For anyone considering buying a 15" Retina MBP today...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacKid, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. MacKid, Feb 16, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013

    MacKid macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    My rMBP was delivered yesterday, and I'd just like to share my 0.02¢ for anyone on the fence, or who has read all the reviews and is skeptical about what should rightfully still be considered the first gen of Retina MacBook Pros.

    My screen is perfect. The high number of pixels in Retina screens always makes me itchy at the increased likelihood of dead pixels (I had a couple repeat offenders back in the iBook/PowerBook days). I'm trying to resist running the display manufacturer command - too scared to throw water on the haze of love through which I look upon this gorgeous thing - but even apart from the Retina resolution, the lamination process really does cut glare. Apple claimed a 75% reduction in glare during the announcement, and that may be true when using expensive devices to measure reflection of light rays (or however one quantifies glare), but to my plain human eyes it seems more on the order of a 30% or 40% reduction. The increased color and contrast have to be mentioned too: those improvements alone are almost as dramatic a difference as you may have had going from matte to glossy, those years ago.

    The speakers! I can't believe the reviews made so little of the huge change in acoustics. The speakers now create a field of sound that is wide enough and clear enough to get a truly nice stereo effect. If you think the L and R channels get decent differentiation in the cMBP, you'll wonder what you've been missing all this time. It's not jaw-dropping or mind-blowing, but it really does make you ask where the hell all that great sound is coming from, and where it has been all these years. It does lean more toward cleaner high freqs., so I'd say the bass might actually be a touch worse. But it's greatly improved for anything instrumental, poppy dancy EDM stuff, and movies where you may have had trouble hearing the speech through the explosions.

    The UI graphics. I was really scared. First, with regard to regular OS usage, the whole scrolling lag, window resize lag, web browsing lag thing is nearly nonexistent for me. I understand it was worse when the machines first debuted with Lion, and ML just on the horizon, but I haven't installed the WebKit nightly, and I don't think Safari has been updated with the magical stuff that makes everything like butter, but everything is truly wicked smooth except Facebook. Not sure why, but that's the only tons-of-images site that scrolls in a way that reminds you you're on a computer and not an iPad. You may also notice it when scrolling down the YouTube homepage, if you have a lot of subscriptions and it infinitely auto-populates with video suggestions for you. As far as "jagged" and "terrible" appearance in non-Retina apps and low-res website images, I personally think you'd have to be a pretty jaded tech reviewer (with perfect vision) to have such a dramatic reaction to non-Retina pictures. I will say non-Retina text is the worst offender, but it only looks hairline-blurry, as if you're running a resolution that's It's something you'll almost never encounter except in the banner logos of your favorite websites. Finally, the resolution options are also better than decent. The "looks like 1920" still came out very usable, both in terms of crispness and the performance tax.

    The gaming graphics. I was double-scared. The 650M, being kind of a middle-of-the-high-end card, ends up feeling sort of high-of-the-middle-class when you try to drive the full 2880 resolution with everything maxed in any game made in the last ~18 months, but the great thermal design of the rMBP that allowed Apple to overclock the card really pays off when you connect it to an external display, in which case you'll see better performance than a cMBP is capable of. It's not best-in-class, and it doesn't feel even best-in-class for a Mac, but I found that the experience of playing at Retina resolution made up for some of the lament in turning down a few visual settings. That novelty might wear off, but for now I'm still quite satisfied.

    Other stuff: the keys don't seem to have less travel as suggested in a few reviews - they're just thinner keys. You'll notice this not really from the depth of each key press, but rather how much more your fingertips graze the metal between the keys. The hinge seems to be noticeably tighter at ship than previous generations, but that too might be some of the old machine -> new machine transition bias. Still, I don't recall having to try so hard to reposition the screen on cMBPs (which is a great problem to have!). The redesigned thermal architecture also moved the vent sort of inside/behind the hinge while the computer is open (whereas it was just venting straight to the bottom/back of the hinge on cMBPs), which means you'll probably encounter less heat buildup in the legitimate use case of On The Bed/Couch With A Blankie. As everyone else has pointed out, it feels like an Air in terms of thinness, but not in terms of weight. You'll notice the slim-down much more when using/handling it than when carrying it someplace. The lip of the case, in front of the trackpad, is pleasantly smoothed out to a flat plane instead of the curve it used to be, which got rid of some sharp edges (though the left and right sides of that lip now seem like they're even angrier at you, by comparison).

    Oh, and it's super fast, SSD is great, the RAM is plenty roomy. HDMI mirroring has been wonky for me, and I'll have to play with that a little more. Battery life is exceptional, especially exceeding what you'd expect to get out of it when on discrete graphics.

    TL; DR: In my experience, most of the glaring flaws in reviews have been dramatically exaggerated. The slight price reduction might be Apple signaling that it has gotten its Retina shtuff together in terms of display quality control and OS support, but I really could not be happier, with the exception of the HDMI flickering I observed today in a brief test (didn't try multiple cables or displays, so I can't say yet whether it was a fluke or a defect).
  2. that1guyy macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2011
  3. MacKid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    I felt I had more to say than "Just placed my order, can't wait!" -> "It arrived! Gorgeous!", so I figured I'd make a thread of my own.
  4. slicecom macrumors 68020

    Aug 29, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
  5. chad.petree macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2013
    Is your screen an LG or Samsung? is it the refreshed 2013 version?
  6. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    I'll wait for Haswell since it's only a few months now.

