My brief stint with the new Retina MacBook Pro yesterday made me want to convert. I have always been a Windows user for as long as I can remember but something about the new MacBook Pro makes you crave one. It’s quite simply an engineering marvel and whether you’re a fan or a hater, you can’t deny the fact that there’s simply nothing quite like it in the market. But best things in life are never cheap, least of all when it comes to Apple. In India, the Retina MacBook Pro is retailing for roughly Rs.1,52,000, which is a Rs. 30,000 premium over what it's selling in countries like the US and Hong Kong, so what gives? Is the high-res screen and new slim form factor really worth it?
While the Retina MacBook Pro is definitely more portable than the standard version, it’s still nowhere close to the portability of an Ultrabook. If we take Dell’s highest spec’d XPS 14 which retails for roughly Rs.1,18,000, you get a pretty decently powerful system with 8GB of RAM, 512GB flash storage, an i5 Ivy Bridge and a discrete card, all packaged into a chassis that’s more or less the same as the new MacBook Pro. However if I had to do some serious photo editing work, I’d have to hook it up to a high-res IPS monitor, something which I can avoid in the MacBook Pro thanks to the Retina Display. But what if I wanted a notebook that matched the horsepower of the MacBook Pro? My only current alternative is some gaming oriented notebook like Alienware. The new refresh beats the Retina MacBook Pro hands down with a faster CPU, larger hard drive, better graphics card, larger screen, etc - all for just a little more. But one main problem with this is, it’s not a notebook anymore since there’s no way in hell you’ll be lugging round a 4.2kg machine, unless you’re asking for a slip disc. Also, forget about battery life, you’ll have to keep this plugged in at all times. The MacBook Pro on the other hand is still surprisingly portable, weighing just about 2kg and the narrow bezel around the screen means you get minimum fluff. You can also expect a 7 hour battery life (according to Apple), something that even Ultrabooks fail to deliver, let alone a power hungry notebook like the Alienware. My point is, you will easily be able to match a Windows PC spec for spec with the new MacBook Pro, and it would be cheaper too. Just don’t expect to easily find one that looks as good as Apple’s or is as well built either.
Against some of the best notebooks in the Indian market
Whichever way you look at it, the Retina MacBook Pro seems like a better alternative to a high-end gaming PC or even a fully pimped-out Ultrabook for that matter. And if you go by the international pricing, $2,199 (Rs.1,25,000) is really not an exorbitant price considering what you’re getting. Even if you’re not keen on Mac OS, you can always dual-boot Windows on it and enjoy the best of both worlds. Apple also provides a global warranty on the MacBook Pro (which I confirmed with one of the Maple stores) so why would anyone pay a 30K premium in India? After weighing in all the options that’s out there right now, the Retina MacBook Pro seems to be the only ‘future-proof’ notebook that I can think of and if I had the spare cash, I’d pick one up, eyes closed, just not from India.