December 4, 2016
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The Macbook Pro 2016 Review

This year, Apple finally released the latest in their MacBook Pro line – the MacBook Pro 2016. Is it better than its predecessors?

When it comes to product updates, Apple never fails to wow the market with their newest thing. Updating the MacBook Pro line took longer than expected but now, MacBook fans are ecstatic with the introduction of the new MacBook Pro. It’s the first update the company had in four years and fans are expecting jam-packed features in this new product.

Essentials

The new MacBook Pro comes in three models – a 13-inch and 15-inch model that has the Touch Bar feature, and a 13-inch model without the Touch Bar. All models are lighter than the previous MacBook products with a gorgeous screen to match. With the Retina display, colors are sharper, brighter, and more vibrant.

The base 13-inch model with no Touch Bar introduces you to all the improvements that they made with the MacBook Pro, just minus the Touch Bar (check out our spec list below to compare the three models). It has an all-steel hinge for a better structural integrity, which is an improvement from the plastic hinges of its predecessors which tend to creak after extended use. They also tweaked the keyboard layout just a little bit to maximize space, like how the four arrow keys can now fit into three normal QWERTY keys. This makes more space for a larger Force Touch trackpad.

If you’re wondering if the font on all the keys and even their packaging are different from they’ve been usually using, that’s because Apple has decided to slowly switch from Helvetica Neue to San Francisco.

macbook-pro-inuse

Special Features

Apple has been known to make interesting but controversial choices in their products and the new MacBook Pro is no stranger to this. A common complaint is that it’s not as powerful as users would like even though they’re better than previous iterations if only slightly. It cannot be upgraded and the only ports it has are all USB-C. This has been a cause of frustration by a lot of users who are used to the old ports and must now buy expensive special cords in order to accommodate their devices.

Though this has been Apple’s effort to standardize and simplify their devices because of the multi-functional USB-C, it just seems like a sales ploy to sell more of their products. Still, USB-C is great for having many uses, from data transfer to video output. The only downside is you have to use a different USB adapter to use the USB-C port – these extra wires don’t come with the box.

The Touch Bar is the most notable feature of the MacBook Pro 2016, a feature that Apple is obsessively focusing on in their marketing. This is a thin LCD touchscreen located above the keyboard, replacing the usual Escape and function keys. The touchscreen keys are customizable to fit whatever it is you are doing. It will show different emojis you can use when you’re on iMessage, provide a string of word suggestions if you’re typing, or show your favorites when you’re on an internet browser.

Another feature that doesn’t get enough praise is the Touch ID, which is basically a fingerprint scanner. With this, you can use your fingerprint as your password, confirming your app purchases, shopping on the internet with Apple Pay, and logging on if you have different users using the MacBook Pro. Touch Bar maybe cool and entertaining to have but the Touch ID is definitely more useful.

macbook-pro-touchpad

Performance

The base 13-inch model runs on Intel Core i5 and a processor with a 28-Watt Thermal Design to draw more power into the system. The Touch Bar models are faster of course, and the 15-inch model is the best one in the bunch (if only more expensive, of course), with better graphics and RAM. MacBooks have never been in consideration when it comes to gaming so don’t get it if that’s why you’re getting a new laptop, but at least the new MacBook can definitely multitask so you can open multiple tabs and windows without crashing.

The SSDs are can reach sequential read speeds of up to 3.1 GB/second and write speeds of up to 2.1 GB/second which only goes to show how much they’re outclassing most Windows machines. The new MacBook Pros are very capable and can take any amount of tasks very easily though even heavy video editing will (as with any other laptop out there) make this falter even for a little bit.

As this is supposed to be an improvement from the previous MacBooks, we expect the battery to be at least above par with previous models but this may not be the case. The Touch Bar can be just a little thing to add power to but this new feature can drain your battery incrementally over the course of several hours. During tests that include web surfing and iTunes movie playback, the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar can last up to 9 hours, while the 13-inch model without the Touch Bar can last 11 hours at most.

The speakers provide 58 percent more volume and a louder bass. These speakers are directly connected to the system, which make the MacBook Pro perfect for track mixing, movie playback, and even some video editing when you’re on the go.

Final thoughts

The MacBook Pro 2016 is a fine device with its new tricks and gimmicks and slight improvements. But if they really want the product line to stay true to the “Pro” name, they should probably save the novelties for significant upgrades to their computers and really think about how professionals work and how they could help them. (Although the Touch ID is perhaps its only important notable new feature.) Its price doesn’t justify the new features (which are few) and there aren’t a lot of new things it can offer that are significant improvements of its predecessors.

Specification list

Category 13-inch MacBook Pro 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Operating System macOS Sierra macOS Sierra macOS Sierra
Touch Bar No Touch Bar Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID sensor Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID sensor
Starting price $1,499 $1,799 $2,399
Finish Silver, Space Gray Silver, Space Gray Silver, Space Gray
Display resolution 2560×1600 (227ppi) 2560×1600 (227ppi) 2880×1800 (220ppi)
Processor 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 256GB SSD
Memory 8GB 8GB 16GB
Graphics Intel Graphics 540 Intel Graphics 550 Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, Intel Graphics 530 (automatic graphics switching)
Charging and expansion Two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports Four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports Four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports
Wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Camera 720p FaceTime HD camera 720p FaceTime HD camera 720p FaceTime HD camera
Video Support One 5K display or two 4K displays at 60Hz One 5K display or two 4K displays at 60Hz two 5K displays or four 4K displays at 60Hz
Audio Stereo speakers, two microphones, 3.5 mm headphone jack Stereo speakers, three microphones, 3.5 mm headphone jack Stereo speakers, three microphones, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Battery Up to 10 hours of web surfing, iTunes movie playback, and up to 30 days of standby time Up to 10 hours of web surfing, iTunes movie playback, and up to 30 days of standby time Up to 10 hours of web surfing, iTunes movie playback, and up to 30 days of standby time
Height 0.59 inch (1.49cm) 0.59-inch (1.49cm) 0.61 inch (1.55cm)
Width 11.97 inches (30.41cm) 11.97 inches (30.41cm) 13.75 inches (34.93cm)
Depth 8.36 inches (21.24cm) 8.36 inches (21.24cm) 9.48 inches (24.07cm)
Weight 3.02 pounds (1.37kg) 3.02 pounds (1.37kg) 4.02 pounds (1.83kg)



Price
MacBook Pro 13-inch model without the Touch Bar – AED 5,999
MacBook Pro 13-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID (256GB Storage) – AED 7,199
MacBook Pro 13-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID (512GB Storage) – AED 7,899
MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID (256GB Storage) – AED 9,499
MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID (512GB Storage) – AED 11,099

Design
4 out of 5
Essentials
4 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
Features
3.5 out of 5
Overall

The MacBook Pro 2016 meets Apple's standards for its design and performance. It doesn't buckle under the pressure of various work-related tasks and its essential features are right where we need them. However, its special features are still lacking in significance for a new Apple product.

3.88

Good
3.88 out of 5