I would be completely lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of buyer’s remorse. The first thing about the Retina Macbook Pro is that it’s expensive. The second thing about it is that it’s a new computer. Getting a new computer is about the most painful thing a developer can do, since something is very likely to go wrong in the migration.

That feeling left long before I had the chance to put the laptop back in the box and drive to the Apple store.

It is impossible to describe (or take screenshots) of how good the screen looks. Every piece of text looks as good as it does on an iPhone 4. The fonts are physically tiny, but more legible than they are on a normal monitor.

This amazing display comes with a hidden cost. Once you see this screen, every monitor and other non-retina device is impossible to look at. The low fidelity of other displays is just painful. Every glance at another display is a reminder of money sunk on a now inferior product.

The other drawback of the screen is how some apps are rendered. All the Apple apps look amazing, as does anything else using the default mac font rendering. Causing some difficulty for me, both of my primary browsers, Chrome and Firefox, use their own text rendering. The results are stark:

Text in Firefox

Text in Safari

Beyond the screen appearance, the machine is blazing fast. In our informal, but real-world applicable benchmark at work, the MacBook Pro Retina beat my co-worker’s Mac Pro tower by 33%. Unlike previous generations of MacBook Pro’s, the speed does not appear to include overheating or burned palms. Although it has been warmer than usual both outside and in the house, the machine has stayed at a sensible and comfortable temperature.

Beyond the need to upgrade or throwout every other monitor, the only other “drawbacks” are the weight and form-factor of the machine. I love the structure of the MacBook Pro. I find that the wedge and the extremely thin front panel gives the machine a supremely comfortable typing position. The flat surface of the MacBook Pro’s add a small level of discomfort and I occasionally find the sharp forward edge biting into my wrist.

The computer is lighter and thinner than the traditional MacBook Pro, but not by much. I really hate carrying extra weight (hence the continuing insistence on doing java development on a MacBook Air) so this was a huge annoyance. Unlike the Air, you know this machine is in your bag.

Of course, these are very minor nit-picks for what is an amazing machine. I spend far too many hours looking at the screen a day and having something this good to stare at is completely worth the tradeoffs.