MacBook Pro 2012 review

Love

  • Stunning Retina Display
  • Fierce processing power
  • Effortless multi-tasking

Hate

  • Lack of Retina optimised apps
  • No optical drive
  • Very pricey
title: MacBook Pro 2012: Screen / url: screen-performance

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Screen

The much anticipated jump to a Retina Display is, as you'd expect, a revelation.

The 15.4-inch backlit LED screen is of such a high resolution – 2880x1800, at 220 pixels per inch – and its output so crisp that you can read 10-point text on it if you're sitting on the other side of the room (we'd worry about you if you tried it too often, though, as it's a laptop), while colours dance and contrast is excellent.

It has less reflection and offers a wider viewing angle, too. If you’ve struggled doing multiple tasks on laptop screens before, you’re in for a treat.

In fact, it's been very much made with professional photographers and film-makers in mind – you can run a full 1080p video and still have three million pixels at your mercy – and unsurprisingly the first apps to take advantage of it are Adobe Photoshop and Aperture.

When you're dealing with HD recording or large file-size snaps, this new flagship MacBook Pro undoubtedly sings.

That said, much like the iPad 3's Retina Display, it does make any app or service not optimised for its new technology – we're looking at you, 72dpi internet image files – appear rather shabby.

Unlike the iPad 3, though, Apple doesn't have a such a tight grip on the notebook end of the market, so it will be interesting to see if, and how quickly, companies adapt to Apple's new high visual water mark.

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Performance

Almost as impressive as the screen is how effortlessly the next-generation MacBook Pro handles pretty much every task you throw at it.

The 2.3GHz quad core Intel Core i7 processor is super quick that you barely notice it doing any work at all – programs load up in milliseconds without seeming to break a sweat, while the fan's quiet as a mouse.

Its bumper 8GB memory is a multi-tasking dynamo, too, handling six different desktops (we were feeling demanding) running multiple programs with ease and no slowdown, while video editing in Final Cut Pro is a breeze due to it being able to handle up to nine different feeds for one-touch live editing.

All of this power backs up Apple's increasing play for the gaming world, as well, and with its Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M setup we had fare as diverse as BioShock 2 and RC Mini Racers running with all settings up to 11 without any noticeable slowdown or degradation.

The 256GB of storage means you can get a fair amount on there, too, and switching from hard drive to flash makes access quick, but if you’re anything like us you will need to upgrade to at least 512GB unless you have some serious cloud storage.