Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display review

The stunning high-resolution screen, light body and excellent build quality make this the ultimate laptop to aspire to

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13.1 in 2,560x1,600 display, 1.6kg, 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M, 8.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, MacOS X 10.8

There's no denying that when it comes to laptop screens, Apple is way ahead of the game, as it showed with its incredible 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. While that laptop was gorgeous to look at, its 2kg weight and overall size meant it probably wasn't not the kind of device you'd want to lug around with you every day.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Fortunately, then, there's the brand new 13-inch model, with its own high-resolution display. As with the 15-inch model, this version isn't merely the old MacBook Pro with a new screen, but a completely redesigned model.

So, while the standard 13-inch MacBook Pro is 24mm thick and weighs 2kg, the Retina version is a much more svelte 19m thick and just 1.6kg. Part of the saving is because there's no longer an optical drive, which is no great loss any more. At this weight and size, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina really is a laptop that you can sling in a bag and take everywhere with you.

Once you see the screen, you'll definitely want to take this laptop everywhere with you, as it's simply stunning. With a resolution of 2,560x1,600 it has the highest-resolution screen of this size; only the 15-inch laptop with its 2,880x1,800 resolution has more pixels.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Apple is clever about how this screen resolution is used, too. On a screen this size, text and icons would be unreadable if displayed pixel-for-pixel. Instead, scaling is used, so that the OS looks normal and text is easy to read.

The clever part is that things that don't need to be scaled, aren't. So, when editing an image, the toolbars are scaled but the photo isn't. Likewise, editing Full HD the video fits on the screen without being scaled, but the program's interface isn't scaled.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

The default resolution looks like a 1,024x640 screen, but you can also choose from resolutions that look like 1,440x900 and 1,680x1,050, depending on how much you want to fit on the screen at once. It's important to note that when we say 'looks like' we mean in terms of how much desktop space there is, not in terms of quality. Thanks to the huge resolution, everything looks incredibly sharp and detailed. In fact, everything on screen looks like it has been printed there, rather than being produced by a display.

Viewing angles are absolutely superb and you can clearly see the screen from any angle. Thanks to its vibrant colours and high brightness, everything from word documents to photos and films look absolutely stunning.

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