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MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Hands-on (pictures)

We get up close and personal with Apple's latest and greatest MacBook -- its first with a high-res Retina Display.

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James Martin
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
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John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
James Martin
John Falcone
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Before today, Apple's high-density Retina Display only existed on its iPad and iPhone products. With the introduction of the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, that feature is now available on the laptop as well.
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It's at the high end of the Pro line, but this 15-inch MacBook has a new, thinner chassis that takes its design cues from the MacBook Air line.
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The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has a single 15.4-inch screen size, but multiple configurations (CPU, storage, memory) are available.
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The Retina MacBook Pro is 0.71 inch thick, 14.13 inches wide, and 9.73 inches deep. It weighs a somewhat hefty 4.46 pounds.
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The Retina Display is an LED-backlit LCD screen with IPS (in-plane switching) technology. The 2,880x1,800-pixel resolution delivers a density of 220 pixels per inch.
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As always with Apple, the keyboard is backlit and the multitouch trackpad offers gesture support.
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Apple says that the screen manages "75 percent less glare," even though it's glossy.
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A first for Apple: the Retina Display MacBook offers a real HDMI port, so no adapter is needed to connect to a TV.
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Twin Thunderbolt ports are also available.
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In addition to Thunderbolt and HDMI, the Retina Display MacBook also sports two USB 3.0 ports, one on each side.
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Apple has shrunk down the magnetically attaching power cord technology to a smaller connector size now known as MagSafe 2 (left, compared with original MagSafe on the right).
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In addition to a much denser display, the Retina Display MacBook also boasts a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching. That's two reasons it needs a beefy 85-watt power supply (below), not the 45-watt model found in MacBook Airs.
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Another comparison: the Retina Display MacBook (top) compared with an earlier MacBook Pro (bottom). There are no dedicated FireWire or Ethernet ports on the Retina model, but Apple is offering Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet and Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapters, sold separately.
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You can see the improved resolution on the Retina Display (left) compared with a standard MacBook Pro display (right).
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The Retina MacBook (left) shows off its thinner, tapered lines next to the older MacBook Pro (right).
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Another view of the Retina Display MacBook Pro versus the standard MacBook Pro.
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The MacBook Pro with Retina Display (center), bridging the gap between the MacBook Air (left) and the MacBook Pro (right).

Check out CNET's complete hands-on impressions of the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

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