13″ Retina Macbook Pro Review

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About three months ago, i was sick of my old HP Elitebook slowing me down at work. So i searched for a high end Windows 8 ultrabook that matches my expectations. So basically a non-existend device.

My criteria

  • Beautiful 13″ screen
  • 1920×1080 resolution or higher
  •  thin and light
  • a design i’d like
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 SSD
  • Reliable battery life and performance
  • good trackpad and keyboard
  • no stupid problems like poor build-quality, too much heat, too loud or what else a cheap Acer laptops can annoy you with

The only ultrabook that came close, was the Asus Zenbook Prime. A beautiful beast with a 4GB weakness. After searching for 3 weeks, i made a snap decision and ordered a 13″ Retina Macbook Pro from Apple. I mean, it has the best trackpad, a nice keyboard, a beautiful high-res screen, a stunning design and the specs are also good. So – why not? Because i never used OSX and i seriously didn’t want to get sucked into Apples ecosystem? Yes, but i did it anyway. So there i was. 1705€ lighter. Oh god…

A few days later i got it. Unpacking it was like unwrapping Heidi Klum from a black Versace dress. Such a beautiful device. Especially compared to my old Bud Spencer of a laptop.

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I fired it up and forgot all about the 1705€ i just spent. As most bloggers, journalists, designers, musicians and all the hipsters use OSX, i thought it can’t be that bad. And it wasn’t. It was actually pretty good in most things. The trackpad gestures were just a joy compared to Windows. But i came across some little annoyances. For example multi-monitor support. Or options i needed that are burried somewhere in the system like they’re a treasure and i need to earn the right to use it by digging until my hands fall off. Software for OSX is mostly very good designed but sadly, most of them cost money. Most of the other stuff you do every day works just fine.

But then… i noticed one very critical thing that made me use ebay for the first time in 5 years: lags.

You should know, i’m allergic to lags. If a system (PC, ultrabook, phone, whatever) is slower than me – especially at work – i’m getting all frustrated. Devices that slow me down while i work are the wrong devices for me. So how did a 1705€ premium device like the Retina Macbook Pro lag? Simple: OSX doesn’t support high resolutions very well.

I maxed out the resolution in the settings as that was one of the main reasons i bought the rMBP. I love working above Full HD. Anyway, with the resolution set the highest, the UI started lagging. More importantly, the browsers, especially Chrome, started lagging while scrolling. And i don’t mean a little lag. I mean a diashow. If i had a cent for every frame i saw scrolling through Twitter, i’d have 3 cents.

Now before all the fanboys start shouting at me: no, it’s not because of the HD4000 integrated Intel Graphics. My old tank of a laptop got an HD4000 as well. If i plug an 2560×1440 resolution screen via DisplayPort into the thing, everything runs smooth on an even higher resolution than the Macbook runs on (highest possible resolution available in OSX). Ergo, the problem is OSX, not the graphics chip. I searched a LOT to fix this and ended up waiting for WWDC 2013 to see if Apple adresses this. And yes, they do apparently. At least, they say they do with the Mavericks update coming this fall. But this fall i’d also get super high res Windows 8 ultrabooks with Haswell and Touchscreens – which sounds like a much better deal. So what now? That’s right, i tried to resell the thing on eBay. Why? Why not wait? Because i can’t work with lags for half a year. In addition, i expect more from a premium device that sells at a premium price and advertises high resolution screens.

Sadly, 1200€ was the auction winning price. I’m not going to lose 500€ for 6 weeks of using this thing. Not gonna happen. So what now? Windows 8.1 Beta Release!

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“Oh no he didn’t…” Ohhh but he did! I’m running the best OS on the best hardware out there. Granted, there are issues. Trackpad and keyboard are not as good as on native OSX/Windows machines, but hey – at least i have no lags what so ever on a 2560×1440 resolution. This defenitely is the fastest and best laptop i’ve ever used. Beautiful, reliable, and again – blazingly fast.

So would i recommend the 13″ Retina Macbook Pro? No. Not yet. Not now. Wait for the Mavericks update and the Haswell refresh with better battery life. Then, OSX will be much much better. And if you’re in the Windows camp, you should also hold off as OEMs finally catch up to Apples hardware. You can expect some beautiful devices this fall. Most notably the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus (horrible name) and the 2nd Generation Surface Pro.

Never, ever, buy an Acer laptop.

My first Kickstarter: Ghost

About 20 days ago, i saw the Kickstarter-campaign for Ghost – a new blogging-platform. I read everything i could find about Ghost and at the end, i was so excited about the platform that i bought a macbook pro registered on Kickstarter and backed the project on VIP-level. I encourage every Blogger who wants some fresh air outside or WordPress to back the project.

Ghost is a platform dedicated to one thing: Publishing. It’s beautifully designed, completely customiseable and completely Open Source. Ghost allows you to write and publish your own blog, giving you the tools to make it easy and even (gasp) fun to do. It’s simple, elegant, and designed so that you can spend less time messing with making your blog work – and more time blogging.

As i backed it on VIP-level i get early access to the platform. I will build my theme over there and start a second blog. Once the platform is matured, i’d switch completely. At least that’s the plan. Anyway, all bloggers should check out the campaign and help Ghost to reach their stretch goal.

WhatsApp Redesign [Concept]

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Jeder von euch kennt WhatsApp. Was vielleicht nicht jedem klar ist, ist das WhatsApp eigentlich scheiße ist. Die Apps, das Design… ich sag sogar das WhatsApp-Team. Die Konkurrenz ist weit, weit besser aber WhatsApp genießt nunmal den Standard-Messenger-Status auf Smartphones. Und warum sind alle bei WhatsApp? Weil alle bei WhatsApp sind. Deshalb sollte sich das Team von WhatsApp mal dieses Konzept anschauen, denn so muss die App aussehen! Und wenn die iOS App dann redesigned wurde, dann wird gefälligst die Windows Phone 8 App neu gemacht. Design UND Funktionalität. Bitte.

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MYO – Muskelkontrollierte Gadgets (omg)

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Motion-Control ist seit Kinect ja ziemlich In geworden. Während Kinect aber eher für Full-Body Motions ist, ist sowas wie Leap Motion eher für die feinen Gestures direkt am PC. Einzelne Fingerbewegungen und solche Geschichten. Ein anderes – und meiner Meinung nach besseres – Konzept hat MYO. Sie verzichten auf Kameras, und tracken deine Muskelbewegungen, mit denen du dann deine Gadgets kontrollieren kannst. Ist das der Hammer oder was?

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Apple iWatch kommt dieses Jahr

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Tja nun hats die Uhr wohl doch vor dem Fernseher geschafft. Laut den – bisher sehr zuverlässigen – Quellen von The Verge und Bloomberg, kommt Ende diesen Jahres die iWatch raus. iOS wurde bereits angepasst aber Battery-Life is anscheinend noch scheiße – hält wohl nur so 2 Tage von angestrebten 5 Tagen.

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Google Glass Interface | How does it feel?

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Google hat wieder ein neues Video vom Project Glass veröffentlicht. Diesmal sieht man die Nummer in Real-Life-Action. Außerdem kann man – wenn man in den USA wohnt – ein paar dieser Teile gewinnen. So wie ich das verstanden habe, darf der Gewinner dann eine der Brillen für $1500 kaufen – ich kann mich auch irren. Sieht jedenfalls sehr aufregend aus!

(weiterlesen …)

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