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Friday, July 27, 2012

New MacBook Pro Retina... Worth It?

Is the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display worth the cash? There was a lot of talk about what a powerhouse the new MacBook Pro Retina was after the Keynote in June. But the question remains, is the price tag worth the technology?

I have spoken about this topic before and highlighted the massive price difference and little hardware different between top-of-the-line Mac and PC laptops here. In my opinion it is quite striking that Apple charges such a premium for their (very nice) design and (also very nice) operating system. I just don't think the price difference is worth the (very nice) design and software advantages of Apple products.

Introduce the $2199 (base model) new MacBook Pro Retina. There is no doubt that the new Retina Display with a 15.4-inch, LED, IPS technology, 2880-by-1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch screen is amazing! There is nothing like it and once software catches up it will be one of the greatest display experiences ever! But I think that is where the innovation (other than the design of the bezel) ends.

The i7 2.3GHz processor can be found in a number of reasonably priced PCs, 8GB of RAM is pretty standard as well, as are NVIDIA 1GB graphics cards in higher end (but still lower priced PCs). Moreover, many Ultra Books have the solid state flash hard drives as well - and I don't know about you, but I fill up 256GB of space rather quickly (not to mention the enormous price jump to $2799 when you move up to 512GB). Just to mention one Ultra Book that has these features and more see the Sony Model: SVS1511HGXB Vaio which actually has a 2GB dedicated video card by NVIDIA for around $1800. 

The point is that the new MacBook Pro has similar specs to my 1-year old HP Laptop. Of course the display is better and the design is very tight and the OS is great (although Windows 8 will be something to contend with - although many people may disagree). But the bottom line is that while the new Pro is powerful it is just beginning to catch up with PC specs, while the price is still very much inflated - not to mention the super ridiculously high pricing of the MacBook Air and non-Retina Pros! 

So the bottom-line is as follows: The MacBook Pro Retina is the best laptop that Apple as ever placed on the market and it is finally just as powerful as machines in the PC world (that have been around for a while) but the price is still way to high. If you have a lot of disposable income then the machine is a great purchase. If you are on a budget but still want a powerful laptop, wait until Windows 8 is released and buy a top-of-the-line PC for about a thousand (or more) dollars less. 

As a side note, I would really like to see a $600 to $750 Apple laptop that will compete with similar PCs (and please don't tell me that's the iPad). I understand that Apple likes to keep their product lines priced high to keep exclusivity (or a cult-like mindset) among its die-hard consumers that will pay almost anything to acquire their newest products. I also understand that Apple puts more money into their R&D than other companies and thus has to keep prices high enough to support that overhead. But realistically, if Apple wants to chip away at the PC market more than they are (and maybe they don't, what do I know?) they will have to sell a reasonably priced machine. I would definitely buy a reasonable priced Mac simply because I am curious. There are a lot of consumers out there on the edge between Mac and PC (especially today) and all it would take is a smaller price difference to tip the scales in favor of Apple. 

Nevertheless, I must say, if had an extra $2199 laying around for a computer, I would love to buy the new Mac... but sadly I don't :)

By the way, this was typed on my new iPad which I think is one of the most innovate devices ever produced, just in case you think I have some grudge against Apple.