I have been comparing the retina to my mba 13 inch ('12) , iMac ('11) , and even iPad.. the brightness is actually not a problem from what i was told by some people . sure it may be less bright but now i understand what others have stated about the contrast making up for this. i am now truly seeing the beauty of this screen. WOW! This is by far the best laptop i have ever had. The 2.6 Ghz, 16 GB RAM, 512 SSD is absolutely blazing fast. Please , to those of you who have a retina and have not tried ML, be patient, it is so worth the wait. I have been doing tests with both of my retinas , base model 2.3 /8 /256 against the 2.6/16/512.. the RAM is truly a worthwhile upgrade! I do see the difference. If you are considering the extra memory, i say go for it!! you wont ever regret it. you can never have less with this machine , 16 gb will be the 8 gb of today, especially with the soldered ram. plus the upgraded processor cant hurt either. if anyone has any questions on both of these machines, or requests, i will be happy to help!