Though Apple quietly discontinued the 17-inch MacBook Pro this week, hardly a tear was shed. In fact, the company went out of its way to replace the ultra-premium tier with something even more covetous — namely, a 15-inch MacBook Pro with such a pixel-dense screen that the company put “Retina display” prominently in its name. Apple went even further, shrinking the body down to “as thin as Air” dimensions thanks to some clever industrial design and a few sacrifices along the way. And that’s without skimping on processing power — all of Apple’s 2012 models use Intel’s new Ivy Bridge chipset, and the 15-inch Pro models use Nvidia Kepler GPUs. The base model starts at 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with a GeForce GT 650M, 8GB RAM, and anywhere from 256GB to 768GB of flash storage.

It’s the new gold standard for Apple’s portable lineup, the new aspirational peak. But even starting a few hundred dollars less than the one-time behemoth 17-inch’s base price ($2,199 vs. $2,499), is it yet worth your attention? As we are wont to say, read on to find out.