I was one of the first to order Apple's 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro. You can read the reasons why in my aptly titled "Why I ended up buying a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro."
I've used my new laptop, which replaced a three year old 13 inch MacBook Pro, for about ten days. That's long enough to be confident in my two word review:
Now, I've been reading quite a few reviews of the 13 inch retina MacBook Pro from computer geeks who usually have a different impression. They like the new incarnation of the much beloved 13 inch MacBook Pro, yet have two serious standard criticisms.
Lacks powerful graphics card.
Their typical erroneous conclusion is that it makes more sense to pay a few hundred dollars more and get the 15 inch Retina MacBook Pro, which not only has a bigger screen, but considerably more processing power.
I say "erroneous," because the 13 inch'er is aimed at normal computer users. Like me. And I love it.
True, most reviews of the 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro do say just that: if you're not a gamer or someone who regularly edits complex videos, the smaller retina laptop will suit you just fine. But those words come after tables showing how the 13 inch machine takes longer to process a hour long movie, can't play Wizards of Warcraft (or whatever the newest game craze is) at warp speed, and such.
To which I reply, in another pithy two words:
I surf the web. I edit short videos and photos, of which I have over a thousand in iPhoto. I blog. I send and receive many emails. I watch DVD's, write different kinds of stuff in Pages, keep track of my contacts, make appointments, maintain to-do lists.
In short, I'm like the vast majority of computer users, albeit retired from the working world. In three years my old 13 inch MacBook Pro did everything I needed it to do.
My new 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro just does all that way faster and more elegantly. I adore the retina display. It grows on me the more I feast my eyes on it. As many others have noted, once you get used to a retina screen, looking at any other laptop display feels lackluster.
I can't use the Chrome browser any longer, because while Chrome has been updated for the retina display, text in Chrome looks considerably lighter than in Safari. I came across a post from a guy who enlarged text in Chrome and Safari, showing how font thickness is less in Chrome.
Aside from the retina display, I also love the solid state drive, all 256 GB of it. That's the same size drive as what my old MacBook Pro had. But with the SSD, everything happens much, much quicker. It used to take forever, just about, to open and close iPhoto with those thousand-plus images I have in it.
Now, just a few seconds. Sweet.
I like how light and slim the 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro is. As I said in my post about why I waited for the 13 inch retina laptop:
I played around with the 15 inch'er several times at an Apple Store in suburban Portland's Bridgeport Village. I liked it, but I couldn't fall in love with it. At the risk of sounding sexist, it was like dating a woman twenty pounds overweight after enjoying the company of someone pleasingly svelte.
Everytime I touched the bigger retina laptop, she (oops) it seemed just too damn large.
The extra real estate to the left and right of the keyboard struck me as excessive. And no matter how I tried to convince myself that I needed a larger screen, I recalled how the 13 inch display I'd used for three years suited me just fine.
So whenever I was tempted to call an Apple Store employee over and say "I want to buy a 15 inch retina MacBook Pro," the words wouldn't leave my mouth no matter how loudly they echoed in my brain. I'd go home, then daily look for Internet gossip about a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro.
l'm glad I waited.
For laptop users like me, who often carry their computer around in a backpack, bigger definitely isn't better. I don't need the power of the 15 inch Retina MacBook Pro. And I sure don't want the extra weight and size.
My final praise will be to Apple as a whole, for making the changeover from my old MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Pro so simple. In the old days (particularly my old Windows days), switching to a new computer could be a nightmare.
But when I got my new laptop, all I had to do was connect an Ethernet cable between my old and new computers. (I'd gotten an Ethernet adapter for the Retina machine, which doesn't have built-in Ethernet.)
It took quite a few hours to finish the transfer of my files and applications, six or seven as I recall. After that, whatever I'd been doing on my old MacBook Pro I could do on my new one. There were just a few instances where I had to type in a password, or such.
They make great computers, and they have great customer support. Yes, you pay more for an Apple computer. And you get what you pay for: in my case, the best 13 inch laptop in the world, the Retina MacBook Pro.