After a four-year wait, Apple finally introduced a refresh to its beloved MacBook Pro lineup.
The new machines come in three models: 13" without the Touch Bar as well as a 13" and 15" with the Touch Bar. Before I go any further, you may be wondering what the heck the Touch Bar is. It's an OLED touchscreen strip that replaces the traditional function row keys. If you're working in a supported program, the Touch Bar will provide you with controls based on that program.
I've been a PC guy ever since I had an interest in computers. I've owned my fair share of PCs but the the last one I had ruined PCs for me. Barely two years after buying it, I was in the market for a new computer again. I wanted a fresh start, so I decided to try a MacBook. I made the $2,200 dive in hopes that this machine will last me six years or more, as opposed to dishing out $700 for a machine that'll last two years. A few weeks in and I have to say I'm impressed. I have an iPhone, so I'm no stranger to the Apple ecosystem. I determined over time that I wanted my files in one place, which can be accomplished by iCloud Drive, as opposed to having them on iCloud as well as Microsoft's OneDrive. Not to mention, MacOS and iOS are just simpler operating systems. Windows 7 was nice. Windows 8, too. But Windows 10? Not so much. And it's great to have a computer that doesn't have annoying, unwanted bloatware installed. Apple installs its highly useful apps that we've grown accustom to and that's it. Below, I detail the good, the not-so good and my bottom line about the new Pros. Take a look.
Build quality is superb, which is what we've come to expect from Apple. The new Pro is completely metal and the silver color is not a smudge magnet. My favorite parts on this machine are undoubtedly the keyboard and trackpad and Touch Bar (pictured right). The keyboard utilizes a second-generation "Butterfly" mechanism that provides a wonderful typing experience. There is no flex with the keyboard, the keys are responsive and have a nice travel to them, providing a seamless typing experience. I'd rate my experience with this keyboard a close second only to an HP laptop I had while in college. The trackpad is ridiculously large, which makes gestures such as scrolling and zooming a whole heck of a lot easier. The Touch Bar is proving itself to be more and more useful with each day.
I also like how I can plug in the charger on either side of my device. That functionality is great for me since I use the Pro both in my bedroom (where I sit near an outlet on the left side) and in the living room (where I sit near an outlet on the right side). In times past, the cord may have had to stretch across my desk to reach its proper slot. Now, charging my device is simpler. Speaking of that, the battery is very good, as expected. I can go about two or three days on a single charge if I do some light browsing, checking email, etc.
The sound quality is phenomenal. I have the volume turned only halfway up and it's plenty loud for me. In fact, it can fill an entire room. Just on half volume. That's pretty dang powerful for a 13" machine. The speakers have been placed on either side of the keyboard as opposed to under the device. Nice touch.
The Not-So Good
I do wish there was some kind of indicator light to show when the device is charging and when it has completed charging. The only thing you get is the classic noise when you plug it in. As with any machine, it can have some hiccups. I experienced one the other night when plugging it in for charging. I had the Mac on sleep mode and, for some reason, it didn't make the little noise to indicate it was charging. It was charging and, no, it wasn't because I had the sound muted either. A simple shut down and reboot fixed it.
The Bottom Line
Apple continues to deliver on its Mac lineup, despite what the critics say. In fact, I don't get some of the boo-hooing from people regarding the new Pros. Much of the "criticism" I've seen has been petty at best. Prime example, the Touch Bar. I prefer having the Touch Bar as opposed to a full touchscreen. My Toshiba had a touchscreen and I barely used it. Despite that, gross-looking, milky smudges started appearing over time. I've used the Touch Bar on several occasions and I have yet to find as much as a fingerprint on it. Another issue being raised with the new Pros is the disposal of traditional ports - USB, SD Card reader, etc. - in support of Thunderbolt 3 ports. That may be a deal breaker for some, but I'm fine with it. I have one USB flash drive that use occasionally so I purchased a dongle for $9 to connect the two devices if needed. Most anything else I utilize iCloud. There have been other "criticisms" - such as no glowing Apple logo and killing off the MagSafe power connectors - but I won't waste my time or yours addressing that nonsense.
I Give It An: A
The new MacBook Pros start at $1,499. Check them out