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New MacBook Air Leaked Online, but MacBook Pro with Retina Display Remains a Solid Choice

( [email protected] ) Jan 24, 2015 03:32 PM EST
Iconic computer and electronics company Apple is set to release the latest version of its MacBook Air in the spring of this year, creating buzz in the tech world. However, for those looking for an Apple laptop now, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a solid choice for the price.
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Iconic computer and electronics company Apple is set to release the latest version of its MacBook Air in the spring of this year, creating buzz in the tech world.

According to Chris Smith of BGR, leaked pictures indicated that the newest version of the MacBook Air will be a 12-inch model that could be thinner than any previous MacBook Air. In addition, the latest model would adopt Intel's Core M processor, which does not need to be cooled by fans.

"The 12-inch model is smaller than the 13-inch MacBook Air, and appears to be very thin, a feature that's specifically highlighted in a picture showing its profile next to the slim iPad Air," Smith wrote.

Mikey Campbell of AppleInsider reported that Apple is trying to make a 12-inch "ultraportable" laptop, which could be the thinnest model ever made by the Cupertino-based company. He noted that this model also missed something that all Apple laptops had until now.

"The top cover is conspicuously missing a translucent glowing Apple logo, long a staple of Apple's laptop lineup that distinguishes Macs from look-alike PC brands," Campbell wrote. "The report claims Apple swapped out the plastic part due to an overly thin surrounding metal chassis, but the statement is somewhat suspicious considering the smaller 11-inch Air makes no such concessions."

Campbell added that industry rumors have swirled around Apple's supposed plan to get rid of all external ports except "for a single USB 3.1 Type-C connection" as a way to cut down on internal components, making the overall laptop lighter.

"According to the most recent rumors, Apple could launch its 12-inch thin-and-light by the end of the first quarter, though an exact timeline remains elusive due to a distinct lack of leaks from the supply chain," Campbell wrote.

As for the latest laptop Apple has on the open market, the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display remains a solid choice. According to Joel Santo Domingo of PC Magazine, it has a 2,560-by-1,600-resolution screen, speedy Intel processor, and an "all-aluminum exterior and glossy glass covering the 13.3-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen."

"It lasted more than 13 hours on our battery rundown test while topping our performance benchmark tests," Domingo wrote.

Domingo added that it had excellent connectivity, "particularly with its pair of 20 Gbps Thunderbolt 2 ports." The MacBook Pro also measured 0.71 by 12.35 by 8.62 inches and weighed 3.38 pounds.

The reviewer then elaborated on using both the keyboard and trackpad.

"The high-contrast keys are visible in both bright light and in a totally darkened room, thanks to efficient backlighting. The keyboard feel is very good, with convex keys and solid springs to help ensure that any typos are your own fault," Domingo wrote. "The glass-covered trackpad supports one-, two- and three-finger multitouch gestures, and you can connect most Bluetooth keyboards, mice, and external trackpads to the system in seconds."

Domingo then wrote about the Retina Display, which had a 2,560-by-1,600 resolution. In other words, it translated into a 16:10 aspect ratio.

"The extra pixels can give photo, video, or spreadsheet editors the ability to clearly display images that would overwhelm a screen with a lower resolution," Domingo wrote. "Note that your experience may vary, as apps that haven't been updated for the Retina Display may show blockier text and images."

Domingo later turned his focus on storage. While the model he tested only contained 128 GB, other models of MacBook Pro have versions with storage sizes of 256 GB and 512 GB, costing $1,499 and $1,799 respectively.

"The 128 GB Flash Storage module (analogous to a solid-state drive on other systems) has a somewhat low capacity for a high-end ultraportable or ultrabook, but it's sufficient if you tote along a speedy Thunderbolt portable drive for your video files or database files," Domingo wrote. "The drive has about 110 GB available when you first set up the system."

Based on the 3D tests PC Magazine conducted on the Intel Core i5-4278 processor with built-in Intel Iris 5100 graphics, Domingo argued that it would make a great ultrabook for multimedia and gaming, but with a twist.

"The system has enough oomph to beat the other ultrabooks and tablets here on these tests," Domingo wrote. "You can play browser-based games and titles like Diablo III and World of Warcraft, provided you use lower-quality settings."

Based on the comprehensive tests run on the latest MacBook Pro, along with the improvements made by Apple, PC Magazine gave its "Editors' Choice" award to that ultraportable laptop. Selling for $1,299 at Amazon, Domingo thought it was an excellent computer at that price point.

"The new Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina is our Editors' Choice for high-end ultraportables," Domingo concluded. "If the $1,300 asking price is within your budget, this is the laptop to buy."

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