MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display review

Apple's incredible Retina screen comes to its smaller MacBook Pro

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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 2560 x 1600
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Incredible screen
  • Ivy Bridge processors
  • Fast solid state storage
  • Gestures trackpad
  • Great battery life


  • Very expensive
  • No FireWire 800 or Ethernet ports
  • No optical drive
  • Very difficult to repair or upgrade
  • 15-inch model might be better value

We can't say it came as a surprise.

A 13-inch version of Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been rumoured since its larger stablemate was first released in the summer, and it seemed a pretty obvious move anyway.

Unveiled during Apple's October keynote, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display proved to be exactly what we expected; a smaller version of the 15-inch model, with the same innovations and departures from the regular MacBook Pro form factor.

Thankfully, it's also exactly what we wanted.

The Retina MacBook Pro is a new take on the notebook, breaking with the traditional MacBook Pro design in favour of a lighter, thinner notebook.

MacBook Pro 13 inch with Retina display

At three quarters of an inch thick and weighing 3.57 pounds, it's 20% thinner and almost a pound lighter than the regular 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Naturally, such a small body has forced a rethink regarding internal components.

The optical drive is gone, and instead of a bulky hard drive, solid state storage is used. This high-end model has 256GB, but there's also a cheaper version with 128GB.

This is the only difference between the two models.

MacBook Pro 13 inch with Retina display

The 13-inch model has the same connectivity outlets as the 15-inch Retina MBP, including high-speed USB 3.0 ports.

Off the shelf, the cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display costs £1,449 (UK) and $1,699 (US), with the more expensive version costing £1,699 or $1,999.

Custom options to increase storage to up to 768GB or upgrade the processor to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 are available if you order through the Apple online store.

Apple s incredible Retina screen comes to its smaller MacBook Pro

Of course, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro's most exciting feature is its Retina display. Cramming in four times as many pixels as a standard 13-inch MacBook Pro (which itself is no slouch in the resolution department), it's absolutely gorgeous to look at, reproducing images and text with crystal clarity. Photographers, graphic artists and video editors will love it.

Like all of Apple's 13-inch MacBooks, this one lacks a discrete graphics chip. Instead, it relies on the Ivy Bridge processor's built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset.

Not that this is much of a drawback. Intel's integrated graphics have improved with every release; the Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset is around 60% more powerful than the Intel HD Graphics 3000 used in the previous generation of Core-i processors.

MacBook Pro 13 inch with Retina display

Like all new Macs, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display comes supplied with OS X 10.8: Mountain Lion and its bundled applications such as the Safari web browser, iTunes, Calendar, Contacts and Mail.

Also bundled are the current versions of the iLife applications, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyMacBook Pro
Keyboard BacklightYes
Keyboard LocalizationEnglish (US)
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2.50 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution2560 x 1600
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.62 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR 5.2, EPEAT Gold
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyRetina Display, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height19.1 mm
Width313.7 mm
Depth218.9 mm
Screen ModeWQXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMD212B/A
Product Name13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Pointing Device TypeTrack Pad
Product LineMacBook Pro
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberMD212B/A
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationWith great power comes great capability.

MacBook Pro with Retina display changes the entire notebook experience. What you see onscreen is unbelievably sharp. Everything you do is lightning fast. And if you can imagine it, you can create it. Welcome to the future of pro performance.

Faster than the sum of its parts.

The latest dual-core and quad-core processors help you power through the most complicated technical computing tasks. Next-generation graphics let you take on GPU-intensive rendering. State-of-the-art I/O like Thunderbolt and USB 3 makes it possible to expand your workspace in a matter of seconds. And at the center of it all is an entirely flash-based architecture that makes everything you do incredibly fast and responsive. Specs like these define a whole new standard for notebook computing.

Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 60W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter
  • AC Wall Plug
  • Power Cord
  • Accessory Kit
Limited Warranty1 Year