Retina MBP initial thoughts

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Trey M, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    Hi guys,

    I know the people reading this have probably read the numerous reviews, but I thought I'd give a first impression of the Retina MBP. I read tons of reviews, so I'm used to the "criteria", so to speak, that many popular tech sites write about.

    I was lucky enough to actually get 2 Retina Macbook Pros at a Best Buy about 30 minutes away. One's on ebay as we speak and one's the one I'm typing on :)

    Anyways, first thing I noticed when I removed it from the box was the weight. It is so much more comfortable to hold than the older MBP (I had a 2011 15'' MBP before this one, also on ebay lol). It's not like you hold it and think it's light, but the way the weight is distributed is much more comfortable than the older model. I have a 2011 11'' Air as well, and obviously it's not even near that, but it feels light enough, for me anyways.

    One huge thing I noticed was the keyboard! Having owned several MacBooks as you might've picked up on by now, this keyboard is a lot different. I don't mean the layout, and it might just be mine I'm not sure, but I would describe the typing experience as "light". I mean that as in the keys seem to travel in a different manner- I don't think I'm exerting less effort than my older model, but it gives you a more satisfying feeling when the keys reach the end of their click. I use light because it feels like I'm using less effort, though I don't think I am.

    The screen is absolutely gorgeous. I feel like all the reviews really didn't review the screen very well, and I didn't understand what it'd be like 'till I got one in front of me. It really is almost as significant as the 3GS to iPhone 4 transformation was, but not quite as different. After getting used to all the hi-res icons in the OS, you really start to notice it in different places. For example, the little sync marks next to dropbox items in dropbox are extremely tiny- and I suspect this is because the icons were designed for a significantly lower-res screen. I mean they're tiny- and it's because the screen res has been upped by so much more. That's the biggest difference I notice- not the sleek text rendering, but how many more pixels are on this display. It's fantastic to use, and though I've used it for only a few hours, I can already say it justifies the expensive upgrade fee I'm having to pay to upgrade laptops.

    Many other things are extremely alike, but another area I like are the ports. I know there must've been several people who often use ethernet, firewire, and the optical drive who were face palming when this laptop was announced, but me personally I rarely used any of those options. I will probably buy a Superdrive, though I don't really need one, just to install Diablo really. I will maybe purchase the ethernet adapter as there are still places, especially in hotels in small towns, that do not offer wifi or it is very slow and therefore I would need ethernet. I understand why Apple removes these things- referring to the optical drive and ethernet adapter; it's because most, keyword most, people use these items rarely. Not never, but rarely. I feel like a lot of the weight lost from the older model was in the optical drive, and I know you can remove it from the old models but I like keeping things stock. Anyways, I like the idea of adapters instead of ports, and it gives the laptop an extremely slick look from the side. The magsafe 2 port upgrade was pretty bad, requiring an unincluded adapter for use with older chargers, but it really does give it a slick look. Really slick. One thing that really surprised me was the HDMI inclusion. I couldn't believe it! It seems so late in HDMI's life to start including this feature, but I guess Apple just decided to pull the trigger. They stated several times they'd never include HDMI in laptops, but they for some reason did. It's kind of annoying to me because I have a few mini display port to dvi and hdmi adapters, but I'd rather have it than not have it. Just interesting they'd just now include this. USB 3.0 was a given upgrade because it was already included in Ivy Bridge. 2 Thunderbolt ports is nice as well as many more accessories and the named adapters now, thankfully, take advantage of the port.

    Overall, This machine is incredible. Regardless of how long I've had this laptop, I've had enough laptops to know love at first sight. It has everything you'd want in a 15 inch laptop while keeping a sleek profile with good battery life, an excellent screen, and the best keyboard and trackpad available. Ever since I sold my iPad for my 11 inch air, I've constantly been convincing people to pick up the 13 inch air instead of the boring 13 inch MBP everyone has (I only got an 11 inch because I already had a 15 inch and wanted something to be similar to portability of an iPad), but this machine will have me recommending it to other people. I'll now say if you like bigger screens and price is no matter, pick up the retina MBP. However, I still feel the best machine for most people's needs, especially college students, is the 13 inch air. Regardless of how incredible this MBP is, it's simply too powerful for most people's needs.

    But damn do I love it :)
  2. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    Great review. Thanks. Glad to hear about the keyboard. I actually always thought the new keyboard designs sucked, and much preferred the smoothness that my 2007 MBP had (the one with the silver keys). Who knows, perhaps this new keyboard will be closer to my current one than the black keys on all the recent models.

    Can't wait to see that screen :)
  3. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Big thumbs up. A very well written review and it's exactly what I think about the new Retina MBP.

