Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (15-inch)

Verge Review

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...

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Basic Specs

Laptop type Mainstream
Thickness .71 inches
Weight 4.46 pounds
Operating system Mac OS X
Screen size (diagonal) 15.4 inches
CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
Graphics type Switchable
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 4000
Base discrete GPU brand Nvidia

Recent News

No recent news about Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (15-inch).

Recent Discussions

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Tech Specs

Hardware

Laptop type Mainstream
Width 14.13 inches
Depth 9.73 inches
Thickness .71 inches
Weight 4.46 pounds
Color Silver

Software

Operating system Mac OS X

Display (base)

Screen size (diagonal) 15.4 inches
Display surface Glossy
Technology IPS LCD
Backlight LED
Resolution (X) 2880 px
Resolution (Y) 1800 px
PPI 220

Keyboard

Type Chiclet
Backlit Yes
Number pad No

Mouse

Type(s) Trackpad
Multitouch Yes
Multitouch points 4

Processor (base)

CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
Model Core i7-3615QM
Cores 4
Clockspeed 2.3 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 3.3 GHz

Processor (max)

Brand Intel
Family Ivy Bridge
Model Core i7-3820QM
Cores 4
Clockspeed 2.7 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 3.7 GHz

GPU (base)

Graphics type Switchable
Integrated GPU brand Intel
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 4000
Base discrete GPU brand Nvidia
Discrete GPU model GeForce GT 650M
Dedicated VRAM size 1 GB

Memory

Base RAM size 8 GB
Max. config RAM size 16 GB
RAM type DDR3
Base RAM speed 1600 MHz

Storage

Options Flash Memory (SSD)
Base drive type Flash (SSD)
Base drive capacity 256 GB
Max. config SSD 768 GB
Card reader Yes
Card reader support SD

Audio

Speakers 2

Webcam

Video resolution 720p

Sensors

Ambient light Yes

Port options

USB 3.0 2
Thunderbolt 2
HDMI 1
3.5mm mic / headphone combo 1

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi options 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
802.11n frequencies 5GHz, 2.4GHz
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0

Battery

Size 95 Wh
Chemistry Lithium Polymer (Li-Po)
Removable No
Quoted time 7 hr

Benchmarks

GeekBench 13014

Recent News

No recent news about Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (15-inch).

9.1

Average User Review

of 25 total reviews
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  • Design 9
  • Keyboard 9
  • Touchpad 9
  • Display 9
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 8
  • Battery life 9
  • Software 9

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  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by TheWeakLink (Currently owns)

    What a great unit!
    Ive been using this laptop for a good week now, all i can say is wow.

    The biggest thing that i noticed right out of the box is the pure speed of this thing. Boot times are remarkable, and doing heavy tasks like loading windows VM's is a breeze.

    Another benefit of this unit is the amazing battery life. Not only is there an added benefit of having all SSD components and its ultra fast speeds, but the battery life is incredible over my old 2011 macbook pro 13". I'm able to run for a good half a day of sold web browsing on one charge with the screen and keyboard at full brightness.

    Talking about the screen, I'm absolutely floored on the quality and how sharp the display is. The colours are vivid and bright, and text is razor sharp. Viewing webpages and watching youtube videos is incredibly sharp with great viewing angles. Also one of my hobbies happens to be photo editing, what a differences it makes to be able to view your photos in their full size and beauty.

    One downside of having such awesome performance inside such a slim body is heat and fan noise. When ever your doing moderate video editing or gaming the fans have a habit of spinning up causing you to turn up the speakers to overcome the fan noise. When your really gaming or doing a lot of video editing I've notice that parts of the keyboard start getting uncomfortably hot. i would not recommend using the laptop on your "lap" when doing heavy lifting. i noticed that parts of the keyboard can get to 50 C or hotter.

    All in all i would recommend this laptop who is looking to upgrade from a 2011 macbook pro, or considering getting a laptop to replace being chained to a desk with your desktop.

    The Breakdown

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    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by mulotang (Currently owns)

    I just bought this MacBook Pro as a refurbished one for $1599 Canadian and it's worth the price!
    It's my second MacBook Pro, my old one was a 2009 13" core 2 duo, the performance difference is night and day!
    As an IT student, I can run virtual machines a lot easier than before, without the fan kicking in!

