back to article Apple MacBook Pro 13in Retina display review

When I reviewed the latest version of the 13in MacBook Pro just a few months ago, it seemed to me that Apple was getting a bit complacent. The mid-2012 update did gain a new Ivy Bridge processor, but the modest speedbump that this produced no longer justified the MacBook’s starting price of £999 – especially with classy new …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to see people dismiss the price and say it's the same old stuff you can get elsewhere for less money.

    So go find a 13" laptop with a screen resolution like this for a cheaper price, I think you'll be looking for quite some time.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      What good's a Retina display, Mr. Coward...

      ... if you don't have dedicated graphics card to drive it with?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: What good's a Retina display, Mr. Coward...

        >What good's a Retina display if you don't have dedicated graphics card to drive it with?

        Intel's HD Graphics 4000 integrated GPUs aren't as shabby as their forebears. As long as you don't won't to run the latest games, or some particular CAD packages in BootCamp (for both of which you'd be better served by a Win PC), it shouldn't cause you any issues at all. If you really want to push Photoshop or media encoding hardware acceleration, get the 15" version.

        I recently built a silent PC, and the integrated GPU meant I didn't have to worry about cooling a discrete graphics card.

    2. Ralph B

      Maybe, but ...

      Now go and find a 13" laptop for any price that doesn't have an f-ing ethernet port included as standard!

      I'm annoyed enough about the missing optical drive, but dropping the ethernet port is just Apple taking the piss.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe, but ...

        £25 adapter and you are done. As for the optical drive - personally I use one perhaps 3-4 times a year so am more than happy to have an external one and benefit from better battery life instead. Old laptops often let you remove the CD/DVD drive and replace it with another hard drive or (more often) a second battery - I'd say the vast majority of the ones I saw opted for battery++

        You will always get people who want every type of port going - oh I have a milling machine that uses a centronics port wahhhh - but for the vast majority of people this is near perfect if you want an amazing display and overall great laptop.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe, but ...

          Come on, an Ethernet port isn't the same as RS232 or whatever. Its damn near impossible to find an office with no Ethernet jacks. Heck, it's pretty rare to find any building without them!

          I use the Ethernet port on my laptop every single day, and I'm not doing anything particularly special.

          All the MacBook users I know also use the Ethernet port most of the time, and any adapter is annoying and easy to lose or forget.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Maybe, but ...

            Most of the offices I go in have wireless and surely portability is the main reason for buying a laptop...?

            I carry an adapter in my bag for the rare times I may need it and at my main office I could use wireless or connect 'wired' - but if I needed wired in the same place every day I would just leave the USB or thunderbolt adapter connected and it's still just the one thing to plug in.

            A colleague has a Macbook Air and it's probably too thin for a ethernet port.

            1. James 51
              Thumb Down

              Re: Maybe, but ...

              No wireless in my office and we're routinely chucking round files that are hundreds of megabytes. Even if we had wireless, that’s a lot of tea breaks.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Maybe, but ...

                Your usage is probably more 'the exception' - so you just buy the adapter and plug in a a Gbit connection.

                No wireless though - bizarre. You see in our office people move around so being tied to a ethernet cable or having to plug / unplug would be a pain. I agree wireless is not as fast as a Gbit cable - but it would only really be a big issue if everyone was chucking hundred meg files around at the same time and everyone was on wireless and everyone used the same access point.

                1. JDX Gold badge

                  Re: Maybe, but ...

                  I can't remember the last time I used a CD/DVD but while WiFi is ubiquitous now, it's not always very good. Where I work, they have WiFi but it's a bit spotty so everyone uses ethernet whenever possible. I'm sure this is not unusual.

                  Also - have El Reg stopped giving scores now?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Maybe, but ...

                    No, it got 75%.

                    Buying the adapter isn't a big deal IMHO.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Maybe, but ...

                    Sounds more like crappy wifi - you can increase performance by having more access points and splitting the users between them.

                    1. Stacy
                      Thumb Down

                      Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

                      Nope, it doesn't matter how many access points you have. 144MB or 300MB wireless is never going to give the performance of 1GB wired. if you want to move big files, and work from network drives (which with such small SSD's you need to unless you want an external plugged in all day) then you need a wired connection to make things zippy.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

                        Nobody said it would - but that is obvious - but having multiple access points mean fewer people share a single connection onto the 'wired' network so it makes it 'better'.

                        As for working from a network - well even Gbit ethernet is up to 100Mb per second - a local SSD drive should outpace that 3-5x so if it's performance you are looking for! No-one ever said don't use wired ethernet and a small, £25 adapter solves that issue right away - but your usage is not representative of most users.

                        1. Stacy
                          FAIL

                          Re: Maybe, but ... WiFi performance

                          Err... I have a local SSD drive... And yes it is blindingly fast in the Vaio as it's 2 * 128 in Raid 0 (giving 1000+MB per second - it was a main selling point of the machine over the less than half of the speed MBP SSD's) Sorry, I don't get your point.

