MacBook Pro Retina – First 24 Hours

I picked up a new base MacBook Pro Retina to replace my 2011 13″ MacBook Air i5. Here are some random thoughts on the first 24 hours with Apple’s current king of the hill.

  • Heavy, much heavier than the Air. Before the Air I used the older 15″ Pro exclusively and now the weight is back. Holding an open Pro by the corner vs holding an Air by the corner is night and day.
  • Immediately changed resolution to 2nd highest allowable (Preferences says “Looks like 1680×1050”). More screen real estate. Doesn’t appear you can get to full native 2880×1800.
  • Display is unreal for retina optimized apps. Doesn’t have the dramatic effect of the new iPad’s display but still impressive.
  • However, get used to blurry assets everywhere. Non-retina apps, non-retina websites (even on Apple’s own site) is going to be the norm for who knows how long. This shift will definitely not be as quick as the New iPad or iPhone 4.
  • Less battery life. I was very used to checking the battery meter on the Air and see 6 hours remaining. In fact Air lets you sticky the Remaining Time in the menu bar but not the Pro. My guess is due to the unpredictable hit caused by switching between integrated and discrete graphics.
  • Fans are not 100% silent but much less intrusive as the Air. Normal fan noise if you get the Pro worked up (eg. install XCode)
  • Migration assist is the best thing in Lion. In less than 2 hours, I picked up on the Pro right where I left off on the Air.
  • Fast, no doubt about it, the Pro is much faster than my 2011 Air. Plenty of benchmark reviews out there for you to compare.
  • MagSafe 2 sucks. Countless MagSafe 1 adapters I’ve strategically left around the house are now useless.
  • Thunderbolt display now plugs in on the same side, power and Thunderbolt being on the same side of the laptop is a small but important thing.

The pure power of the MacBook Pro might just be enough to outweigh (pun intended) the featherweight MacBook Air.  That is until Apple releases a MacBook Air 13″ Retina.