Steve Streza Reviews the MacBook Pro Retina

I am still wrapping my head around what is good and bad about the new MacBook Pro Retina, and whether it is worth getting. Steve Streza has a comprehensive review in which bigger features and minutiae get equal treatment. The most interesting part of his review details the upscaling of media that automatically happens:

One interesting thing I found is that Apple decided that images should not be displayed at native resolution, but upscaled. In many cases, when you look at an image, you’re seeing that image doubled in size. For example, if you click a link to a standalone JPEG in Safari, that will be upscaled to double its original size, regardless of the DPI embedded in the image. (Curiously, screenshots taken on the Retina display have a DPI of 72 set within the image.) Opening them in Preview and viewing at actual size, however, does display the images with pixel-accuracy. Video also generally is upscaled to 2x. This is actually an interesting problem, as even the most high definition video you can find generally maxes out at 1080P, which is about 40% of the number of pixels on a Retina MacBook Pro. There is some video available in the 4K format, which will downscale to the display, but not much. 1080P video looks great, but it’ll still be upscaled.

I think the settings for this display method should be a lot less opaque to the user, especially since they’ll want to watch video and inspect images on their computer.


Other interesting things are discussed in the review exhaustingly replete with a miscellany of observations that make this one of the best review of the laptop to have been published to date.


Update: Recall my earlier reservations about the Wirecutter’s remark that the laptop “gets a little hot”? Streza expands on this, and notes that while the laptop in general does not get very hot, there are edge cases:

One area which does become unusually warm, especially while gaming, is the tiny metal pieces between the keys of the keyboard. Under normal use, these become very warm, and games send the heat to an uncomfortable level.

It remains to be seen whether this has any effect of the life span of the device, however. I don’t expect to play many games on the device, but those of you who do might want to test a demo or friend’s laptop to see how much of a detriment it is to your experience.