New MacBook Pros

Has Ap­ple’s lat­est Pro blown the MacBook Air out of the wa­ter?

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

13- and 15-inch mod­els

£999 Man­u­fac­turer Ap­ple, ap­ple.co.uk CPU 2.6GHz dual-core In­tel Core i5 RAM 8GB 1600MHz mem­ory Hard drive 128GB PCIe-based flash stor­age The mid-2014 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Dis­play isn’t a huge leap for­ward; just a pro­ces­sor speed bump and a price drop. But this model, the en­try-level re­lease, also ben­e­fits from a mem­ory in­crease. The pre­vi­ous en­try-level Retina MacBook Pro had just 4GB of RAM, but this new one has 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L on­board mem­ory. The dual-core In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor is re­tained, but it’s now 2.6GHz in­stead of 2.4GHz.

Be­ing a Retina MacBook Pro, you can’t add more mem­ory af­ter pur­chase be­cause the chips are soldered onto the moth­er­board, so a shift to 8GB is an ex­cel­lent move. The price drop is an­other wel­come change; two of the three 13-inch Retina mod­els have a £100 re­duc­tion with the mid­dle-of-the-range note­book re­duced by £50.

But the real story with this new 13-inch MBP is what it’s done to the vi­a­bil­ity of the MacBook Air. At £999, it’s only £50 more ex­pen­sive than the cheap­est 13-inch Air, and here you’re get­ting a lot more note­book for your money. Both use dual-core In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sors, but with a clock speed of 2.6GHz, the Pro is al­most twice as fast as the Air’s 1.4GHz CPU. Its 8GB of mem­ory is dou­ble the 4GB of­fered by the en­trylevel Air, too. Boost­ing the Air’s 4GB to 8GB us­ing Ap­ple’s On­line Store cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions costs £80, which makes the ex­tra £50 you pay for the Pro seem even more triv­ial. The Pro has a bet­ter graph­ics chipset, us­ing In­tel Iris Graph­ics in­stead of the Air’s In­tel HD Graph­ics 5000, and, of course, it has that gor­geous Retina screen. It’s na­tive res­o­lu­tion of 2560x1600 pix­els cer­tainly puts the Air’s 1440x900 dis­play in the shade. Per­haps the next gen­er­a­tion of MacBook Air will get a Retina screen too, but there’s no op­tion for one yet.

The Air still has some ad­van­tages. At 1.35kg, it’s lighter than the MacBook Pro (1.57kg), but is 220 grams such a huge dif­fer­ence? Also, with an ad­ver­tised 12 hours of wire­less web surf­ing on a sin­gle charge, the Air beats the Pro (which of­fers nine hours of bat­tery life). The Pro’s per­for­mance is still ex­cel­lent in this re­spect, any­way.

If you have spe­cific needs that pri­ori­tise light­ness and bat­tery life, you might con­sider the 13-inch MacBook Air, but for the ma­jor­ity of users, this en­try-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina dis­play is by far the bet­ter value. Ian Os­borne

The new MacBook Pro with Retina dis­play up­grades the RAM and CPU, but re­mains the same from the out­side. .

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