MacBook Pro With Retina Display: First Impressions and Photos of Apple’s New Laptop

Jun 11, 2012 6:18pm
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Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Joanna Stern/ABC News

SAN FRANCISCO — Moments after I saw the new iPad I wrote, “Now that’s a beautiful screen” in my hands-on post.

Well, that was my exact reaction to the seeing the new MacBook Pro with a Retina Display. So much for originality on my part.

The new MacBook Pro has its halo feature in its name — Retina Display. And it is for good reason. The 2880 x 1800-resolution 15.4-inch display is the crispest and brightest display I’ve ever seen on a laptop (and I’ve seen a lot of laptops).  In fact, as I write these words on the laptop’s screen it’s hard not to be distracted by the brightness and crispness of the icons on the Mac OS X dock. It looks as if the screen was painted on.

Watching a 1080p YouTube clip on the screen is actually hard to describe — it really looks like an HDTV, except its even higher resolution and you sit closer to it. It’s the same experience when you’re looking at images in iPhoto or on a website. Everything just looks bright and colorful and clear.

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Image credit: Joanna Stern / ABC News

But there’s more to appreciate than the beautiful display. The laptop is 0.71 inches thick, only slightly thicker than the MacBook Air, making it one of the thinnest 15-inch laptops on the market. And it’s light too. At 4.46 pounds, it’s lighter than the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, though not as light as the MacBook Air or Samsung’s 15-inch Series 9 ultrabook (3.5 pounds).

Still, Apple has managed to cram in a number of ports, including two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, and an HDMI port (the first time ever on a Mac laptop).  Even better, those USB ports are located on separate edges so you don’t run into a crowding problem when you try and plug in an external hard drive and mouse at the same time. However, there’s no DVD or disc drive or Ethernet ports; if those are important to you, you’ll want to go with the thicker MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has a comfortable backlit keyboard. It has a big, wide glass touch pad that continues to provide a better experience than any other touch pads on Windows 7 laptops on the market.

Of course, the Pro is also insanely fast. The unit Apple provided me has a new 2.3GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and 256GB of flash storage, which helps the laptop boot and resume from sleep very quickly. Of course, all that isn’t cheap. That configuration costs $2,199; going up to a 2.6GHz Core i7 processor and a 512GB drive costs $2,799.

I’ll be writing a full review of the MacBook Pro in the coming days, but for now I’d say this is the laptop you’d want if you need the best performance parts around coupled with an eye-massaging display. Oh, and if you have two grand to spend on one.

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