But then PC manufacturers started upping their game, and since late , it's been extremely hard to recommend the Pros. How did we get to this place? The new MacBook Pros attempt to atone for some of the line's recent performance missteps by throwing powerful new processors, tweaked graphics cards, a massaged keyboard, more RAM, and bigger SSDs into a product meant for the professionals who consistently rely on these machines.
Apple gets complaints from the Mac faithful. Mac fans are a passionate minority who like to kvetch about everything from file systems to UI consistency. The top complaint might be that the Cupertino company just isn't as consistent at updating its products as other PC makers. For instance, the Mac mini continues to feature Intel chips from And desktop users still wait with bated breath for the triumphant return of the Mac Pro, which was last released in and…never got better internals.
Thankfully, the eighth-generation Intel processors in the absolute newest MacBooks give pro users a big reason to consider upgrading. In every model, you'll get more processor cores, better graphics be they discrete or integrated and overall faster performance. This is especially the case with the inch models. Apple pro laptops were capped at four cores for a long time—until now. The new eighth-gen Intel chips in these machines, no matter which inch you pick up, now include two bonus cores.
As muscle car fans might say, there's no replacement for displacement, and these tiny silicon engines give you a whopping total of 6 cores and 12 threads, leaving previous Macs in the dust at the drag strip. I was able to use the new MacBook Pro to encode a video into the demanding H. The Cinema4D performance from this laptop was impressive, and they noted a marked improvement in render times of 3-D frames with complex material reflections.
Most folks will opt for the cheaper i7-based models. After that update, I noticed significantly more consistent speeds with less fluctuation than before. But even I was wowed by the additional headroom the new CPU grants users.
I could keep working in Chrome while running an intensive app like Handbrake in the background without noticing much, if any, slowdown. I could easily make it through a few hours of light work and web use without getting range anxiety. In the redesign of its top-tier notebooks, Apple switched out a tried-and-true scissor switch with the now-infamous butterfly mechanism, reducing key travel to a measly half a millimeter.
The company spun the decision as one to increase the "stability" of said keys, though I don't think that's a complaint anyone ever had with the softer, more comfortable MacBook keyboards of yore. Personally, I feel that in swapping the Pro keyboard for the shallow butterfly-style version, Apple severely damaged its MacBook Pro line.
Anecdotal reliability issues aside myself and coworkers have suffered through jammed key switches on our last-gen MacBooks, for what it's worth , I was told by its defenders that the butterfly keyboard just "takes getting used to," which isn't something you could say about the excellent input devices built into the laptop's forbears.
These new MacBook Pros have a similar butterfly keyboard mechanism. The choice is bound to be similarly controversial, even though Apple's touting its improved switch design. Teardowns show that the new version of the keyboard adds a silicone baffle under each keycap. Whether it's designed to keep dust from jamming up the switch or to simply muffle the sound of the keyboard is beside the point.
I'd say that the new keyboard is a little quieter, but it mostly has a less obnoxious sonic signature. The new switches had a slightly softer feel to them, which my sensitive fingers appreciated. But, for me, this is still a sub-par keyboard. I shouldn't have to "get used to" a keyboard on a multi-thousand-dollar computer, and it shouldn't make my hands hurt doing what it was designed to do.
The older keyboards were better, and Mac users deserve a better typing experience for what they're paying. Then there's the Touch Bar. Somewhere between a keyboard and a touchscreen, this tiny display sits atop the keyboard and offers up some alternative, touch-friendly controls. You can program it to display controls from third-party apps, like Adobe Photoshop, but I've found that the Touch Bar works best for me when it's set up to act like a normal assortment of buttons.
Y'know, that vivid, high-resolution screen where all the real work gets done? My twitchy peepers see a sudden pop of color or motion down below and they lock onto the Bar every. The best part of the Touch Bar setup, however, is the inclusion of a fast, accurate fingerprint sensor for logins and for authorizing Apple Pay transactions. I think this is a nice-to-have for everyone but the pro users Apple hopes to win back. Like the Touch Bar, this is a feature the MacBook Pro's target audience might even disable as soon as they set up their new computer, making it a dubious value add.
Especially to pros with mountains of accessories and a workflow to maintain, it was understandably disruptive coming off the prior MacBook Pros—y'know, the old ones with the regular USB ports and HDMI and an SD card reader? However, in a more demanding DirectX 11 title like Stalker Call of Pripyat, that average fell to 28fps, and this was still only at Medium detail.
