Review: Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-inch retina (MC976D / A) (Notebook)

Apple MacBook Pro outclasses the entire retina in the laptop-testing competition: With extra-sharp display, strong Ivy Bridge CPU and rapid GeForce graphics it sits at the top of the leaderboard. But the top-quality has a high price.

With the newly developed MacBook Pro with ‘Retina’ display Apple expands its product portfolio above the already high before the MacBook Pro line. It follows the typical design for the brand with a simple unibody enclosure of an aluminum block. The new MacBook is a particularly slim: With about 1.8 centimeters at its thickest point and a weight of 2 kilograms can almost keep up with the ultra compact Books. Overall, the MacBook Pro Retina has an elegant and massive. Together with the excellent keyboard with adjustable lighting and adjusts the built-in touchpad with xxl mouse buttons perfectly.

15-inch display with resolution XXL

The most spectacular innovation of the notebook is undoubtedly the display with Apple’s so-called ‘retina’ resolution: The screen is 2,880 x 1,800 pixels dar. With a display diagonal of 15.4 inches jostle so roughly 220 pixels per inch (ppi) – because no other can currently keep up laptop display.

Benefit most ebooks, photos and Web pages from the high resolution of the new MacBooks retina. Everything looks super sharp, individual pixels are no longer visible in the letters or pictures. The positive subjective impression is also confirmed by our measurements: The new display has a brightness of 270 cd / m² and offers a very high 164:1 contrast ratio checkerboard. In addition, covering the MacBook Pro from nearly 100 percent of the sRGB color space. However, there is the display just as reflective glare version – a MacBook with a matte screen retina is not available.

Even without the XXL-resolution, it would be an excellent display that can even compete with high-quality LCD monitors. For photo and video editing, it is currently the best you can get from a mobile device. In some Apple forums, some users complained about disturbing afterglow effects of the display – we could not reproduce this problem with our test unit, however.

Full performance, memory not expandable

Us to the test available to new MacBook Pro 15.4-inch retina (MC976D / A) costs € 2,800. This is what capacity as components of the new quad-core Core i7-3720QM (2.6GHz) with integrated graphics core, HD 4000, 8GB of RAM and the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics card (with Kepler GPU and 1 GB) is available. MacOS is installed on a very fast 512-gigabyte Samsung SSD. The bottom line is a very circular configuration that achieved despite the high resolution peak values ??in our performance benchmarks. The downside: The new processor and graphics card generate much heat. Thus, the bottom of the case in our measurements in air-conditioned laboratory heats up to 50 degrees. This is compared to the traditional MacBook Pro but not a dramatic difference, but hotter than most other notebooks. We strongly discourage it, the MacBook retina lay on your thigh while wearing shorts.

To achieve the low weight and compact size, Apple omitted an optical drive and a jack for an Ethernet cable. Another limitation: You can upgrade either hard disk or RAM. For the first time Apple built it into a notebook, a HDMI port – so you can connect a monitor or TV without the annoying adapter to the display. In addition, the MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports for fast data transfer with external devices. Also new is the modified MagSafe adapter for power supply. Because the old one was too thick, Apple shrinks him in the new model, power connector from previous models are no longer suitable to the new MacBook retina.

Long runtime on Mac OS X

Every MacBook also shows how the retina version under MacOS their full potential: While the maximum battery life with Windows around 6 hours and 30 minutes, the laptop runs on MacOS significantly longer than 11 hours. One reason could be the not yet fully mature Windows drivers. Sun turned in the test, the Nvidia card in Windows 7 in idle mode from not as planned – on MacOS However, there were no problems: the graphics card is not used on the MacBook Pro Retina from it automatically uses the power saving in CPU built Intel HD graphics 4000th Irritate the full capabilities of the new MacBook from the battery power is sufficient under both operating systems for around an hour. So the MacBook retina but is still in the running time of our top 5 scores for notebooks up to 15.6 inches.

Conclusion
The new MacBook Pro Retina boasts extremely high-resolution screen, a very strong performance and all the major current interfaces such as USB 3.0 and HDMI. Still, it makes Apple the potential buyers is not easy and demands for exceptional notebook a hefty price: Our test unit has about 2,800 € is anything but a bargain – even for the cheapest model you have to shell out € 2,200. And of course, the MacBook retina is not perfect: the lack of a network interface, lack of upgradeability and the high heat at full load deserve criticism. Nevertheless: you will find currently no other such compact quad-core notebook with such strong performance, and such a sharp display.

Alternative
If it is not necessarily a MacBook Pro with retinal resolution must be: The super slim and stylish Samsung Series 9 900X4B (A01DE) scores with extremely long run time (10:32 hours), very low weight (1.7 kilograms) and a very bright , anti-glare display. The performance and features are impressive. Although it is € 1,800 no-cost offer, but much cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Pro.