When I bought my 13″ MacBook Pro I was aware that a retina version was probably due imminently but decided, based upon the 15″ retina version, that the additional changes made as well wouldn’t suit me.

Now the retina version has been announced I thought it worth re-visiting.

Below is a comparison of the non-retina and retina base models. The 2nd non-retina version is based upon the base model but with an SSD and extra memory, bringing it more inline with the retina version and giving a better price comparison.

Other than the  retina display, the new model doubles the base memory (although I haven’t had a any problems with the 4GB that came with mine), replaces the solid state drive with an SSD (although only 128GB, so I hope you’re not intending to store too much on it), removes the optical drive and modifies which ports are available (removes Firewire but adds HDMI and an extra Thunderbolt). Battery life is the same.

The big issue, for me, with this new model is the fact that Apple have made it thinner and lighter – down from 2.06 to 1.62 kg (a 22% reduction). Why an issue? Because, by making these changes they’ve had to make changes internally which means the battery is glued in place and the memory inaccessible – no upgrading for you! And bear in mind this is the Pro model. For professionals. The kind of people who’d probably want to upgrade their memory or change the battery.

And it blurs the lines with the Air model – that’s supposed to be the slim and lithe model.

Once upgraded with a similar specification the retina version isn’t too bad, price wise. However, you then only really have the screen as an advantage and that’s still costing you an extra £210. Is it worth it? And don’t forget to achieve this you’ve had to upgrade memory which you may not actually need and change to a SSD with limited space.

No, I’m happy with what I bought. Now, if they’d left the Pro as it was but gave it a retina screen for a little more, I may been tempted but at 44% more for the base model, it’s way too costly.

Benchmark results for the Retina and non-Retina versions are now available and they show… not much difference. On the base 13″ models, the Retina version scores 0.4% higher than the non-Retina equivalent.

Which is odd because although they have the same processor the Retina has twice as much memory and an SSD drive.

Maybe that higher resolution screen is slowing things down 😉

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