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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  • dillettante - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    The superdrive can be replaced with more internal storage. I use a SSD for a fast system drive and supplement that with a large mechanical HDD for data storage.

    J
    Reply
  • chemist1 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Agreed, for many that might be the most significant advantage of the older form factor. Also, you would need the older form factor if you wanted a dual-SSD RAID configuration for better performance. Reply
  • Bonzauker - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Exactly the reason why I stay away from the retina, at least at the moment. I put one 256 GB as main drive and the 750GB replacing the DVD. For my job, a notebook with only 256GB is useless. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I choose to read this additional Apple review since it was written by a different reviewer, but feel it provides little value over just posting the spec comparison sheet directly from Apples website. This is simply a comparison between Apples past iterations of its own past parts bins. How much time was spent on this anyway?

    It would have been more informative if it had included other vendors similarly spec'd systems in the performance. While they won't have resolutions comparable to the Retina screen....Apples hardware is made up of many PC components available in the market place. Of course this excludes Apples proprietary designed reiterations of PC components (SSD).

    I think the only point that really needs to be made ...is that if your an Apple user...here is yet another version of the old case with overdue upgrades in the internals. Non-Apple users need not bother.

    I used to like to read Anandtech because It would provide an opportunity to learn about new technology and provided comparable performance information between components and systems in a clean and unbiased manner.

    From now on...maybe it would be best if any Apple product review begins with..This review sponsored by Apple.

    I'll still continue to read Anandtech, but know that any Apple review is just an advertisement/endorsement and thus read it with limited expectations of an unbiased comparison whats currently available in the marketplace.

    At least this reviewer provided readers with information on an option for savings by passing over Apples overpriced upgrades and go thought a vendor for the parts at a price savings. I'm sure Apple reps were not happy, but it helps provide a small sense of reader centric writing instead of pleasing Apple.

    $2,200 for a laptop...when there are PC alternatives available for hundreds less....yet no mention or comparison of those systems. If readers are only browsing, email and FB'ing...is this really worth the money? Only if your a tech-fashonista.

    Sad.
    Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Well said. Pretty much a review for people who have already decided they want to buy a mac and nothing else. Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    In addition, in this day and age, to sell any machine costing over $1000 without a SSD is an absolute travesty. Reply
  • nevertell - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Anand has stated before that there is little to no cross shopping between apple and pc laptops.
    It is difficult to review different hardware with different OS's. Whilst many components may seem to be the same, apple has been known before to slip their own secret sauce into the hardware to be able to do things that just wouldn't be possible with the standard PC hardware, like the scaling hardware in the rMBP.
    Reply
  • Freakie - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Scaling hardware? And I haven't really seem much secret sauce in Apple's hardware. I see lots of lazy sauce, and people confusing design flares with engineering prowess. Reply
  • pmhparis - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    So, in your opinion Apple didn't innovate with the rMBP+OSX scaling Where can i find it then? Not on any PC+Windows nor on any PC+Linux.

    You clearly refuse to see that its the whole package that makes the rMBPs scaling a class above everything else out today. Too much emotional investment in windows like so many others. At least it makes it easy to see that your complains are biased.
    Reply
  • Super56K - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    I think it's more emotional investment in the hatred of Apple as a whole. Reply

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