                          So... I can have a laptop that has to work over USB (losing a USB port and won't have 1000gb performance) *and* I have to carry an adapter. Or I can use the built in GB port on the machine.

                          And you think carrying the extra adapters is the better idea. Wow.

                          As for representive of the general public. Maybe not, I never said I was. But I am representive from most of the people I know - we are all ametuer photographers and working with folders full of RAW images (or even hi quality converted jpegs) needs quite some network speed.

                2. TheOtherHobbes

                  Re: Maybe, but ...

                  " it would only really be a big issue if everyone was chucking hundred meg files around at the same time and everyone was on wireless and everyone used the same access point."

                  Such as an office full of Mac users all trying to download the latest OS X and iOS updates?

                  It's even worse in the dev tank when a new beta of iOS and Xcode arrives.

            2. Stacy
              Thumb Down

              Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

              No, I was buying laptops before wireless, so that isn't the reason. It's nice (and required now maybe) but I don't use it exclusiefly - even at home. Try copying a few gig across a wireless connection that lots of people are using.

              As for the Air not having space for an adapter. No.. Not really. It is the wrong shape for an ethernet port, but it is certainly wide enough for one without the form over funtion design of it.

              My Vaio Z has a gigabit port and is the same thickness as the air.

              1. darklord
                Holmes

                Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                But your vaio Z is not running ios 10 is it.

                Im no fan bois but id never go back to a windows laptop love my macbook air. it does everything i need fast and far quicker than most comparable windows machines and easier to configure printers and such like to. the only issue is BThome hubs dont like airplay. So i use my old Fujitsu lappy for that with media player

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Stacy
                  Happy

                  Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                  I'm glad that OSX works so well for you - but I have tried it for a couple of months on a Sandy Bridge 13" MBP and both me and my partner thought it was awful to use. It's now sitting gathering dust whilst waiting for someone to buy it.

                  I don't buy the Mac's do it better than the equivalent windows machine. Macs do it better than the cheap laptops that I would never recommend anyone buy (750 euros and less), but whilst I can't compare the 13" MacBook with anything else I own (as they all cost twice the amount and perform sooo much better) my father in law has a 15" MBP that cost more than our windows laptops. And it doesn't come close to the performance (how could it - it has processors, memory and HDD that just are not in the same class as the windows machine). Of course they replaced an aging cheap laptop that I told them not to buy so they think it's amazing.

                  I don't buy the easier to conifugre printers either. Our windows machines connected to our printers in seconds (both the USB one, and the wireless one that replaced it),with full options and the ability to print at the higest resolution. The MacBook refused to use anything other than draft and had all of the options greyed out.

                  But, as I said, if it works for you - great! At the end of the day that is all that matters. But it doesn't for me and that is also all that maters :)

                  So I have to ask, why the no shit sherlock? :)

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                  "But your vaio Z is not running ios 10 is it.

                  Im no fan bois but id never go back to a windows laptop love my macbook air."

                  Holy shit, what's it like in The Future? Do you have a foil jumpsuit? Is all your food in pill form? Is that weird pidgin dialect how language will evolve? So many questions..

                4. Chris Parsons

                  Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                  "So i use my old Fujitsu lappy for that with media player" - so it doesn't really do everything you need, does it? One of the companies I look after issues Macs as standard "because we're creative". One of the women refused point blank to have one and got a Dell laptop. Now they all want one. You might not like it, but it's true.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                My air is too thin to take an ethernet port and if you are asking would I have a thicker laptop to have one the answer is no. Do I mind carrying an adapter for the odd occasion I need one - no. It's the same argument of DVD drives - I'd rather more battery life that I use every day than a DVD drive I use no more than once a month.

                1. Stacy
                  Happy

                  Re: Maybe, but ... (Laptops for wireless)

                  I'm sorry, but it's just not. It's the same thickness as the Vaio Z ( +/- .7 inches) and about 30% heavier - and the Vaio is jam packed with ports (IMHO no one can engineer a top spec, thin laptop like Sony...). The problem is that it is designed to look thinner than it actually is and so you can't put a port on there. I'd rather take a laptop that is the same thickness all around (which I prefer the look of anyway) and have all the connectivity I need without having to carry any adapters.

                  I'll agree on the DVD though. The external PMD of the Vaio is a great idea. BluRay and discrete graphics when you want it, thin, light and long battery life when you don't. Best of both worlds.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Maybe, but ...

            Your office does not have wireless? Offices I visit typically do not have all the Ethernet wall ports 'live' and I'd rather not carry an Ethernet cable if I could help it.

        2. elaar

          Re: Maybe, but ...

