Review: 2016 MacBook Pro - Introducing The Touch Bar, New Features & More

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros are known to be thin, fast & quite expensive but the innovative new touch bar has raised the bar much higher making these devices much more delightful to use. For all the complexity that the Touch Bar is capable of, its simplest uses are often its best. There’s an emoji button when you’re typing that lets you swipe through the entire library of icons!

The 2016 MacBook Pro however comes with a thinner, sleeker case which in turn demands a new, lower-travel keyboard, a new venting system, and even a much smaller battery. The new Touch Bar is an OLED strip that’s tempting to call a display, but Apple wants developers and users to think of it as an input device, not a display. The Touch Bar also has Touch ID, which lets you log into your Mac, authenticate Apple Pay transactions in Safari, and authorize purchases in the iTunes and App Stores without having to type your password. Below are some other features of the 2016 MacBook Pro:

Performance & Battery Life: With a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, the 2016 MacBook Pro is a multitasking monster! The MacBook Pro turned in a scorching 13,215 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test, trouncing the Surface Book (7,559) and our 6,518 category average.

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macbook-pro-performanceGraphics & Display: The display is also a step up from the old Pro display; it’s much brighter and noticeably more vibrant. Also worth noting is that the 15-inch MacBook Pro can drive two 5K external displays, plus the 2880×1800 built-in display, and still have ports for two external Thunderbolt RAID arrays. MacBook Pro features discrete AMD Radeon Pro 455 graphics, making it ideal for video editing, design work and some light gaming. The notebook ran racing game Dirt 3 at full HD at a silky 60 frames per second, nearly doubling our 32-fps mainstream notebook average while trailing the Nvidia GTX 965M-powered Surface Book (117 fps)

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Ports & Audio: The notebook’s only ports are a headphone jack and 4 USB-C Thunderbolt connections — there isn’t a single traditional USB 2.0 port or even an SD card slot. While this helps keep the Pro both thin and future-proof, it also means that using older accessories will be a pain. Apple explained that since they are connected right to the battery with no transformer between them, the speakers can get twice the peak power—and you can really hear the difference. Music sounds great when you turn the volume all the way up, and the speakers are powerful enough to provide satisfying sound while watching movies, TV, and sports.

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Software: The 2016 MacBook Pro runs on the latest macOS Sierra software, which adds some handy features to Apple’s strong software suite and clean, bloat-free interface. The MacBook finally utilizes Siri, which allows users to visit websites, check the weather, initiate text messages and activate iTunes all with my voice.

macbok2016Webcam, Heat, Other Configurations & Price: As on any MacBook, you can play with a variety of fun filters and backgrounds via the Photo Booth app. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video, the notebook’s touchpad, keyboard and underside measured in at 81, 88.5 and 89 degrees, respectively. All of those temperatures are under our 95-degree comfort threshold. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $2,399 and packs a 2.6-GHz Core i7 processor, a 256GB PCIe SSD, Radeon Pro 450 graphics and four USB-C ports. The higher-end Touch Bar model which features a 2.7-GHz Core i7 processor, a bigger 512GB PCIe SSD and Radeon Pro 455 graphics costs about $2,799.

The Pros: Innovative Touch Bar; Spacious Trackpad; Gorgeous, slim design; Rich Retina display; Strong overall performance; Fast performance, especially the disk speeds, Snappy keyboard, Impressive audio quality.

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The Cons: Lacks SD card slot, traditional USB ports; Expensive with the Touch Bar, Easy to accidentally hit the Touch Bar instead of the Delete key, No more MagSafe.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Quality
80 %
Performance
85 %
Display
85 %
Ports
70 %
Battery Life
75 %
Price
70 %
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