Tag Archives: retina

MacBook Pro retina pricing

I usually like reading ReadWriteWeb, but I think this article this morning is just link bait (which obviously worked, because I’m linking to it):

Buying a MacBook Pro with Retina means shelling out at least $2,199 for a notebook with a 15.4-inch, 2880×1800 display. Top-end models approach $3,500!

By comparison, the cheapest 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,799, with half the resolution and a different but roughly comparable set of features and specifications. (The Retina version is smaller and lighter but lacks a DVD drive, and uses expensive Flash storage instead of a slower conventional hard drive.)

Anyone who has used an SSD knows there’s nothing “roughly comparable” between the these two computers’ configurations. But we can help them with the math.

Let’s take the cheapest 15-inch at $1799. To get “roughly comparable”, we’ll need to upgrade the RAM to 8GB ($100), and upgrade to the same 256GB SSD ($500), for a total of $2399. You could add another $100 to upgrade to the 1680×1050 hi-res screen, but let’s assume you don’t want that.

To be fair, that machine will have a DVD drive and an ethernet port. So, let’s add those to the base retina MacBook Pro. Base model is $2199, add the USB SuperDrive ($79), and add the Thunderbolt ethernet adapter ($29), for a total of $2307.

So the retina MBP is actually cheaper – AND it comes with 1GB of video RAM, vs. 512MB in the classic MBP.

Is the retina MBP expensive for a laptop? Yes. But none of the 15-inch MacBook Pros are cheap. The new model with the retina display is actually quite aggressively priced, IMHO, as compared with the prior models.

On the MacBook Pro with Retina display

There has been much written about the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. I’ve had one for about a week; I’m not going to write a review, as I’m not sure how anyone could compete with this review…but rather I’ll just mention a few things I’ve noticed in using it for my work.

First, the retina display is quite striking when you use it with applications that have been updated with retina graphics. Most websites that have not updated their graphics don’t look good at all, as I said earlier:

The “blurry” effect is actually more noticeable on the MacBook Pro than it is on the iPad. So for the many, many folks I’ve heard saying “my site looks ok on the iPad, so I’m not going to worry about it” – my recommendation is take a look at it on the MacBook Pro, and make sure you’re comfortable with how it looks. Hint: it probably looks worse than you think.

There are two things that I’ve found a little painful at the moment when using the new MacBook Pro, as Joshua Johnson also noticed.

First, trying to edit 1x artwork on the retina screen is definitely a challenge. At the moment, you just can’t really tell how it’s going to look on a non-retina screen. Maybe a future update to Photoshop CS6 or Pixelmator or some other app will fix this; we’ll have to see.

And second, taking a screenshot on the retina MBP results in an image that’s twice the size you expect; for example, if you’re running at the “ideal” 1440×900 effective resolution, screen shots will be at 2880×1800. That’s great if you need a 2x screenshot to display on a retina display…but if you need a screenshot to display on a 1x display, you don’t have great options. You can downsize it in Photoshop or other editor, but you lose quality.

My solution to both of these problems has been to connect a regular non-retina screen for those tasks. This also has the advantage of letting me see quickly how things are looking on both retina and non-retina screens side by side, at the cost of being tethered to my desk…

All in all, the machine is beautiful, the screen is stunning when viewing high resolution content, and the machine is quite fast as compared to my other machines. I think the issues I mentioned above will probably (hopefully!) work themselves out as the software catches up with the display.