MacBook Pro 15" late 2016 review. The Professional Portable.
(we review the high end 2.7Ghz with 512GB Ram and AMD Radeon 455 gfx card)
Apple just launched all new MacBook Pro's. Two different 13" models and one 15". One of the 13" lacks the touchbar and have slower processors. The other comes with a touchbar and has better cpu's, as well as twice the amount of ports, 4 USB-C. In this review we focus on the 15" although most of it applies to the 13" Touchbar model.
Many reviewers complains that these MacBooks are not professional anymore since they lack standard usb ports and SD-card reader. I dont agree. This progress started many years ago. Apple has always been about compromises. You need all different ports including removable battery and docking station, buy something else. My previous dream MacBook Pro was the 17" MacBook Pro 17" from 2011. What a professional computer that was. But what made it professional? The Express 3/4 port that I never used? No, to me it was the standard Gigabit Ethernet port and the matte screen. In my world most professionals use Ethernet in their daily life since they work with large files and they need the best performance and reliability working on network shares. They also like to user their computer in different light scenarios. I was going to say it also came with a DVI port and DVI to VGA adapter but I was totally wrong. It came with thunderbolt and required an adapter to connect to an external display.
Back to the MacBook 2016 review. My point is that Apple has not been selling a "complete" computer for many years regards to connectivity required by professionals. With the older MacBook Pro's two thunderbolt dongles (DVI and Ethernet) as well as charging power where foten required. With this new MacBook and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 display or USB-C Hub/dock we can connect all our equipment including networking and charging with just one cable. We will get back with that as soon as we get our hands on either a LG USB-C display or a USB-C hub/dock with the necessary ports.
How is this new computer to use? It's simply amazing. It's just a little bit larger than the MacBook Air 13". The screen is fantastic. It really shows your pictures with extra punch and clarity. I just calibrated it and made a display quality control with an X-Rite Eye1 Pro. It wasn't as good as a proper Eizo Display made for grafix work in Photoshop all day, but it is good. Full report can be downloaded here -->
Interestingly this is what Apple calls a wide gamut display. Apple has set up an interesting test web page where you can test your own display. This example will work on newer Apple devices like the iPhone 7, iPad pro 9.7" and the latest iMac retina as well as all of the new MacBook Pro's. Link here -->
The speakers are really great for a portable computer. Watching videos is really working great on this and doesnt require use of external speakers.
The keys are of a different type than on the older MacBook Pro's. The first thing I can say is that after using this keyboard for a few hours, the older keyboards feel much worse in quality. With the older keyboards it was necessary to press more or less exactly in the middle of the keys. Now I just press the keys and my mind dont have to focus on pressing in the middle. Using an older MacBook Pro keyboard after this feels just cheap. This is the same quality difference in feel that the older iPhones touch id button have compared with the iPhone 7. If it was one thing that disturbed me with the previous MacBook's, it was the keyboards. It sometimes felt like the keys where not in place fully and would break loose any time. I rate this as the best keyboard I have tried. Couple this with the touch id sensor which improves security and ease your every day life and we have a proper winner. It helps the professionals use a more complicated password.
Bad news, the Photo app can still hog down the system so it feels really unresponsive at times. Other than that it works really well. Some reviewers complain these lacks performance since the ship with "only" 16GB ram and doesn't have the latest CPU, ie Kaby Lake. Today practical performance is not measured on only which cpu and how much ram you have. Instead disk speed is what matters most, or should I say storage speed. Apple has for many years realized this and are more or less alone in using PCIe ssd's. This year we have yet faster connection to the ssd storage which proves itself in benchmarking. Other manufacturers are still using regular SATA ssd drives which severly limits their practical performance. I wonder when Microsoft sees this as well and starts to produce regular laptops?
If we now have the touchbar to display stuff on, why do volume and display brightness need to show up on the main screen? Especially frustrating when watching full screen videos and I need to lower the volume.
You need to replace your USB stuff or get adapters for it as well as a SD-Card reader if you use that. Quite obvious if just looking at the specs.
The lack of magsafe, now someone can make the laptop fall to the floor by tripping on the charge cable. This is not good.
The so called palm rejection on the track pad is not always working as expected. Sometimes I just click on it and it is registers a touch with two fingers which in my case is the same as right click.
Everything keychain related seems to be much slower now, possibly because the touch id sensor needs to respond first.
If you like a portable computer with the best practical performance you can get out of your applications get this one. If you like the best looking laptop, look no further.