Force Touch tweak: Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

All’s well that Haswell?


Point scoring

Using BootCamp to run Windows 8 allowed me to install the PCMark 8 benchmark software, the MacBook Pro reported scores of 3025 and 2960 in the Home and Work test suites. Those are solid enough mid-range scores, but not particularly impressive for a laptop costing well over £1,500.

Incidentally, Windows 7 is no longer supported by BootCamp on the MacBook range, but iMacs still run it or you can resort to a virtual machine from the likes of Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, if it’s really needed.

Apple MacBook Pro 15-in WRD mid-2015 PCMark 8 benchmarks

Running Windows 8 with Boot Camp: Futuremark PCMark 8 benchmark results

The main highlight here is the performance of the integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics, which reported a casual gaming score of 49fps – a full 20fps ahead of the Iris 6100 in the Broadwell-based 13-inch MacBook Pro. That performance was backed up by the Mac version of Batman: Arkham City, which managed a smoothly playable 40fps when running at 1650x1050 with medium graphics settings.

Even so, a workstation-level laptop in this price range really ought to include a discrete GPU for high-end graphics applications as a standard feature – rather than an optional extra costing another £400. The MacBook Pro does offer good battery life, though, lasting for a full five hours when running PCMark 8’s battery test, and only falling 10 minutes short of eight hours when streaming video on the BBC iPlayer.

Apple MacBook Pro 15-in WRD mid-2015

Long in the tooth or just missing the next-gen chip factor?

The Reg Verdict

With so little changing in this year’s model, the 15-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display is starting to look a little dated and overpriced. That might be partly due to Intel’s tardy delivery of next-gen Broadwell chips, but last year’s MacBook Pro updates managed to provide a small speedbump along with a £100 price cut to sweeten the pill.

All you get this year is a faster SSD and a fancy trackpad, so Apple will need to revisit its 15-inch workhorse pretty soon if it wants to keep up with the rest of the pack. ®

Apple MacBook Pro 15-in WRD mid-2015

Force Touch tweak: Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Slimline business laptop weighing 2kg with 2.2GHz quad-core Haswell i7-4770HQ, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics
Price: £1599 RRP

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