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a on order $1,849.00+ n/a $150.00
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $2,104.89* $2,049.00+ n/a $150.00
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 1TB) n/a $2,618.99* $2,549.00+ n/a $150.00
15" MacBook Pro with...
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) $1,829.00 $1,842.99* $1,829.00+ $1,999.99 $170.00
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a $2,201.89* n/a n/a $97.11
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $250.00
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $2,085.49* $1,999.00+ n/a $200.00
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $2,419.18* n/a n/a $200.00
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $250.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) n/a on order on order n/a $100.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $150.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $200.00
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $2,182.49* $2,099.00+ n/a $200.00
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB, 750M) $2,449.00 $2,376.49* $2,449.00+ $2,599.99 $222.51
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB, 750M) n/a $2,958.49* $2,799.00+ n/a $300.00
2.6GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) n/a $2,182.49* n/a n/a $150.00
2.6GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a on order $2,399.00+ n/a $200.00
2.6GHz 15" (8GB, 1TB) n/a n/a n/a n/a $200.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $150.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $2,643.24* $2,640.00+ n/a $155.76
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB, 750M) n/a n/a n/a n/a $150.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB, 750M) n/a $3,133.09* $3,149.00+ n/a $200.00
2.8GHz 15" (16GB, 768GB, 650M) n/a $2,327.99* sold out sold out $721.01