On the other hand, in Diablo 3 we could run at native Retina with all settings turned up to max and anti-aliasing, and we still got a perfectly playable experience, with an average that rarely dipped below the magical 30fps barrier.
While the latest Blizzard game is not exactly a graphical powerhouse, Diablo 3 does go to show that playing recent, blockbuster titles at Retina resolutions is not just possible but very pretty indeed. Mind you, this is quite common for light and thin laptops packing these kind of components. Our only real concern here is the lack of upgrade potential.
MobileMark 40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity minutes. Apple claims battery life of seven hours, which is identical to the previous, fatter MacBook Pro. We ran the same Windows 7-based benchmark that we submit every laptop to on the MacBook Pro 15 inch with Retina Display and achieved five hours and 44 minutes.
The similarly-sized Samsung Series 7 Chronos , for example, managed seven and a half hours in the same test, albeit with a 1, x screen. In other words, if you use the MacBook Pro 15 inch with Retina Display casually it will hold up to the claimed time, otherwise if you were to work on it throughout the day, you can expect under six hours.
Perhaps the closest configurable competitor at the moment is the Sony VAIO S15 , which is a similarly-sized premium, metal-clad powerhouse sporting a backlit keyboard and 1, x 1, IPS screen. And now that Apple finally offers USB 3. Unlike other sites, we test every laptop we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We never, ever, accept money to review a product. Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy. Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct. We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. Founded in , Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.
Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1, products a year. In this article… 1. Verdict 2. Pros and Cons 3. Key Specifications 4. How we tested 5. Trusted Score Share:. Pros Gorgeous, unrivalled IPS screen Superb, class-leading connectivity Sleek, attractive design Relatively slim and light Powerful, balanced specifications.
How we test laptops Unlike other sites, we test every laptop we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. Used as our main laptop for the review period. Tested for at least a week. Used consistent benchmarks for fair comparisons with other laptops. Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world use. Trusted Score.
Score in detail Performance 9. Operating System Macintosh OS. USB 3. By Ardjuna Seghers. Ardjuna Seghers contributed computing reviews to Trusted Reviews between and
Our licensing is can set the manage user devices. Tools Hacking Tools. Otherwise the download algorithm on the optional interface type.
The advantages, which include the ability to click everywhere including at the very edges of the trackpad , make it more than worthwhile to take the few hours to a day you might need to adjust. Another new feature is limited to the top-end model, which we reviewed here: Thanks to its beefed up GPU, it can now power an external 5K display at 60Hz via two DisplayPort cables. Better performance on the new inch Retina MacBook Pro comes primarily from that new PCIe-based flash storage which is also on the new inch model.
That new graphics processor also helps considerably. The Force Touch trackpad support should bear more fruit for future applications and possibly OS X The updated machine gets super fast flash storage, as well as the new Force Touch trackpad, an improved dedicated GPU and an extra hour of battery life. Basics 2. It can still convince us with its sturdiness and the perfect build quality; only the front edge of the case is somewhat sharp at the corners and was not reworked for this version.
Overall, the aluminum leaves a dignified impression and also feels splendid. The keyboard and trackpad layout of the two devices is very similar as well. You can open the base unit when you loosen five Pentalobe screws, but all you can do is look at the components, you cannot actually maintain anything. Similar to all Retina models you can neither remove nor replace the battery.
This is not necessarily the price of the slim chassis when you look at the Dell XPS 15 , which gives you access to all of the important components at this point. Nothing really changed in this category at a first look, either. The problem with this is the high price of the corresponding adaptors. Apple offers optional Thunderbolt adaptors when you buy the notebook. A new feature is the maximum resolution for external displays. The port layout is convenient in the rear area of the notebook, so there will not be any issues with attached cables.
The problem with a slim 18 mm case is that thicker and protruding USB sticks can lift the notebook, which we noticed in the review of the inch version. While the predecessor supported the IEEE The completely subjective performance during normal web browsing and downloading appears very smooth and fast.
The router was one floor above the review units and we determined a reasonably constant transfer rate of 50 Mbps. Apple does not only save money on the box, but also in terms of accessories. Apart from a microfiber cloth and the extension cord for the MagSafe 2 you do not get anything. We already mentioned the bad maintainability of the Retina-series because of non-removable components in the Case section.
