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

  • snajk138 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Well, the graphics in the MBP is faster when it comes to games and such, but the NVS is a professional grade card that is tuned for reliability in CAD/CAM applications and the like. Not really comparable to the consumer grade card in the mac.

    And you are mistaking perceived quality for actual quality. The MBP is one of the best when it comes to the perceived quality but it doesn't hold a candle to (real) thinkpads when it comes to actual quality. Iv'e dropped thinkpads on a concrete floor, spilled coffee in them and really just abused the hell out of them and I've still haven't had one break before their time. Try that with any mac and you'll see the difference between perceived quality and actual quality.

    I'm not saying that a MBP is a bad choice. I mean, it is thin, light and the performance isn't bad, and a lot of people seem to think they look nice in spite of the dated aluminium design. But a lot of people prioritize differently.
  • Malih - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    yeppp, a macbook is a brick once you spill liquid over it, for most people that have them.
  • pmhparis - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    So, for the 0.01% of the people who need to perform CAD/CAM work on it the Lenovo is better. Good to know.

    As for build quality, It'd be nice if the series of lenovo's my company gave me that I
    passed of to my son would have been able to withstand the same level of abuse that my daughters MBP got. The Lenovos broke. The MBP just got dented for whet seemed to me to be worse treartment. I had to get the Lenovo's replaced 3 times but the MBP is still running solidly.

    I think your "percieved" is an artifact.
  • dartox - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    i've dropped my macbook pro several times, on hardwood here and the tile floors of india with no damage to the screen, just scratches and scuffs on the unibody casing. don't underestimate the build quality of a macbook pro. not to mention that non-unibody computers can have the casing compromised and parts start to come apart after drops. the "roll cage" is only good for saving the screen if you're lucky (and it's not perfect either).
  • The0ne - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    I whole heartily agree with you. Most members here have this perceived quality about Macs, Apple products in general, that they can't seem to think beyond it. The main reason for this perception is inexperience and, for some, ignorance. I should state that ignorance is from the lack of not knowing because you were too young, never read about it, never researched, etc. I don't mean it to be condescending. The other is because of personal, very subjective opinions such as your laptop, usually PC in this case, breaking down first before your Mac.

    Thinkpads are great industrial laptops and can stand whatever force you put on them. That is really why they are so popular. If you haven't used them you don't know how valuable they really are, more so than any review can do for you imo.

    Having said that though, the sheer amount of cheaply priced laptops nowadays should be avoided at all cost. They are horrendously made and it would be worthwhile for you to spend a little more for a good quality build laptop. If Mac makes you feel good and safe owing it by all means own one, just know that there are laptops on the PC side that are very very well made for professionals, especially for those that travel often.

    The MBP is good product and I absolutely love the retina display but for the price it is very difficult for me to make a purchase for myself or have reasons enough to persuade the company to consider them.

    Lastly, I agree that Mac reviews here are really left alone without comparisons to Windows counterparts. Whatever the case may be, it is the same for Windows base laptop reviews with the difference you have choices on the Windows side to actually have comparisons between them. This is the key difference in the reviews. While acceptable the way Anandtech does the Mac reviews, they are in some ways very limiting. You basically just have a review/update of a product with no choices to consider. As someone already said, when you consider a Mac you want a Mac and will get a Mac. There's no other choices when you dive in the Mac side.
  • The0ne - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    It seems other have responded before my post went live about the quality of MBP and thinkpads. Again, comparing what your daughters does to a thinkpad and MBP is ludicrous. You don't know what each has gone through to be broken with. Here's what you should be looking for when you shop, the tests and facts.

    Thinkpads are tested and qualified to sustain damage, to a certain high degree. I don't know about the MBP and whether it goes through the same types of test so I can't say much (my ignorance here). I've done my share of destructive testing on products and I don't doubt the MBP has gone through some. But these thinkpads are sturdy and are made to be that way.

    When you're making comparisons that is what you should be looking for, not making irrelevant justifications because your kids, your wife or the dog can break your windows laptop quicker than your Mac. That's just insane.
  • Super56K - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    So you say: "When you're making comparisons that is what you should be looking for, not making irrelevant justifications..."

    And you even began your initial post critiquing others on "perceived quality about Macs."

    But, aren't you yourself doing that? You say you don't know what kind of testing they go through, but that doesn't stop you from indirectly hinting that they're not durable. Seems like very contradictory reasoning.
  • snajk138 - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    The Thinkpads go through MIL-SPEC tests for use in field and vehicle semi-ruggedized computing environments such as in public safety, utilities, construction and the military. That is why they are used by the military, by NASA in space and so forth. Macs don't go hrough that kind of testing and therefore are not used in those types of environments.
  • joelypolly - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Well the Thinkpad is 1.25~1.40" thick and heavier than the 15" MBP.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    The GPU in that Thinkpad is much slower, plus you're also getting less storage. This is before we get into things like trackpad and keyboard quality, magsafe, an OS optimized for laptops, etc etc

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now