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?
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Death666Angel - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Please inform yourself before you make such statements. I don't know how this translates to the rest of Europe, but in Germany, Apple still only offers 1 year warranty (="Garantie"). Warranty is a voluntary service the manufacturer provides. The thing we get 2 years of is "Gewährleistung" which my online dictionary translates as "defects liability"/"guarantee"/"warranty". "Gewährleistung" is something you have with the retailer. However, after 6 months there is a shifting of the burden of proof which means you will have a hard time getting anything after that.
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Or you could shell out for AppleCare and be covered for 3 years.

    I never go for the extended warranties personally because I fix my own stuff. I reckon that in a couple years eBay will be awash with MBPR parts. The device essentially breaks down into 14 components, making repairs super simple—If you can find a Torx Plus Security screwdriver. Trash your $2199-$3749 laptop? Part it out and you could recoup a good deal of that.

    Apple stuff rarely just gets tossed in the trash. I see beige and black boxes in dumpsters and on the curb all the time, but not usually Macs unless they're more than 10 years old.
  • joos2000 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Not cheap, but what is nowadays (if you want decent quality gear)?
  • pmhparis - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Not quite the same SSD speed, at present. Anand's numbers show that the SSD in the MBP is faster. Give it a few months & you may be able to get a faster SSD than the rMBP's but not right now.
  • nevertell - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Ethernet is still a lot more reliable than Wi-Fi. Imagine if you have to do some stuff to your router, then there is no other way than using the ethernet port.
    I believe that networking for any kind of a functional computational device is essential nowadays, then again, this isn't a device that is targeted at people who use their laptop for administering other devices or coding.

    Still, I can't wait for the day that lenovo will finaly send you their latest X, T and W series laptops.
    I would just love a X230 with 16 hour battery life and Thunderbolt, so I could just have an external GPU to game on it at home and excellent battery life and portability.
  • Freakie - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Most routers come with USB ports so it's still manageable with a computer without ethernet. Though I do still think ethernet should stick around. Sometimes you find yourself in a place with crappy WiFi but a readily available ethernet port (office buildings, universities, ect.). Plus if you're doing online gaming on a laptop, getting yourself some CAT6e or CAT7 cables supposedly makes that little bit of difference xP
  • pmhparis - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    What exactly is the point of your comment in an article about the non retina MBP given that it has an integrated ethernet port?

    Even for a rMBP all it takes is a $30 TBolt<>Ethernet cable? That's what make it too hard for you?
  • SongEmu - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Yup, did just that. Got a late 2011 MBP 15", put in an SSD and a hard drive caddy to replace the optical drive. Power button to login screen in 16 seconds, costs less than $1600 with no tax, no shipping. Got Parallels for free with it.
  • olivebranch2006 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Just purchased a Thinkpad T530 with Full HD 1920x1080 display with 95% color accuracy, not this 67% on the MBP.
    Intel Core i7-3720QM Processor
    NVIDIA NVS 5400M Graphics with Optimus Technology, 1GB DDR3 Memory
    Keyboard Backlit - US English
    720p HD Camera with Microphone
    320GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
    DVD Recordable
    9 Cell Li-Ion TWL 70++
    Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN
    with 4 year onsite warranty with accidental protection. All this with the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic shell and internal magnesium roll cage the Thinkpad T series is famous for.

    Guess how much? $1,530 total with tax/shipping.

    Beat that apple. The Macbook is purchased for two reasons:

    1. You like OS X. Which is fine, I think OS X is a great OS with low level audio/video optimizations that windows can't beat. I prefer Windows better.
    2. A lifestyle choice.
  • dartox - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Maybe, but you haven't noticed that the 650m inside the MacBook Pro is far superior to the card you have there in the Thinkpad. In fact, last year's MacBook Pro still has faster graphics than the Thinkpad. Not to mention that (although Thinkpads are known for being durable/reliable), nothing can touch the unibody build quality of these MBPs. For a couple hundred dollars more, a Mac fills in all the (albeit minor) gaps that the Thinkpad has.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now