  4. jeopardy2311 macrumors regular

    May 25, 2010
    I enjoyed reading your review. I have a 2011 mbp (feb model) and i've been debating buying the retina one for the past few days. I dont like my current computer (finding it slow and a lot of beachballing..) and i really want to move to something lighter and ssd. And your review got me excited! Thanks
  5. Trey M thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    Glad to hear you all like the review! Sorry it was poorly written, I don't revise things I don't have to since I do enough of that in college lol...

    I found myself buying the RMBP when I had a 2011 as well...I know it was truly a bad financial decision, but most of my saved money goes towards my gadgets and stuff so I bit the bullet. I will say, though, that you will notice the SSD. After having my Air, I wouldn't buy a computer without a SSD. It's so much faster, absolutely everything is snappier, and you can restart your computer in like 15 seconds. It's incredible. And the lightness along with the SSD is fantastic...

    If you're miserable with your 2011 and you don't wanna spend $2200, the 13'' Air would be perfect for you too! You could just satisfy your needs for the screen by going into the Apple Store and playing with a Retina :p

    I debated buying a Thunderbolt Display for a long time, and until this laptop was announced I was planning on it. I couldn't buy both, but I knew within minutes of the announcement of the RMBP I would buy this laptop instead. But after trying for like 3 consecutive days twice a day to get a RMBP at my Apple Store, I found myself playing with the Thunderbolt Display every time...It lets you have the fun without taking the fun away from your wallet hahah. I probably would've done something even dumber if they'd released a Retina Thunderbolt Display with USB 3.0 by buying both, but thankfully they didn't. I don't even think the tech is close with Retina on a 27 inch anyways...
  6. dkimxd macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2008
    awesome review, but kinda lame you've bought 2 and trying to sell one on ebay for profit.. Especially when so many people are trying to get one still..
    Anyways, can't wait to see how I like mine.
  7. fat jez macrumors 68000

    fat jez

    Jun 24, 2010
    Glasgow, UK
    thanks for the review. On the subject of the screen, does it have the glossy glass front of the MacBook Pro or is it more matte? The reviews say it's not as reflective, but I've seen plenty of photos that still show reflections. A glossy screen is a deal breaker for me, I love my AG MacBook Pro!
  8. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Awesome review :D

    I agreed the HDMI port is unexpected :eek: and I'm glad they removed the Ethernet, FireWire and optical drive as well!

    I love the design of the MagSafe 2, I reckon it's an improvement :) It is a combination of the old plastic one and the MagSafe 1. Also, it's good to hear about the keyboard!

    Damn, I wish mine is already shipped, CAN'T WAIT any longer :apple:
  9. jeopardy2311 macrumors regular

    May 25, 2010
    Man your comments about the ssd and the lightness of the laptop got me even more excited!!! The thing that is keeping me off buying the retina mbp is that I already have the 2011 so as you said it might be a bad financial decision. but every time i use my current mbp i feel like i want to break it.
    I prefer getting the 15'' because I do a lot of engineering work on my laptop and I run some FE modelling software so i prefer the 15'' screen.
    I guess I will order the new one tonight and use the 3-4 weeks period to try and sell my current laptop. I have been watching ebay and I am seeing loads of macbook pros there, I doubt any are getting sold unless the price is really low.
  10. kyle0103 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    is the new retina mbp comfortable to use on lap?

    the older generation punish you for doing that
  11. kirky1234 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2012
    Thanks for the great review! I'm really exited to get mine.
    Could you say something about the lag issues some users mentioned in safari (pages with lot of images), other browsers or/and itunes? How are basic things like fullscreen view and exposé doing?
  12. Trey M thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    I'm not too big on using it on my lap because I usually use my 11 inch for that, but their have been reports that the laptop gets just as hot during intensive processes. That being said, I literally haven't noticed fan speed at all. I'm still installing Diablo and that would obviously invoke the fans, but as far as running like 8 apps at once like I always do, I hear absolutely no fan noise, which means the laptop isn't getting very hot. Good news is if you're just gonna web browse and do simple tasks while it's on your lap, it shouldn't get as hot as the last model.


    It's definitely not AS reflective. But it is glass in front of the screen. Where as in my past glossy laptops my lamp would over take the entire screen, it's not as big of an issue with this model. But if no matte is a deal breaker, looks like you won't enjoy a Retina MBP :(
  13. The "Dude" macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2011
    Good review Trey. Noticing any of the lag issues that others are reporting?
  14. Trey M thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011

    I've heard a couple of people say there's lagging but I haven't read anything about it yet...what's the article?
  15. Trey M thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    More thoughts after a few more days

    Thought I'd give another update on some more things I noticed over these few days I've been using my MBP. I still can't believe I actually have one!

