The MacBook Pro with Retina display is the third generation of the MacBook Pro line of portable Macintosh computers from Apple. First introduced during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference held in San Francisco, California in June 2012, the product has undergone several iterations while maintaining quality hardware specifications housed inside a slender chassis made of aluminium.
It is beautiful and powerful. The MacBook Pro with Retina display is undeniably one of the most iconic laptops of today. The sleek aluminium body and the reputable performance of macOS have made the product appealing to business and creative professionals who are in need of a device that inspires them to become more productive.
But beauty and power can be expensive. The product comes with a high price tag that could easily deter consumers who are in tight budget. With a hefty starting price of $1,299.00 for the 13-inch base model and $1,999.00 for the 15-inch base model, it is crucial to carefully consider the pros and cons of owning a MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Advantage of owning a MacBook Pro with Retina: Why you should buy
1. Mobility from thin and lightweight aluminium body: The earlier generations of the MacBook Pro were considerably colossal by current standards. In developing the third generation, Apple had to remove the optical disc drive as well as Ethernet and FireWire 800 ports to house hardware peripherals within a thin aluminium chassis. The result is a slender and beautiful laptop that is easier to carry around.
Of course, mobility is dependent on the model. The 13-inch model is as thin as the earlier generations of ultrabook laptops although it is thicker when compared against MacBook Air and newer generations of ultrabook devices and laptop-tablet hybrids.
The 15-inch model is relatively bulky. However, for a machine that has the performance capabilities of a desktop computer, particularly a Mac desktop computer, it is considerably light and mobile.
Both the 13-inch and the 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro with Retina remain thin and light for a professional-level portable computer device.
2. Stunning high definition display thanks to the Retina: The MacBook Pro with Retina has one of the best screen displays in the market. Since its introduction, the Retina display has been a key selling proposition and differentiation. And the product lives up beyond the marketing hype.
The 13-inch model has over 4 million pixels and 227 pixels-per-inch within a 2560×1600 resolution while the 15-inch model has over 5 million pixels and 220 pixels-per-inch within a 2880×1800 resolution. This high pixel density produces extremely crisps images with smooth curves and sharp fine prints.
Creative professionals such as graphic artists, photo editors, and video editors can take advantage of the finer and close-to-accurate details of images and videos generated by the Retina display. Business professionals and writers who spend countless of hours in front of their computers can find comfort in using MacBook Pro with Retina. The high pixel density and bright display mean less eyestrain.
3. macOS is better than Windows: Operating system is one of the advantages of MacBook Pro with Retina over other Windows-based laptop. There are several reasons why macOS is better than Windows. One is that macOS is less susceptible to viruses and malware unlike Windows—although this does not mean that the operating system is completely resilient from any security risks and attacks.
Another reason is that the system interface gives a simple yet powerful user experience. Those who are familiar with the interface of iOS found in iPhone and iPad will find Mac OS somewhat similar—especially when it comes to installing and using apps.
There is also a seamless integration between the macOS and iOS. This makes switching between devices hassle-free. A user can start a task using an iOS device and continue it using their Mac computer without the need to synchronise the two devices using a cloud-based drive such as Google Drive or OneDrive.
Apple is both a software developer and a device manufacturer. This means that Apple has optimised the macOS to work seamlessly with all of its hardware components. It also ensures that all hardware components work hand-in-hand and the overall operation is efficient and effective. The problem with PC manufacturers is that they merely assemble hardware components from various original equipment manufacturers. This results in lesser efficiency.
With minimal security risks, easy to use interface, and optimised software-hardware operations, macOS essentially offers a more straightforward approach to computing.
4. Multitasking feature like no other: Another noteworthy feature of macOS is multitasking. Mac computers have built-in shortcut keys or track-pad and mouse gestures for easily switching between windows or apps that are running in the background. While switching using shortcut keys is also possible in Windows computers, macOS has a richer feature that centres on easy navigability.
Unlike Windows, macOS allows multiple desktops. This enables the user to organise all the running apps based on his or her preference. No more cluttered desktop! Perhaps, the first desktop might run all apps pertaining to productivity while the second desktop might run apps for media consumption. Think of this as having numerous workspaces. Switching between desktops is possible through shortcut keys or with track-pad or mouse gestures.
5. Better battery performance compared to most laptops: Battery performance is critical to smartphones, tablets, and laptops. After all, mobility is one of the primary selling points of these devices. Most laptops in the market can only last four to six hours. This is quite short considering the usual amount of time needed to accomplish a work.
The 13-inch model of the MacBook Pro with Retina is capable of lasting for up to 10 hours of battery life while the 15-inch model has a battery capacity of 9 hours. Remember that battery performance depends on several factors to include battery lifecycle, app usage, and external temperature, among others.
