This week, Apple finally brought out its latest generation of MacBook Pro laptops, replete with new, fourth generation Haswell CPUs, Intel’s Crystalwell chips, Iris Pro graphics – there’s a lot of new tech. And it all sits beneath a dazzling ultra high resolution display.
The Retina-class MacBooks have only been around for about a year. Before that, the MacBook Pros had much lower resolution displays, with the 13-inch model stuck with a 1280×800 panel, and the 15-inch not that much better at 1440×900 (if you didn’t pay extra for the 1680×1050 screen, that is).
And one of those models is still around. Despite the new generation, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still prominently featured on Apple’s website. More than that, it’s the best-selling Apple laptop sold at Amazon and other retailers – some say it’s their best-selling laptop, period, but it’s hard to know for sure.
Which brings us to the point of this column. For the love of God, do not buy that computer.
Let’s take a look at their specs:
On the surface, they look similar. Both have a mid-2GHz, dual-core, Intel Core i5 CPU. 4GB of RAM. But that’s where the similarities really end. The FatBook Pro has a last-generation Core i5; while the Retina-equipped model has two hot new Haswell cores. Speaking computationally, there’s not a huge gap in performance between the two, but the awesome new power saving features in the chip are a big reason why the computer on the right gets 9 hours of battery life, while the one on the left gets less.
The Iris graphics, however, are up to fifty percent faster in some instances, and the storage – well, the new MacBooks have a PCIe-based solid state drive that could be 5 to 10 times quicker. Quicker boot times, quicker application launches, quicker everything.
But the real draw to the new MacBooks? It’s the screen. While there are a few PC companies stepping up to the game, it’s still a gorgeous display, and it makes the 1280×800 panel left in the FatBook look like a netbook screen in comparison.
As for why we called it the FatBook, well, the specs speak for themselves. It’s more than a pound heaver than the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. It’s even heavier than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. It’s also 30% thicker.
All that, for what? An optical drive? You don’t need it.
I know, you think you do, but you don’t. One of the big reasons why the FatBook Pro is such a big seller is because many people think that they need an optical drive – and then study after study has shown that they don’t get used.
So please, do yourself a favor, and don’t buy the 13-inch FatBook Pro. For $100 more, you get all the advantages of the new generation, and if you want to spend a little less, there are PC alternatives that will do a better job of meeting your needs.