Why the MacBook Pro with Retina Display Sucks

September 18, 2012 4:45 pm

In mid-2012, Apple dropped yet another one of its Apple-bombs—the kind which involves showcasing a gadget that adds this or that feature, but subtracts this or that functionality, and with a spec sheet that’s just enough to pique fanboy interest without really pushing the envelope for innovation. That’s exactly what Apple did in introducing the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
MacBook Pro with Retina Display #nerdgasm
Photo Credit: Hummy
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hummy/7686492544/
Some 3 months into the life of the MPRD—let’s just call the notebook this, for convenience (see even the name is cumbersome)—and people still don’t really know what it’s for and who exactly the product is targeting. Plus, once you get past the overrated Retina Display, you’ll see that this model is not innovating anything at all. In fact, with its many sacrifices to meet the thin form factor, it might even be a step backward.
This Retina Display is Overrated
It’s a little foolish to pass off this MBP model as an entirely different product instead of a part of the series, just because this happens to have a Retina Display. This feature does not a separate category make.
Consider this: the iPhone 4S sports a Retina Display; it’s smallish 3.5-inch screen crams a 640×960 resolution, making for a lush 326 ppi pixel density (although the HTC Rezound beats this soundly with its own screen’s 342 ppi). That’s what makes the text pop out and colors vibrant on that mobile device. The Retina Display on the MPRD, on the other hand, is at a mere 220 ppi.
Another interesting thing to note is that the Retina Display on this MacBook Pro has failed to impress considerably—that is, unless you stack it up next to another laptop that doesn’t have Retina Display. On its own, it takes a bit of time to fully appreciate just how crisp everything looks. That’s perfect for people who read a lot on their devices, work on design programs, and other visual-related activities.
However, there are also some aspects where the Retina Display can become a drawback. For example, most websites right now aren’t optimized to cater to Retina Displays. In addition, many people whose productivity lies on other aspects of their laptops won’t be able to maximize the use of this very expensive laptop. If one works in a virtual office as a writer or as someone who takes calls, for example, then there’s really no point in getting the MPRD.
Omissions
So that the laptop gets lighter than the standard MBP (though not by much) and almost as thin as the MacBook Air, some things were sacrificed, namely the optical drive, Ethernet port, and FireWire port. If you know you won’t be able to work with just the SSD, some memory expansion via the SD card slot, and an external hard drive, consider some other alternative. There are two Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0 ports, though.
Non-repairable
It’s one thing to be expensive, but it’s a whole other thing to be virtually un-repairable—at least not by your own hands. When you manage to get into the internals of the MPRD, you’ll find a bunch of proprietary screws that keep you from accessing certain parts. The battery is glued into position such that any attempts at removal or replacement will come with a risk of damaging the trackpad or the battery itself. Your RAM is soldered right onto the logic board, so you’d better upgrade to the RAM you feel you’ll need right when you purchase the unit because you’ll be stuck with it.
Unless you’re after the much-hyped Retina Display(but really, why?), it’s really not worth the bundles of money you’ll be shelling out for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Either go for the MacBook Air or leap straight to the powerhouse MacBook Pro, depending on your needs. For its price—$2,200 for base model—the MPRD sucks, but it is powerful enough and built solidly enough to justify purchasing.

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