6. Hardware performance for professionals: The base 13-inch and 15-inch models are capable computers suited for business and creative professionals. Decent hardware specifications is one of the advantages of MacBook Pro with Retina.
The base 13-inch model has a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost of up to 3.1GHz, an 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 memory, and 128GB PCIe-based flash storage, and Intel Iris Graphics 6100. The difference between the base and next higher version of the 13-inch model is the internal storage capacity—except for the highest version that comes with a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost of up to 3.3GHz
On the other hand, the base 15-inch has a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost of up to 3.4GHz, a 16GB 1600MHz memory 256GB PCIe-based flash storage, and an Intel Iris Pro Graphics. Also, the difference between the base and higher version of the 15-inch model is the internal storage capacity, 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost of up to 3.7GHz, and the addition of an AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory.
The PCIe-based solid-state drive of the MacBook Pro with Retina allows faster boot-up time and application launch. Compared to a traditional hard drive that uses a spinning disk as a medium of storage, the solid-state drive has no movable parts. This makes the device more mobile as carrying around would not run the risk of data loss due to damaged internal storage.
A device with an 8GB of RAM and a 2.7GHz dual-core processor is more than enough for day-to-day productivity applications such as word processing, browsing the Internet, watching streaming videos, photo editing, and video editing.
Of course, the 15-inch model is better suited for resource-intensive tasks such as playing video games and extended video editing due to a higher or better 2.2GHz quad-core processor specifications, 16GB RAM capacity, and graphic cards. This is especially true for the higher version of the 15-inch model.
Disadvantage of owning a MacBook Pro with Retina: Why you should not buy
1. Relatively high price tag compared to other options: The MacBook Pro is expensive. The base model alone for the 13-inch retails at $1,299.00 while the 15-inch base model retails at $1,999.00. The 256GB 13-inch model has a price of $1,499.00 and the 512GB and 2. GHz model has a price of $1,799. Meanwhile, for the 512GB model of the 15-inch with the higher processor specifications, the retail price is at $2,499.00.
2. No upgradeable hardware options unlike other Windows laptops: One of the downside of owning a MacBook Pro with Retina is that you are stuck with it until you have enough money to replace it. Most of the hardware components of the device are soldered together in a single circuit board. Replacing one of them would mean replacing the entire thing. In addition, this means that a user cannot upgrade the RAM or internal hardware capacity of his or her MacBook Pro with Retina.
3. Limited internal storage capacity: The 512GB storage capacity is the most you can get from a MacBook Pro with Retina. But this comes at a heftier price. If you bought the base model of the 13-inch or the 15-inch, you are essentially stuck with its internal storage. Note that MacBooks have poor hardware upgradeability. This means refraining from downloading large files or regularly moving files to an external storage to free the internal storage.
4. Windows has more applications or software: Developers, especially small and independent software companies, often consider building software for Windows first because of greater reach. The fact remains that Mac computers have become more popular in recent years. However, there are still more Windows users around the world. Case in point is games. There is quite a number of game titles that are available in Windows but absent from Apple.
A macOS device can still run Windows OS via a dual-boot configuration. However, partitioning the hard drive is not really advisable because of the limited internal storage space.
5. Not really a gaming computer: The MacBook Pro with Retina is primarily designed and marketed for working professionals. This means that the base models of the device are not for gaming purposes. This is evident from the absence of a dedicated graphic processor.
However, the higher model of the 15-inch can be a capable gaming device. But this means purchasing a highly priced product despite the presence of alternative laptops built for gaming purposes.
Conclusion: Advantages and disadvantages of owning a MacBook Pro with Retina
The MacBook Pro with Retina is both beautiful and powerful. There are many reasons why one should buy either one of the models of this portable line of Macintosh computers from Apple. First, it combines capacity and portability that largely appeals to business and creative professionals who are on-the-go. With decent hardware specifications, good battery performance, and a relatively slimmer and light aluminium chassis, the device is capable and decent.
Another reason to buy the MacBook Pro with Retina is loyalty to Apple. If you have been using Apple products such as an iPhone or an iPad, having a Mac computer can be convenient. The UI of these devices are almost similar. This cuts time needed to become familiar with each interface. Switching between devices is also seamless thanks to better integration. There is also this aesthetic and materialistic appeal from owning Apple devices.
But the expensive price of the product can turn off most consumers, especially considering the daunting limitations. Take note that the capability of the MacBook Pro with Retina depends on the particular model. The base 13-inch model is not as powerful as the higher version of the 15-inch model. Buying the base model also means being stuck with it for a while because of limited hardware upgradeability.
Nonetheless, there are other alternatives to MacBook Pro with Retina. High-performance Windows laptops can cost as much or cheaper than the higher version of the 15-inch model. Models from Alienware or Dell, among others are an example. Choosing either one of these alternatives could mean taking advantage of having a Windows operating system minus the limitations of a MacBook Pro with Retina.