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MacBook Pro with Retina display 13” [Early 2015] review

Will the new MacBook Pro prove to be Apple's best offering yet?

The MacBook Pro has long been classified as Apple’s safe device. Powerful, for sure, but one that has often been forgotten about when the likes of the MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone, and most recently, the Apple Watch, have generally led the way for Apple’s pioneering technology. Times are changing, however, and the new MacBook Pro has been entrusted to carry the load of Apple’s latest and greatest technological advancement with its Force Touch trackpad.
You’d be hard pressed to find any significant changes when initially looking at the new MacBook Pro and it’s very much a case of all the upgrades taking place on the inside. The same svelte silver chassis is on show, as well as the beautiful display and keyboard we’ve got to know from previous models. For some the tried and tested design will still hit all the high notes, but when you consider the completely new take on the MacBook, for some the MacBook Pro just won’t have the same groundbreaking look it once did.

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Although USB-C has been a much-wanted addition across Apple’s Mac range, it’s only the new MacBook that has got the treatment. Instead, the new MacBook Pro has a familiar set of ports; including dual-USB and Thunderbolt 2. Again, it’s all familiar territory to anyone who has previously owned a MacBook, and as you’d expect, there are no issues with how they work and function.

Seasoned MacBook users will undoubtedly find the new Force Touch trackpad a peculiar thing at first. It uses haptic feedback, which offers a simulation of the sensation that you are pushing it, when in reality the trackpad remains fixed at all times. Your fingers will pick up the same clicking motion, no matter if it’s with a single digit or multiple fingers, without the actual clicking ever taking place. It certainly took us a fair few minutes to get our heads around it. The biggest benefit of the trackpad is that the same click will register no matter where you press; whether it’s the top or bottom, you’ll find the same response throughout and it actually makes moving around OS X considerably easier as well. Although this is the first device, alongside the Apple Watch, to use Apple’s new Force Touch technology within the trackpad, the size and shape remains
the same from previous models.

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If Apple was hoping to bank on one feature to help sell MacBook Pro units, then it’s going to be the Retina display. Stunning
doesn’t seem to really do it enough justice, but in terms of colours, viewing angles and sharpness, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that comes close. Even if you’re not a big photo or video editor, the 2,560 x 1,600 resolution will undoubtedly blow you away, especially if you’re making the step up to a Retina display for the first time.

To keep all this ticking along, you’re going to need a sizeable chunk of power and thankfully, the MacBook Pro delivers on all accounts. Clocked at 2.7GHz, the Intel Core i5 processor has no trouble dealing with anything you throw at it. When you then factor in the improved SSD, which offers double the speeds of the previous MacBook Pro alongside a mighty 8GB of RAM, then you know you’re on to a winner. However, for most machines, you can find the added power often leads to troublesome battery life. Incredibly, Apple has managed to increase the battery life here to a solid 12 hours, but power-intensive apps will lower this quote considerably. Again, all of this is upgradable and for those who want to do things like editing 4K video, then investing in extra RAM or an improved SSD would be beneficial. Average users should be able to manage perfectly well with the basic configuration that’s offered, however.

As a package, it would be difficult to find a laptop that truly trumps the MacBook Pro. The new Force Touch trackpad is still in its infancy and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how the technology is used later down the line, but in terms of power, battery life management and general build quality, this really is one of Apple’s best efforts for a while. And when you add on the utterly faultless Retina display into the mix, this is seriously the MacBook you should be investing in. 5/5