          It's not so much this missing ethernet port that bugs me, it's the audacity of being charged £25 for a connector for it.

          If I pay £1500, I expect to have this cable thrown in for free, otherwise I can't help but feel robbed.

    3. K
      Trollface

      Its apple..

      That alone is enough for me to dismiss it..

      That is all!

      PS down vote cause your a fanboi :D

      1. Silverburn
        Thumb Down

        @ K

        One hopes you apply more critical thinking than this in your real job.

        But going by this post, I'm not even sure you're old enough for paper round.

    4. joejack
      WTF?

      The crime rate in Cupertino must be 0%

      Also missing is a slot to attach a lock to, like every other notebook has (including last-gen macbooks).

      How hard would it've been to drill an effing hole? Don't answer that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Department of redundancy department...

    In "hoi polloi", the word "hoi" means "the" - it's just hoi polloi, no "the" required.

    However, as "hoi polloi" were the top 5% or so of Athenians, can't we just kill this overused expression anyway? In Ancient Greek terms, those of use with our sub-£1000 laptops are metics - people who have jobs, rather than people who want little computers to fit on those little tables at Starbucks.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Department of redundancy department...

      Metics were foreigners and slaves, never a majority, even in Athens.

      Hoi polloi literally means "the many" or the majority, and was never used for the category you're thinking of. If anything that would be hoi oligoi. I don't know what Apple fanboys would be called in Ancient Greece, but I'm pretty sure it would be rude.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Department of redundancy department...

        Some people just LOVE wikipedia.

  3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Firewire Power

    Did you try any firewire kit via the thunderbolt adapter? The port on the MBA hasn't got enough poke to drive many peripherals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firewire Power

      I've not tried loads of devices but it worked with with 2 different external (bus powered) hard drives I tested.

      The adapter is £25 - a new USB 3 (and significantly faster and probably larger) hard drive would be perhaps £40-70 so seems to make sense you would just buy a new hard drive. Sure I appreciate it's different if you have multiple firewire devices etc. but seems hard drives have been the biggest issue.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My next laptop - I want a bit more than the 'Air' can provide and the retina screen is beautiful.

    Don't really agree Apple should have included adapters for gigabit ethernet and firewire as that would be incurring an extra cost for people who do not need them (probably the majority). Some people will have legacy firewire devices or need wired ethernet (and probably a higher proportion of people on here are likely to need them) but no point making everyone pay when perhaps only 25% of people will need them.

    I have an old 320Gb firewire external drive on my existing Macbook but that will be staying with that and I'll get a faster, larger 1Tb USB3 or Thunderbolt drive for the new one. Yes I guess I could have moved the drive over but then the old Mac (which is going to a new owner) would have no backup drive.

    1. Ramazan

      Re: larger 1Tb USB3 drive

      I have had a 2TB USB3 drive (2.5" WD) for almost a year, it's better than my 1TB Samsung S2 (works on PCG-U3 while Samsung doesn't, for example).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: no point making everyone pay when perhaps only 25% of people will need them.

      At £1500 the cost of that adapter is well and truly covered so why should they charge anyone any extra? How about Apple reduce their legendary profit margin by a fraction of a % to cover it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worth the money

    Just to avoid windows 8 and it's horrible interface.

  6. sebacoustic
    Boffin

    scales?

    what makes you think that some "Jamie Oliver Kitchen scales" are more accurate than the one in Apple's lab?

    Consumer digital scales are not calibrated and they may have 20g resolution but the linearity is typically much worse.

    Use a mass-comparison balance with weights like 50 years ago for accurate results.

    OK i'll take my coat, it's the one with "Metrology for the anally retentive" hardback in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: scales?

      I doubt Apple just 'lied' about the weight - it probably depends on the exact specification and as you say kitchen scales are not necessarily all that accurate. Either way it's pretty light and it's a tempting upgrade from a 13" Macbook Air as well.

  7. Steve78

    I had been waiting for 4 months for Apple to release this laptop (15" is just too damn big). I got use one in an Apple store and it's quite simply the best looking notebook I've ever seen. It's also perfectly engineered. Then I thought about the price. The base model comes with just 128GB of storage, I'd need to up it to 256GB to cover my needs for the next 2 years, so I was getting close to the two grand mark. Two grand for a machine with HD 4000 integrated graphics driving that display? Unbelievably I was still tempted. Then I read a few reviews. It seems that it will be fine for the next 12 months but we all know how fast technology moves. HD 4000 is going to really struggle beyonf 2013.

    This notebook will be a far more viable purchase once Haswell arrives. With up to twice the performance of HD 4000 it will be more than sufficient for most users needs and will make the 13" rMBP a much more sensible purchase. I guess I'll have to wait until June when Haswell arrives. Having said that, if they revamp the MacBook Air and equip it with a Retina display then they will be very little need to opt for the Pro unless you really need a standard voltage CPU and a few extra ports.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I guess I'll have to wait until June when Haswell arrives"

      Of course there will be something better in the future - that is the case with all tech - but not sure I'd put off a purchase for 7 months (and it seems unlikely they would refresh this model so soon) for that alone.