Our colleagues from iFixit only rate the notebook with 1 of 10 possible points as a result. As usual for Apple devices, you just get a one-year manufacturer's warranty with all support features after the purchase. The black chiclet keyboard with a stage background illumination can convince us in every respect with precise pressure points and convenient feedback. Clattering noise from the keys is minimal, which results in a pleasant noise during typing.
The keyboards of all MacBooks are similar, so there are no size differences between the inch and inch MacBook. Unfortunately, this also means there are no special keys or shortcuts, even though the space is available. Instead of special keys, you get microphone and speaker grills on both sides of the keyboard.
Apple is essentially the pioneer concerning the trackpad when you are looking for a mouse replacement and multi-touch. Gestures like wiping or zooming are very smooth and no problem with up to four fingers. The trackpad reacts very precisely and directly. We could not determine any issues in the peripheral areas, either. Primary and secondary clicks can either be executed with one and two-finger taps, respectively, or in the lower corners with a mechanical feedback.
All in all the glass trackpad can still convince us and allows, depending on the scenario, a similar working speed as with an external mouse. Under Windows via Boot Camp, you cannot use most multi-touch gestures and the overall operation is noticeably slower compared to Mac OS. Unfortunately, there are no settings for the gestures at all. Apple still uses a high-quality IPS panel with a maximum resolution of x pixels.
The display got more anti-reflective over the years, which is actually clearly visible with light sources from behind. However, this is still a glossy display, which results in brilliant colors, but it creates problems in certain environments. The first versions of the Retina model used an IPS panel from LG, which had issues with ghosting where objects burned into the display. This is fortunately not the case anymore. The comparison between Windows and Mac OS still shows that the high resolution creates compatibility problems under Windows.
Application windows, symbols and some games have scaling issues. Some buttons can easily disappear in deformed windows. High resolutions have become established under Mac OS by now. Applications and symbols are displayed without visible pixels and without issues. Most manufacturers also updated their software with high resolutions since the introduction of the Retina-series, so there are no problems during operation.
The presentation under Windows and Mac OS can vary due to the use of different color profiles. Under Mac OS we can measure a contrast of and an almost perfect color temperature of 6, K. The resulting black value of 0. However, the MacBook Retina is clearly beaten in terms of maximum brightness.
Compared to the Acer R7 , the MacBook falls behind in the contrast and black value. A contrast of almost 1, and a slightly lower average brightness of The analysis of the color presentation reveals above-average results.
Multimedia notebooks from the last couple of years had an average DeltaE deviation of 9 for the grayscale. This result is similar for the colors with a DeltaE deviation of 1. Even though the Apple display is anti-reflective for direct light sources, it is still far away from a matte panel.
The contrast and the brightness are sufficient to work in the shade. However, you should look for an alternative if you frequently work outdoors, especially in brighter environments, since Apple waived the matte display option with the launch of the Retina-series.
Thanks to the IPS display, the viewing angle stability is perfect in any direction. Colors and the brightness are hardly distorted, or not at all. Even extreme angles from the sides are no problem for the display. The maximum opening angle could be a bit bigger , but it is sufficient for use on your lap.
The inch Retina-series is divided into two sub categories. One with an integrated graphics card, and the other with an additional dedicated graphics card from Nvidia. Intel specifies the maximum Turbo Boost with 3. We will check the effect on the battery runtimes later in this review. Now we compare and analyze the benchmark results. The Cinebench benchmarks show that there is no appreciable performance difference between Windows and Mac OS. The small differences are a result of the variance of these benchmarks.
The MacBook does not have an advantage over its rivals, but it is on the same level. We could not determine any throttling under Mac OS , despite our continuous stress test with a Terminal process, a Cinebench loop and the Unigine benchmark. The Turbo Boost is immediately activated again as soon as the CPU cooled down after a period at the nominal clock. The throttling behavior changes dramatically under Windows. The CPU performance is not affected on battery power according to the Multi-Core test of Cinebench R15 and the results do not differ from mains power.
Subjectively, the system performance and the reaction times in particular are very fast. This is also confirmed by the PCMark 7 score under Windows. With 5, points , the MacBook is pretty much on the same level with the Dell XPS 15 and the first Retina from is also pretty close with 5, points. The MacBook Pro Retina 15 has a clear advantage over its smaller inch sibling. The differences are even bigger compared to the MacBook Air.
