When I’m working with programs like Lightroom 4 or Photoshop CS6 for hours a time I prefer doing so on a fast mac pro with calibrated non-glare 30″ DELL monitors hooked up. Having 2560×1600 pixels resolution to work with is one thing but also the hardware quality is better for photo editing than the cheaper monitors can deliver.

Even the better monitors still do need a bit of help getting adjusted correctly so mine is calibrated with Datacolor Spyder to ensure correct picture.

Laptop monitors is usually no match for a decent desktop monitor both in quality and size, so I try avoid working on laptops if possible or atleast hook it up to a decent monitor.

Every now and then theres situations where one cant work as prefered and a laptop is required.

The macbook pro and other laptops I had upto last year I sold with intention to wait for the upcoming ivy bridge generation and see what it offered in speed and size.

With ivy bridge there was a hope of smaller and faster laptops and as we know the smaller the easier to carry around.

In the pc industry things usually dont happen over night and the launch of ivy bridge and getting a decent selection of laptops using it, havent happend over night either.

Meanwhile Apple also upgraded its Macbook series and launched a small “bomb” to the market, namely the Macbook Pro Retina 15″.

Specifications :

  • Aluminium chassis
    15″ 2880 x 1800 resolution retina IPS panel, contrast layered.
    Intel HD 4000 and Nvidia Geforce GT 650M 1GB GDDR5
    Quad Core Intel I7 “Ivy Bridge” 2.3->3.3Ghz cpu.
    16GB memory 1600Mhz
    256GB SSD drive from Samsung
    2x Thunderbolt ports
    2x USB3 ports
    1x HDMI port
    802.11n WIFI / Bluetooth 4.0

Recently Apple also released the 13″ version with Retina display which native resolution is 2560×1600.

The 13″ version is an interesting piece of machine thats highly portable and would probably done just as great, but I’d choose to go for the 15″ version instead.

Cost wise none of these is cheap and going with a Windows based laptop like the great Asus U500VZ would been quite alot cheaper but wasnt really an option as I need to run OS-X as my primary programs is on that platform. Using a Mac I can still easily (Parallels or bootcamp) run Windows applications when I need to, but having a Win machine theres no easy way to run OS-X applications.

Choosing the 15″ over the 13″ was done primarely because it has the Nvidia 650M 1GB GPU for that extra punch when needed. Size & weight wise I gave up on my 15 / 17″ earlier laptops but with Apples slimmed down 15″ retina thats not an issue any more.

The 15″ retina will mostly be used as a Lightroom / Photoshop / internet portable work station when needed and for that purpose it so far worked out quite well. Its very snappy and so far it seem todo just as great as the Mac pro for all my normal LR/PS work. Before calibration it had a bit bluish tint but have been calibrated to match my other monitors on that front.

Having a glossy panel will reflect light but not as bad as many other laptops. Apple done a good job there but it still cant be compared to working infront of a non-glossy Dell U3011 that has no reflections.

Its 2880×1800 resolution delivers superb sharpness and extreme details which so far been a joy to work with. On a side note thats a higher resolution than my 30″ Dells and that is quite impressive considering its 15″.

Apples engineers gone a long way to squeeze as much technology as possible into minimal space and thats impressive, but it also have few possible drawbacks.


Pros :

  • Superb super sharp 2880×1800 screen
  • Very snappy / fast to work with.
  • Excellent build feels “high quality”.
  • Very little noise
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Typical good Apple design (visual look)


Cons :

  • The machine is very expensive compared to similar performing Win laptops, one do pay for that extra fancy design.
  • It is not ment to be opened for upgrades or repairs by its owner, only by certified apple workshop.
  • It have no kensington lock like the non-retina 15″ have.
  • Due to its slim construction it has no ethernet port, nor dvi nor vga. For this one has to buy adapters thats connected to the thunderbolt ports.
  • The keyboard area gets noticeable warm when its working hard for extensive period of time. This might be fixed in software by running fans at higher speed perhaps.
  • No adapters for vga/dvi/ethernet included – this is shame on Apple for not including in such a premium class laptop!


The question is, is it really worth it ?