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MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display review

Has the Retina MacBook Pro finally come of age?

The Retina screen is unchanged since the first 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina display were released, but as it's still as breathtaking as it was last June, this is not an indictment. The display packs in so many pixels, the human eye struggles to distinguish between them at normal viewing distance. The difference this makes has to be seen to be believed, so if you haven't done so already, make sure you take a look in your nearest Apple stockist.

A Retina display doesn't look like a 'normal' computer screen. Instead, your desktop resembles an art print, offering beautifully organic text with no sign of jaggedness, and pictures you could hang on your wall. Our only complaint is that Apple continues to refuse to offer a matte screen custom order option.

Although it could never match a discrete graphics chip, this MacBook's Iris Pro Graphics integrated chipset certainly proved its worth in our tests. Using the Unigine Heaven benchmarking tool at its most demanding Extreme setting, the 2.0GHz 15-inch Pro managed 7.2 frames a second - significantly better than the 4.5 FPS offered by the 13-inch model, which only has Iris graphics, not Iris Pro.

side on view
MacBook Pros have never been so thin

It also ran Batman: Arkham City at 39 FPS with the graphics ramped up to maximum settings and the resolution set to full HD 1080. Turning the resolution up to 1920x1200, we still got a very playable 29 FPS, though it struggled a little at its native resolution of 2880x1800, managing only 16 FPS. But only a maniac – or a reviewer – would turn it up that high anyway.

The combination of the low-power-consumption Haswell processors and Mavericks' energy-saving features give the battery life a boost. In our tests, we ran a live feed from the BBC's iPlayer website for a few minutes shy of six hours, an hour longer than the 13-inch model with its inevitably-smaller battery. Given this is a very power-hungry test, that's an excellent result.

Like the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, the 15-inch range has enjoyed a price drop. Both large-screen notebooks are now £100 cheaper than their predecessors. But unlike the 13-inch versions, they didn't get a cut in the February refresh. While the 13-inch models have broken out of their luxury niche and are now affordable enough to enter the mainstream, the 15-inch notebooks are still a substantial investment.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelIris Pro Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DisplayPortYes
Product FamilyMacBook Pro
Keyboard BacklightYes
ThunderboltYes
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.9 Mavericks
Brand NameApple
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size39.1 cm (15.4")
Screen Resolution2880 x 1800
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.02 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Gold, ENERGY STAR 6.0
64-bit ProcessingYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyRetina Display, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3L-1600/PC3-12800
Height18 mm
Width358.9 mm
Depth247.1 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR3L SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelME293B/A
Product Name15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Pointing Device TypeTrack Pad
Product LineMacBook Pro
Manufacturer Part NumberME293B/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing InformationIncredibly powerful. By design.

The all-new MacBook Pro started with a blank slate - without the constraints of legacy technology. That gave us the freedom to imagine something radical, something entirely different. A notebook so thin, so light, and so powerful. A notebook designed for the future, but ready to use today.

Thin, light, and innovative beyond measure.

It may be incredibly thin and light, but the all-new MacBook Pro is also incredibly powerful. To achieve all that in a single design required relentless focus and a willingness to make bold decisions. Every millimeter was designed, engineered, built, and assembled to the most exacting performance standards. Bulky legacy technologies like the spinning hard drive and optical disc drive were left behind in favor of newer, higher-performance technologies - all-flash storage, for example. It's much faster and far more reliable than a traditional hard drive. And it takes up 90 percent less space. Which is one of many reasons this MacBook Pro isn't just extremely capable, it's extremely portable, too.

Maximum Memory16 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter
  • AC wall plug
  • Power cord
Limited Warranty1 Year