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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


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


. 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.