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?
POST A COMMENT

132 Comments

View All Comments

  • sambamac - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I've been thinking a lot about it. Ok, the retina is a fine screen. But I will go for the 2012 non retina non-glare 1650x1050, because I will put a 750 7200 rpm (only a additional 56$) and an extra 256 SSD for the system ( I will separate the system from the data ). When the 16GB Modules will be available I will upgrade the memory to 32Gb. I really work on an external monitor. 15" is just too small to do edit or retouch fotos. I really need the portable solution, because I travel a lot. And the possible 32Gb will help a lot to boost photoshop work based on dozens of layers. Reply
  • Freakie - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    16GB modules wont ever come for DDR3 in the 204 pin form factor (laptop), so give your hopes up now. If you really want the best photoshop performance then you should be switching to a Windows laptop especially since it's easy to put 32GB on a Windows laptop, create a RAMdisk with a good chunk of that and then put your Photoshop Scratch Disk directory on it. (instant 5GB/s transfer rate on your scratch disk by using your RAM instead of a mechanical or solid state drive). Or if you are dead-set on using OSX then you can easily hackintosh OSX on the laptop and still have the more powerful hardware. Reply
  • sambamac - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Why you know that 16GB modules won't ever come? Is there a technical problem?

    Yeah, it's a good idea with the Ram Disk....

    thanks for input!
    Reply
  • Freakie - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Yeah basically. RAM follows standards and what-not, which means the people who make the RAM have to follow certain guidelines if their want to be able to use the DDR3 label for the RAM. That way RAM is as compatible as possible. As it stands, the DDR3 standards don't really allow 16GB sticks for laptops because the sticks are too small. They can't do 3D stacking of the memory without being out of spec, to my knowledge. And most RAM is still manufactured on large processes like 48-60nm and so they can't just pack more in on the area they have. We probably wont see 16GB sticks for laptops until DDR4. Reply
  • sambamac - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Ok, I see! Thank you for these explanations! Reply
  • arkweld - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I just made the same decision. Anandtech opts for the rMBP because it's better value? Really? What a ludicrous statement.

    For $2300 you get an MBP with hi-res, optical drive, ethernet, FireWire, more storage capacity, expandability and the exact same battery life, processor and RAM as the $2800 rMBP. A unit which has the only advantage of a arguably better display, negligible perfomance increase and a half-pound weight reduction. Anandtech opt to pay $500 more for less capability.

    If you want an SSD to boost your performance you can add one to an MBP at any time in any capacity.

    If the future is removing features for a screen of dubious value, then we are going backwards. Especially when you are paying $500 for the privilege.
    Reply
  • The0ne - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Yea, your consideration for the type of work you do is inadequate. You should be considering Windows laptop for this. You want both the CPU performance and the GPU to handle the 2D/3D side of things. Sure it may not be as light, or any other reasons but you get your work done fast and "easy". Not entirely sure on the easy word but meh :) Reply
  • sambamac - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    And which system is adequate? Reply
  • jcannon1018 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Any ideas on how the lower end model would graphically compare to the high-end model? Running at native 1440x900 with Diablo 3, 512 vs 1gig, huge difference? Reply
  • Deepcover96 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I went back and forth on which one I would get. The Ethernet port almost pushed me towards the Pro, but the better display on the Air made up my mind. Like you said, The Air and the rMBP feel like the future. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now