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Review roundup: Apple's Retina MacBook Pro is pretty but pricey

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 
Reviewers are floored by the high-resolution Retina display on Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro, but remain put off by the $2,200 entry price.

Just days after Apple unveiled its newly redesigned 15-inch MacBook Pro, reviewers from some of the biggest mainstream publications have begun to weigh in with their take. Here are some of the highlights:

David Pogue of The New York Times

Though the new MacBook Pro "hits an impressive number" of "high notes" in the eyes of Pogue, he said the notebook's cost is its biggest deterrent. However, those who can afford the new MacBook Pro will be "well rewarded," he said.

In his testing, Pogue found that the 7-hour battery of the MacBook Pro works as advertised, and is enough to get the average person through a full work day without recharging. He also called the new stereo speakers "terrific."

But the real highlight is the new 2,880-by-1,800-pixel display, which packs 5.1 million pixels onto the 15-inch screen.

Retina


Pogue's biggest gripes with the new MacBook Pro are the fact that it only has two USB ports, that it lacks an optical drive, that it doesn't have a built-in Ethernet port, and the fact that it has a newly redesigned MagSafe port that requires an adapter to work with older chargers.

"Inexpensive? Not even close," he concluded. "But as with cars, homes and partners, you can't have everything. Professionals, commence your scrounging."

Ed Baig of USA Today

The upgraded hardware in Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro is "zippy," Baig said. He called the stereo speakers "excellent sounding," and declared the backlit keyboard "a pleasure to type on."

Baig conducted a battery test which he declared "harsher" than Apple's testing methods, in which he streamed a Netflix movie over Wi-Fi with brightness up and battery saving measures off. In his test, he got "a couple of hours" of uptime before the battery ran down.

MBP Side


Baig also pointed out the lack of optical disc drive and Ethernet port, as well as no built-in FireWire connectivity. A FireWire adapter is set to become available from Apple in July.

"Not everyone needs or can afford the new MacBook Pro," Baig said. "But I wouldn't blame anybody who fancies one."

Dan Ackerman of CNet

The next-generation MacBook Pro earned an "Editors' Top Pick" from Ackerman, who said the new internal components "compare well to recent high-end desktop replacements." But as expected, for him the real highlight was the new Retina display.

"In person, the Retina Display looks great, although you're more likely to notice it when comparing it to a non-Retina laptop," Ackerman said. "It'll likely be more useful for heavy readers or Photoshop/Final Cut users at first, and we'll have to see how long it takes for other popular programs to update themselves to take advantage of the new screen."

MacBook Pro


The new MacBook Pro is the best notebook Apple offers, he said, unless users need a built-in optical drive or Ethernet jack. He still recommends it over the legacy MacBook Pro design, which Apple still offers in sizes of 13 and 15 inches.

"Still, it feels like a rest stop on the road to somewhere else, a not-too-distant future when all laptops are paper-thin and feather light, with powerful hardware, wide connectivity, and generous solid-state storage that rivals bulky old platter hard drives," he said.

"Don't be shocked to see Retina screens filter down to less expensive models at some point in the not-too-distant future. We're not there yet, but this is a big step in that direction."

Additional reviews

For more takes on the new MacBook Pro, additional, generally positive reviews are also available from Tim Stevens at Engadget, Ross Miller at The Verge, Jason Snell at Macworld, and Mark Spoonauer at Laptop Magazine.
post #2 of 114

That northern desktop is a bad choice for marketing purposes; makes the screen look cracked.

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post #3 of 114

"Pretty but pricey" isn't that Apple's motto?
 

post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That northern desktop is a bad choice for marketing purposes; makes the screen look cracked.

 

that's funny. i use the Snow Leopard "pond reeds" desktop picture on my original MacBook Air & people always think my screen is cracked.

post #5 of 114

Can't wait to order one myself in a few weeks. 

 

Only 'negative' things I've heard are it will run hot under load, and battery is more like 5 and change than 7. 

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post #6 of 114

Why is this considered "pricey."

 

A base model MacBook Pro last week with the high res screen, 8GB ram and a 256 SSD would have cost a few hundred more.

 

It's "pricey" only if you compare it against another prodcut line.

 

In other news a new BMW 850 is pricey comapred to a BMW 325.

