Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (2012, 13.3-inch) review: Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (2012, 13.3-inch)

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great screen. Apple's usual excellent keyboard and trackpad. Dual thunderbolt and USB 3.0 gives decent port flexibility. Good battery life. HDMI.

The Bad The base near the monitor gets quite hot during heavy tasks. Still waiting for everything to be high DPI compatible. Weight will make some consider the Air instead.

The Bottom Line There's absolutely no doubt that the MacBook Pro Retina 13 has a beautiful display. Some will be phased by the weight and go for the MacBook Air, others will deem it worth it. We just wish it came with discrete graphics.

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The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has the same resolution as a 30-inch monitor. That's 2560x1600 for those who are not aware. This makes it a slightly higher PPI than the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro Retina, although the form factor isn't as impressive.

Connectivity

  • USB 3.0: 2
  • Video: 2x Thunderbolt, HDMI
  • Ethernet: no
  • Wireless: dual-band 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0

You don't sacrifice a whole lot dropping from the 15.4 to the 13.3 — at least in terms of connectivity. There are still two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an SD card reader, a headset jack and an HDMI port.

Specs are a teensy bit milder. You get a dual core Core i5, rather than a quad core Core i7, and an Intel HD 4000 is left to power the display, as opposed to the 15's GT 650M. We'd have loved to have seen some discrete graphics in the 13 for further flexibility. You still get dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 in the mix.

The AU$1899 base model comes with a 2.5GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. Knocking up a tier to AU$2199 expands the storage option to a 256GB SSD.

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 346
    Apple MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 (Core i7 3667U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
  • 347
    Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 (Core i5 3210M, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
  • 383
    Acer Aspire S7 (11.6-inch, Core i7 3517U, 4GB RAM, 2x 128GB SSD RAID 0)
  • 386
    Dell XPS 12 (Core i7 3517U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
  • 397
    Acer Aspire S7 (13.3-inch, Core i7 3517U, 4GB RAM, 2x 64GB SSD RAID 0)
  • 484
    Asus Taichi (Core i5 3317U, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


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Where to Buy

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (2012, 13.3-inch)

Part Number: CNETApple MacBook Pro with Retina display (2012, 13.3-inch)

Typical Price: $2,199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.