Retina MacBook Review

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by TheRealTVGuy, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. TheRealTVGuy, Apr 1, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016

    TheRealTVGuy macrumors 6502a

    TheRealTVGuy

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #1
    After a month of using Apple’s Retina MacBook, I’m finally able to offer a well thought out review.


    Full disclosure: I’ve been an Apple user and fan most of my life. From using Apple IIs in elementary school and using Power Mac G4s to edit video in high school, to editing professional audio productions on the new Retina MacBook, I’ve always enjoyed using a Mac.


    I moved to the Retina MacBook from an early 2014 13-inch MacBook Air. The main reason for the upgrade was extra storage space (the MacBook Air had 128 GB of flash storage, while the Retina MacBook has 256 GB). Before my purchase, I was initially concerned about two areas: screen size and processing power. I’m happy to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised on both fronts.


    The Retina MacBook comes in three finishes: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. I found a great open-box deal on a Space Gray version. The computer is extremely light and portable; it’s only 2 lbs. and fits well on an airline tray table. Even though the screen size is 12-inches instead of the 13 I was used to on my MacBook Air, because it features Apple’s higher-resolution “Retina” display I haven’t really noticed the difference. If anything I’d say that the Retina MacBook’s display is actually clearer and easier to see and use on a daily basis. It helps that in the “Displays” section of the System Preferences you have the option to scale the display for “Default” resolution, “Larger Text”, or “More Space”. I was able to personalize the display to my liking. The display itself is, of course gorgeous, replicating colors precisely and allowing you to view high resolution imagery in most all of it’s grandeur.


    As far as processing power goes, even though my particular computer only sports a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor and 8GB of 1600MHZ LPDDR3 memory, it runs just as quick as the MacBook Air, if not faster for some tasks. Of course it will load webpages, play videos & music, gather email, and build spreadsheets without any problems, but it also handles Adobe Audition CC and multiple tracks of processed audio without any delay or stuttering in playback at all.


    The newly designed keyboard that Apple is using for the Retina MacBook definitely feels different from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but that’s a good thing. After only a day of use, I became just as fast, if not faster when typing than I was on the MacBook Air. Now, when I do use an older keyboard, it doesn't feel as nice to my fingers.


    The new Force Touch trackpad took a little getting used to. The first thing I always do with any trackpad is turn off “Tap to click”. That feature has always driven me nuts. The new Force Touch trackpad isn’t a conventional trackpad, it’s actually a single piece of textured glass. So instead of pressing on the bottom portion of the trackpad to “click” as you would before, now you can press anywhere on the trackpad. It also features Apple’s Force Touch features which let you press just a little bit harder to access special features. For instance, you can Force Touch on almost any word anywhere, and the system will define the word for you. I’m anxious to see what other things Force Touch can be configured to do in the future.


    The Force Touch trackpad is also unique in that it simulates the vibration your fingers would normally feel from a traditional trackpad. When you “click” on the trackpad, it actually vibrates, similar to an Apple Watch, to let you know that you have in fact “clicked” on something on-screen. You can also turn this feature off, which really provides a different user experience versus a traditional trackpad.


    Because the overall size of the chassis of the computer is smaller (since it’s only a 12-inch screen) I’ve found that for my hands, prolonged use of the Force Touch trackpad eventually causes my thumbs to ache. I much prefer using my Bluetooth Apple Magic Mouse for navigation.


    The computer is equipped with stereo speakers and while they don’t provide much frequency response (especially at the low end) they actually sound better than the speakers in the MacBook Air. The FaceTime camera built-in to the screen’s bezel is only 480p, which is actually a downgrade from other Apple portables. While this doesn’t negatively affect me, users who participate in video conferences regularly may be annoyed by the quality difference.


    One of the most-touted features of the Retina MacBook is how thin the whole computer is. To do this, Apple reduced the number of ports on the computer to just two: a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a USB-C connector that serves as both an interface for USB devices, and a way to provide power to the computer. Unfortunately, this means that the Retina MacBook does not use a MagSafe 2 Power Adapter like all of the other Apple portables. Although I haven’t experienced any wire trips yet, I miss the confidence of knowing that tripping over a power cord didn’t necessarily mean that my computer would end up on the floor.


    I was initially worried about the lack of traditional USB ports. While at the office I have the option to print and scan wirelessly, however for some reason the printer I utilize the most seems to run faster when I am hardwired. I found a solution by purchasing a third-party USB-C hub that features three USB ports and a USB-C port for passing through power from the Retina MacBook’s power adapter.


    Speaking of power, I have noticed a large difference between the battery life of the MacBook Air VS. the Retina MacBook. With the MacBook Air I would get over 8 hours of battery life while at work. Now, with the Retina MacBook under the same conditions and work flow, I find myself pulling out the power adapter at least once a day, normally in the mid afternoon.


    Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my decision to switch to the Retina MacBook, enjoy the extra storage space, and would recommend it to anyone who is considering switching to Apple or looking for something even more portable than a MacBook Air, while gaining a Retina Display.
     
  2. duervo macrumors 68000

    duervo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    #2
    I'd buy a space grey or gold but I've heard that decals sort of stain the finish. That would be bad for the rocking badass flame decals I would plan to put on it.
     
  3. viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #3
    Nice review! I just have one question: can you link us to the USB-C hub you purchased? :)
     
  4. TheRealTVGuy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheRealTVGuy

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    Thank you!
    Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01A...eywords=JOMO+Tech+Type+C+Hub+3.0+USB-C+4+Port...

