Apple Core


Macbook Pro Retina (First Impressions)


My quick and dirty first thoughts on a $2,200 computer...

I'm a long time PC/OSX/Mobile gadget geek of more than 25 years of experience. I've been using OSX more exclusively the past three years with the adoption of iOS devices in my home. For the record, my current OSX setup includes a 13" MacBook Air (July, 2011 model), Thunderbolt Display and the new king of all entries.. the Macbook Pro Retina base model at $2,199.

I walked into a Best Buy today to pickup a Father's Day GPS gift bought for my Dad and I enquired about stock of the new Retina MBP and BEHOLD.. they had JUST ONE in stock. I caved, I bought, I conquered.. my debit card wept.

There is a LOT to like about this computer. the power, speed, weight & display (I actually like the more spongy feel of the keyboard). There can a LOT to not like about this computer: the price, nonexistent upgrades, MagSafe 2 connector and the use of the display. Display is listed twice, but they have two different meanings.

Here's the problem: the scaling of the display just blows up everything on the screen or just shrinks it. I think for this display to work effectively, every app needs it's own display specification to make the most effective use of the collective pixels on the screen. Weigh in on this.. I have noticed that the smaller I scale everything, the more prone I am to eye fatigue. Here's a couple screen shots showing the different scaling options.

Apple Recommended Retina Resolution:


My Usual Resolution:


Here begins my problem: the UI elements are extraordinarily small at my preferred resolution that I want to use: it leads to eye strain. On my MacBook Air, it offers more UI detail without the strain and is an excellent compromise. Here on the Retina MBP, it's hard to choose the middle ground and not opt for the 1900x1200 resolution and view this screen in all it's glory (or as much as Apple allows you).

Let me hear from you Retina MBP users, where do you leave the scaling set to?

That's all I can fill in for now, but let me leave with a couple quick notes: 1.) it's also gorgeous paired with the Thunderbolt display with zero issues pushing all of those pixels (unlike my MBA). 2.) The new MagSafe 2 connector sucks. Apple blew it. It's hard to argue that they changed the adapter for the sake of room when the MBA accommodates it fine. This new adapter is quick to pop out when you are using the notebook on a couch, plush chair or somewhere where it can get forced up while in use.

Does it warrant an upgrade over my MBA? The answer is not a resounding yes at the moment. However, I need a full day of work with it before I can give a final answer. This notebook is not for everyone, I can assure you of that.

Thanks for reading. I'll follow up on any questions.