Review roundup: Apple’s MacBook Pro

June 14, 2012

Apple’s newest computer comes with a hefty price tag, but those who’ve reviewed the device so far seem to think it’s worth every penny.

The first, quick reviews of the laptop are out and they, like the MacBook Pro’s screen, are bright and glowing.

Peter Svensson at the Associated Press used the same metaphor that others used about the new iPad: seeing this screen is like the moment when you get a new glasses prescription.

“Much like the screen on the latest iPad, the new display makes all other screens look dull and fuzzy,” Svensson wrote. “On the calendar icon, you can make out the dots for the individual dates. On the Address book, you suddenly see that the ‘at’ sign on the cover is embossed.”

The screen is definitely the leading feature in most reviewers’ pieces, though it comes with a caveat: it ruins other screens for you.

As ABC News’ Joanna Stern noted, “After 20 minutes of using Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, I switched back to my own six-month-old MacBook Pro to send an e-mail. But when I looked at its screen, I thought my contact lenses had actually fallen out.”

So what, apart from the screen, makes the new Mac worth buying?

Jason Snell from MacWorld liked the array of ports — Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, HDMI, SD Card reader — on the laptop, but groaned at the company’s decision to change its MagSafe connector.

“Simply put, the new MacBook Pro is too thin to fit the old MagSafe adapter. So it needed to change,” he said. “But if you’re a family or workplace that’s already got a MacBook and wants to add another, freely sharing adapters is off the table. “

The laptop’s design has also scored high marks, with Slashgear’s Vincent Nguyen saying not only that he likes the sleeker, flatter profile, but also heartily approves of the company’s decision to ditch its SuperDrive, as the company did on the MacBook Air.

“As design decisions go, it’s one not only do we think most will approve of, but that fits in perfectly with Apple’s growing emphasis on digital content delivery,” he wrote.

The same was not true of the company’s decision to get rid of the ethernet port, something Nguyen notes will be a conspicuous absence for legacy users.

Still, the price is a main sticking point.

“For the moment, this next-generation laptop is not going to appeal to the current generation of laptop buyers - be it PC or Apple,” wrote PC World’s Ian Paul. While he thought the computer was leading the industry, he said that the laptop just doesn’t offer enough for the price.

“The base model alone for the new MBP is priced at $2,200 for just 256GB of hard drive space and a quad-core 2.3 GHz Core i7 processor,” he said. “Compare that to the $1,500 Asus G75VW gaming laptop featuring the same processor, six times the storage space (hard drive, not flash), and a 17-inch screen with 1920-by-1080 resolution.”

Related stories:

WWDC: Apple announces new MacBook Pro with retina display

Ideas@Innovations: How developers’ wish lists are powering Apple’s innovation engine

WWDC 2012: MacBook Pro vs. other ultrabooks

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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