      You buy a camera or literally anything 'tech' or 'electronics' today but it would be naive to assume there would not be a better one in 6-12 months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I plumped for the 15.4" Retina a few months ago, and easily sold my 3+ year old 13.3" unibody for 45% of original cost, maybe the total cost of ownership should be considered in these comparisons, as it is with cars?

        The Retina model is bit of a disappointment, sure it is superfast, while I prefer the 13" size.

        I couldn't wait for this 13" Retina.

        The new one creaks and cracks loudly when handling it, I sometimes bang an optical disk into the side and then remember it doesn't have a slot, and the new magsafe connector pops off every 5 seconds when in use on a lap and not a flat table.

        The screen is good for applications such as Final Cut X because of the additional pixel 'real estate', but in a side by side comparison looks 99% the same as the old model for general use.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That's probably why they still keep the standard screen as well - not everyone needs 2560 pixels (however nice they are) although by the time you factor in a solid state drive and extra memory the difference is closer. I actually prefer the 13" over the 15" but it probably depends how portable you need it to be.

          I also agree with your point on resale value - most Windows laptops are so beat up or getting out of date they just get given away / put in a drawer but Apple stuff really does keep a lot of it's value - I'm not going to argue with your 45% - at a stab I would have said about 50% anyway. We looked at this where I work and the TCO for Apple was lower.

          1. csumpi
            Holmes

            Resale value, my experience:

            I sold a unibody mbp that cost me $1400 for $650 after 11 months of pampering. I was afraid to move it around much to avoid scratching it, it pretty much sat on my desk for the time of ownership and managed to get only one tiny scratch on the back.

            I just swapped my Sony Vaio S for a newer one, cost $900, sold for $500. I lagged it all around the world for the past year and a half, used it daily, in and out of backpack, and the thing looked like the day I pulled it out of the box (less the windows license stickers on the back, those faded a bit).

            So that's $750 loss on the MBP in a year (that I was afraid to carry around), $400 on the Sony in a year and a half (a sharp looking kit that can actually be used as a laptop).

            Based on my experience, I'm never buying an aluminum laptop again. Not only did my Sony get better resale value, but it actually worked as a mobile computer.

        2. Great Bu

          In Cars....

          "maybe the total cost of ownership should be considered in these comparisons, as it is with cars?"

          Well it costs about the same as my car, so you are probably right.....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In Cars....

            Really something you want to boast about?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If I had to wait 4 months for them to release it (when no-one actually knew it would definitely be released) and then you are going to wait another 7+ months even for the new chipset and then the time for a new model to be released - seems a long time to wait. Sounds like you want it but do not need it.

      If I needed something I may be able to wait a short time (as in weeks) if I knew it was about to be upgraded etc. but you could be easily waiting a year or more.

      1. Steve78

        Yes, I understand where you are coming from. I have a 2011 MacBook Air and a 2010 Vaio Z and my thinking was to replace both of these with a 13" rMBP. However, the 13"rMBP doesn't meet my requirements/expectations so I am happy to wait. Two grand is a lot of money. But I know what I want and I know Apple will deliver it, with Intel's assistance. I'll just have to wait.

  8. pete23
    Thumb Down

    As a complete fanboi with a 15" rMBP...

    ...and almost all mod cons, I have to agree that this isn't a winner.

    Dual core only, no discrete graphics, and there's only £100 between the 13" and the 15" with 256Gb of disc! That one needs to be at £1399 or so to make any sense.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: As a complete fanboi with a 15" rMBP...

      My issue with this is also the price hike and the fact that you still have a dual core with integrated graphics. Surely you could fit a quad in there?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But at almost £1500 it’s very expensive indeed, and I’d have thought that the professional users who can afford that price would be more likely to opt for the 15in model anyway. It’d be a tempting upgrade at around £1300, but at this price I reckon Apple is pushing its luck"

    Well firstly Black Friday is coming so there may be 10% off which - yes I realise it's a one off.

    Secondly £200 extra on a laptop you are likely to use for (at least) 3-4 years is about £1 a week more. For something I use 5-7 days a week it's not a big deal and if you want that screen, memory and SSD it's not all that bad. To put it another way spec up the standard 13" model with a 128Gb SSD and 8Gb memory and it's £1239 - so you are actually paying £210 extra for the retina screen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm waiting for Black Friday too but if I buy it'll be a base model 15" MBPr with 16GB RAM. I did want the 13" but it's way too expensive and too close to the 15 if you up the spec. It's not worth the money to me. I'll take the hit on the size and weight for the better screen and performance.

