New MacBook Pro 2016 with Touchbar: A Winner
By Jim Lundy
We just received two new MacBook Pros for two Aragon employees, including yours truly. Reviews of the new machines have been mixed, partially because expectations were so high.
There are tons of articles including one from Consumer Reports that are not recommending the newly redesigned MacBook Pro from Apple. Rest assured, after firing up the new unit, I can safely say that it is a very solid machine, well worth the purchase price.
13″ MacBook Pro: Full Configuration
The new MacBook Pro configuration we chose is a 13″ with i7 processor, 16GB ram, and 512GB of solid state storage. First, we normally run our Macs for three to four years before replacing them, and the unit I still have is a 2012 Pro that still works very well, but is in getting the aging battery replaced ($199 replacement fee).
The new MacBook Pro laptop is easy to install (I migrated my old desktop from TimeMachine). It is very fast and the keyboard is more responsive and has a better overall touch and feel than my old unit. The battery seems to be fine. Running it this morning for several hours at full brightness, it still has plenty of battery life left.
Overall first impressions:
- Very Fast: The machine is extremely fast on every thing it does.
- Touchbar Is Cool: It is intuitive and it knows what you are doing and changes proactively.
- Touch ID: Is identical to the iPhone and iPad Touch ID. It was easier to setup than my iPhone 6S and it makes logins fast.
- Siri: On this Mac, is also super fast and responsive. I’m using it more than I have on my old machine.
- Power Cable: Is smaller and lighter.
So far, battery life has not been an issue. I used the machine for several hours this morning and still had 67% battery life left. I’ll note that I’m usually at max brightness. There have been many complaints about battery life and we will see if Apple discovers any sort of software or driver issues that affect battery life.
One thing that will impact battery life on Macs is Google Chrome. You are better off with Safari if you are disconnected from power often. That said, for Chrome diehards, this article details how to tell which Google Chrome tabs are killing your battery.
USB-C and Connectors
I can confirm that you will need new connectors for connecting displays, iOS devices, etc. One thing I like about the new power cord is that the thick power cord cable is gone. So, for me, that means a smaller cable to travel with, which is a plus.
Apple provides a nice overview of the new USB-C Ports and what they support on the new late 2016 MacBook Pros. Note that data transfer speeds are way up: Thunderbolt data transfers at up to 40Gbps and USB data transfers at up to 10Gbps.
Our Take: MacBook Pro with Touchbar Is a Winner
Overall, the new MacBook Pro with Touchbar isn’t revolutionary, but if you have an older MacBook and are thinking of upgrading, this is a no brainer. The machines are faster and the keyboard is outstanding. It still offers the familiar feel of the MacBook Pro you are used to, but it is more powerful.
Just as with high end cars, small tweaks in newer models make a difference. The Apple MacBook Pro has many competitors, but is still the most productive business laptop on the market.