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13-inch Retina MacBook Pro review: The force is with Apple's workhorse laptop

Roman Loyola | May 27, 2015
From the outside, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display looks like the MacBook Pro we've come to know from the recent past. The major changes to the laptop are only apparent once you start using the machine: increased speed, and a new Force Trackpad that provides new input functionality.

From the outside, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display looks like the MacBook Pro we've come to know from the recent past. The major changes to the laptop are only apparent once you start using the machine: increased speed, and a new Force Trackpad that provides new input functionality.

The changes are most certainly welcomed, but overall, they may not be enough for anyone who bought a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro within the past three years to upgrade. But if you're laptop is older, or you're thinking about upgrading from a MacBook Air, you'll see great benefits.

The new Force Trackpad

When you press it, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro's Force Trackpad feels like it clicks, but the click you actually feel is haptic — technology is used to create a sensation of clicking. For longtime MacBook users, you can notice a difference when the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is off: You can still click a trackpad on an older MacBook that's powered off, but tap on the Force Trackpad and it feels dead, like you're pressing against the laptop case itself.

The Force Trackpad has sensors to detect how hard you're pressing. You can press to click like you normally would, but you can also perform a Force Click by pressing a little harder; you'll feel a second, more pronounced click. Force Click has different functions; it can be used for Quick Look in the Finder; Force Click on a date and a pop-up appear to add an event to Calendar; it can activate Look Up; it shows a preview when you Force Click a web link; and much more.

I've always used the trackpad as a last resort. I prefer a mouse because my fingers fumble when I have to do things like click and drag to select part of an image or a section of text. But Force Click has me using the trackpad more often because it's so useful. I don't see myself ditching the mouse soon, but I could be using it less and less.

What else is new with the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

The other updates are inside the laptop. Apple replaced the Intel Haswell processors in the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with new Broadwell processors.

The $1299 laptop has a dual-core 2.7GHz Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost support up to 3.1GHz, 3MB of shared L3 cache, and 128GB of flash storage. The $1499 model has the same processor as the $1299 version, but it has 256GB of flash storage. The $1799 model has a 2.9GHz Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost support up to 3.3GHz, and 512GB of flash storage.

 

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