Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15″

After my bad experiences with Apple’s TiBook I had switched to a strategy of going for the cheapest notebook possible to avoid disappointment. Yet, with my friends being quite happy and trouble-free with their ‘unibody’ MacBooks and Apple offering the gorgeous high-resolution ‚Retina’ displays I was prepared to change my mind on that. With my employer agreeing to buy the machine for me, getting it was a no-brainer, even though personally I would have preferred a smaller 13″ machine (which was not offered with a high resolution display at the time).

The machine was sleek and surprisingly powerful. Having 16GB of RAM and an SSD all of a sudden just spoiled me for the future. Keeping its 4 cores (showing up as 8 due to HyperThreading) busy was rather difficult with my typical workloads.

The case was nice and firm (no breaking!) and the keyboard worked just fine. The huge multi-touch trackpad was a joy to use and the connectivity with two Thunderbolt ports and HDMI was a joy as well.

As for the negatives:

  • Unfortunately my MacBook’s screen had the ghosting problem which lead to old screen content remaining visible on the built-in display in some situations. While very irritating on occasion, I was luckily only rarely affected by this in a bad way. I hope my employer got it fixed on AppleCare after I left.
  • Having Ethernet built-in would have been a plus (and perhaps not even physically impossible if the designers didn’t insist on tapering the a bit) as the Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter is both expensive and easy to forget at home. It also runs quite warm, so I suspect it requires more energy than a built-in chip would.
  • At times Apple’s Thunderbolt implementation seemed quite unreliable. I had many situations of the Ethernet adaptor only working in one of the Thunderbolt ports and  a bunch of situations where my Dell U2713 monitor was ‚recognised’ to have different native resolutions depending on the port it was connected to (thus preventing the use of its native 2560×1400 resolution.
  • While the MacBook is said to be essentially an aluminium shell with a bit of circuit board and a huge battery inside, it always irritated me that tapping the bottom of its case gave a ‘hollow’ sound as if weren’t 100% perfectly packed.

Altogether this machine was a joy to use and did not cause significant problems.