    As to performance, it's really good, I really like the fact that it's a quad core and that it has a dedicated gpu (GT 650m) it helps make things run more fluently when connected to multiple monitors, the HD 4000 has some hiccups when running the retina screen at the upscaled resolution (1600x1050), 1440x900 is fine though.

    And for the battery life, I just wished my cpu could transform into an Haswell one, but seriously I get around 3h to 4h multitasking around (iTunes, Safari, TweetDeck, watching videos) and when working I activate the dedicated gpu for better performance.

    Sorry for my bad review, English is not my main language but I tried!

    The Breakdown

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    • Heat / noise 8
    • Battery life 7
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by morty74 (Currently owns)

    1. Design. The best Macbook I have ever owned. Seems solid, well built and functionality is perfect.
    2. Battery life is crazy. And charging times are excellent.
    3. Trackpad: perfect! Responsive and exactly the right size.
    4. Screen. You have to see Mavericks in all its Retina screen glory to really appreciate it. All normal screen immediately seems poor in comparison. The single most important reason for upgrading for me, and well worth it.
    5. Performance. For general use it seems crazy fast. No more spinning beach ball. And the fan never kicks in in normal use, so most of the time its completely silent. Most other laptops seem sluggish in comparison.
    6. OSX: The best operative system ever! Full stop. Having used this for almost a year now, I cant see what they could possibly improve. Ok, the App Store app needs some speed improvement, but other than that its perfect.

    Conclusion: This is the fist time I have been completely blown away by a computer. I mean, it's the perfect size, has extraordinary battery life and performance, and the best looking screen ever on a notebook. Ok, it's a tad expensive, but if you have the cash, you will not be disappointed!

    The Breakdown

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    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 10
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  • 1.0
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    Reviewed by mwill172 (Currently owns)

    WARNING: NEVER PURCHASE A MAC BOOK PRO WITH RETINA DISPLAY:

    To start off, I used to be a huge Apple fan. I own the Iphone 5, the 1st Generation Itouch, the 1st Generation Ipad, and now (unfortunately) the 15" Retina Display Mac Book Pro. I was impressed with every Apple product and believed they walked on water. Not any more. Now I realize when there is a defect in a product, Apple is too weak to stand behind their product. They do not truly care about their customers.

    So here is my story:

    I purchased a Mac Book Pro with the retina display at the end of the summer in 2013 before attending a university in the fall. I had no complaints with the computer, and the display was remarkable. Then a few weeks before the end of the semester, I noticed a small black dot on the screen while browsing. I figured that it must have been a problem with the display, such as a dead pixel, because my laptop is in mint condition. I wipe down the screen with a lint free cloth at least once a week, and I have always been extra careful whenever handling the machine. The lap top holds all of my work; I treat it like a temple.
    However, when I took my computer into an Apple retail store at the end of the semester, I was told there was an "accidental scratch" on the screen. As a result the defect was not under warranty. I was then asked to pay 600$ for a new display (the only repair option). That's rediculous. I then asked the employee if he had seen any scratches like this from other customers, because obviously I did not scratch the screen myself. He then said he had seen this often with people who own a retina display lap top; the display is so fragile that simply closing it with a piece of dust on the keyboard can cause the scratch. So I spent an extra 200$ for the retina display and basically purchased a more fragile screen that will more easily scratch.

    Moral of the story: Apple does not recognize or stand by a defect in their product. As a result DO NOT BUY A RETINA DISPLAY MAC BOOK. Please, do not make the same mistake I did.