    I will tell you, the voltage regulator chips in the hub seem to be a little conservative. It may be my imagination, but the computer seems to charge a little slower when the power runs through the hub.
     
  5. viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #5
  6. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    #6
    glad you like it. i do, too. but your descriptive info is all a bit stale.

     
  7. lyngo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    #7
    Stale? How? I find someone's story and experience helpful in finding other things that I can do with my rMB. It's good to discover other's workflow and glean. Maybe there's something I can pickup from their experience.
     
  8. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    #8
    the rmb is a year old. we've heard what's pro and con a million times from pro reviewers and average joes, along with every conceivable accessory, etc. this 'reviewer' makes it seem like he just discovered it and wants us to, too. like i sed i'm glad he's head over heels in love. i like it too. but the story is stale. yawn.
     
  9. Howard2k macrumors 6502a

    Howard2k

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    #9
    I know it sounds crazy, but there actually are some people who aren't experts on the MacBook and would enjoy reading current reviews.
     
  10. lyngo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    #10
    Then bypass it and move along?
     
  11. viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #11
    Seriously? For being such a "yawn" review, you sure do seem to be creating a lot of fuss about it. Move on, seriously. It was a good review and gives us a perspective from a user rather than a tech critic, which is important for any average customer who just wants to know how the computer works in the real world.
     
  12. marc55, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    marc55 macrumors 6502a

    marc55

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #12
    Could you manage to be any more rude?

    Your responses simply prove it's easier criticize than to actually add something constructive to the conversation.

    Thank you OP for the great review; it was well written and very informative, and please don't let one rude person dissuade you from future reviews.

    m
     
  13. Jayderek macrumors 6502

    Jayderek

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #13
    all you're doing is threadcrapping. Move on to a post you enjoy - pretty simple concept.
     
  14. Nychot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    #14
    I'm sorry but I agree completely with the criticism voiced by Ruggles99. The so-called "reviewer" DOES act like no one's ever heard of the rmb. Come on, its available in silver, gold and space gray. Like the entire world doesn't know that, and anyone interested in buying it can get all that information on the apple site. The OP's so-called review was just another in the reams of I Love My RMB, or I hate my rmb. It was booooring. And by the way, if you didn't like that guy's crirticism, you are being just as rude. It kills me how some of you people on here act. It's mindboggling.
     
  15. marc55 macrumors 6502a

    marc55

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #15
    The OP was simply giving a review. He took the time and wrote what I and others consider a good review.

    Sure the MB has been out a while now, and there are many other reviews; and, so what if he posted some known information, he took the time to give his perspective to others who may enjoy some benefit.

    Constructive criticism is good, and adds value, and I added it by indicating something constructive be added to the conversation.

    What's MIND-BOGGLING, is how some folks simply want to come on here and criticize, but add no constructive value whatsoever; and that is truly MIND-BOGGLING!

    I think we've hijacked this thread long enough, so lets move on and let others enjoy the original intent.

    m
     
  16. Nychot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    #16
    so you've hijacked it too, lol.
     
  17. TheRealTVGuy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheRealTVGuy

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #17
    Hello All,

    Thank you all for your responses, including feedback on the topic and tone of the review. Just to add a little clarity and context: This was a recent purchase and this review was originally for BestBuy.com. If the piece sounded more like it was meant for the average consumer researching the Retina MacBook and not an experienced member of the MacRumors site, that's because it was!

    I decided to post the review here as well because I had not previously posted a product review to MacRumors, and because I hoped that my experiences with the keyboard, trackpad, and battery might provide some real world insight for anyone considering making the switch.
     
  18. marc55 macrumors 6502a

    marc55

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    #18
    Not everyone on here are experienced Apple users; many are just average consumers, and many are new to Apple.

    Your review was on target for those looking to purchase a MB (like me!)
    m
     
  19. kylera macrumors 65816

    kylera

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Seoul
    #19
    Excellent review, and it's definitely making me anticipate the upcoming revision to the MacBook!

    I know that I can get the current one and it'd suit my uses just fine, but more than anything else, I want the better battery efficiency that Skylake is promising compared to Broadwell.
     
  20. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    #20
    Oh snap
    To the OP, thanks for sharing your new buyer experience. I have had mine since November and agree with the points. I wish the aftermarket or Apple was moving faster on USB-C goodies.
     
  21. bjet767 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    #21
    I've had the 1.2 512 since day one and really enjoy it. I'm trying to decide how much performance improvement in the update will prompt me to upgrade.

    I did find one thing which annoyed me, the Apple C adapter would not read a USB 3 thumb drive I have. But my 2012 mini (and other macs) will. Bummer.
     
  22. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #22
    Nothing compelling unless Apple includes TB3, CPU will be marginal, GPU may be relevant depending on drivers. Likely biggest gain will be for those whose usage pattern invokes throttling as Skylake has far superior thermal management.

    I also own a 1.2 512 personally I will wait on Kaby Lake as TB3 will be on SOC, GPU & thermal management will be more meaningful. Short of owning the latest and greatest I don't see too much tangible benefit for my needs, unless I decide to replace my 2014 13" rMBP with a second MacBook, that said it`s highly likely that the rMBP`s will downsize, picking up much of the rMB`s design ethos.

    Q-6
     

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