Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display - Battery, Value and Verdict



View All

Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch – Battery

One of the disadvantages of slimming laptops down is that there’s less room for the battery, and in the Retina versions of the MacBook Pros they’re also no longer removable. However, this 13-inch laptop still manages to hold its own.

Running at its native 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display lasted 5 hours and 46 minutes away from a socket (keep in mind this figure would have been even higher using our previous, lighter battery benchmark). Turning screen brightness down below the 40 percent test figure would also result in longer battery life, so with careful use Apple’s claimed seven-hour figure should be easy to achieve.

Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch – Price

Before we dive deeper into the value this laptop represents, it’s worth pointing out that you are getting a superbly designed and built machine for your money with the best 13-inch screen out there; but at the same time, it’s not without compromises and there are plenty of alternatives for this much cash. Our main complaint is that Apple wasn’t able to fit in a dedicated graphics card, which for many power users will make Apple’s own MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display the better buy.
MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina review 7
But let’s compare to a few direct rivals for the £1,450 base configuration of our MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina. First off there’s the Zenbook Prime 13-inch. In its £1,440 incarnation this sleek Ultrabook is thinner and lighter than the Pro, doubles its SSD storage, and comes with a faster Core i7 processor by default. On the other hand, its RAM is halved, its Full HD IPS screen obviously doesn’t sport as many pixels (not that you’d need more in a 13-inch screen, really), and neither connectivity nor battery life measure up. So it’s a case of what your priorities are, but we’d probably go Apple here despite the extra weight.

Another rival is the Sony VAIO S13. For around £1,500, you get the same processor and RAM, double the SSD space, a Blu-ray drive, and dedicated Nvidia GT640M graphics, plus Adobe’s Photoshop Elements software. However, its screen uses an inferior TN panel whose resolution is ‘only’ 1,600 x 900, and it’s nowhere near as stylish.

Either way, it shows that the Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch is not particularly overpriced. That’s not to say you can’t get some pretty great alternatives for this kind of money though, and ever more of them will offer something none of Apple’s laptops do: touch.

For example, the 13-inch version of the Acer Aspire S7 gives you all the specs of the Zenbook Prime including a gorgeous 1080p IPS screen, but also throws in 10-point touch to make the most of Windows 8. Considering it nearly rivals the MacBook Pro for style too, its £1,360-odd price makes it a very interesting alternative.
MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina review 11
And soon it will be joined by a whole bunch of Windows 8 laptops and convertibles offering touch, pressure-sensitive styli, tablet functionality, and potentially far longer battery life. Keep an eye on our Best Windows 8 Laptops, Tablets, Convertibles and PCs Roundup for all the latest.

MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display – Verdict

Apple’s MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display is a worthy smaller sibling to the earlier 15-inch version, bringing the MacBook Pro and Air lines closer together than ever with its gorgeous, sleek chassis. It’s beautifully crafted, offers great ergonomics, and its ‘Retina’ screen is simply superb. Even connectivity is superior to that offered by most ultraportable laptops. However, its battery life is merely on the good side of average; it doesn’t match the power of its other components and that beautiful screen with a decent graphics solution; and its high price means there are plenty of rivals which offer more features – sometimes even for less money. In other words, you probably won’t regret buying it, but make sure an alternative doesn’t suit your needs better.

Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Design 10
  • Screen Quality 10
  • Value 7
  • Features 8
  • Battery Life 7

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’


Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors


Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer


These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3


Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones


It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites


New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money