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Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 04:08 pm PT (07:08 pm ET)

Review: Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display




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Software and wrap-up



As mentioned before, Apple's applications, including iTunes, Mail, and Final Cut Pro X, are all optimized for the Retina display and look great. All new Macs also come with the iLife suite, which includes iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

The MacBook Pro with Retina display also comes with Mountain Lion, Apple's latest Mac operating system. New features in Mountain Lion take advantage of the latest hardware in the MacBook Pro, including AirPlay Mirroring to a networked Apple TV driven by the Ivy Bridge processor, and voice dictation aided by the noise-canceling microphone.

Retina Display MacBook Pro


In all, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is a compelling package. Anyone considering a high-end notebook should absolutely give it a closer look. But that doesn't mean it's for everybody.

While the cost of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro was tough to swallow, it's an even more difficult sell with the 13-inch variety. The lack of a dedicated graphics card, coupled with no options for a quad-core processor or more than 8 gigabytes of RAM, make the 13-inch Pro a lesser value than the 15-inch model.

However, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display does accomplish more than enough to justify its existence and superiority over the legacy 13-inch model, even if it has a harder time justifying its premium price than the 15-inch Retina. It's a well crafted machine with a beautiful display and ample components that make it deserving of its "Pro" title, and the new king of 13-inch notebooks.

Score: 4 out of 5



4-stars


The Good


  • Thin unibody design
  • Retina display is gorgeous
  • Strong battery life, fast flash-based performance
  • Plethora of ports, including two Thunderbolts and HDMI

The Bad


  • Price
  • Does not have a dedicated GPU
  • Can't add more than 8GB of RAM or quad-core CPU


How to save when buying



MacBook Pro
13" MacBook Pros w/ ...
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
2.4GHz 13" (8GB, 128GB) n/a $1,333.74* n/a yet n/a $65.26
2.4GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) $1,459.99 $1,416.19* $1,459.99+ $82.81
2.4GHz 13" (16GB, 128GB) n/a $1,546.18* n/a yet n/a $52.82
2.4GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $1,600.49* $1,699.00+ n/a $98.51
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) n/a $1,484.09* $1,599.00+ n/a $114.91
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) $1,699.99 on order $1,699.99+ $100.00
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a yet n/a $50.00
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $1,740.17* n/a yet n/a $58.83
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $1,891.49* $1,999.00+ n/a $107.51
2.6GHz 13" (16GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a yet n/a $50.00
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) n/a on order $1,799.00+ n/a $50.00
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) n/a $1,891.49* $1,999.00+ n/a $108.41
2.8GHz 13" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order $2,499.00+ n/a $50.00
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $1,934.18* $1,999.00+ n/a $64.82
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 512GB) n/a $2,104.89* $2,179.00+ n/a $94.11
2.8GHz 13" (16GB, 1TB) n/a $2,618.99* $2,699.00+ n/a $80.01
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 256GB) $1,649.00 sold out sold out sold out n/a $50.00
2.6GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) sold out sold out sold out n/a n/a $444.01
3.0GHz 13" (8GB, 512GB) n/a $1,551.99* sold out n/a n/a $647.01
15" MacBook Pro with...
Amazon MacMall B&H Photo & Video OnSale.com Adorama
Discount
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) $1,884.99 $1,837.17* $1,884.99+ $1,884.99 $161.83
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.0GHz 15" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a $2,085.49* $2,199.00+ n/a $113.51
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.0GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) n/a on order $2,099.00+ n/a $50.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.3GHz 15" (8GB, 1TB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a on order $2,299.00+ n/a $50.00
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) $2,489.99 on order $2,489.99+ $2,489.99 $109.01
2.3GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB) n/a on order $3,099.00+ n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 15" (8GB, 256GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.6GHz 15" (8GB, 512GB) n/a on order $2,599.00+ n/a $0.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 256GB) n/a on order n/a n/a $50.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) n/a on order $2,799.00+ n/a $100.00
2.6GHz 15" (16GB, 1TB) n/a $3,171.89* $3,299.00+ n/a $127.11
2.7GHz 15" (16GB, 512GB) sold out $2,230.99* sold out sold out n/a $568.01
2.8GHz 15" (16GB, 768GB) n/a $2,279.49* sold out sold out $769.51