Raise the stakes.
Apple’s MacBook Pro line finally got an upgrade earlier this year and offered a bunch of new features that got users either excited or raised their eyebrows. The Touch Bar is the defining highlight of the new MacBook Pro. It’s basically a small touchscreen that replaces the function keys located on top of the keyboard. The Touch Bar changes functions depending on what program is open, and can even offer an alternate way for you to browse files or use your computer overall.
There are three new models for the MacBook Pro. One is a 13-inch version without the Touch Bar and another is a 13-inch and 15-inch model that includes the Touch Bar. For the duration of the review we will be focusing on the top-tier 15-inch model.
In addition to the Touch Bar, the new MacBook Pro mostly got various design changes over the last generation. It’s slimmer and lighter than the previous MacBook Pro despite the large screen size. The keyboard carries over the butterfly design we’ve seen from the MacBook, though I still find it hard adjusting to the new keys. The trackpad is still pressure-sensitive, but is now larger and occupies space as much as the keyboard.
This new MacBook Pro has dropped all of its legacy ports in favor of the new USB-C connector that works with both data transfers, displays and for charging. While it’s a big step towards moving to a unified form of connection, that would mean that either you have all your devices connect using USB-C or bear the added cost of buying dongles, which I’m sure you won’t like.
That may be one of the biggest drawbacks of the new MacBook Pro. I don’t mind moving to USB-C, but Apple could have at least retained a USB or HDMI port. I find it funny though that they bravely removed the 3.5 mm audio port on the iPhone 7 but it’s present here on the MacBook Pro.
The 15.4-inch display supports a 2880-by-1800 pixel resolution, which now uses the P3 color spectrum for better and more accurate colors. This is where Apple’s notebook still shines, it brilliantly displays colors the best way possible with minimal reflection and stands as one of the best screens I’ve seen on a notebook. It’s thinner too, and Apple has to sacrifice the glowing Apple logo (which has been a staple feature of all MacBooks) in favor of a shiny metal one.
Which brings us to the main feature of the MacBook Pro: the Touch Bar. The small strip of touchscreen placed on top of the physical keyboard gives you more options depending on what app is open. Think if it as an extra menu bar that offers more functions that you may (or may not) need.
And that may be one of the MacBook Pro’s cons: the Touch Bar is revolutionary that’s for sure, but not all apps support the new feature and at during the past weeks that I’ve spent with it, I’ve hardly ever used it.
Much like how 3D Touch is on the iPhone, the Touch Bar will get better over time, but at its current state, it feels more like a feature that I won’t really be using.
This MacBook Pro also incorporates Touch ID situated at the right end of the Touch Bar. It works just like how it is on the iPhone, though most of the time I just end up typing the password myself instead of simply using my fingerprint to log in.
With its current specifications, this MacBook Pro can handle pretty much all the ‘pro’ tasks you give it. RAM maxes out at 16 GB, which again wasn’t well-received by some users. But despite that, MacOS Sierra ran without hiccups in the weeks that I have been using it.
Battery life is advertised to last for about 10 hours though results that I’ve gotten while using it is mostly hit and miss. There are times when I would get through the whole day without charging but there are times when I would find myself looking for a charger even after only a couple of hours of usage. Note that my usage was mostly restricted to using Pages and replying to emails. Apple already acknowledged the battery drain issues, so I’m sure it would be rectified in the future software update.
The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar still wows in performance, but at its current state the cons outweigh the pros (especially if you consider how much it costs) – to which we can only give a limited recommendation.