 

Also, oranges are pricey compared to apple.
 

post #7 of 114

"Reviewers ... remain put off by the $2,200 entry price."

 

Apparently the Reviewers are the only ones who are "put off", Apple can't seem to make them fast enough as shops times have slipped to 3-4 weeks.

post #8 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That northern desktop is a bad choice for marketing purposes; makes the screen look cracked.

It's funny you mention that. I remember when Apple came out with the first iPad it had that beautiful desktop with shooting stars. I sold Macs at the time and I got quite a few calls about their iPad being scratched out of the box. Told them to change their desktop pattern and the scratches went away. Had to explain to them it was just the shooting stars.

post #9 of 114

Why Apple, why? I only wanted THREE things from the new retina MacBook:

 

1. A retina display with higher res than any computer has ever seen, but priced the SAME as an ordinary display.

 

2. A super thin ultraportable design, with high performance, long battery life, AND an optical drive inside. Portability matters to me, and therefore I like to carry a stack of scratchable discs with me.

 

3. The ability to carry a 60” Ethernet cable around with me. NOT 63” but 60”. If I stick the Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter on the end of my Ethernet cable, it becomes an unusable 63” long. WiFi is hard to find, and ALL of Apple’s products should still have Ethernet built-in. Not just some, ALL of them. Updating the old MacBooks Pros as well is just not good enough, Apple.

 

I think I’ve summed up the feelings of those who don’t see this as the future.

 

My own credit card awaits next year’s retina 11” Air!

post #10 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

"Pretty but pricey" isn't that Apple's motto?
 

 

It's pretty well priced, as far as I can imagine. I think the only context in which it should logically come across as pricey is to the customer who didn't want to invest extra money into a SSD. For example, compared to traditional (and even the current) MacBook Pros and other high-end laptops the SSD is the factor that throws the price up into this range.

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post #11 of 114
It's funny to hear reviewers who just have to come up with negatives, struggle with things like "love the thinness, but gripe gripe gripe because it has no optical drive" and "it's the best laptop ever made and what amazing technology that nobody else has, but it's not cheap".
post #12 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Why Apple, why? I only wanted THREE things from the new retina MacBook:

 

1. A retina display with higher res than any computer has ever seen, but priced the SAME as an ordinary display.

 

2. A super thin ultraportable design, with high performance, long battery life, AND an optical drive inside. Portability matters to me, and therefore I like to carry a stack of scratchable discs with me.

 

3. The ability to carry a 60” Ethernet cable around with me. NOT 63” but 60”. If I stick the Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter on the end of my Ethernet cable, it becomes an unusable 63” long. WiFi is hard to find, and ALL of Apple’s products should still have Ethernet built-in. Not just some, ALL of them. Updating the old MacBooks Pros as well is just not good enough, Apple.

 

I think I’ve summed up the feelings of those who don’t see this as the future.

 

My own credit card awaits next year’s retina 11” Air!

 

LOL!!!!  I was halfway through that when I realized you were being sarcastic :)  I agree for crap sake the last time I needed a CD/DVD was...um...I can't even remember honestly...cmon

post #13 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post

Why is this considered "pricey."

A base model MacBook Pro last week with the high res screen, 8GB ram and a 256 SSD would have cost a few hundred more.

It's "pricey" only if you compare it against another prodcut line.

In other news a new BMW 850 is pricey comapred to a BMW 325.

Also, oranges are pricey compared to apple.

 

You left out one important fact:

If you really want a cheaper solution, last year's MBPs have been updated and are now available for hundreds of dollars less. Funny how everyone whines that Apple doesn't give choices, but when they do, the alternatives get ignored.

As near as I can see, the only real negative for the way I'd use it is lack of a 17" model, but that's not enough to make me switch to Windows.
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post #14 of 114

I'm suprised people are complaining about the price. If you upgrade the normal MBP to the same specs as the Retina MBP, the ReMBP is actually cheaper. 

 

The only "gripes" I'd have with it is that for a professional device I think it's rather silly to glue/solder the whole thing together (battery, ram, HD), since  ram and HD upgrades or battery replacements are more common on those devices (since they're more heavily used) than a MacBook Air for example. Glueing and soldering a device together will only make possible repairs way more expensive.

post #15 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That northern desktop is a bad choice for marketing purposes; makes the screen look cracked.

