The story about the regular MacBook Pro's display is more about what it isn't (game changing) because we already know what it is (very competent). As always, the display is a very high quality one, essentially the same as the previous 3 years of MacBook Pros and testing very similarly to the other 15" MacBook Pros we've reviewed over the last few years. Our evaluation unit had the base 1440x900 display, though I'd have preferred the matte WSXGA+ panel. The higher resolution is nice to have, and with the matte screen finish, it was one of my absolute favourite notebook displays.

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

In terms of display performance, the 2012 MBP matches up very close to the 2011 and 2010 models, with very good contrast ratio and colour reproduction. But that’s the thing with the regular 2012 MBP – it’s just like the 2011 and 2010 MBPs, just updated to IVB/Kepler. 

The real story here is about what you’re giving up. After using an rMBP, it's actually a little bit difficult to go back to a normal MBP display. I mean, this is by far the biggest differentiating factor between the two, and if you’re looking for a solid reason to put the money down for a Retina, this is it. The normal MBP has a good display, a very good display if you go for the matte high-res option, but the Retina MBP display is just on a completely different level. Like the new iPad, the resolution difference doesn’t add to the screen real estate so much as allowing for a vastly improved UX with higher resolution UI elements and better text rendering. It’s difficult to quantify, and it’s easy to dismiss on the surface, but when you actually use a super high-res panel for a prolonged amount of time, you understand the difference it makes. Obviously, there are still some bugs, and it’ll take probably one full development cycle for most applications to be updated to Retina-spec textures and UI elements, but that is all to be expected in a radical shift such as this. If you’re comfortable sticking to the tried-and-true MBP display, it’s not a bad way to go, but I’d advise you to use a Retina MBP before making a decision to go one way or the other. 

Performance and Battery Life - Ivy Bridge and Kepler At Work. The 13" MacBook Pro - What Now?
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  • tipoo - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Maybe saving the quad for the Retina 13"?
  • Death666Angel - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    TDP is the same, maybe actual power consumption and thermal development not? :-) Or they are saving it for the rumoured 13" rMBP. *spooky sound*
  • SantaAna12 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Macbooks only compared to other Apples.......comon. Every once in awhile you guys do this.....shades of Toms antics. YOU ARE BETTER THEN THIS!
  • juanml82 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    People who have invested in Firewire external drives will need the firewire port. I see practical reasons for that port to remain, while there are no practical reasons to remove it other than FW800 not being new and flashy anymore.
    I just don't see the value in breaking backwards compatibility unless it adds to much to the final cost.
  • inplainview - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    People who invested in FW drives can use Firewire over Thunderbolt when the adapter drops. Did you really miss that part?
  • Freakie - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Those who invested in firewire so heavily are usually Mac users and already have had a limited selection of devices to chose from compared to those rooted in USB which means there aren't many of them. Most people who are able to see an unpopular connection when it comes around were able to stay with USB/Ethernet and it's payed off just fine. If you want to make sure you aren't going to break backwards compatibility in the future again, then stick with USB 3.0. Thunderbolt wont gain all that much momentum, and the number of USB 3.0 ports on the rMBP shows that even Apple knows that it's not going far (not to mention they didn't exactly have much work to do since Intel made it possible for them... typically Apple laziness)

    But seriously, it's either just bad luck (being a Mac user and not having a wide range of devices to chose from, and so your professional devices often used firewire) or lack of forsight that got you (or anyone else) in that position. Now that you have two choices for high speed interface, it should be easy to avoid it happening again.
  • pmhparis - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    The subject of this article is the non-retina MBP.

    Where do you see that the FW port has been removed from the non-retina MBP?
  • Death666Angel - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Anand did talk quite a bit about how he would like those connection (ethernet, FW) to be done with in the next MBP redesign. And he praised the rMBP for doing just that. So the reader is just expressing his opinion vs Anand's.
    However, considering that there will be both ethernet and firewire adapters for thunderbolt, I see no reason to complain.
  • Bonzauker - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Does anyone have an idea why the external display still requires the discreet card? It's the main reason for noisy operations but, as far as I know, Intel 4000 should be able to handle it.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Maybe some channel muxing issues/how the external port is connected to the CPU/GPU.

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