Back to the Mac - Part 4

June 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

The MBP Retina arrived yesterday while I was out. As fate would have it, I ended up getting an iPad 3 while I was out so when I got home, I was ready to drink the Retina Kool Aid!

 

I was going to do an unboxing video but I decided against it for two reasons. First, I got home late and wanted to get working with it as soon as possible. There are lots of videos out there already including a great tear down on iFixit.com where you can see it inside and out in great detail. Instead I wanted to just give you my first impression after one night of playing around with it

 

First, physically it's gorgeous! This is the first computer which isn't all plastic for me and I approve! It feels solid and durable. I've been using an original iPad since it was still a fairly new product, have never used a case, and it still looks new. Because of this I knew that the new iPad and the new Macbooks would be just as good. Judicious use of Gorilla Glass and aluminium should keep both working for me through the worst incidents. Size wise it's not that much smaller than my Sony and side by side it's hard to believe that one is a 15" and the other a 17". Then I double checked and realized that the Sony is actually less than 17 and the Apple is more than 15 so they're closer than the published numbers would lead you to believe. The Sony is a bit wider and deeper but the big difference is in thickness. I've yet to measure but the Macbook Pro seems less than half as thick as the Sony and is almost half the weight as well despite all the Aluminum.

 

One difference which concerned me was the ports. My Sony seems to have one of everything including VGA, HDMI, Expresscard, SD slot, and Firewire. This MacBook Pro is missing a few things I'm used to but with an HDMI port, USB ports, and Thunderbolt ports which adapt to seemingly everything. I'll miss the Expresscard slot as I used an Expresscard CF reader for high speed transfers but my USB 3.0 reader is also very fast. One thing of note is that there is no Kensington lock hole on this model. That is something I use sometimes but the unit is so light and thin that it's not hard to just never leave out of your sight or bag or whatever...I'll manage.

 

The screen is very nice. While it's not as bright as the previous generation of screen, it's plenty bright for me....testing in the summer sun will be the ultimate test but I rarely need to do that so it's not a realistic test. Unlike my Sony, the adaptive brightness actually works. When it gets dark in the room, so does the screen. Plus adjusting the brightness in real time when it's not quite right is much easier. I'm confident that in the sun, it will crank the brightness up automatically. The viewing angle is great and the colours were very similar to my calibrated 27" monitor right out of the box. The glass surface is glossy but is supposed to have less glare than previous models. So far the only issue I've had with glare came from a ray of direct sunlight...which will doom any screen.

 

This might be old news to the Mac fanboys but last night was my first experience with Parallels. Buying, downloading, and installing Parallels was super easy. I had Windows up and running from my OEM disk in minutes without even reading the quickstart guide. Parallels integrates so seamlessly with the MacOS that the applications run in windows within the MacOS without ever having to look at the Windows Desktop. I can even see the whole start menu of windows right from the MacOS desktop...it's so much better than my previous emulation experiences.

 

Lightroom 4 was one of the programs I installed and I have to admit that it's not ready for the Retina display yet. Once it's updated to support the retina display, it will be gorgeous. Currently photos look soft on the screen. Also not quite ready is Adobe CS6. The graphics card supports Cuda but it seems to not be working with Premiere or SpeedGrade yet.


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