MacBook Pro Retina 2015 : Nice, but not too much
by Serena Cummings
The model A1502 is a MacBook Pro which has a 13-inch Retina display and it was put out on the market in the year 2015. I was looking for a new computer to replace the old white plastic MacBook (from the late ‘00 and precisely 2009) I had because it was really slowing down even if I have upgraded it with an SSHD and more RAM. So through a quick search on the web, I found this offer where they sell a refurbished MacBook Pro with a huge discount of about 25% and some time later I was already doing a total backup of my computer in order to transfer all my data. Now I’m here to talk about it after some months of use.
Battery Life & Charging
Let’s start with a good point: battery lasts, and it lasts a lot. Apple says it can last up to 10 hours of web browsing and my personal experience almost went that far. This MacBook has some not-so-original spare parts like, yeah, the battery (because it’s refurbished) but it bravely made 7 hour and a half off the grid and this is really useful when you have to travel from city to city which means that there aren’t any socket to plug charger in (I live in Italy so make your guess…). The problem is that pushing the Mac a little more like having 4-5 web browser tabs open while listening to music going causes the battery to drop down to little more than 5 hours. What a shame but it’s understandable.
Performance & Design
Switching to the performance talk, this Mac packs a powerful 2,9 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor with a level 3 shared cache of 3 MB alongside 8 GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz SDRAM split into two slots of 4 each. Even if it is still a dual-core processor, it gets things done. I am a graphic designer in my spare time and I can create a poster or edit a short video without crashes or significant slowdowns while doing other operations such as surfing the web or listening to music. Gaming is on another level: the integrated graphic card is, unfortunately, an Intel Iris Graphics 6100 that shares the memory with the system so don’t expect playing games at maximum resolution, but you should play things like League of Legends with no worries. Moreover the 13-inch Retina backlit display provides a Full HD resolution of 2560 x 1600 with 227 ppi and I must say that movies are pretty neat to watch from here (you don’t need any dongle because there is an integrated HDMI port) also because the speakers are good but if you crank it up too much low noises like bass make the computer vibrate so watch out for that.
Strength & Durability
Now we talk about strength. I suggest using a sleeve or some protection like that because computer nowadays gets lighter and lighter and this makes them extremely vulnerable to falls, even the smallest ones. This Mac makes no exception. For example, I got a cover for it (like the ones for iPhones) in order to protect it from light scratches or bumps because the plastic/aluminum unibody surely feels light and smooth but not so resistant. It has worked so far: it survived a pretty rough bike crash during the morning commute and some minor fall when it was inside my bag and I took the bag off my back. Since that, I carry it without worrying too much.
The thing I appreciate the most is its lightness and powerfulness. This Mac weights less than 3.5 pounds like two university books but it’s half thick as them. This makes it perfect for using it on the go whenever I go, even if I am with no electricity because the battery lasts enough, as I said before, to take notes for half a day of lectures. Also the internal 500 GB PCIe flash storage gives me enough space to store all my stuff and projects without relying on a cloud storage service and his SSD makes the Mac work, as Daft Punk would say,(a lot) harder, better, faster and stronger than a normal HDD which is very important for me because I usually have 5/6 tabs open in my web browser running with a video/image editing program and a writing app. Moreover, the glass touchpad feels really smooth to use and has a great feedback which is also customizable depending on your needs. It gives its best when you learn the gestures like the three-finger Mission Control that simplify a lot of common operations such as switching between apps and windows. I can’t do anything without it anymore because it’s so easy and simple.
But, because there is a “but” everywhere, there is one thing I can’t get through: Force Touch. I studied how to use it, I watched videos to see what it does and I tried by myself whenever it was possible it, but it’s no use. It doesn’t feel like something as easy as the touchpad gestures and I still don’t know what is its purpose about the “variable speed controls in multimedia file”. Yes, Force Touch shows Quick Look about files, but nothing I can’t do as quickly as with a spacebar clap. There is another thing that I really hate of this device and it’s the power button. On previous MacBooks, the on/off button was completely different because it was more like a button on the case (like in a desktop computer) than on the keyboard. Now it is the same as the “enter” button: same material, same strength and same resilience and because of this I can never tell when I have pressed it or not. I’m used to turn of the Mac by pressing the power button and clicking to shut down but many times it was shut off forcefully because I didn’t understand I was pressing the button. It’s a big flaw in design and I think I’m not the only one.
We all know there is no perfect computer but to sum up I think this one it’s good and, apart from what I said in the last paragraph, I see that peculiarities and features greatly overcome flaws and imperfections. It has greatly improved my life because its speed grants me the ability to do multiple things at once and since I’m a freelancer I don’t like wasting time waiting for a computer to respond (like everyone I hope) because time is money. I’m really happy this MacBook has come into my hands because I love it and I hope it will last more than the last one. We’re talking about more than 9 years which is a lot for any electronic gadget in the IT world. I surely recommend buying this Mac to all my friends and my readers who like Macs and want to save something while having a powerful machine that can do a lot of things like gaming and graphic design or to who wants to switch from Windows and wants to try a new operative system under their hands. I hope you liked my review and if it helped you let me know in the comments below.
Overall Rating: 8/10