When looking for the King of Laptops, you need search no further than The MacBook Pro. Professional or not, everyone knows about this stunning piece of kit and it’s lusted over by those in the know. It’s been no secret that Apple were bringing out their 16-inch version, but the announcement that it’s a complete replacement for the 15-inch came as a shock to industry watchers; there’s now no laptop in the 15-inch category from Apple at all. The tech giant seems to have been listening to what users have been demanding for some time, and the new MacBook Pro is their answer. The changes that have been brought in should take this computer somewhere close to the title of “world’s best laptop” once more, so let’s get into the details and see what’s going on.
Better resolution on a bigger screen
Processor, GPU and RAM storage options upgraded
Keyboard has had a lot of work done on it
Audio has got a good upgrade
A button solely for Touch ID
It’ll either hurt your wallet, beat it to a pulp, or shatter it to pieces
The Touch Bar still isn’t convincing anyone
Not quite so easy to carry round with the extra inch
Connectivity issues with only USB-C available
Make it yours
You can get your hands on the bigger, and better 16-inch MacBook Pro for $2,399 immediately. That price is for the entry level model which still holds its own in the marketplace. You get a 6-core Intel Core i7 process, 16GB of RAM and an SSD with 512GB of storage. The average user should find this model more than enough for their needs; there’s plenty of power and storage so no need to go climbing the price ladder to get something usable.
How’s it looking?
Straight out of the box, you do notice the change in size. It’s not gone huge, but it definitely has a bigger footprint and you’ll be aware of it. Open it up and the display is rather impressive, you get a Retina display that covers the full 16 inches and packs 3072×1920 resolution offering a brightness of 500 nits and a P3 color gamut. Apple has made its name on their bright, colorful displays, and this new laptop lives up to the hype.
Taking a concept that’s not really new, Apple has gone for front facing speakers that sit either side of the keyboard. Not one to stick with the standard though, the six speaker array include Force Feedback-enabled woofers, meaning that this MacBook Pro can produce deep bass-y sounds that don’t cause too much vibration and distortions. It might sound a bit techy, but trust us – the sound is truly amazing.
And the feel?
The biggest bug-bear of so many MacBook users is the keyboard. Listen closely enough and you’ll hear gentle cheers from MacBook users everywhere, heralding the fresh keyboard design on this model. Gone is the bad Butterfly keyboard, and instead you get the all-new Magic Keyboard which has the iMac Pro keyboard to thank for inspiration. The big difference is the switch being used, or the thing that transmits your press into letters on the screen. Now, you shouldn’t find your keys jamming because of dust, truly “magical”. Along with the reliability improvements, you get a good dose of usability; it’s super comfortable to type with.
Add to the keyboard experience, there’s now:
- an escape key
- a separate Touch ID button
- inverted-T directional keys
Cool as all this is, it’s what’s going on underneath the keys with the new scissor system that’s truly impressive. You also retain the large trackpad that Apple is known for and it’s still pretty hefty even when used in conjunction with the bigger screen.
Four individual power cells contribute to the 100 watt-hour battery, pushing power to the limits. For that hardware, you get promises of up to 11 hours of switched on use, a whole hour more than the previous version. What are these limits of which you speak? Well, the US Federal Aviation Administration limits the battery capacity that can get on board planes at 100 watt-hours. Unless they want to start making laptops that can’t fly anywhere and won’t be bought by anyone, they have to sit their batteries at this limit whilst they hope for a rule change or technological advance.
Under the hood
Performance is the key design driver in this 16-inch Pro, and that starts with the thermal architecture. The default version of the laptop has a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, RAM of 16GB, and an SSD of 512GB, which is decent in anyone’s books. You’d have to be pushing things pretty hard to get close to using that 16GB of RAM and the processor will smash through whatever workload you can pump through it.
For daily use, the MacBook Pro is going to give you no problems and all of the power you need. Professionals might want to go for some upgrades, with RAM available up to 64GB and a total SSD capacity of 8TB, you can get a super powerful piece of technology here. Whatever industry you work in, as a professional you’d have no problems getting your job done on the go with this machine.
The bells and whistles
The hardware you can tack onto the starter model is what is going to make the MacBook Pro truly worthy to be named for professionals. For an 8-core, 16-thread Intel Core i9 processor you can upgrade for $300. You can push the RAM as far as 64GB and the storage to a very respectable 8TB.
The top of the top of the MacBook Pro rings the register at $6,099. Yes, it’s a big investment for a laptop, but it’s been designed with professionals in mind and is set to appeal to studios that need the power and capacity and will understand the value held within the pricetag.
Time for sadface
All is not perfect with this new model MacBook Pro. The external port selection is restricted to the Thunderbolt 3, that although super powerful and flexible, isn’t helpful when you need to connect some older stuff or SD cards into your top spec piece of kit. Professionals particularly need to be using lots of pieces of hardware so some flexibility on this front would have been a nice nod to customer satisfaction. As much as it’s an annoyance, no amount of moaning is going to take us back to the pre-Thunderbolt 3 days. Be thankful for small mercies, we still have the headphone jack!
More power, a much better display, a reliable and comfy keyboard, and very respectable speakers give a great first impression of this new MacBook Pro. There has definitely been some listening exercises happening over at Apple HQ and it’s very evident in this laptop. The only thing that would reasonably hold someone back from making the upgrade would be the lack of variety in the ports and the price point. Even with the slight complaints, this 16-inch computer is one of the most promising they have designed in years.