The New MBP Retina Display Blows the Doors off Its Competition

Illustration for article titled The New MBP Retina Display Blows the Doors off Its Competition

Apple unveiled its newest batch of MacBook Pros today at WWDC, the ones sporting the new Retina displays. And yes, in terms of performance, next-generation MBPs beat the competition like a pack of rented mules.

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It feels an odd comparison when even last season's MBP can't hold a flame to the current version. The 2011 MacBook Pro was nothing to sneeze at—1680x1050 resolution with 128 pixels per square inch (ppi) powered by an AMD Radeon HD 6490M. Pffff, the MacBook Pro unveiled today rocks a 2880 x 1800 display at 220 ppi, roughly double the going rate of current Apple hardware and even more obvious when compared to non-Apple gear.

Illustration for article titled The New MBP Retina Display Blows the Doors off Its Competition
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As the table above illustrates, the new MBP screen displays at nearly double the pixel density as it's nearest competitors. Even the $1,700 Alienware M15—the MBP's closest rival in terms of graphics quality—pales in comparison to the new laptop's hyper-HD display.

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DISCUSSION

The problem with really high res displays is this. This is an actual web site on a 1920x1080 display. Obviously it would be that much worse on a retina display. Now, this isn't such a big deal if your screen is 37" wide or something like that. But on a 15" display, you end up with web sites that are 4" across and with text that's like 3 pixels high.

Now, you can always zoom, but a lot of things don't scale well. For example, Flash sites (as this site in the screenshot is) look terrible when scaled. And text, at least on Windows, has all sorts of weirdness - for example, everything looks bolded when scaled past a certain point in all the browsers I have.

If Apple has found a good way to deal with this, I would love to know about it.

Retina displays seem like they'd be awesome for things like photo or video editing, but for basic day to day tasks, it seems like extreme overkill, and something that would cause more problems than it solves. So these MBP's seem targeted to a particular high end demographic.