I'm most likely getting a new MacBook Pro, but haven't yet decided on Retina or non-Retina. I am currently leaning towards the non-Retina.
I am a college student hoping to get into the Film program, and if I do, I will need a FireWire HDD (all Film students are required to have them), and I understand that only the non-Retina has the FireWire port. I also like the non-Retina's inclusion of an Ethernet port (used to set up wireless routers or in the rare hotels that lack Wi-Fi), audio line-in and line-out ports, and above all else, an optical drive. While I know that there are adapters that can provide the Retina with FireWire, Ethernet, line-in, and line-out connectivity, along with external optical drives, these are extra accessories that I'd have to buy, and would be a bit of a hassle to use (and transport if necessary) instead of having something built in to the laptop.
The Retina, on the other hand, has that amazing display. Unfortunately, I've read that applications that are not Retina-optimized actually look worse on the Retina display. I use many applications that would fall into that category, such as user-created programs and Firefox. I will need to run Windows in Boot Camp, which I've read conflicting reports about the appearance of (though this is prior to Windows 8 support in Boot Camp). The reduction in weight is definitely a plus. The HDMI port is nice, but I don't really see myself using it thanks to Apple TV. I like the stereo microphone system. It has the potential for more memory than the non-Retina (16 GB as opposed to 8 GB), as well as more flash storage (768 GB flash storage as opposed to a 512 GB SSD). The lack of upgradability and more expensive service due to the design is not really an issue; I would just make sure to order the system with excellent specs and purchase AppleCare to avoid the need to pay for potential battery replacements, etc.
I do not have a desktop, so I guess you could say that whatever I get will need to be a desktop replacement, but still portable enough, as I will be taking it with me to class (and elsewhere of course). As a prospective Film student, I will be doing a good deal of video editing (the Film program at my college teaches on Final Cut Pro). Other than that, I will be using it for web browsing, multimedia playback, taking notes in class, homework, and occasionally programming.
Given my usage of the computer, is the display of the Retina model, decrease in size/weight, stereo microphone system, and potentially better specs (more memory and more flash storage) really worth the lack of features that I want (and an increased cost, though that isn't a huge deal)? How much of an issue would I have with applications that aren't Retina-optimized, along with Windows?
Which MacBook Pro is right for me? As I said before, I'm thinking the non-Retina - particularly the 15" model with the antiglare display.