      Unfortunately, BF is only likely to give 5% or so but it's better than nothing.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For many £1500 is an expensive laptop but if you need the retina screen what are your options. I don't see loads of other manufacturers popping out their retina screens yet?

  11. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "at this price I reckon Apple is pushing its luck"

    Apple pushing it's luck qualifies as news now?

  12. Steve I
    Thumb Up

    Worth it to me.

    Personally (and your mileage may vary - apparently not everyone's requirements are the same) the 'Apple Tax' is worth it.

    I have 4 Macs at home, in daily use by my wife and 7 & 8 year old children plus my own maschine and as I'm away from home during the week, I don't want to spend my weekends rebuilding Windows systems (Vista/7/8 may be different from XP, but once, sorry - twelve times - bitten, twice shy). On the rare (very - maybe 5 times in perhaps 30-40 machine years and spanning 8 machines) occasions that an OS X re-install has been required, it's been a 1/2 hour job.

    One of the machines is 6 1/2 years old and just suffered a HDD failure. New drive, Time Capsule restore - job done. There's also 2 Core Solo Mac Minis and an early Core 2 Duo Macbook and my 2 1/2 year old i7 MacBook Pro.

    So would I pay £1500 for machine that in 6 years time is still as fast, looks almost as good as the day it was bought and has cost me probably less than 4 or 5 hours of maintenace time? Definitly.

    But then again, when I see a Ferrari I don't think "Stupid idiot - he's only doing the same speed as the wife's Prius whilst getting less mpg/passengers/luggage" etc.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Worth it to me.

      Wow, well done Steve I. The only poster on here with something good to say about this laptop and the integrity to put a name to his post.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worth it to me.

      RE your windows machines, let me guess

      You bought the cheapest nastiest piece of crap you could find probably <£250, allowed everyone administrator access, probably not in an optimal environment which causes cheap crap to fail even faster and all the problems you had are Windows fault

      Compared with the Apple kit where you get very little choice in what you are buying but you pay a much higher price and get better quality kit and you didn't allow everybody to be installing every codec and toolbar they feel like, yet you still end up reinstalling at times so hardly trouble free.

      If you had bought a better quality computer to begin with and followed sensible rules about user rights and patching you wouldn't have had half as many problems. My XP machine is still going strong after 7 years - never had to reinstall, no virus infections, no data loss. My Win 7 box is heading the same way, 3 years so far without a problem. The only problem with Windows is it doesn't protect clueless users from themselves.

      1. Steve I
        Facepalm

        Re: Worth it to me.

        I try to be tolerant but you're spouting bullshit about something you know nothing about. I used to build my own high-quality PC desktops; my last mahcine was an expensive HP 17" laptop with Intel P4 3.0Ghz desktop-class processor. All oft hese were used my me alone. The Macs on the other hand are used by everyone; each machine has multiple user accounts onthem.

        I also get asked to build/repair/upgrade friends' and family's (Windows) PCs. My support time for MAcs is measure in hours; for Windows it's days. As I said, your experience may be different.

        Mind you, I am total awe of your psyhic abilities and mind-reading skills. Shame you don't have the courage to put your name to your beliefs.

        1. blcollier

          Re: Worth it to me. (@Steve)

          Might I suggest that if your experience is predominantly Mac machines then you're probably not in the best position to comment on the difference in repair time between Macs and Windows boxes.

          If someone asked me to repair their unbootable Mac it might take me a day or two to get it booting again. If I had to repair an unbootable Windows 7 PC, it would probably take me less than an hour to get it booting.

          That doesn't mean that Windows PCs are better than Macs because they're easier to repair, that just means that I know more about Windows than I do about OS X.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Worth it to me. (@Steve)

            I think you may have misread Steve I's post - he has had plenty of experience with PCs, but now chooses to use Macs as they suit his uses, and he personally finds they require less maintenance. I'm a PC user with the aptitude (born of getting the darned things to play games in the nineties, and more productive things since) and the time to maintain them. If you buy a cheaper PC, you might have driver issues that can take some time to hunt down... it depends on what your time is worth. You can spend extra money on 'certified' machines from HP, Dell, Lenovo etc which have undergone greater testing of their hardware and driver combinations, and come with better support- but they will still cost you a premium.

            If your only troubleshooting experience has been with Win PCs, I think that you could get a non-booting Mac happy again quicker than you think. It's the same old process of determining whether its a software issue, a buggered HDD or some other hardware failure- much the same as a PC, really, but without the option of whipping out the SSD if it proves to be the failed component.

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: Worth it to me.

          "I used to build my own high-quality PC desktops;"

          I'd seriously question the quality if your own built PC's if you had to constantly re-install windows.

          "I also get asked to build/repair/upgrade friends' and family's (Windows) PCs. My support time for MAcs is measure in hours; for Windows it's days"

          1 - if you can't build a windows machine that can run reliably why are you messing with other peoples PCs?

