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MacBook Pro with Retina display 15-inch (2013) Review - Keyboard, Touch Pad & Verdict Review

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The keyboard and touch pad setup on MacBook’s hasn’t changed much recently, which is no surprise given how good they both are.

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The keyboard has a good layout and nice, responsive but slightly soft feeling keys. It’s easy to pick up a good head of typing speed, and the keys aren’t noisy enough to disturb anyone nearby.

The huge, multi-touch touch pad, meanwhile, remains one of the MacBook’s least talked about unique selling points. Its much imitated, but we’ve yet to see a Windows laptop that really succeeds to the same level. Its glass finish is effortlessly smooth and the integration of multi-touch gestures with Mac OS makes it genuinely useful.

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The built-in speakers on the MacBook Pro are pretty decent. They don’t have a huge amount of bass, but the mid-range is solid and reasonably price and there’s no distortion even at high volumes. They’re more than good enough for watching video and some casual music listening.

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Is the 15-inch MacBook Pro a powerful yet surprisingly portable laptop? Yes. Does it last much longer than any other laptop in its class? Yes. But does that mean you should buy one? In the right circumstances, yes, but it’s not a simple argument.

We love the design, the battery life and the screen… what’s not to love about the screen? But then the graphics performance is mediocre for the money you’re spending, and that’s with the Intel Iris Pro graphics and dedicated graphics working together — cheaper version just have the Intel variety. This doesn’t make it a great desktop replacement if you want to play games, but that isn’t such a big deal if you’re more interested in doing video and graphics work using GPU acceleration and need the portability.

If you’re in the latter camp then the MacBook Pro remains a very good choice. Nothing can rival it for power and portability in one, even if it comes with a chunky price tag attached. For that reason alone we recommend it, but you have to need what it provides to make it worth it, if you don’t then the Macbook Air is a cheaper and lighter alternative.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is one of the more specialist items in Apple’s product lineup. It’s not good value and it’s no good for games, but the performance, battery life and relative portability is hard to argue with.

Next, read why we think an iPad Pro is the future of the iPad

Trusted Score

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Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Keyboard 9
  • Design 10
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Build Quality 10
  • Value 5
  • Touchpad 10
  • Heat & Noise 9
  • Battery Life 9

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