    I did some boot up times, from the time the power button was first pressed, and I got about 19-20 seconds on average from button press to desktop with dock loaded. Pretty quick if you ask me. There are some laptops out there that post faster times, but a lot of time that data is skewed.

    Blackmagic Disk Speed Test was incredible. The write speeds get up to 405 mbps and the read speeds get up to 450 mbps. A lot quicker than my 7200 Rpm HDD on my 2011. Regardless, any SSD is just fast. I don't notice any speed upgrade when doing normal things in the OS versus my 2011 MBA's SSD, but I did notice a small increase in data transfer time.

    One thing I noticed that I didn't really use at first were the speakers. I usually didn't use my old 15 inch while laying in bed because my 11'' air is more ideal, but I have a crush on this laptop right now so I've been using it instead every time. Whenever I listen to music on my bed without an external speaker solution, I'm always disappointed for obvious reasons. I have a logitech z5500 speaker system, so any sort of laptop sound system pales in comparison to that (not saying they're fantastic, just better). However, when I first started listening to music on my new RMBP, I was really surprised at how much the speakers were upgraded from the last model to this one. On a couple of websites' reviews on the RMBP, I read the difference was hardly noticeable, but I strongly disagree. They have more complete sound, to where you sort of get a surround sound effect if you're listening right in front of the screen. They also get a lot louder. I'm always afraid to blow my laptop speakers because it would be complicated/expensive to replace and my friend blew his 2008 MBP speakers, so I usually keep them at 50-75% max. However, the 2011 MBP speakers didn't get loud so I usually broke my morales and got them up to about 85%. These new speakers produce louder, richer, and fuller sound at 50% than my last MBP speakers did at any level. Keep in mind this laptop was only one year old as well. I'm really impressed by the new speakers on my new RMBP, and they more than exceed my expectations for certain listening scenarios when I can't use my external speaker system. 50% on these speakers is a great volume, and they plainly get a lot louder.

    Another thing that's nice is the height of the laptop. Not for looks or sleekness, but I'm typing this right now on my bed on my RMBP. With my 2011 MBP, it never felt comfortable typing in bed because the laptop was too high and it made it uncomfortable and hard to find a good place to put my wrists. Although the new RMBP makes it more comfortable, it's still not as nice to use as my 11 inch air simply because it's not as thin (especially where you put your wrists) and because there's simply more space taken up. However, I can bear typing in bed on this model where as my last model I never used it here because it was uncomfortable for my wrists.

    One thing I don't know if I like is the keyboard power button. I understood why they did it on the MBA, because there is no disc drive and because there are a lot of compromises needed to make it as thin and everything as it is. However, I feel like a metal button instills more quality in a laptop like this. I also worry that if something ever froze to the point where I would have to hold down the power key for like 6 seconds to force immediate shut off, it could potentially fail. I'm not saying it won't work, because on my Air I've never had the problem, but I have a suspicion that if something froze really bad for whatever reason and the keyboard had issues due to the freeze, your force shutdown might fail because of a keyboard recognition failure or something of the sort. It's a minor detail, but it's something I'm not sure I like.

    Aside from that, everything else seems to be perfect. The laptop is such a perfect weight for it's size. I can't see it being much lighter or more ideal for a laptop it's size. It's not super light, but it's a 15 inch laptop and you'll be hard pressed to find 3 lighter 15 inch laptops on the market. The laptop simply feels too perfect at this point. When the last model (unibody) was introduced in 2008 (or 2007?), it felt futuristic and got rave reviews on design. The laptop had a 4 year run where nothing was changed on the exterior except when Apple started building the batteries into the body shortly after they were introduced. During its whole run, it was considered by many to be the best laptop on the market, and not just this forum either. I knew people who hate Apple with a passion who loaded Windows 7 as the primary OS and used it for that because the hardware was simply that good. I think this new laptop has what it takes to again redefine the category of "best laptop on the market". Although some things changed, namely the display, standard SSD, and upgrade of standard RAM, this is largely the same MBP. To some not so tech savvy, they wouldn't notice the difference. However, Apple took perfection and slimmed it down, added all those great features as standard, added better speakers, added more useful ports, put some bad ass vents on it (they just look cool to me), and kept fantastic battery life, especially the 2.3 GHZ model. Yes, they took away some things that some people require, like disc drives, but I agree that everything Apple took away, including the hard drives, will move us more quickly to the next gen of laptops and ultraportables.

    I'm in love with this laptop, 10 times more than I was with my last model during the first week, and I can't see myself wanting anything else for a long wise that is.

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