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First Hands-On Impressions of the 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro

First Hands-On Impressions of the 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro

Shortly after Apple’s media event wrapped up today, reporters were given hands-on access to Apple’s new products, including the highly anticipated 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro! Overall impressions were very positive – here’s what they had to say!

 The Verge

It’s not quite as thin as the Air, but Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is still quite svelte — and the display is as gorgeous as you’d expect. The resolution settings for the display are just like the larger MacBook Pro […]

We only had a limited amount of time to test performance, but the 13 only hit 50 percent CPU utilization when we played the 1080p Iron Man 3 trailer while simultaneously playing back a multitrack GarageBand file and scrolling around a 21-megapixel RAW file in Aperture. That’s impressive — and very encouraging considering the relatively weak Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics


…it’s wildly thin. No, not manilla envelope thin, but thin enough to slip into most briefcases and backpacks without the consumer even noticing. Outside of that, it’s mostly a shrunken version of the 15-incher let loose over the summer. The unibody design is as tight as ever, with the fit and finish continuing to impress. In my estimation, this is Apple’s most deliberate move yet to differentiate the 13-inch MacBook Pro from the 13-inch MacBook Air.


We’ve been wowed before with Retina-level graphics, and the new MacBook Pro delivers the same impact. The mode most often used isn’t actually stretching things to 2560 x 1600, but instead offering an on-paper lower resolution but with smoother graphics all round. The result is clean icons and text of the sort you’ll struggle to find on a Windows notebook.


 We just spent some time with the other major announcement from today: Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The 3.5 lbs machine is obviously lighter than the 15-inch rMBP but you do give up quad-core and a discrete GPU, which makes this more of an upgrade for 13-inch MBP users than an alternative to the 15-inch rMBP. It may also do a bit to tempt 13-inch MacBook Air users.


The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro offers the same amazing display as its larger predecessor, but in a much smaller package, with a 2560×1600 screen but with a starting price $500 less than the 15-inch notebook. That still doesn’t make it exactly affordable (consider that the non-retina version still starts at $999), but it does mean a lot more people will be able to get on board with a Retina-resolution notebook.

As for how it performed, it was very much like using the 15-inch rMBP, which is my main machine currently. In the hand, however, it feels significantly lighter, at about a pound lighter than the bigger model. That’s a big difference for a machine you carry around with you all day, and alone might sway some users, price considerations aside.

You can check out all of our editorial coverage surrounding Apple’s keynote by visiting our ‘iPad Mini Event‘ tag!