Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display Review

Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display Review

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 It has powerful processing and graphics along with a rich feature set.


 The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina is one of the best business laptops you can buy, with a rich selection of features and a premium design.

The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina is an office laptop for the iPhone set, a popular business notebook found in offices across the country, and prized for its blend of performance and advanced features. If you want a Mac for the office or are just overdue to upgrade the one you already have, the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina is hard to beat.


The MacBook Pro continues to be one of the most seamless-looking notebooks in its category, with two subtle stereo speakers flanking the laptop’s signature black chiclet keyboard. The MacBook’s underside sports a set of barely noticeable vents on either side, with the iconic glowing Apple logo adorning the lid.

Measuring 14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 inches and weighing 4.49 pounds, the MacBook Pro is pleasingly skinny and fairly easy to carry. Dell’s latest XPS 15 (14.6 x 10 x 0.7~0.3 inches, 4.6 pounds) is just a bit heavier and taller than the Pro, while workstations such as the MSI WS60 (15.4 x 10.5 x 0.78 inches, 4.36 pounds) and HP ZBook 15u (14.8 x 10 x 0.84 inches, 4.23 pounds) are slightly lighter but have bigger footprints than Apple’s notebook.

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The MacBook‘s speakers are crisp, clear and loud enough to fill a small meeting room. The rocking bass, thumping horns and soaring vocals of Fall Out Boy’s “Irresistible” came through cleanly, as did the iconic orchestral score that played during the Star Wars trailer.

The MacBook also has better-than-average graphics processing for a work laptop, with Intel Iris Pro Graphics, a variant on standard integrated graphics that offers superior graphics capabilities. Still, it doesn’t quite match the performance of a dedicated GPU. While overall graphics performance is quite good, our graphics tests – both run using FutureMark’s 3DMark Pro – are not Mac compatible. If you want to step up to more powerful graphics, you can also opt for an AMD Radeon R9 M370X discrete graphics card.

The MacBook Pro 15-inch comes with Apple’s OS X El Capitan, the latest version of the company’s operating system. Included with the OS is a free software suite that includes Pages, Keynotes and Numbers (Apple’s competitors to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel), along with some fairly robust video and audio editing tools.

On par with other professional laptops, the MacBook Pro 15 comes standard with 256GB of solid-state storage. Apple uses a different formatting structure and data connection for slightly better performance than other SSDs. While 256GB should be sufficient for most basic uses, you can also configure the laptop with larger 512GB or 1TB solid-state drives.

The current iteration of the MacBook Pro 15 features Apple’s iconic unibody aluminum construction, with sleek, minimalist stylings ornamented only with a glowing white Apple logo on the lid. The design measures 14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 inches, making it thinner than most other business notebooks, though it weighs in as the heaviest in our review at 4.49 pounds. With over nine hours of battery life, it’s also ready to take on the go, though the weight can be a bit of a drag. The laptop has a chiclet-style backlit keyboard and features Apple’s Force Touch trackpad, which has pressure sensitivity in addition to multitouch and gesture support.

The MacBook Pro’s 15.4-inch display boasts 2880 x 1800 resolution, a better-than-Full-HD resolution which Apple calls Retina Display. It’s not quite as impressive as the 4K displays available on some competing systems, but it still looks good. It also delivers decent brightness – 303 nits in our testing – and fairly good color accuracy, with an average DeltaE of 2.1.

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It’s also worth pointing out that there is no touchscreen option for the MacBook Pro. This is a key difference between many Mac and Windows systems, and if you want a touchscreen on your laptop, you need Windows.

The laptop is outfitted with two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, a built-in SD card slot and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. For wireless connectivity, the laptop has both 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Apple covers the MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display with a one-year warranty, and extended three-year coverage is available through an AppleCare protection plan. In independent testing by our sister site, Apple was found to have the best tech support services of any laptop manufacturer, ranking first out of 10 major brands. Apple offers free phone support for the first 90 days after purchase, and you can also reach support personnel through live chat on Apple’s website as well as get help in its detailed online support pages.

Even without Intel’s latest Haswell processors, our MacBook Pro’s 2.5-GHz 4th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM allowed for consistently speedy performance. I multitasked with ease on the notebook, edited an iMovie video and streamed some Netflix with a dozen Safari tabs open, and experienced no notable slowdown in the process.
The MacBook Pro racked up a whopping 14,423 on the Geekbench 3 performance test, surpassing 4th-gen Core i7-powered competitors such as the XPS 15 (11,816) and the WS60 (13,003), the 5th-gen Core i7 ZBook 15u (6,892), and our 9,455 mainstream notebook average.
6-Battery Life
The new MacBook Pro is built to deliver 9 hours of battery life, and that’s exactly what it gave us. The notebook endured 9 hours and 8 minutes of continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi on our battery test, outlasting the XPS 15 (6:59), the ZBook15u (6:44) and the WS60 (3:05). It also beat out our 2014 MacBook Pro (8:29) by half an hour, and toppled our 6:07 mainstream notebook average.
The latest MacBook Pro with Retina Display ships with OS X Yosemite, which brings an attractively flat, iOS-like aesthetic to Apple’s desktop operating system while boasting deep integration with your iPhone or iPad.
The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina is one of the best laptops on the market, both at home and in the office. Features like Thunderbolt 2 connectivity and the Force Touch trackpad may grab a lot of attention, but the real draw here is the category-leading performance and potent graphics options, along with premium design and a high-resolution display.

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