          2 - DAYS? Back in the day when I used to build my own PC's I could build a PC from scratch and install windows in 2 hours, 3 tops - what on EARTH are you doing that would take days to fix?????

          Seriously, stick with OSX, you seem happy with it, and it seems to suit your level of technical knowledge.

          But please stop blaming windows for issues that it seems you have, rather than the operating system...

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Worth it to me.

            Certainly for XP it is well known that the OS needs re-installing every 18 months or so to keep the machine running well. In fact this advice was given to me by a couple of the guys that built the SOEs at a former employer and they were former MS OS tech guys. XP just had this magical way of slowing over time even when you had the necessary separate account for software installations from the normal use account. No doubt all those patches and updates were responsible in part. Not sure how Windows 7 goes as I decided not to bother with it.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              re:Certainly for XP it is well known that the OS needs re-installing every 18 months or so

              Oh dear. Just because people say something it doesn't mean it's true.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Worth it to me.

            @Chet: I bet you couldn't reinstall windows and the apps and the user accounts and settings quicker than you could do with OSX and either a boot clone (CCC) or timemachine. That's one thing I do prefer about the OS. Given how bad Windows was in the past you'd have thought they'd have made the re-install and reload experience more streamlined but I suspect it is the registry that causes the problems with that.

            1. sabroni Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Steve I, you don't know about your own life

              Steve, it's clear from the posts on here that you know nothing about your own life. How dare you come on here with your "opinions", it's clear that you can't have worked on pcs properly if you've chosen to use macs, there is no way the experience on Windows could ever drive anyone to prefer another OS.

              I trust you will now stop this charade of "having an opinion" and "expressing it reasonably", at least until you get the correct opinions and start being a bit more mouthy.

    3. Chet Mannly

      Re: Worth it to me.

      "I don't want to spend my weekends rebuilding Windows systems (Vista/7/8 may be different from XP, but once, sorry - twelve times - bitten, twice shy)."

      What on EARTH were you doing to XP for you to reinstall 12 times? Its borderline comical...

      I have a 6-7yo laptop that I used heavily for 4 years, now its a fileserver. I had to re-install XP on that once, and that was due to me downloading a copy of a program from somewhere dodgy when the regular site was down.

      Definitely sounds like the Apple tax is worth it for you if you're making that much of a mess of windows...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people may think £1500 is a lot for a laptop (and I'm not saying it's not) but I use it pretty much every day for many hours - so the cost per hour would be tiny and the extra cost of getting a macbook that is better made, better screen etc. is not a big deal over it's lifetime. When you factor in the support / warranty you can get a full 3 years manufacturer technical support and warranty for about £200 extra - that is actually pretty cheap for what it covers.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch

    Where is it? I mean seriously, no touchscreen? uno problemo appleo

    1. Silverburn
      Windows

      Re: Touch

      Witness the bile directed to W8 and it's touch/metro interface on this very forum, and you maybe understand why not going touch - at this moment in time anyway - is probably a good thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Touch

        I get touch on the iPad (obviously) but as others have said not sure touch is quite there yes on a (current) laptop that has a touchpad and a keyboard - i.e. would a touch screen add anything.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Touch

      Yeah, WIndows 8 is crap without touchscreen.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Touch

      I'm surprised we're not seeing laptops start to come with touchscreens as standard. Not to replace mouse+keyboard, but to supplement it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I buy Macs with Applecare to have it 'easier' - I have done 15+ years with poor support, poor quality and warranties etc. (before Apple) to know the difference. I just want to do my work - I want something that is reliable, durable, yes looks decent - after all I use it the best part of 7-8 hours a day. Yes the up front cost may be a bit higher but Mountain Lion is great - Time Machine and full disk encryption are dead easy - so you can make sure your data is safe. At the end of the day my data and time is worth far more than the computer you use.

    I know plenty of people who have lost days of work to hardware failures with Windows (i.e. by the time they are back up and running) and more worrying lost valuable data - yes it's their fault but the Mac makes it easier to backup your data so the average user has more chance of actually doing it.

    It's a bit like criticising a joiner / carpenter for wanting to buy a good set of tools. Years ago people would spend £2000-3000+ on top end laptops (which in todays money is a LOT, LOT more) - so perhaps £2000 for something I use for up to 2000 hours a year and will probably last 3-5 years and still hold a lot of it's value - I don't see that as bad value.

  16. P. Lee Silver badge

    450 more?

    Buy a second laptop...

    Ok, now the real gripe. This isn't the MBA, ultra-portable isn't the only reason to buy a laptop. Give me back a replaceable spinning disk so I can use the extra life the aluminium shell gives me and put ethernet back in so I can watch those hd mpeg2 tv files and I might think about it. Oh yes, unless you can persuade blockbusters to distribute DVD iso images on SD cards or USB, I want my *integrated* DVD drive back.