Another interesting aspect is the comparison with the Dell S , which ran this test suite under Ubuntu. One reason for the high system performance of the MacBook is the integrated storage solution. We know this problem since the change to the PCIe interface. The Nvidia GPU is familiar since it is used for many multimedia notebooks.
Apple will probably use the new Nvidia chips in the upcoming MacBook-series. This means the GPU of our review unit uses the maximum amount of memory , so the GPU should have an advantage over other versions of this chip in the benchmarks. We can see a dynamic switching of the two graphics cards under Mac OS X Mavericks depending on the application.
This also means that the power consumption under Windows will be much higher because the switchable graphics does not work, and that the battery runtimes are shorter compared to Mac OS. The variety of games under Mac OS was improved significantly over the last couple of years, thanks to services like Steam and Origin. Still, most games are just ports that usually result in lower performance.
We managed around 60 fps with Tomb Raider on the lowest settings, which is roughly half of the frame rate that we measured under Windows. As a result, we focus on Windows in terms of gaming and test some interesting titles. The most current games can be played smoothly with medium or even high details.
For instance, Titanfall that was released this year runs with 43 fps and high settings. Wolfenstein was no problem either with 60 fps and medium details. Compared to its rivals, the MacBook is usually on the same level or even a bit faster. Only the Dell XPS 15 manages a few more frames per second in almost every title. The comparison with the new series is interesting and, as we already assumed, it offers significantly more performance.
The very complex game Company of Heroes 2 can be played with The MacBook Pro Retina is quiet, very quiet. We can hardly hear anything during idle and with light workloads like office tasks. This impression is confirmed by our measurements. As soon as you stress the Apple device, the fans slowly start to increase their rpm levels. The resulting noise is, however, always pleasant and does not include any annoying frequencies. The notebook stays very quiet under Mac OS thanks to the activated switchable graphics and the sophisticated fan control.
We can see that the rpm level of the fans always slowly increases to the maximum level under Windows , even with light workloads. In this load scenario or with the maximum rpm level of the fans, respectively, we can measure The following picture shows the noise characteristics of the MacBook Pro 15 Retina in our review configuration.
Both fans are spinning at rpm while idling. Aluminum has the advantage of a stylish design and the distribution of local hot spots. The problem is that this material warms up somewhat quickly and, because of the thin construction of the device, it can result in unpleasant temperatures. Especially striking is that the hot spot of the heat development is on top of the keyboard. Dell's hot spot of Still, the heat development is subjectively always fine in practice.
As we mentioned in the Processor section, we can see a drop below the nominal clock under Windows, but not under Mac OS. A 3DMark 06 run after the stress test did not show any restrictions and resulted in 16, points. The stereo speakers convince with their sound diversity during music playback and the whole sound spectrum is available. Bass could be stronger, but it is okay for a notebook without a subwoofer. Compared to a inch Retina MacBook we can hear a significantly richer sound.
The power adaptors from Apple are rather small for the application and get noticeably warm as a result, so you should not cover them with blankets or put them on sofas. The minimum consumption when idle under Mac OS is 7. Another interesting aspect is the maximum power consumption, because it surpasses the nominal power output of the PSU. The power adaptor has to deliver The Apple notebook shuts down after hours in our idle test , which is two hours shorter than the Dell XPS.
We determine a more realistic runtime with our WLAN test that simulates web browsing via a script with websites and YouTube videos a new website every 40 seconds. The Acer Aspire RG cannot keep up with its rivals in this scenario and shuts down after hours. The load test with Battery Eater Classic Test changes the situation once again and the Dell XPS 15 wins the battle by 30 minutes with hours instead of hours.
Acer and Samsung clearly fall behind in this scenario. Overall, the MacBook manages great battery runtimes despite its thin construction and has no problems managing a normal business day. We want to summarize the key aspects of this review.
The inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is ideal for professionals who need the extra screen space afforded by a inch notebook. Quite simply, the MacBook Pro 15 inch with Retina Display's 2, x 1, IPS 'Retina' screen is amazing. And now that Apple finally offers USB. Retina displays use more power, and just as with the new iPad, the MacBook Pro with Retina display has a bigger battery to ensure runtimes don't decrease from.