Like many, I have been waiting for an update to the MacBook Pro line-up for quite some time. The wait recently ended when Apple announced a new series of MacBook Pro models, with a refreshed design, better performance, the brightest display in a Mac, plus the much talked about Touch Bar with Touch ID.
Here in Australia I recently picked up a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and after using it for some time I wanted to put together this review and video to highlight my favourite additions to give you a further general understanding of what is new.
First, I am going to quickly touch on the design because upon picking it up I certainly felt the difference in how thin it is compared to my previous MacBook, thanks to Apple condensing slimness of the design by a further 14%. Upon opening the MacBook, apart from the seeing the much larger trackpad, new keyboard, and of course the Touch Bar I quickly took notice of what I am going to say is actually one of my favourite improvements – the display.
It might not seem obvious, but the vibrant display by far is one of the best I have set eyes on for a number of reasons. It is 67% brighter, has better contrast meaning deeper blacks and whiter whites – but where this display really gets a tick from me is the colour. The display shows 25% more colours, and it really does become noticeable when doing particular tasks especially, for example when I am doing design work in Adobe applications and editing photos.
Editing photos is where I am going to bring in the Touch Bar as it is one of my favourite ways to use it. The Touch Bar replaces the top row of keys with an interactive touch strip, which adapts and changes depending on the application you are using. It did take a few moments for me to get used to it, but once you do you will use and appreciate it more and more.
When it comes to editing photos I can quickly scroll through my photos, play the Live Photo, favourite it, or edit the photo all with touch. Sure this is entirely achievable by using the trackpad and clicking/sliding buttons, but streamlining these procedures using the Touch Bar felt much quicker, simpler, and quite honestly more fun. My edits then synced automatically to my iPhone since I use iCloud Photo Library (which I wrote about recently.)
There are a number of features that the Touch Bar make seem even more natural and simple – I also appreciate when using Safari being able to swipe between opened tabs or creating a new one, or in Pages where I can quickly format text. In Messages, I can swipe through emojis or even search for a particular emoji (seriously emoji search needs to come to iOS!). Overall, I can see the enormous potential in the Touch Bar, particularly from apps like Adobe Lightroom, Microsoft Word, Final Cut Pro X, and more all of which I will explore in more detail in a future post.
Then there is Touch ID – the secure fingerprint reader that has been on the iPhone and iPad for the last few years. This means I can make secure online purchases from say Apple and The Iconic by using Apple Pay, but I think one of my favourite simple uses for the Touch ID is simply logging into the MacBook by my finger – no more typing in my password!
Lastly, I want to focus on performance and graphics, because after all the MacBook Pro (especially the 15-inch) is highly suitable for those who are going to be using some of the most intensive applications.
I personally use a lot of Adobe applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Lightroom; then there is Final Cut Pro X, CAD Applications, and more. The new MacBook Pro without a doubt provided plenty of performance for the tasks I do, and when playing the graphics-intensive game, Firewatch, not only did it play great, but it has never looked so good thanks to the display.
As a general comment using these tasks is where battery life suffers so I am going to suggest if you are going to do a lot of those tasks – don’t forget the charger. Outside of these tasks such as basic emailing, web browsing, document editing, etc. I generally found the battery life to be pretty close to the promised 10 hours, depending on settings.
Overall, I am happy with the improvements to the new MacBook Pro and I am excited to see how developers start to implement the Touch Bar into their apps. If you are a Pro user I would suggest the 15-inch because of the dedicated graphics – for everyone else the 13-inch is going to be a great option. There is also a 13-inch model with the same design but without the Touch Bar.
You can learn more or buy a MacBook Pro from Apple including Apple online Australia starting at A$2,199, Apple online New Zealand from NZ$2,499, Apple online US from $1,499, etc with free shipping or pickup (in selected countries), and free returns.