Is Apple’s now even less expensive non-Retina MacBook Pro worth buying?

“As it’s one of the biggest decision-making factors when considering whether to buy the non-Retina MacBook Pro, we’ll start by taking a closer look at the display,” Ashleigh Allsopp writes for Macworld UK. “The non-Retina MacBook Pro’s display is 1280 by 800 pixels. That’s disappointing, as it doesn’t match the 13in MacBook Air’s 1440 by 900 pixels, and is far from the 2560 by 1600 resolution of the 13in Retina MacBook Pro. It’s still not a bad display, by any means, though.”

“Plus, the MacBook Pro also supports dual display and video mirroring with full resolution on the laptop screen and up to 2,560 by 1,600 pixels on the second monitor,” Allsopp writes. “While much as been made of the extreme viewing angle of the Retina model – and all the accolades are true – we were nonetheless impressed by the wide viewing angle of regular MacBook Pros as well.”

“The non-Retina MacBook Pro has a lot going for it. It’s powerful enough for most general users, it looks gorgeous with its unibody form factor and design, it’s upgradeable, and it’s the one remaining Mac with an optical drive,” Allsopp writes. “However, what the Retina MacBook Pro can offer for just £100 more (a significantly improved display, a slimmer, lighter design, flash storage, Thunderbolt 2, better battery life and more), it’s difficult to fight the non-Retina MacBook Pro’s corner.”

Much more in the full review here.

Related article:
Apple updates MacBook Pro with faster Haswell processors, increased base RAM; cuts price of non-Retina model – July 29, 2014

15 Comments

    1. Well, yes. You NO have to ask (yourself)… Buy it for one (or more) of these key reasons:

      More storage – It still uses a standard 2.5-inch hard drive, so you can get up to 1TB of internal storage without the high cost of SSD. The $999 13-inch MacBook Air and the $1299 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro only have 128GB.

      Optical drive – It has one. If you need one regularly, no need to carry around and attach an external optical drive.

      Processing power – It has more “brute force” power, compared to the MacBook Air (which is more focused on efficiency).

      FireWire 800 port – It has one, to connect FireWire devices to a “real” fully-powered fully-compatible FireWire port.

      Ethernet Port – It has one, if you want or need a wired network connection (without adapting the Thunderbolt port).

      If you critically need one (or more) of those things, the old MacBook Pro would be a good choice. Otherwise, even the 13-inch MacBook Air has a better screen and graphics hardware. And the newer choices have USB 3.0 (instead of 2.0), better wireless, less weight, and longer battery life.

  1. Having the optical drive bay gives the option to move the non-SSD hard drive to the optical bay and install an SSD in addition to that, so you can either use software to make a Fusion-style disk, or have two separate volumes: one fast SSD for boot, then a big non-SSD for storage. That said, the Retina is very nice.

  2. The non-retina MacBook Pro has an IR port, which the other MacBooks don’t. Thus you can use your Apple remote to run Keynote and other remote functions.

  3. Earlier this year when Apple eliminated the anti glare MBP, I bought a 2012 factory refurb to have when my 2009 dies. The anti glare screen and optical drive are important to me so I want to have those options as long as I can.

  4. Isn’t it really time for Apple to have a Blu ray SuperDrive ? I mean I dont expect a built-in, and I don’t want it for movie playback.
    I want to use FCP X, and burn to Blu ray. You think Blu ray is dead? Been to Wallmart, Best Buy, target, or notice the NEW Ps4 AND Xbox One have Blu ray ? Well ?

    1. I don’t think any of the Apple line will have a built-in Blu-Ray burner/player at this point. I just bought an external one from OWC for my MBP (it can also burn the new archival BD & DVD M-Disks).

      Many people still need to burn disks and the new Toast 12 seems to do this better now for quick and easy versions. Haven’t tried it yet but it looks good.

  5. This is from Apple’s website:
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Apple Computers using the Intel HD Graphics 4000 as the primary or secondary GPU reserve 384 MB to 1024 MB of system memory.
    Since this is what is used in the non-Retina MacBook Pro, is there a way to SET THE GPU TO USE 1 GIG of system memory ?
    Anyone using THIS computer I’m SURE WOULD want to KNOW !!

  6. I read the article and had the epiphany other family members had regarding Apple. I can’t believe in July 2014 we are still talking about a 1280px screen as being a viable option. It’s as though we will spend lots of money for the scraps that came out more than 5-7 years ago, which converting technology to human years is calling this 1950s technology.

    I was shopping today for a used Mac to upload our iOS apps and then saw my brothers new gorgeous, brand new i7 PC for the same money that I was going to buy a 2012 Mac Air. I realized I could run Mac software on it if I needed and could always install Linux or Ubuntu if I didn’t care for Windows. The Apple pricing has scared me into thinking virtual machine on PC. No more suffering on ancient hardware.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.