The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display is another of those Apple products that's stirring controversy: is it wildly overpriced, or is it everything you could want from a 13" powerhouse and thus worth the price? It's a little of both. The 13" Retina's biggest competitor is the excellent 15" MacBook Pro with Retina display that came out several months ago. It offers killer specs, a phenomenal display and it's crazy thin and light (0.75" and 3.57 pounds). The 13" Retina has the same ports as the 15": 2 Thunderbolt, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, 3.5mm audio and an SD card slot.
The 13" Retina Mac on the other hand looks a little more pedestrian in terms of specs. For $1,699 you get a dual core full mobile Intel Core i5 CPU clocked at 2.5GHz (not the slower ULV CPU used in Ultrabooks and the MacBook Air). It has a healthy 8 gigs of DDR3 1600MHz RAM soldered on the motherboard and a skimpy 128 gig SSD drive. The optical drive is gone to make the machine so thin and light. Basically, it's a 13" MacBook Pro standard model with a seriously upgraded display and the SSD option. A similarly configured standard 13" MBP would set you back $1,499, and I'd say $200 for the 2560 x 1600 Retina panel is a fair price.
If anything, the 13" Retina display looks even more sharp and stunning than the 15" model. At 227 ppi it's insanely sharp with vibrant colors and excellent contrast. It's an IPS panel, so you get 178 degree viewing angles, and Apple's reduced glare glossy display does effectively reduce but not eliminate reflections (the same is true of the 15" Retina MacBook Pro).
Thanks to the full mobile CPU and SSD, the machine feels very fast even with the base 2.5GHz Core i5. It's certainly a much more powerful machine than the MacBook Air while adding only a half pound of weight. The i5 scored 7376 on Geekbench 2, which is well below the Intel Core i7 quad core 15" Retina Mac score of 12,001 but much better than the 5448 of my 2011 MacBook Air.
For those of you with money to spare and a need for speed and space, you can get this Mac with a stratospheric $2,699 price tag. That nets you a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 dual core (sorry, there's no quad core option) and a spacious 512 gig SSD. For $1999 you can get the i5 with a more usable 256 gig SSD vs. the base model's 128 gig SSD. Sadly there's no dedicated graphics in any 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display configuration, so you're flying with Intel HD 4000 graphics.