I presume you are joking? It does kinda look cracked but I don't see how it will affect marketing. Its not as if prospective buyers will look at the images and say whoa! not buying that! The screen is cracked! The could have picked a pretty sunset or whatever but I kinda like the fact that it draws your attention and makes you look closer.

post #16 of 114

What? No floppy drive?

post #17 of 114
I'm guessing the guys at Ifixit whis they can fix these reviewers... Really I can't remember the last time I use my Ethernet port or my optical drive progress is painfully for some ... My only problem is figure out if I should stick with the 8gb or upgrade to the 16 cuz my 2009 MacBook only has 4gb ... But with gameing in mind I don't know if 8gb is enough
post #18 of 114

Santa (aka FedEd delivery guy) just stopped by and I'm loving my new toy! That said, it really is a big step up for me since I bought my last MBP in '08 just before the unibodies came out. No complaints thus far!

post #19 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

What? No floppy drive?

Amen. And exactly how am I supposed to connect my cassette drive?

 

Apple just doesn't want to support its users.

post #20 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Why Apple, why? I only wanted THREE things from the new retina MacBook:

 

1. A retina display with higher res than any computer has ever seen, but priced the SAME as an ordinary display.

 

2. A super thin ultraportable design, with high performance, long battery life, AND an optical drive inside. Portability matters to me, and therefore I like to carry a stack of scratchable discs with me.

 

3. The ability to carry a 60” Ethernet cable around with me. NOT 63” but 60”. If I stick the Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter on the end of my Ethernet cable, it becomes an unusable 63” long. WiFi is hard to find, and ALL of Apple’s products should still have Ethernet built-in. Not just some, ALL of them. Updating the old MacBooks Pros as well is just not good enough, Apple.

 

I think I’ve summed up the feelings of those who don’t see this as the future.

 

My own credit card awaits next year’s retina 11” Air!

you actually had me until number 3... you actually sound a lot like some people have said and they were serious though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


You left out one important fact:
If you really want a cheaper solution, last year's MBPs have been updated and are now available for hundreds of dollars less. Funny how everyone whines that Apple doesn't give choices, but when they do, the alternatives get ignored.
As near as I can see, the only real negative for the way I'd use it is lack of a 17" model, but that's not enough to make me switch to Windows.

he didn't leave that fact out, he already said if you take one of those new ones and put a SSD in it, it can cost MORE than the MBPR.

post #21 of 114

it's only £2 /day for 3 years guys!

post #22 of 114

I don't like the headline for this story. It's akin to a car review in which the headline is, "The Bugatti Veyron is an awesome car, but too expensive. A car with 1,001HP, an 8-liter 16-cylinder engine with four turbos, and a top speed of 253MPH should not cost this much. It needs to be a lot cheaper." 

post #23 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duo View Post

Santa (aka FedEd delivery guy) just stopped by and I'm loving my new toy! That said, it really is a big step up for me since I bought my last MBP in '08 just before the unibodies came out. No complaints thus far!

uhhg.. i ordered mine right away and it still hasn't shipped.  I know its CTO being I ordered with 16GB of ram.. but sheesh.

 

What did show up today?  My Magsafe magesafe 2 adapter... yaaay!! now i can sit and stare at it and put it on and off my older magsafe adapter thinking about how it will plug into my laptop when I finally get it... they say wont be until the 21st - 25th.

post #24 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by russgriz View Post

"Reviewers ... remain put off by the $2,200 entry price."

 

Apparently the Reviewers are the only ones who are "put off", Apple can't seem to make them fast enough as shops times have slipped to 3-4 weeks.

It is a misleading  headline. If they remain put off they were already put off, right? And 'put off' is a negatively loaded term. I can be put off buying something because I can't afford it, or I can be put off an item because I think it is overpriced. One is reflection of the fact that it is expensive and I can't afford it. The other suggests the item's value is diminished because I am being ripped off. 

post #25 of 114

@Ryuk;

I agree wholeheartedly :)  I can't even remember the last time using my ethernet port, and the only reason I used my Superdrive is because I couldn't get my Windows installation (via Bootcamp) to work via USB-install. Assuming I'm doing something wrong with the USB-install of Windows via Bootcamp, I could live 100% without both integrated ethernet and the Superdrive.

