Apple India will start stocking their shelves with the Retina MacBook Pro sometime this month and lucky for us, we had a chance to spend some quality time with Apple’s latest and greatest offering to date. Everything you've seen and heard about the new MacBook does not do it justice till you’ve actually seen and used it in person. This is Apple’s most ambitious MacBook Pro to date and they’ve really delivered on their promise.
Same design and build that we've come to expect from Apple
From the outside, it looks like a standard MacBook Pro on a diet. With the optical drive now out of the way and no 2.5-inch hard drive to occupy space, Apple has managed to shave down the depth of the notebook considerably when compared to a standard MacBook Pro. It’s still thicker than the MacBook Air but about the same as most Ultrabooks like the Lenovo U300s. It’s a lot lighter too at roughly 2.02kg which makes it one of the lightest 15-inch notebooks out there and the fact that you still get the unibody aluminium finish is a huge bonus. The fit, finish and attention to detail is nothing short of brilliant, which is what we’ve come to expect from Apple products. Unlike earlier MacBook Pro models, the new MacBook Pro also has you covered on the connectivity front. Apple has done away with FireWire and instead gone with USB 3.0, something that was a long time coming. You get two of these on either side along with a full sized HDMI and two Thunderbolt ports.
Two Thunderbolt ports and USB 3.0
The beauty of Thunderbolt is that it’s not limited to support one type of data as with the right adapter; you can use it to connect external displays, RAID arrays, video capture devices, Gigabit Ethernet ports and more. This new model also features their new MagSafe 2 power connector due to the reduced space but you can still use your old charger through an adapter. The Retina MacBook strangely doesn’t feel overly huge although it’s a 15-incher. Compared to the standard MacBook Pros, the Retina version could also be considered a stiff competition to Ultrabooks, even though they fall in two different segments.
Hard to discern pixels even when fully zoomed in
The next big change is the screen. Retina Display is finally available on the MacBook and in order to keep a high enough pixel count, Apple has gone with a 2880 x 1800 resolution, which brings the count to 220ppi. This is less than the iPad’s 260ppi but since you’ll be using the notebook at a further distance than a tablet, it balances out.
The LED backlit IPS panel is nothing short of gorgeous and OS X has been tweaked a little with high resolution icons that really come alive on this new display. You can immediately tell if an application hasn’t been optimized for the screen as the icons, text, etc. will have a lot of jaggies and less sharpness. This will all be fixed though, once software manufacturers release updates. We tried opening up a bunch of photographs shot with a DSLR and even at 600 percent zoom, we could barely see any pixilation which is pretty cool.
The new notebook is not just a cosmetic makeover though as Apple has completely redone the internals as well. With Ivy Bridge, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GT 650M and all flash based storage, the notebook is incredibly fast. As a test we tried opening every single application at the same time, including Aperture, and within seconds, everything was open and running in the background. If you’re into heavy photo or video editing, the all flash storage is going to give you a big boost in manipulating images and frames with ease. We didn’t get a chance to try out any games but we will, once we get this in for review.
The thinnest MacBook Pro yet
The Retina MacBook Pros will be hitting Indian store shelves sometime this month for an approximate price of Rs.1,52,900, which puts it a good 30K higher than, say, if you’d pick it up from the US or Hong Kong. While this is undoubtedly expensive, it’s a showcase of the absolute best Apple has to offer and quite frankly, there is simply nothing in the market quite like it. We’ll reserve our final judgment for the full review after we’ve wrung it though our battery of tests but for the few hours we’ve spent with it, we are definitely impressed with what Apple has managed to achieve.