    Thanks for the review and enjoy your purchase.
  7. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    RE: gaming graphics, the Retina display handles scaling very well, even in Windows. In Boot Camp I have the native resolution set to 1680x1050 and 125% text scaling and while there is a tiny bit of softness it is nowhere near as bad as say trying to run that resolution on a traditional TN LCD 1920x1200 panel. The pixel density of the Retina display seems to make a big difference.

    What this means is that you can relax your settings for gaming as well. The GT 650M has no issues running games at the same resolution with high to max details on many modern games.
  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Congrats. Your review was as much as I thought when I got the computer.
  9. Arnezie macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    Did you even read the review, rhetorical question don't answer that we know the answer.
  10. nylon macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hi, I'm also thinking of jumping on the Retina bandwagon. Could you please tell us the specs of your machine.

    Also, Anandtech website states that some of the new Retina MBP's are using Sandisk SSD's can you check your system profiler and let us know what kind of SSD your machine has. If it is a Sandisk SSD it would be great if you could benchmark it (Blackmagic speed test on the app store).

  11. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    I've seen around 400 write and 470s read on my early 2013 15" Sandisk 512 SSD.
  12. cubbie5150 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2007
    Personally, I appreciate your quick review. I've had my rMBP just a little over a month now, and my impressions/reactions have been the same as yours. I just didn't take the time to express them here. It's a great machine, and I've been done w/ playing the "chase the technology" game for some time now, so I know I'll be enjoying it for at least a couple years.
  13. MacKid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    I'm glad a few of you found my little lunchtime write-up helpful.

    Right now I'm choosing to live in ignorance on this one. I might have the courage to check in another week, but for the moment I'm so happy with it that I'll let myself pretend the rMBP is omnipotent and infallible just a little while longer...

    Yeah, people have been debating a lot about how the calendar is going to line up, but I'd be surprised if they don't just decide to announce the refresh at WWDC, and wait until August(ish) to ship.

    Good luck, with the waiting and all. I'm coming off a relatively crusty mid-2009 MBP, so it was time for me.

    I've been having a little bit of Boot Camp drama (thought I'd be able to boot from my old guy in target disk mode; was wrong) so I haven't yet had the chance to test anything but the trio of Blizzard games. I've read a few reviews of the 650 in general, and the rMBP specifically, and my findings were similar: set things to 2880 and you're going to have to dial some things down, but the pixel density means you can toss anti-aliasing out the window without a second thought, so that's a plus. And, as I mentioned earlier, connecting it to something even at 1080p works beautifully (and is supposed to benchmark even slightly better than a factory spec'd 660M thanks to the overclock).
  14. alan7467 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Thanks for the excellent write up! My 15" rMBP (and first Mac/laptop) will be arriving on Tuesday. Can't wait!
  15. phinsup macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Las vegas
    Ordered mine Saturday, 2.6 proc, 16 gb ram and 256 drive. Now I'm trying to pick out a bag for carrying it because the one I use for my 13" is not gonna work.
  16. DaveOP macrumors 65816

    May 29, 2011
    Portland, OR
    You're going to love it! I really thought my 2011 13" MBP was a great machine....this one BLOWS it away. It's so thin and light for the screen size and power, and it looks truly incredible.
  17. phinsup macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Las vegas
    That's what I have now, 2011 13" with Samsung ssd.
  18. eminemead macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2013
    CT, USA
    did you notice any difference of an early 2013 mbpR 15'' from the early 2012 model?

    Thank you
  19. MacKid, Feb 17, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013

    MacKid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    If this thread is correct, then I got a SanDisk. While they didn't put the drives through Anand's full read/write test suite (the random read/write data are missing), I trust their numbers. I went for the 2.7/16/512 at $2,799.

    It wasn't the easiest decision - I'd been abstaining since the launch in July, but I decided to go in for it after the slight price reduction, and I just wanted other people who may be as paranoid as I was about the manufacturing defects and harsh reviews to know that the rMBP seems truly ready for release.
  20. bobcan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Sunny but Cold.. Canada
    Nice to hear that..

    Very Nice.. I am glad to hear that many people have a Great Computer and some DO tell others here when things are Good, and not only when they are BAD.. Thanks for the Positives!!

    I am cautiously thinking of Upgrading, possibly a Refurb, although my 2011 15" MBP has been a great machine and truly does all I need.. :apple:
  21. MacKid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    My mind's still reeling a little from how fast the thing is, at a thickness that's on par with a lot of tablets these days...

    The internal design of the early 2013 has supposedly seen slight changes from the mid 2012.
  22. ct1211 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2012
    Checking screen manufacturer

    Please ignore the screen checking issue. We now have 11 rMBP both 15 and 13 inch models in operation here. Our geeks looked at the screens makes, its a mix, no problems and the little 13" is just fine for everyday use to boot! Most of the conspiracy theories are from people with no clue. My 15" rMBP however is emitting blue smoke through the keyboard opening and it has learned to talk. I am a little worried...

  23. agaskew macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Another satisfied rMBP user :)

    As you have correctly worked out, the issues have been over hyped and the rMBP is in fact a BEAST. Of course there are lemons out there but that's one thing you pay the Apple premium for - if its not right, get it changed.
    Haters gotta hate. Meanwhile the rest of get on with things :)
  24. dma550 macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2009
    Nice review. Now is the time to buy one. Also, I recommend buying through macmall and fatwallet, get an additional 4% off today!
  25. MacKid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    I would strongly recommend scouting out the refurbs first. I only went with a new model because I knew I'd need more than 8 GB of RAM, and I hadn't seen a 16 GB refurb up since around November.

    Happy to hear it! I'm wary, but confident at this point that they were able to sort out the supply chains after ~7 months.

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