Apple MacBook Pro ME865LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display Review

Apple MacBook Pro ME865LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display

The Apple MacBook Pro ME865LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display is the latest addition to the MacBook Pro range of premium laptops from, arguably, the world’s most famous technology company.

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As you would expect from an Apple product, this machine combines stylish design with ease of use and powerful features that make it as much a lifestyle choice and fashion accessory as it is a computer. Make no mistake, though – for all its great looks, this machine packs plenty of processing punch.

It is driven by a fourth generation, dual core, Intel Core i5 processor, based on the latest Haswell architecture. The processor runs at a base speed of 2.4GHz, but, thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, each core is capable of automatically adjusting its own speed, up to a maximum of 2.9GHz, to cope with the needs of the current software application. This technique helps to ensure that the processor delivers its best possible performance when it’s needed, and conserves power when it isn’t.

The processor is supported by 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which should be more than enough for the installed copy of OS X Mavericks to multitask your favorite applications with ease. The machine comes preloaded with up to date editions of both the iLife software suite, which includes iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand and the iWork productivity suite which features Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and should be able to handle them without difficulty.

For permanent storage of your documents, music, movies, pictures and, of course, software applications, the ME865LL/A comes fitted with 256GB of flash storage. Compared to a conventional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), flash storage is lightning fast, enabling the machine to start up or launch applications in a fraction of the time taken by HDD-based laptops. Unlike previous generations of the MacBook Pro, its flash storage is based on PCIe, giving performance gains of up 60% over its predecessors. Flash storage is also much less susceptible to damage from the inevitable knocks and bumps that afflict any portable computer than an HDD, making the machine that much more reliable, and your valuable data safer, than in HDD-driven computers.

Pros :

  • Impressive, small, lightweight, powerful MacBook Pro
  • 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage; 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) Retina display, 2560×1600 pixel Resolution; LED-backlit with IPS technology
  • Intel Iris Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking
  • Mac OS X Mavericks
  • Up to 9 hours of battery life

Cons :

  • Expensive
  • May be difficult to upgrade

Perhaps the most visually impressive aspect of the ME865LL/A is its 13.3-inch Retina display. It comprises over 4 million pixels, with a pixel density so high (227 pixels per inch) that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels from a normal viewing distance. The result is an incredibly sharp display, on which both text and graphics look fantastic. Naturally, the 2560 x 1660 pixel display uses IPS technology to provide a 178-degree viewing angle that should be wide enough for just about any purpose.

Even so, there are bound to be times when you want – or need – to use a larger display, and the ME865LL/A offers you a wealth of options to accomplish this. Firstly, there is a built in HDMI port for connecting to modern monitors and HDTVs. However, the machine also provides two highly versatile Thunderbolt ports, which support native Mini DisplayPort output and, using optional adapters, can handle DVI, dual-link DVI and VGA, too. Of course, Thunderbolt ports aren’t only suitable for video output – with appropriate adapters they can also be used, among other things, for FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Naturally, the ME865LL/A also supports wireless networking, for access to the internet and your networked resources on the move. However, unlike many other laptops – including previous generations of the MacBook Pro – it features 802.11ac WiFi. This means that, when connected to an 802.11ac-capable router, connection speeds are up to three times faster than with earlier MacBook Pros, and should be possible over greater distances, too. Of course, many networks have yet to upgrade to 802.11ac WiFi, and, to ensure that you can get connected anywhere there is WiFi, the ME865LL/A is fully backwards compatible with older 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi.

For other connectivity, this machine offers Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting to wireless devices, such as mice, headsets etc., while two High Speed USB 3.0 ports ensure that there should be no difficulty in attaching more conventional peripherals. An HD 720p FaceTime camera, SDXC card slot, headphone port, audio line out, stereo speakers, dual microphones and a MagSafe 2 power port round off the other sockets, connections and input / output options.

Impressively, all this is packed away into a case that measures 12.35 x 8.62 x 0.71 inches and weighs just 3.46 pounds, taking this machine very close to Ultrabook ultraportable territory while retaining all the power, performance and capabilities that you’d expect from a well specified desktop machine. And, with a claimed battery life of up to 9 hours, you should be able to get real work – or play – done on the move without needing to worry about the nearest power outlet.

Overall, the Apple MacBook Pro ME865LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display is a powerful, versatile, and very definitely premium-grade machine. It isn’t cheap, but then quality always comes at a price, and if you’re already a fan of Apple products you’re familiar with that concept. On the other hand, if you’re considering your first Apple, and want a machine that’s small and lightweight enough to go anywhere, from the boardroom to your sofa or out on the road with you, has enough computing power to handle most tasks, has an impressive battery life and looks fantastic, this is definitely the machine for you.

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