Review: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro offers optimal choice for lightweight laptop users

Apple brings Retina display to the 13-inch MacBook Pro

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Apple’s high-resolution Retina display now comes in another portable configuration, as the company unveiled a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display on Tuesday that complements the 15-inch model introduced over the summer.

The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro sports a display with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels, a huge 4-times increase over the 1280 by 800 resolution on the 13-inch MacBook Pro released in June. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro display has a total of 4,096,000 pixels, which Apple says is nearly twice the number of pixels in a HDTV.

The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro's screen is an in-plane switching panel, which allows for a wide viewing angle. Apple says the display has a 29 percent higher contrast ratio when compared to the previous model, as well as 75 percent glare reduction.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (right) joins the 15-inch Retina display model in Apple’s portable lineup.

Like the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display that debuted four months ago, the new 13-inch Retina laptop has two Thunderbolt ports. The Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0 ports are the main avenues of connectivity, as the new laptop no longer has the ethernet and FireWire 800 ports found on the standard 13-inch MacBook Pro model. The new laptop also has no optical drive, but it does have an SDXC card slot.

The 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is 0.75 inches thin; according to Apple, that’s 20 percent thinner than the regular 13-inch MacBook Pro. The new laptop weighs 3.5 pounds, which is a pound lighter.

Apple says that the new laptop has 7 hours of battery life.

Two models

Apple will offer two models of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. The $1699 model has a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of flash storage. A $1999 model is available with the same processor and memory configuration, but with 256GB of flash storage. Apple offers built-to-order options that include an upgrade to Core i7 processors and 768GB of flash storage.

The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is an addition to the MacBook Pro line. Two versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard display remain available at prices of $1199 and $1499.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has the best-selling laptop in the United States. Of the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller said that, “it is the best display housed in the best notebook design we have ever made.”

Updated at 11:08 a.m. PT with more details.
Updated at 11:35 a.m. PT with more images and details.

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