    This isn't a pro machine. Its a slightly upscale MBA.

    Meh, I just bought a second-hand hp elitebook with a 15" hi-res screen. Yes it runs way too hot, but it has firewire, usb, gig ethernet, dvd, *and* a real serial port and cost $100.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: 450 more?

      Yes because as we all know, 'pros' spend most of their time perusing the shelves in Blockbuster.

    2. Silverburn

      Ethernet vs wifi - HD streaming

      Just FYI - the apple TV can stream 1080p content across wifi just fine, so there is no absolute requirement for ethernet. Well, unless you're streaming native blu-ray bitrates that is.

      1. dajames Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Ethernet vs wifi - HD streaming

        ... the apple TV can stream 1080p content across wifi just fine, so there is no absolute requirement for ethernet.

        That says a lot: if Apple see this new machine (as you seem to) as nothing more than a shiny TV-streaming toy then then it's easy to understand why they don't understand the need for gigabit (or faster) wired ethernet.

        Try looking at it as a work tool, and the view is somewhat different.

        1. Silverburn
          FAIL

          Re: Ethernet vs wifi - HD streaming

          Errr, no, I think you read that wrong.

          I used Apple TV as an example of a device being able to stream HD over wifi, which was the authors original concern and thus his reliance on ethernet.

          Why did I chose Apple TV? Because I own one, and know this scenario works, and because it has both wired and wireless media, is easy to analyse/prove streaming quality.

          What you *should* have correct me on, was the signal degradation wireless vs wireless being a factor in the design; trying to stream HD wirelessly to 3 rooms away through solid concrete walls will fail, whereas ethernet signal degredation will be minimal.

          The fact you picked up on the Apple TV rather than the actual point, say more about you than it does about me.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Ethernet vs wifi - HD streaming

            WiFi is shite compared to ethernet when it comes to transferring data, it reminds me of using USB vs Firewire.You may get a good rate if you're in the same room using 5GHz band but use the 2.4 and it becomes a lottery with potential interference from microwave ovens, dect phones and anything else using that free-for-all band. You only need to look at the reviews on smallnetbuilder and other such sites to see how speed varies with distance, position of router and device (i.e. high, low, near a corner), kit compatibility, the list goes on.

          2. dajames Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Ethernet vs wifi - HD streaming

            Errr, no, I think you read that wrong.

            I don't think so ...

            Your point was that WiFi is fast enough to stream 1080p video (and you mentioned your experience with the Apple TV to back that up).

            My point was that if streaming 1080p is all that you want to do with your networking then WiFi is indeed fast enough ... but to buy a MBP and to use it for nothing more than video streaming (effectively using it as a fancy telly) seems to me to be a bit of a waste.

            If that really is all you want to use it for then WiFi really is fast enough ... but the MBP can also be used for serious things (aka work) and for some of those WiFi will not be fast enough.

            Facepalm guy because I do think one of us has missed the other's point.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 450 more?

      You still rent from Blockbusters - oh how nineties.

      Meh, I just bought a second-hand hp elitebook - so??? I just bought a pizza.

  17. HP Cynic

    Backwards

    Tiny storage capacity, no Optical Drive and no Ethernet Port? I don't even need to see that it's overpriced to confirm it's something I'd never go near.

    1. Steve78

      Re: Backwards

      Lack of optical drive is certainly not a negative point. It allows vendors to cram in extra batteries which is far, far, far more useful than something I'd only use 1-2 times a year.

      If it is something you require then you can still buy the regular 13" MBP.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backwards

      Tiny storage - well 128gb is fine unless you really do need more. I have OSX with a full copy of Office, few other software packages, loads of data files, Windows 7 under parallels with some more Windows only software and the whole lot is about 70Gb. So all depends what you need. I have actually replaced large hard drives in Windows laptops with smaller SSDs for people as they needed the speed not the capacity.

      No optical drive - no problem. I use one perhaps a few times per year - if it's an issue for you - buy a Dell or something. You will never find the perfect laptop as it will always include something you don't need / want or exclude it. How many Dells have Thunderbolt ports - I need that. How many Dells run OSX - I need that for some of the software I run.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: Backwards

        @AC: not to mention that with USB 3.0 you can just carry a portable drive - a 1TB one is barely larger than a modern smartphone. Chances are if you're storing lots of data on a laptop you don't need it available at over 200MB/s. It'll also be a more convenient device in the event of drive failure.

  18. Triggerfish

    Laptop reviews

    Ok so from now on when you review laptops and such can you give the weight/ dimensions in two ways please.

    Weight and size of the laptop on its own.

    Weight and size of laptop plus bag you need to carry any peripherals in just in case you need to use outdated ethernet to move large files, have poor wifi etc or fancy a optical drive for some foolish reason such as having discs.

