It's an Amazing Machine

On more or less of a lark, I ordered a MacBook Retina. I'm very glad I did.

First, the lark... I have 4 running MacBook Pro/Airs and a couple of other running Macs floating around. The physical size difference between my 11" MacBook Air and the new MacBook is trivial. But... I like toys.

The MacBook Retina is a particularly awesome device and it's become my "traveling around town" machine.

The Keyboard

The keyboard is, I suspect, love it or hate it kinda thing.

For me, it's not quite love, but I really like the keyboard. I've been using computer keyboards since my Apple // and have seen keyboards lose travel.

Some people are very particular about keyboards with a lot of travel. Me, not so much.

I'm cool with the MacBook Retina's lack of key travel. The trade-off between travel and key stability is a reasonable one.

The Trackpad

Like keyboards, I use a fair number of pointing devices. My personal favorite is the ThinkPad TrackPoint. I can navigate more quickly and more effectively with the TrackPoint than I can with any other pointing device.

My second favorite is a the Logitech Anywhere MX. It's what I use when I'm at the desk.

The Apple trackpad is the best trackpad of any mobile machine I've used... generically. The trackpad on the MacBook Retina is fine. Is it a little different from the trackpad on my MacBook Pros? Yeah. Does it really matter? No. Does it get the job done effectively, yes.

The Screen

The screen on the MacBook Retina is absolutely beautiful. Compared with my ThinkPad x201s, the MacBook's screen is another world of awesome. The MacBook's screen is better than any other screen from any of my other machines. It's just great.

The Processor

When I'm coding Scala, I need a ton of CPU and RAM. For any of my other coding tasks (Clojure, Go, Python), any modern processor is just fine.

The video processor/GPU in the MacBook Retina is just fine and the display on the MacBook Retina is smoother scrolling/full-screen-transitioning than on my i7 MacBook Pro.

Are there things that are a little laggy on the MacBook Retina compared to my 6 core i7-4930K desktop? Yeah.

Does it really matter? Nope.

The Weight

OMG... even the couple of ounce difference between the MacBook Retina and my 11" MacBook Air is meaningful. Putting aside the Air's craptastic screen, the MacBook Retina feels more solid and just more "Apple-like" than the 11" Air.

And being able to bring a development machine around with me that weighs just a little more than my 1st Gen iPad is totally amazing.


It's most excellent that Apple went with a standard port of charging. Yeah, having 1 USB-C port means I carry a USB-C to USB-A converter with me (a tad more weight and space). On the other hand, being able to charge my MacBook Retina via every USB charger and external battery is really, really a good thing. It even works with a solar panel.

It'll be 6-9 months before the USB add-on vendors fully embrace USB-C and USB-PD, but like most other consumer-focused standards, there will be 20,000 USB-C/USB-PD items on Amazon by January 2016.

I Love It

I am really glad I bought the MacBook Retina. It's a very nice piece of engineering. It works the way I expect it to work (very well). It feels spectacular. I'm cool with the keyboard and trackpad.

All in all, I love the device... I only wish there was a 16GB RAM option...

If you're on the fence about getting a MacBook Retina, get one.