MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar): Review

Written by: Stephen Sanchez

Tech | Dec 21, 2016

Apple laptop Mac MacBook Pro Tim Cook Touch Bar

Apple's newest "Pro" laptop comes in with two versions: an expensive one, and an even more expensive one.

The MacBook Pro is slimmer than ever before. It has a great display, awesome specs, and even comes in a space gray tint which can rock the world of any Apple fan.

The biggest change Apple has done with the new MacBook Pro is the removal of the function keys.

The ESC button, which used to be where the power button was, is gone. In its place stands the Touch Bar, something that Tim Cook believes will shape the future of laptops.  It is an OLED strip that serves multiple functions based on what application you have on at the moment. When watching a film for instance, you can use the Touch Bar to fast-forward or rewind the video. On Safari, you'll be able to access bookmarks and search bars. In other situations, you can also adjust your laptop's volume and screen brightness.

It's actually pretty fun and intuitive, though it does have its flaws. Sometimes you have to navigate through the Touch Bar just to find that one interface which works for you. Maybe it's the learning curve, but I've been using function keys for so long, with each of them having a solid purpose, that switching to something that changes every time you open a different app can get confusing. Instead of using the trackpad to make one or two easy clicks, you end up spending ten seconds pressing the Touch Bar multiple times in order to get the job done.

As for the trackpad, it's huge! It's so big that you can pretty much discard your mouse. That seems to be what Apple intends to do: to keep things simple and give you less things to carry. The screen has a 500 nits brightness, which makes it really bright. There's also a wider color gamut which is important for visual artists, as they get to see exactly the colors they need.

The keyboard has been redesigned as well, having been built lower. At first glance it looks like it is difficult to type on. I type constantly, it is my bread and butter, and having the right keys is important. Looking at the MacBook Pro's keyboard has left me in an awkward position. The keys are built too low into the laptop and lack that depth and feel when you press them. To my surprise however, the keyboard was also very comfortable and precise. It felt a little off at first because of the keys lack of depth, but so far the keyboard has remained consistently comfortable.  

For the longest time, laptop speakers have been neglected, with most designers assuming that users utilize their earphones all the time. But not everyone likes to use earphones. The MacBook Pro has two stereo speaker grilles between the keyboard, and they are among the loudest I have ever heard in a laptop.

There are also four USB 3.1 Thunderbolt ports on the MacBook Pro's sides. There is no memory card slot and there isn't even a port for other forms of USBs. It isn't just Apple that does this now; other companies have been doing it, too. The HP Spectre, the Acer Swift 7, these are just some of the laptops that have abandoned standard USBs and moved on to Type Cs. These companies are forcing us to adapt to the future. I suppose they believe that if we can afford their devices that demand Type C USBs, then we can easily purchase Type C flash drives as well.

The MacBook Pro has power. It isn't a gaming rig, but it will run a lot of applications such as Photoshop that require a lot of processing power. However, if you don't really do a lot of video and photo editing and are looking for a laptop built for mobility, typing, and browsing, then I suggest going for laptops that cater to that function, like the Acer Swift 7 or a Chromebook. But if you're willing to shell out a few extra bucks for a little more bling, then the MacBook Pro is everything you need.

About the author: Stephen Sanchez

Stephen is the source code of awesome. He loves to tinker with stuff that buzz.

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