The Apple MacBook Pro ME664LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display is the latest in a long line of high quality, high performance laptops from one of the world’s most famous computer companies.
Nothing says premium product like the Apple brand, but, like all of Apple’s recent releases, there is much more to this machine than branding alone. Nevertheless, first impressions count, or so it is said, and in the case of this machine, the first impression of its precision engineered aluminum unibody shell is one of sleek good looks.
Measuring just 14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 inches (WxDxH) and weighing a mere 4.46 pounds, the ME664LL/A is obviously compact and very easily portable. With a claimed battery life of up to 7 hours of wireless web surfing, and up to 30 days on standby, there should be no difficulty in working on the move.
The second impression, which is, to some extent, still tied to those sleek good looks, will no doubt involve the much-vaunted Retina display. With more than 5 million pixels squeezed into a 15.4-inch LED-backlit IPS display at 220 pixels per inch, giving a native resolution of 2880 x 1800, the end result is virtually guaranteed to be visually stunning.
The whole point of the Retina display is that the pixels are so densely packed together that our eyes are incapable of picking out individual pixels. As a result, both text and graphics appear much sharper than on lesser displays. Of course, a beautiful exterior is of little use if the interior fails to impress. Fortunately, in this case, the MacBook Pro ME664LL/A’s innards promise the level of performance you would expect from a top flight laptop.
At its heart lies a third generation Intel Core i7 quad core processor running at 2.4GHz, although, thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, it is capable of automatically increasing speed to a maximum of 3.4GHz to cope with more demanding tasks. This is a powerhouse of a processor, designed to deliver considerable computing capability while keeping power consumption as low as possible.
- Premium Laptop
- Powerful, Portable, Long Battery Life
- Retina Display
- Fast Flash-Only Storage
- Plenty of RAM
- OS X Mountain Lion
- Expensive, Compared to Windows Laptops
It is supported by 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 256GB of flash-only storage. The choice of flash storage over a conventional laptop hard drive should bring a substantial performance increase, as well as improved reliability and up to 30 days of standby time. From the user’s perspective, this should translate into a slick and responsive computing experience, that is not subject to the delays often encountered in disk-based systems.
The Retina display is driven by not one, but two graphics systems, with the machine seamlessly switching between them for the best balance between power consumption and performance. For day to day tasks, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor is easily capable of delivering great graphics while keeping power consumption to a minimum. But, for more demanding tasks, the machine automatically switches to its discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M processor – a much more capable, but correspondingly power hungry graphics solution.
Naturally, a range of input / output and connectivity options are supported. Wireless networking is made available via 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, while built in Bluetooth 4.0 makes it easy to connect to wireless peripherals. Two Thunderbolt ports allow wired data transfer to compatible devices at up to 10GB/second, and, for maximum compatibility, two USB 3.0 ports make it possible to connect a whole range of wired peripherals.
Beautiful though the Retina display may well be, there are times when it makes a great deal of sense to hook up your laptop to an external (usually much larger) display. For modern monitors and HDTVs, there’s a standard HDMI port, but for everything else there’s Thunderbolt digital video output (native Mini DisplayPort output). Using optional adapters, you can hook up displays using DVI, VGA, and dual-link DVI or connect directly to an Apple Thunderbolt Display.
An SDXC card slot, a headphone port and a MagSafe 2 power port complete the lineup of external connections, but the machine also features an integrated HD FaceTime webcam built into the top of the display bezel, a multi-touch trackpad and a full-size, backlit keyboard.
As with all Macs, the MacBook Pro ME664LL/A comes with OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of Apple’s world famous operating system. Offering a range of features, including Mac App Store, Safari, Mail, Time Machine, FaceTime, iTunes and more, you can be sure that this machine is ready to impress from the minute you switch it on.
Overall, the Apple MacBook Pro ME664LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display looks great and houses a powerful set of features, yet remains lightweight and easily portable with a good battery life. Macs aren’t for everyone – the price alone can be enough to put many people off – but if you’re in the market for a premium laptop with plenty of computing power, thoughtful design and great looks you’ll have to go a long way to find something even approaching the standards of this machine.