So a while back I posted about HiDPI and how I just didn’t think the tech was there for it to be feasible. I’m not above saying I was wrong, but I am perversely happy that I was somewhat vindicated by Anandtech’s critique of the graphics performance.
To be quite honest, the hardware in the rMBP isn’t enough to deliver a consistently smooth experience across all applications. At 2880 x 1800 most interactions are smooth but things like zooming windows or scrolling on certain web pages is clearly sub-30fps. At the higher scaled resolutions, since the GPU has to render as much as 9.2MP, even UI performance can be sluggish.
Combine that with the fact that they went from a 77.5Wh battery to a 95Wh, a battery that would potentially provided the “old” 15” Pro with another hour or two of battery life, and it makes me wonder if Apple was more concerned with being “first” to market with a HiDPI laptop than they were with getting it right. A battery life bump, case redesign, graphics bump, chipset and port update, all would have combined to make one powerhouse 15” laptop, enough to easily eclipse the “old” 15” Pro’s performance.
And honestly, 1440x900 in a 15” display, to me, feels as dated as the 1280x800 display in the 13” Macbook Pro, even with Retina clarity. That I can scale the screen to 1680x1050 and/or 1920x1200 is a welcome change, but with the performance and battery life hit, would it really be worth it?
There were many welcome changes that the Retina MBP brought to the table, but the fact that the sheer power of the machine feels handicapped by the HiDPI display far outweighs whatever “Wow” factor the display brings.