Macbook Pro with Touch Bar: 2-week impressions
So I’ve made the switch in 2017. After using a PC for the last 3 years (Aspire S7, Asus Transformer Chi T300, Alienware 13, Dell XPS 13), I wanted to try out the Macbook Pro with Touch Bar as my main computer.
I’m not really a convert thru-and-thru — I still use a 2013 iMac 27″ at home for the casual video editing and, for about a month, I was using the 12-inch Macbook last year until the motherboard conked out beyond the warranty period.
This time though, the Macbook Pro (late 2016) will be my main machine, both for the usual productivity work and the regular video editing for our YouTube channel.
So, after a couple of weeks of exclusively working on the Macbook Pro with Touch Bar, I’d like to share the things that I really liked about it and the ones I did not like:
Great Build Quality.
Build quality is still Apple’s strongest suit. The entire Macbook line-up has a simple but solid design, outstanding build quality and the attention to detail is impeccable. Nobody else can bend and shape metal like Apple does with the Macbook.
They may no longer claim the thinnest or the fastest laptops in the market but they continue to be revered in terms of design and aesthetics. Without a doubt, the Macbook Pro is the best in terms of build quality.
The 3.0 lb. weight and 14.9mm thin profile is up there in terms of sheer engineering feat.
Apple went to great lengths in order to make the display of their Macbook the best in the market. And it definitely shows.
The 13.3-inch Macbook Pro has a 2560×1600 pixel resolution. It’s very bright, very crisp, and the colors just pop out. I have not seen any other laptop close to the display quality of the Macbook.
Great Keyboard and Trackpad
A good looking, great performing laptop is nothing without a nice set of keyboard and trackpad. With the Macbook Pro, both the keyboard and the trackpad are impressive.
The Macbook Pro uses a second-generation butterfly mechanism that was first introduced in the 12-inch Macbook. This helps reduce the footprint of the laptop yet provides a similar distinct feel. Having gotten used to this type of keyboard in the Macbook 12, the ones in the Macbook Pro is equally good or better.
The same can be said with the trackpad. It’s the largest trackpad I’ve ever seen in a laptop, taking about 40% of the area between the palm rests. It’s responsive, accurate and just the right amount of tactile precision.
Impressive Battery Life
Like many other Macbooks and Macbook Pros before, the new one can handle a lot of juice for an almost all-day workload. I’m getting 8 to 9 hours of battery life most of the time. I think I can even push it beyond 10 hours if I pulled down the brightness to the lowest level and turn on Airplane mode.
When editing videos though, the battery life is cut in half due to all that taxing work-load rendering and playing full HD and 4K videos.
It’s not all heaven in Macbook-land. There are things that I personally did not like though I guess, in time, I might get used to them.
The new Macbook Pro has nothing but 4 Thunderbolt ports. That means all your old peripherals will need a USB Type C adaptor before you can use them.
You’ll have to buy a dongle for the portable USB drive or flash drive. The SD card slot is also gone so you’ll need a dongle for that as well. If you have an iPhone, you also need a dongle if you want to connect it to your Macbook Pro.
Touch Bar is meh!
I must admit — the Touch Bar really intrigued me. So much so that when I decided to get the new Macbook Pro, I went for the one with the Touch Bar despite the Php17k price difference.
After using it for regular productivity work, I did not find anything compelling for it to be there. Even after a couple of video editing with Premiere and After Effects, I found myself not really noticing the Touch Bar.
The Touch ID is another thing though. I like the fact that it can substitute for a password when logging in to my laptop. A few more updates and it should be able to assist me in logging to all my other accounts and websites in the future.
Get this — Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD — all for a whopping Php99,990 (Php83,990 for the one with no Touch Bar). That’s crazy expensive! I bought my Dell XPS 13 (2015 model) for about Php65,000 and that one has a Core i7, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD too. The price difference is like 54% more for the Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s hard to believe the Touch Bar contributed that much to the total cost of the machine.
It’s not for everyone
So, yeah, that should be pretty obvious. The prohibitive price tag alone should keep anyone thinking of upgrading to the new Macbook Pro at bay. If you have money, then by all means. But if you’re looking at a better deal, might as well stick with the older Macbook Pro.