    The Breakdown

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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by freetab (Currently owns)

    I recently replaced an old 2010 13" MacBook Pro with the base model rMBP. Overall, I am highly impressed with the whole package. The design is one of the best I've ever seen on a notebook. It's extremely thin, light, and enjoyable to use. The performance of this machine has absolutely blown me away. I can run Skyrim on ultra settings and still get a consistent 50+ fps. At maxed resolution, it needs to be lowered to around medium to achieve the same performance. The display on this thing is just fantastic. It honestly looks like a printed page. Somehow with all of this, there is still an average of 7.5 hours of battery life.
    Of course with any product, there are issues. First off, it is extremely expensive. While it is well worth it, the paltry 256 gb SSD is just too small for the baseline and it would be nice to see 16 gb RAM standard. When using certain applications or viewing some websites, the content displays pixelated due to low resolution images. While it has gotten better over the past year, it is still not universally seen. When doing intensive tasks, such as playing games, the notebook does get extremely hot to the touch, making certain parts of the computer too hot to touch. The fans are also an issue as they are quite loud when they are on full blast, although they are not heard at all during normal operation. It would also be nice to see more USB ports as 2 are very hard to work with. The lack of an ethernet port and CD drive do not bother me at all, mainly because I almost never used them.
    Overall, I am very impressed with this notebook. It has blown me away with its stunning capabilities, but Apple will need to offer a better bang for the buck in the future.

    The Breakdown

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    • Display 10
    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 9
    • Software 10
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by loismustdie1 (Currently owns)

    My first Macbook Pro with Retina Display was swapped out due to having so many problems related to the logic board and image persistence (ghosting). It was actually an upgrade (late 2012 model upgraded to 2013 model). Since the switch, it has been easy going and smooth sailing. The integrated Intel 4000/discrete 650 M pairing offers an excellent balance between battery life and power. Of course it goes without saying that the screen is absolutely beautiful. Though the "best for retina display" is essentially a pixel doubling of 1440x900, the scaled resolutions provide more than adequate clarity to make any other computer that isn't a "Retina Display" seem blurry in comparison.
    Though Apple has done a remarkable job in design and functionality, it comes at a cost (literally). Its quite expensive compared to other laptops, and the lack of customer serviceability (since everything is soldiered to the logic board) make AppleCare an absolute must. As I said before, my first Macbook Pro with Retina Display was replaced due to multiple issues. I shudder to think what that may have costed me to repair that out of pocket. And as usual with MacBook Pros, if you sit this thing on your lap doing anything super graphic intensive, it will toast your lap. The keyboard is rather warm at times as well.

    Overall, after having the first laptop replaced, its easily hands down the best Mac I've owned and the best laptop I've used period. Its quick and powerful and quite capable.

    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by alexzz123 (Currently owns)

    When I saw this computer at WWDC, I knew I had to have it. Even though this laptop doesn't have a disk drive, an ethernet port and the RAM can not be upgraded, this laptop is probably the greatest laptop I have ever owned. This laptop, proves Apple computers can play hard core video games. You will not regret it, but do not buy it at full price.

    The Breakdown

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    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 9
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 10
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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by VoxMediaUser1064541 (Currently owns)

    I have the newest (Early 2013) rMBP and also I am writing this after the update from Apple that addressed an issue where the fans would spin to full blast under a small work load... That was the only flaw that I noticed with this laptop, but it is now fixed. Every aspect of this MacBook is so beautifully designed and engineered. I cannot recommend anything better than this. Though the price is a little high, it will come down. Akin to the MacBook Air when it first came out. In other words, state of the art design and engineering is not cheap.

    The Breakdown

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  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by Finding Nemo (Currently owns)

    I bought this product for my wife since her old laptop is not working. Compare to the macbook 2010-mid that I had (which still works great), this computer has a larger and better building quality & display, better sound system, faster processing, airplay mirroring, yet lighter weight.

    Since I never used the CD-ROM on my 2010-mid macbook, the removed CD-ROM on this computer is not a concern to me. In addition, this model only has 256 GB storage and I decided not to spend an extra 300 dollars to upgrade it since we had a 2TB time capsule at home. The new macbook pro is designed not to be upgradable, so MAKE SURE TO CONFIGURE YOUR MACBOOK AT THE TIME YOU PURCHASE IT.

    PS: Remember to get the education pricing if you are qualified.

    Hope this helps!

    The Breakdown

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    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by kevin.clinthorne (Currently owns)

    Best device that I have ever owned. Although I had to have it repaired under warranty for a problem with the logic board, I still have no regrets in dumping the large amount of cash for this amazing machine. It is so thin and light for the power that it has inside. Love this thing.

    The Breakdown

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    • Software 8
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