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MacBook Pro with Retina Display — Thoughts from on the Road and at Home

Over the better part of the past decade I’ve used a MacBook Pro for traveling, especially to Yosemite or the White Mountains or Death Valley, and sometimes further, such as the Thelon Wilderness.

Most of those years, the MBP was simply a glorified download station, being useful for little else without internet connectivity, and slow enough that working with big files was not such a great experience.

But in recent years, the capability to use the internet via cell phone personal hot spot has been a godsend, even at 12,000' elevation in the White Mountains (though one needs just the right spot for it to work of course).

It just keeps getting better. Advances with the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display and recent models that matter to me on the road include the following:

  • USB3 port — WAY faster than Firewire 800— bus-powers a small backup drive, such as the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini (the USB3 with SSD model). This really saves me time in backup after some very long days.
  • 16GB memory — the old limit of 8GB really cramped my ability to do certain Photoshop things in the field, 16GB kills that limitation.
  • Retina display — the best display I’ve ever used or seen, at any price. Glare is still there, but it’s as good as any other model I’ve used., and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
  • Speed — the MBB with Retina display is as fast for opening my huge Nikon D800 files as my Mac Pro desktop.

What’s missing? A built-in cell connection so that I don’t need to bother with a phone to connect to the internet. And I wish it would not wake itself up on bumpy roads.

screen burn-in on MacBook Pro Retina display
Taking shelter at 12,000'
Sigma DP1 Merrill

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