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
Price
£833
  • Outstanding battery life; high-quality Retina display; attractive, lightweight design
  • Very limited upgradeability; no performance improvement over Haswell models

Connectivity and Upgrades

Apple laptops are often criticised for their limited connectivity options the 12in MacBook Retina only has a single USB-C connector for both power and peripherals. However, the 13in MacBook Pro fares better, with two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, HDMI and a slot for SD memory cards.

You'll need those connectivity features too, in order to compensate for the MacBook's non-existent upgrade options. A set of 10 pentalobe screws on the base of the laptop makes battery replacements and other repairs unnecessarily difficult. Even worse is the fact that the standard 8GB of memory is soldered onto the motherboard, so your only option for upgrading the memory is to spend an extra 160 at the time of purchase in order to increase that to 16GB.

Feel the Force

The external appearance of the MacBook Pro may not have changed, but this new model does include a number of important new features, including the debut of Apple's Force Touch' touchpad. This looks just like a standard Apple trackpad, but underneath it, there are four sensors that can measure the amount of force you apply when pressing down on the surface of the trackpad.

Instead of using one click on the trackpad to select an item, and two clicks to open a file or an app, the new touchpad also allows you to perform a force-click' that consists of a gentle click, followed by an increase in pressure. The force-click can perform a number of different tasks, such as using Mac OS X's Quick Look option to preview the contents of a file, or looking up the definition of a word that you force-click in a text document. It's not the revolution that Apple's marketing executives claim, but it's a handy, alternative way of speeding up some common tasks.

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