Review: Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch with Retina (2015)
4.8Overall Score

Price (RRP): $1799 (starting price);
Manufacturer: Apple

Now that Intel’s latest generation of processors is out and has been for a few months, Apple is ready with an update, refreshing its line of computers to take the new chips, as well as a dash of something else. Could this be your next computer purchase?

Features

Apple is almost always among the first to update its computers with the latest and greatest from Intel, and while it was a little late getting the new chips — Lenovo paid for that exclusive with the Yoga  — it is now ready to show its wares to the world, starting with the MacBook Pro.

Specifically, Apple is starting with the 13 inch Retina model of the MacBook Pro, with the 15 inch variant keeping the previous generation of processor for the moment (generation four, “Haswell”) and the 13 inch getting generation five of Intel’s Core processors, also known as “Broadwell”.

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In this refresh, you’ll find dual-core Intel Core i5 processors are offered with either 2.7 or 2.9GHz of power, though a version can be selected with the 3.1GHz dual-core Core i7 chip, too. Memory for these machines comes with 8GB out of the box, though 16GB can be configured, with the storage for Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” starting at 128GB, with options for 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of PCI-e flash-based storage offered, a little faster than the typical solid-state hard drive options computers may well come with.

Intel’s graphics are relied on for most of the graphical work needed here, with no option for a heavier graphics chip like in the 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina, but the display does come with the same resolution as its 15 inch counterpart, the Retina-labelled 2560×1600 13.3 inch screen offering 227 pixels per inch of clarity.

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Ports are much the same as they were last year, with two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, a 3.5mm headset jack, SDXC card slot, and a single HDMI port, as well as the Apple proprietary MagSafe 2 power port, and as usual, there’s a 720p FaceTime HD webcam in the frame above the screen. Two microphones are build into the computer, as are two speakers.

Wireless connectivity is included, too, regardless of which version you buy, with 802.11a/b/g/n and even 802.11ac, with Bluetooth 4.0 included as part of the package.

Casing for the machine is made of aluminium, with the machine featuring a thickness of 18mm when closed and a weight of 1.58 kilograms.

The review model was the starting model, which includes a 128GB PCIe flash drive, 8GB RAM, 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and a price of $1799, which is also the starting price for Apple’s MacBook Pro 13 with Retina.

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Performance

In 2015, the biggest reasons for updating to a MacBook Pro 13 with Retina are the processor change — because Intel’s fifth-generation “Broadwell” chips are now here — and the inclusion of the Apple “Force” trackpad, a new style of trackpad that we’ll see on the upcoming ultra-thin MacBook when it gets released.

Beyond these changes, it’s the same typical MacBook Pro with Retina we’ve seen before, and loved before, for that matter, so let’s get stuck into it.

From a design point of view, nothing has changed, and that is okay by us. In the 2015 edition of MacBook Pro, Apple has stayed with the tried and tested aluminium unibody, black plastic screen hinge, and relatively thin design that we’re only now just seeing some proper competitors for in the PC arena.