    Seriously these are nice and lovely looking pieces of kit and lightweight, it makes me think that would be great for travelling, but then I have to factor in space being taken up for all the things it lacks and suddenly its seems that I am paying for something that ends up as bulky and unwieldy as some cheapo laptop.

  19. Matt_payne666

    Cold boot times??

    My dell E4300 13" P9400 C2duo will cold boot in 7seconds after the bios screen, include the Bios and its 12 seconds... this is a 3 yearold laptop with a Vertex3!

    I don't deny the MBP is pretty, but I feel its time for a little design change, it looks all very, well, been there, done that...

    1. Steve78

      Re: Cold boot times??

      It might just look like any other MacBook in the photos, but the 13" rMBP looks absolutely stunning in the flesh.

  20. jef_

    An often missed factor...

    Don't forget the fact that depreciation on Apple stuff is comparatively low. That makes a BIG difference in terms of what you get for your £1500.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An often missed factor...

      It is, but don't forget to account for what else you could have done with the extra cash you'd have had in the mean time.

  21. AJ MacLeod

    Oh wow! It's thin and pretty, fantastic!

    Pity it doesn't actually work unless you plaster it with inconvenient and ungainly warts which you will inevitably have mislaid or forgotten just at the most vital moment. Yet more rubbish form over function non-design from one of the worst culprits.

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Tom 79
      Thumb Down

      Re: OMG I MUST HAVE ONE

      > real computer like a DELL which actually comes with PROPER PARTS!

      That's the funniest thing I've read in a while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OMG I MUST HAVE ONE

      This is why we have choice. I am happy for a machine to not have a CD/DVD drive but a larger battery - if it does not suit you buy a Dell - sorted.

  23. Mabit
    WTF?

    I cant read the review

    Why is Retina such a big deal, apart from when I close my eyes do I have a problem reading the screen and this is on a 1024x768 monitor work monitor.

    Also I have worked in several Big Blue Chip companies in the last year and none of them allowed WiFi access. Most non IT companies dont have WiFi as standard.

    But what I would love to know, the people in the Apple shop cannot answer maybe a few fanboys might. Ignoring the Retina Display. What can a Mac at £1500 do that a PC with the exact same Processor, Graphics and so on not do excpet cost less.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I cant read the review

      Guess you have never used Mountain Lion then - oh that does not run on normal PCs.

      Of course you can get a cheaper pee-cee but it's like trying to compare an Audi to a Ford - yes they both have 4 wheels, they may both go 0-60 in the same time, they might both have the same sized boot but they are not built the same, worth the same at resale etc. etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I cant read the review

        Really? "pee-cee"?

        Are you 12?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I cant read the review

      "Ignoring the retina display"

      That is the main reason you would be looking at that PC and it's therefore clear - i.e. it's got a massive resolution - if you don't need it buy the standard 13 incher at £450 less. You still get a very well made laptop. People buy Macs for the OS, the support and the fact that the hardware is pretty well made / rugged, some clever design etc. and are prepared to pay a bit of a premium for it.

  24. doug_tuck

    Removeable Battery

    I can't help but notice there are no pics of the base of this laptop, or mention that the battery is not removable or serviceable.

    My girlfriend has a macbook pro 15" and we replaced the battery a year ago. is that going to be an option with this machine? I think not. Not for any reasonable price anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Removeable Battery

      "I can't help but notice there are no pics of the base of this laptop, or mention that the battery is not removable or serviceable."

      I wouldn't hold your breath. Recall, if you will, the slightly terrifying way it was glued into the 15 inch retina model:

      http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Retina+Display+Mid+2012+Teardown/9462/3

      They're getting a lot less maintainable and upgradeable. I don't think I shall replace my old 15 inch MBP with another Apple when it gets too old.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Removeable Battery

      Firstly I would not want to install a cheap, 3rd party battery in a laptop I was using - these things have a lot of energy and if they don't bother to install the correct protection circuits or do install poor quality cells it's not a gamble I would take.

      Apple seem quite happy to replace the battery packs for you - so assume that will happen on the newer models as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Removeable Battery

        "Firstly I would not want to install a cheap, 3rd party battery in a laptop I was using - these things have a lot of energy and if they don't bother to install the correct protection circuits or do install poor quality cells it's not a gamble I would take."

        No-one mentioned that, you're frottaging with a straw man there. Apple sells (hell, Apple stores sell) batteries for Macbooks. I replaced the one in my MBP a month or two back. There was only the delay to get one of the would-be hipster dickheads to pay attention long enough to take my money- no time-consuming booking in of the whole machine. When I got home, I just dropped the new battery in.

        Of course, that makes the machine a museum piece, with its removable battery, upgradeable RAM, etc. etc..

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