Apple MacBook Pro 2012 with Retina display review

With 5.1 million pixels on the 15.4in display, the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors and up to 768GB of SSD storage, Apple has raised the bar for laptops.

ConnectivityThe redesign hasn't only marked the death of the optical drive and the mechanical HDD, as Gigabit Ethernet and FireWire have also fallen by the wayside. All of this has allowed Apple to spread the ports more evenly across the flanks. The two Thunderbolt ports on the left side nestle alongside a headphone output and the new arrival, USB 3.0. On the right, a further USB 3.0 port sits with an SD card reader and, marking another first on this year's model, an HDMI output.

Apple MacBook Pro - Connectivity

Apple has prioritised Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports over Ethernet

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Those craving a wired connection will have to shell out 25 for Apple's optional Thunderbolt or USB Gigabit Ethernet adapters. They're by no means an essential purchase, however, and many will be able to make do thanks to the dual-band 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 4.0.

Conclusion

Apple has made some bold decisions in redesigning the MacBook Pro: the absent optical drive, the lack of user upgradeability, and, of course, the need for developers to upgrade their software to take advantage of the Retina display.

Yet, just as the MacBook Air jump-started everyone else into the current Ultrabook craze, we expect the MacBook Pro to wake the industry up to the potential of high-resolution screens. Say what you will about the compromises involved, this laptop redefines what we expect for our money.

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The balance of build, performance and design is impeccable, and there's simply no other laptop that comes close to cramming so much quality into a 2kg chassis. For those who can afford it, the MacBook Pro with Retina display stands without peer.

ITPRO Recommended award

Verdict

The MacBook Pro gains a staggeringly crisp Retina display and quad-core Ivy Bridge CPU. The result is stunning, and although expensive there is no other laptop out there to match it.

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OS: Mac OS X Lion PROCESSOR: 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3615QM RAM: 8GB DDR3 STORAGE: 256GB SSD SCREEN: 15.4in 2,880 x 1,800 IPS CONNECTIVITY: 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 PORTS: 2 x Thunderbolt, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD card reader DIMENSIONS: 359 x 247 x 18mm (WxDxH) WEIGHT: 2.02kg

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