My Thoughts on the MacBook Pro Retina

About This Mac

So Ryan IMs me this morning letting me know that our MacBook Pros had arrived. I wasn’t even expecting them to arrive today and became super excited! I’m not going to post any photos of the MacBook Pro, as if you want to look at nice shiny photos of the laptop, there’s tons of good sources online, include Apple’s own website.

I was torn between getting the new MacBook Air or the new MacBook Pro Retina. I really liked the 13″ MacBook Air that I currently have and ever since using my ThinkPad X31 in college, I’ve always been a fan of small light portable laptops. But the retina screen and the lowered 4.5lb weight finally sold me on the MacBook Pro Retina. I really wished they would’ve released a MacBook Air Retina. Next year maybe?

Retina Display

It’s so PRETTY!

At first I wasn’t very impressed. It was very pretty and very sharp, but it’s similar to seeing a movie in 720p and then upgrading to 1080p. I just wasn’t blown away. It wasn’t until I switched back to my cinema display that I realized how awesome the retina display is. The cinema display just wasn’t very pretty nor very sharp anymore. Hopefully they’ll release the Cinema Display Retina soon!

What you’ll realize soon with the Retina display is any app that doesn’t support HiDPI looks horrible. Using Firefox and Chrome on the retina screen literally hurts your eyes. I know Chrome nightly builds have already begun supporting HiDPI, but I was sad to find out that Firefox doesn’t have plans to support HiDPI any time soon. I might very well switch to Safari because of this. Maybe that was Apple’s plan all along. Those evil geniuses!

The screenshot above was taken from the retina screen and measures less than 3″ on the retina screen and almost 6″ on my cinema display.


The second most noticeable thing for me is the spinning fan or lack thereof. I don’t think my fan has turned on once ever since I finished my migration, and I’ve ran tests and watched HD trailers simultaneously. When the fan does spin on (I was listening to Ryan’s), it’s still very quiet. I can’t really tell you what the decibel measurement is, but let’s just say Ryan’s old laptop used to sound like a jet engine and now it sounds like a summer breeze.

Update: A quick clarification. Ryan’s old laptop was a last gen 15″ MacBook Pro. He was powering 3 displays (2x 27″ Cinema Displays + Retina display), so that may be why his fan was spinning up. Even when compared to my MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pro Retina’s fan noise is still a lot quieter.


Coming from a MacBook Air, I can’t really say I appreciate the extra 1.5lbs. However, I do have to say the 4.5lbs is rather manageable. The laptop is almost as thin as my MacBook Air and the screen is 2″ bigger.

Battery Life

At full charge, my battery indicator reports that I have 5.5hrs of usage left. I can’t really comment on battery life yet as I haven’t had a chance to run it on just batteries, but for comparisons sake, my old 13″ MacBook Air usually reported 2-3hrs of battery life at full charge.


Coming from a Core 2 Duo 2.13GHz with 8GB of RAM to Core i7 2.6GHz with 16GB of RAM, this machine is significantly faster. But it doesn’t really take much to beat my 2-generations-old MacBook Air. This would probably explain why my fan hasn’t really spun up yet.

2 Replies to “My Thoughts on the MacBook Pro Retina”

  1. “I was sad to find out that Firefox doesn’t have plans to support HiDPI any time soon”

    I don’t know where you got this idea. There’s been a bug report open since long before you wrote this, and they’re working on it, with increased priority since the Retina Macbooks were announced.

    1. I guess it really depends how one interprets “any time soon“. I’ve been tracking said bug since Apple announced the Retina MacBook Pros and it looks like there’s a lot of interest in said bug, but from what I’ve gathered, this feature won’t be making it into the next release and there’s no “official” date when this feature will be released.

      Chrome on the other hand has had a retina version in its beta since day 1 and the official Chrome release has been retina-capable for at least a few weeks.

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