Get thee behind me, MacBook Pro with your seductive retina

Posted on by Mike Evans

What a temptress. If anything can entice me away from my love affair with the little MacBook Air it will be today’s new, thin and svelte 15in Pro with that gorgeous retina display. I cannot disagree with Phil Schiller when he says that this is the best notebook Apple has ever produced.

Just look at it. You have to drool. Now, nothing short of a retina display will get my juices running. And the rest of the specification just serves to fuel the desire.

The new base model costs £1,799 (including tax) and features a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 with turbo boost to 3.3GHz; 8GB of memory; 256GB SSD and a battery life of 7 hours. 

For £500 more you up the processor to 2.6GHz with turbo boost to 3.6GHz and the SSD to 512GB. There are also enticing options for the built-to-order version. An extra £190 takes the processor up to 2.7GHz (boost 3.7GHz) while £160 buys an extra 8GB of RAM and £400 takes the SSD up to 768GB.

Breaking the bank

A fully loaded MacBook Pro breaks the £3,000 barrier. Oh, and you might want to throw in a Superdrive for a palty £65 and a 27in Thunderbolt Display for £899. Did anyone say £4,012.99?

The upgraded 11in MacBook Air, which was head of my want list, now begins to look a little tame. The top model, with 1.7GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and 128GB SSD costs only £929, but of course there is no retina display. I wonder how long it will take for the Air to be graced with the better display? A BTO loaded 11in Air, with 2.0GHz dual-core i7 (boost to 3.2GHz), 8GB of memory and 512GB SSD will set you back a pound short of £1,800. It promises to be a flyer, especially compared with my 2010 Air, but it does make the new 15in Pro look like something of a bargain. 


Now I am thoroughly undecided. I have been waiting for the new MacBook Air for months and I was resolved to order the upgraded model as soon as it was announced. Now I’m having second thoughts. Sooner or later (and probably sooner) the retina display will make its way to the Air, and I now question whether it is sensible to upgrade just now. Maybe I should soldier on with the 2010 Air. It still seems pretty fast (but then I haven’t tried a new one) and does the job adequately. 

I always said I would never buy another big laptop and had more or less struck the 15in MBP off my want list. Now I’m not so sure. All the goodies are compelling, and the new slimline case and 4.46lb weight is pretty impressive. That said, it is still over two pounds heavier than the 11in Air and has a much bigger footprint. It also uses the relatively massive 85w mains adaptor compared with the dinky little 45w charger supplied with the Air. It is all extra weight in the bag when travelling.

If I didn’t already have a 27in iMac sitting on the desk I think one of the new slimline Pros would represent an ideal bridge for desktop and portability. But, at the moment, my portable is used only when travelling.

Decisions, decisions

When in doubt, stop and think. That’s always the best policy. I have no immediate need to change the 2010 Air so I have time to ponder. I’m mightily attracted to Miss MacBook Pro with her seductive retina, but maybe she is a bit too much to handle. Perhaps I need something a little lighter. This is an occasion when procrastination could pay off. 

∞ Permalink