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13in Retina Display MacBook Pro vs 13in MacBook Pro

Size and weight

The new 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display is, quite simply, the lightest MacBook Pro ever made. At 1.62kg, it is 440g lighter than its older brother. It's also smaller in every dimension and 20 per cent thinner than its predecessor, at 0.75 x 12.35 x 8.62in compared to 0.95 x 12.78 x 8.94in.


Both screens measure in at 13.3in (diagonal) but, obviously, the RD model has a much higher pixel pitch. It carries a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 (4,096,000 pixels), against 1,280 x 800 – four times the number of pixels. Incredibly, the pixel density has been doubled, standing at 227 PPI now, as opposed to 113 PPI. The RD device also has a 29 per cent higher contrast ratio and 75 per cent reduced reflection.

Ports and webcam

While the standard 13in MBP harbours one Thunderbolt port, the enhanced Retina Model carries two, as well as Mini DisplayPort and HDMI. However, there is also no optical drive, no Ethernet port and no FireWire on the new machine, which could prove a problem when it comes to connecting without Wi-Fi, loading data from CDs or DVDs, or video from a FireWire-equipped camera. However, Apple has been weaning its customers off Ethernet and the optical drive over the last few years, and FireWire's popularity is ever decreasing.

Storage and memory

The maximum storage capacity has been upgraded to 768GB flash storage from 512GB, which should make it a significantly quicker machine. Of course you're going to need VERY deep pockets to afford that upgrade - upgrading from the 128GB base storage to the 768GB option will cost you £1,050!

8GB of RAM comes as standard on the Retina model, as opposed to 4GB on the standard MBP - an upgrade to 8GB will cost you £80.

Processor and battery

The battery has been upgraded from a 63.5-Watt-hour lithium polymer battery to a 74-Watt-hour version, though they are both claimed to run for seven hours. The new machine uses the same 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor as the standard MacBook Pro.


In terms of pricing, the 13in MacBook Pro with RD is available from £1,449 and can be ordered from the Apple store right now. The 13in MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is still on sale from £999.

(opens in new tab)There's no denying it - the 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display is a fantastic laptop, though the extra £450 could prove a stumbling block for some buyers.

Some of the improvements upon the mid-2012 MacBook Pro are nothing short of startling, like the new dimensions, weight and display, though if you don't need that super-high resolution display, you might want to consider the older model. The lack of optical drive could also sway you to the older model. However, the amazing screen and svelte dimensions of the Retina model are awfully tempting.

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.