 

The only thing I want to be able to do (myself), is upgrade the ram at some point in the future (software and OS'es are not standing still after all), and replace or upgrade the HD and/or battery when they start failing. To me personally that's the only real downside of the new Retina MBP.

post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

"Pretty but pricey" isn't that Apple's motto?
 

The new Retina MBP is $300 cheaper then the old MBP when it first came out with the same specs.

post #27 of 114

I would miss the super drive a little bit.  We get the netflix discs in the mail and more often than not watch them on my 2011 MBP.  That is really all I have used the drive for.  If I were to shell out for a MBP Retina, whats an extra $79 to get the external drive for the times we watch movies in bed?

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post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Why Apple, why? I only wanted THREE things from the new retina MacBook:

 

1. A retina display with higher res than any computer has ever seen, but priced the SAME as an ordinary display.

 

2. A super thin ultraportable design, with high performance, long battery life, AND an optical drive inside. Portability matters to me, and therefore I like to carry a stack of scratchable discs with me.

 

3. The ability to carry a 60” Ethernet cable around with me. NOT 63” but 60”. If I stick the Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter on the end of my Ethernet cable, it becomes an unusable 63” long. WiFi is hard to find, and ALL of Apple’s products should still have Ethernet built-in. Not just some, ALL of them. Updating the old MacBooks Pros as well is just not good enough, Apple.

 

I think I’ve summed up the feelings of those who don’t see this as the future.

 

My own credit card awaits next year’s retina 11” Air!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by russgriz View Post

"Reviewers ... remain put off by the $2,200 entry price."

 

Apparently the Reviewers are the only ones who are "put off", Apple can't seem to make them fast enough as shops times have slipped to 3-4 weeks.

LMAO.   Wi-fi is hard to find?  What national park do you live in?  

 

A 63 ft Ethernet cable would be larger and heavier than a MBPR.   Maybe you can write Tim Cook and ask him to include a hose reel attachment for the MacBook  

post #29 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post

uhhg.. i ordered mine right away and it still hasn't shipped.  I know its CTO being I ordered with 16GB of ram.. but sheesh.

 

What did show up today?  My Magsafe magesafe 2 adapter... yaaay!! now i can sit and stare at it and put it on and off my older magsafe adapter thinking about how it will plug into my laptop when I finally get it... they say wont be until the 21st - 25th.

 

Well, at least you're prepared. I've been using the computer since I got it at about 9:20 am PST and it doesn't look like I'm gonna have to go to the local Apple Store to pick up an adapter till later this afternoon. 

 

If it's any consolation, you may get your order before the ETA in your email. Ordered mine as soon as the store went back online and got the "ships in 5-7 days" and an ETA of anywhere between the 22nd and 26th. Mine's a BTO as well with a processor and RAM upgrade. Didn't bother with the SSD since an external drive would be cheaper anyway.

post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

 

 

LMAO.   Wi-fi is hard to find?  What national park do you live in?  

 

A 63 ft Ethernet cable would be larger and heavier than a MBPR.   Maybe you can write Tim Cook and ask him to include a hose reel attachment for the MacBook  

You might want to update your browser, the sarcasm font on that post you responded to doesn't seem to have loaded correctly.

post #31 of 114

People seem to be willing to pay the price of innovation.  Those blazing the trail will help to make the price go down as the components become commodity.  Who doesn't want one of these, but I can wait.

post #32 of 114

I don't know how anyone could consider this pricey for a Mac considering Apple's prices have gone down considerably over the past several year.  3-4 years ago this MacBook Pro would have started at $2999.

post #33 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExceptionHandler View Post

I would miss the super drive a little bit.  We get the netflix discs in the mail and more often than not watch them on my 2011 MBP.  That is really all I have used the drive for.  If I were to shell out for a MBP Retina, whats an extra $79 to get the external drive for the times we watch movies in bed?

Or for that matter a $40 third-party external ODD...  ...or stream your Netflix movies.....

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post #34 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

 

 

LMAO.   Wi-fi is hard to find?  What national park do you live in?  

