Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display (Early-2015) review

A Broadwell upgrade provides impressive battery life for Apple’s business laptop.

IT Pro Recommended
  • Outstanding battery life; high-quality Retina display; attractive, lightweight design
  • Very limited upgradeability; no performance improvement over Haswell models

The new super-slim Apple MacBook laptop may have grabbed all the headlines recently, but this latest update of the MacBook Pro may well have more appeal for business users.

Last year's price cut hasn't been repeated, so the entry-level 13in MacBook Pro reviewed here remains at 833 (ex. VAT). The new model also looks virtually identical to its predecessors. But, under the bonnet, the new 13in MacBook Pro has been given a fairly major overhaul with the introduction of a 5th generation Broadwell processor and Apple's new Force Touch touchpad.

Latest news

10/03/2016: PCIe SSD upgrades are now available for the MacBook Pro, courtesy of Other World Computing (OWC).

OWC is offering the drives as part of its Aura range, available with 480GB and 1TB of storage. Both SSDs have a max write speed of 446 MBps and a top read speed of 763 MBps.

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They come with just the SSD, or as part of an upgrade kit with all the necessary tools and a USB 3.0 enclosure for data migration, starting at $348 for the 480GB version or $598 for the 1TB model.

The company is one of the few third-party vendors that offer replacement SSDs for MacBooks, due to the proprietary form-factor Apple uses for its drives. These are the first third-party SSDs that have been released since Apple's move to PCIe interfaces in 2013.

Familiar Design

The MacBook Pro hasn't changed dramatically in appearance since the introduction of the high-resolution Retina display back in 2012. It retains the familiar unibody' aluminium chassis that measures just 18mm thick and weighs 1.6Kg. That's heavier than the 920g of the new 12in MacBook, or the 1.35kg of the 13in MacBook Air, but the MacBook Pro is still slim and light enough to carry around in a briefcase without too much trouble.

The 2560x1600 resolution of the 13.3in Retina display also remains unchanged. That may have been surpassed by Windows rivals, such as the eye-popping 4K display of Toshiba's P50T, but the Retina display still provides a detailed, bright image that makes the MacBook Pro an excellent choice for Photoshop and other graphics and design applications.

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