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First Impressions: MacBook Pro with Retina Display

I just got my 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display delivered to my door. This is my first ever Apple computer as I’ve always been the “œPC” guy, but I must say I was a bit excited (but I didn’t want to show it too much to my wife).

MacBook Pro Retina Display 01

Apple’s announcement of their latest MacBook Pros at their last WWDC Conference couldn’t have come at a better time. I was then in the market for Ultrabooks and was just waiting for the release of the newest Asus Zenbook Prime. But, as I followed the live blog of Apple’s Keynote speech, I became convinced the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was what I was looking for as “œmy next PC.”

So enough about the backstory and on to the unboxing photos and some first impressions, shall we?

MacBook Pro Retina Display 02 MacBook Pro Retina Display 03

Let me start by saying, the box packaging is pretty impressive. It is simple yet so nice that I might decide to keep it as well, nicely tucked in one of the nooks of my home office.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 04

Lifting the MacBook Pro the very first time, I can feel its lightness compared to other PC laptops I’ve held before it. No more aching backs for me while carrying this around in my backpack!

MacBook Pro Retina Display 05 MacBook Pro Retina Display 06

All the available ports are conveniently located on both sides. The speaker grills are nicely placed on either side of the keyboard. And as I’m writing this post, I can say typing is very comfortable because of the keys’ tactile feedback and spacing. I can even adjust the brightness of the keys’ backlight.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 07

The trackpad performs great too! It is very responsive and not too sensitive. And all the multi-touch gestures that can be done is just icing on the cake. The only thing I complained about at first is why it didn’t register my taps as clicks. I thought having to click the trackpad all the time would be a pain. But luckily, all I had to do was to enable Tap to Click on the System Preferences. Now why is that not enabled by default?

The only thing I worry about is that this doesn’t have an optical drive. But come to think of it, it has been a while since I burned files on a CD or installed something from a CD. Most software installations can now be done just by downloading and running the executables. Sharing files has also become convenient through the use of USB Flash sticks and the cloud.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 08

Now let’s talk about what makes this machine cool. The vents are barely noticeable, unobtrusively located on the sides and on the hinge of the Retina Display. And honestly, since I booted this, I haven’t heard the internal fans go off and haven’t felt a warm breeze coming out of the vents, like it is with the usual PC laptops I’ve used. However, the underside gets warm, so I don’t advise placing it on top of bare laps for too long.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 09

Booting this up is such a breeze, taking maybe a second, and you’re on your way to productivity. It is currently running Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7.4) but I was promised of a free upgrade to Mountain Lion once it is released. If you do get this, be sure to hit the Software Update button, since there will be software updates waiting for you.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 10

Apple keeps on touting its Retina Displays, but I honestly haven’t noticed it. Yeah, the pictures and text are crisp and clear, but i don’t really see anything special about it. Perhaps only when I’ve taken pictures at 40 megapixels or videos at 4K resolution, will I truly appreciate this display.I haven’t tested the battery life yet, but if Apple stays true to what they say, then I should be able to expect 7 hours of unplugged computing with WiFi on.

MacBook Pro Retina Display 11


My first impression on the Macbook Pro with Retina Display is overwhelmingly positive. It got me convinced to finally appreciate a Mac. If you’re looking for a professional-grade “œultrabook,” I think this should be your top choice! Now I just have to figure out how to dual-boot this with Windows to do everything PCs can do. Then I won’t have to pretend I’m not excited about it!

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display starts at Php107,990.

Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Niño Guba with some slight revisions by the editor. Niño is a web/mobile app developer who’s very into consumer technology. He was the PC in the PC vs. Mac wars and also for the green robot eating the apple. Evidently, he’s slowly becoming more accepting of the Apple psyche. If you want to check out the list of gadgets he own, check out his Gdgt page. He’s also a fan of RX93.1’s TMR show and even dedicated a site just for their Top 10s.

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  • martin

    wow new toy calvin:) muntik ko na rin ipikit mata ko sa macbook na yan =D

    • hindi ko to new toy. kay nino ito. 😛

  • Naomi

    Sweet lookin! How about the first in Phil to get a Razer Blade? 😀

  • Nick

    Php97,990 if you’re a student or a faculty or a parent buying it for your kid who’s a student from the Apple education online store. Still too expensive! Maybe the 13″ version of it will much more attainable.

    • thanks for the heads up… 8k is 8k. 13-inch is nice but if you’re after the retina display then you’re stuck with the 15-inch.

    • Yup I got this with the “education” discount so the $200 off + $100 Mac App Store GC made it even a sweeter deal for me!

      • archie

        Hi sir Nino. I would just like to ask how you got an education pricing for your mac? Does it also work for retail store or for online order only? I'm interested in buying one with Apple's education pricing. Thank you so much sir.

  • One thing I just noticed, this is lacking a Kensington security slot so now I worry how to secure this thing on my desk. Hmmm.

  • aze

    wow sarap ng buhay:) ikaw na sir 🙂

  • sherwin yeo

    ang ganda talaga ng new macbook pro… pero ang mahal lang talaga… and if im not into heavy multimedia editing… i won’t need that much power din siguro.. but still from the day it was announce it was really a hit!

  • Zo

    y you so expensive? 😐 well these new MBs have had a little positive impact on the 2nd hand market. I’ve been closely watching the prices of 2nd hand MBs and they’ve gone down quite significantly. 🙂

  • Carl

    Maaaan, that’s a sweet lookin’ MB you got there, 😉

  • NoelZ

    Just wanted to leave a comment on dual booting … you don’t really have to. This MB Pro has Quad core (about the same spec as the current iMac) – it’s more than enough to handle virtualization. I’ve used VirtualBox (free) and VMWare Fusion ($49) and both work just fine. Others say Parallels is the best, but it’s $79 (i think). The good thing about virtualization is that you don’t have to re-boot to get to the other OS – which means you can go on browsing while you wait tor Windows to boot up.

  • If you want to dual boot into Windows, just use the Spotlight and search ‘bootcamp’. It is a software that helps install Windows on a mac. It will guide you thru the installation.


    • correction: ‘boot camp assistant’

  • Edsar

    Tulo laway nalang ako.

  • Griswold

    Drooollll. Maganda mag-gaming jan, or manood ng mga Full HD movies.

  • Faye Wamar

    Hi Nino,

    are you really my schoolmate from IHMS. Well i’m planning to purchase this MacBook, and i am reading reviews about this, and then i saw your name, hahaha, small world!!!

    maniniwala na ba talaga ako na maganda ang MacBook Pro with Retina Display???

    regards to Mel and the kids…

    • Hi Faye. Yup it’s me! If you are looking for a pro laptop, really want all things Apple, and you’re already convinced then go ahead if you can afford it.

      For me the Retina Display is more hype. Got to test the battery life and so far 4-5 hours per charge with mostly internet surfing and video streaming. If you’ll need to bring the power brick then it adds weight. Also currently there is no nice physical way to secure this onto something.

      I am now running Windows 7 in parallel with OS X and so far it is ok.

      The non-Retina MacBook Pros should be a great buy too. The weight compared to this is not that much different anyway IMHO.

      Good luck!

  • Janistellar

    I got mine sa mismong apple store, if you buy there, you have to ask yung price pag cash, we paid cash, mega-withdraw sa iba-ibang atm cards, Php95k. 🙂

  • Ppinoyfuture

    I wonder how to install a software that comes from a box with cd/dvd package. And I can’t burn any files to CD anymore. 🙁 The work needs to ship a disc copy to our other branches.

  • Yoly

    How long did you have to wait to get your order?