 

A 63 ft Ethernet cable would be larger and heavier than a MBPR.   Maybe you can write Tim Cook and ask him to include a hose reel attachment for the MacBook  

Since you're incapable of reading notation, 60" = 60 inches or 5 feet. 60' = 60 feet. A double quotation mark signifies inches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


You left out one important fact:
If you really want a cheaper solution, last year's MBPs have been updated and are now available for hundreds of dollars less. Funny how everyone whines that Apple doesn't give choices, but when they do, the alternatives get ignored.
As near as I can see, the only real negative for the way I'd use it is lack of a 17" model, but that's not enough to make me switch to Windows.


As I recall you typically keep your computers for a number of years between upgrades. You could always wait this cycle out and see if it comes back. Otherwise you get haswell rather than ivy, which doesn't seem like a bad option given the further power management improvements that intel has promised.

post #35 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy View Post

I don't know how anyone could consider this pricey for a Mac considering Apple's prices have gone down considerably over the past several year.  3-4 years ago this MacBook Pro would have started at $2999.

I remember when Toshiba laptops with a 640x480 "active matrix" color display would cost $4995 so you could see the Windows 3.1 desktop in glorious 8-bit color. I couldn't foresee the day when I could get a 2880x1800 retina display for half the cost, not adjusting for inflation. Seriously, if reviewers cared that much about price, let them go back to their beloved $259 Netbooks running crippled Windows Starter Edition.

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post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

"It's got less glare than previous MacBook Pro screens"
 
WOW, How could they do it? 
Hint: matte screens have no glare!!!

The retina MacBook Pro has a glossy screen.  Just one designed to reduce glare over previous ones.

post #37 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I don't like the headline for this story. It's akin to a car review in which the headline is, "The Bugatti Veyron is an awesome car, but too expensive. A car with 1,001HP, an 8-liter 16-cylinder engine with four turbos, and a top speed of 253MPH should not cost this much. It needs to be a lot cheaper." 

It's misleading. It doesn't seem that any of these reviews have said that he MBPR is a bad value. They are only complaining that the entry level price is high. Anyway, consumers don't seem to think it's cost-prohibitive.
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Why Apple, why? I only wanted THREE things from the new retina MacBook:

 

1. A retina display with higher res than any computer has ever seen, but priced the SAME as an ordinary display.

 

2. A super thin ultraportable design, with high performance, long battery life, AND an optical drive inside. Portability matters to me, and therefore I like to carry a stack of scratchable discs with me.

 

3. The ability to carry a 60” Ethernet cable around with me. NOT 63” but 60”. If I stick the Ethernet-to-Thunderbolt adapter on the end of my Ethernet cable, it becomes an unusable 63” long. WiFi is hard to find, and ALL of Apple’s products should still have Ethernet built-in. Not just some, ALL of them. Updating the old MacBooks Pros as well is just not good enough, Apple.

 

I think I’ve summed up the feelings of those who don’t see this as the future.

 

My own credit card awaits next year’s retina 11” Air!


I don't like Wifi. Apart from that, fun piece.

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post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBillyGoatGruff View Post


It's misleading. It doesn't seem that any of these reviews have said that he MBPR is a bad value. They are only complaining that the entry level price is high. Anyway, consumers don't seem to think it's cost-prohibitive.


Neither is the Veyron, it sells quite well... get one today :p

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post #40 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I remember when Toshiba laptops with a 640x480 "active matrix" color display would cost $4995 so you could see the Windows 3.1 desktop in glorious 8-bit color. I couldn't foresee the day when I could get a 2880x1800 retina display for half the cost, not adjusting for inflation. Seriously, if reviewers cared that much about price, let them go back to their beloved $259 Netbooks running crippled Windows Starter Edition.

I received an email today from Pacific Geek for a 1.6 GHz Dell notebook. It had a whopping 256 MB of RAM and 20 GB hard drive and Windows XP. Yours for only $99 (plus $4.95 S/H).

If someone wants a cheap laptop, there are plenty like that available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Since you're incapable of reading notation, 60" = 60 inches or 5 feet. 60' = 60 feet. A double quotation mark signifies inches.


As I recall you typically keep your computers for a number of years between upgrades. You could always wait this cycle out and see if it comes back. Otherwise you get haswell rather than ivy, which doesn't seem like a bad option given the further power management improvements that intel has promised.

My MBP is 6 years old. It's time for a new one. Besides, it's not likely that Apple is going to bring back the 17" - or they would have at least kept it for the warmed over last year's model.
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