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Is the 13″ MacBook Pro Touch Bar Worth It?

2016 MacBook Pro 13″ Touch Bar Review: Worth it?
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When Apple announced the 2016 MacBook Pro I did a video over the top 5 letdowns about the new laptop. I’ve owned the 2016 MacBook Pro for almost 3 months, and I’m here to share my experience and give you an update to those letdowns that I was expecting.

Many people including me were up in arms about the 2016 MacBook Pro being overpriced for what you get. I bought the 13″ Touch Bar Space Gray model with a 2.9 GHz dual-core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, which came out to be right around $2,000

For $250 less, on Amazon you can get a 2016 Dell XPS 13 with a newer generation 3.5 GHz i7 processor, double the amount of RAM, same size SSD, but a higher resolution display that’s also a touch screen.

If you’ve seen my Dell XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro video in which both laptops have Skylake processors, you know that not all user experiences are created equally. But when you’re talking about an exact dollar-to-specification ratio, the 2016 MacBook Pro is certainly overpriced compared to other laptops in its class.

How well does it perform given its seemingly lower specs? The toughest task I perform on my laptop is editing 4K videos. Since I use Final Cut Pro X, which is optimized for MacOS, it can export a 5-minute 4K video in about 4 minutes on the 2016 MacBook Pro. That’s actually pretty impressive. The lack of a dedicated GPU is its biggest hurdle when rendering videos but overall, Final Cut Pro X works well enough for me to use the MacBook Pro as a video editing machine.

As with any other computer with an SSD, normal day to day tasks are handled with ease. Web browsing and office applications are all fast. There’s no lag or stuttering when opening apps or having multiple tabs open in Chrome. The cold bootup time is about 24 seconds which is longer than I expected, but with one of the MacBook Pro’s best new features, Touch ID, getting back into the laptop from sleep mode is instantaneous.

On the GeekBench tests, which measures overall performance, my MacBook Pro scored a 7606. tested two different models of the Kaby Lake Dell XPS 13, with the Core i5 model scoring 7159 and the Core i7 model scoring 7915. That means the 2016 MacBook Pro 13” i5 model falls right in between the i5 and i7 on the Dell XPS 13, which is pretty good since the MacBook Pro has the previous generation CPU.

As for the new features, the 2nd gen butterfly keyboard is extremely nice to type on and the super large trackpad is a dream. It’s way better than any other trackpad I’ve used. Battery life has been kind of average, nothing spectacular. On a normal day for me which includes watching YouTube videos, streaming Spotify, browsing the web, typing documents, it lasts about 7 hours on a full charge.

What about the newest new feature, the touch bar? I called it a gimmick when I first heard about it, and honestly, it pretty much is. It really is just a coolness factor for the most part. Sometimes it is useful in native apps like Final Cut Pro which is nice for me because I use that to edit, but for web browsing I use Chrome, and I’m not going to switch to Safari just because it’s optimized for the Touch Bar. Given that the Touch Bar changes depending on what app is open, it’s not easy to wire your brain to use it.

The other big change is the port selection on the MacBook Pro. It only has USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. No USB-A ports, no SD card slots, no HDMI port, which is kind of a travesty for something labeled as Pro. Out of the box you cannot connect any of your current USB-A devices, or even your latest iPhone which is crazy. If you get the 2016 MacBook Pro, get used to adapters. These USB-C to USB-A adapters are probably a necessity. On the bright side, USB-C with its universal design and incredibly fast transfer speeds is certainly the way of the future and having four USB-C ports will be really convenient when all devices go that route.

So is the 2016 MacBook Pro worth it?

I think you should only consider buying it if you are:
1. Okay with taking adapters along with the laptop wherever you go or if for some reason you don’t need a variety of ports.
2. You absolutely want the Touch Bar and you think you would get use out of it.
3. If you have a high budget and don’t care about the latest and greatest specs.
4. Planning to keep this laptop for 5+ years

If you don’t meet all those conditions but you still want a MacBook Pro, I would suggest looking at a 2015 MacBook Pro instead.


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37 thoughts on “Is the 13″ MacBook Pro Touch Bar Worth It?

  1. Hi , many thanks for your video:) I’m considering buying this device, do you have an opinion on why the touchbar model is so much more expensive than the non-touch bar version?

  2. Hummmmmmmm…..Yes your review goes around in circles. It doesn't take the plunge. It's  shivering next to the pool. A practical demonstration of the touch bar. Not One Egg head has done one.

  3. But its a Dell… good luck with your RMA and customer support if for some reason your M.2 SSD decides to crap out on you.

  4. Hi Andy Slye,
    I would like to buy a MacBook Pro,
    Here in SriLanka 2017 MBP 13' w/touch bar costs $200 over 2016 MBP 13' w/touch bar. Is it wort of affording 2017 over 2016???

  5. thanks for your awesome vid,
    Ive got a quick question, Im on the fence between 2017 13 with touch bar $1800 and 15 with touch bar $2400.
    I will be using Final Cut pro for editing, and all my vid will be less than 10min.
    would it be ok to go with 13inch or go with 15inch?

  6. Great Video, fantastic voice and good walk through, love your videos. I debated the touch bar, ended up with the Macbook 12" instead for what I needed. Generally, look at current machine, get your average storage, considering the cloud services and that's where I came up with the 256gb which is more than enough for me.

  7. Hello. I am a Photographer. I use Photoshop, lightroom, Microsoft word and powerpoint regularly. I also do browsing quite often. I am planning to get a 13 inch macbook pro with touch bar which has 256GB space and 8 gb ram. I am confused with a lot of mixed reviews for this laptop. Would you recommend that laptop to me ? Please help.

  8. Will it be too expensive if I'm going to use it for Netflix,web surfing and Microsoft word?
    I'm wondering if I should get a MacBook 12inch or this one.cuz I heard the 12inch MacBook is too slow

  9. Cold bootup time = 24 seconds, compared to my 11 on my Asus i7 5lb laptop with 1070GTX. BOOOYAH MAC! Geekbecnh was 4500/13,500 which is nearly double your scores, mine was 2k out the door with 1.25 TB storage SSD, 16GB 2400mhz memory, and a REAL I7 7700 Quad Core. You got so ripped off it's funny.

  10. I'm trying to figure out if I should get this one or just a normal MacBook. I have $1960 from my birthday and Christmas so I'm deciding

  11. Its Sh*t. All their macs are sh*t at this point. They need to get their act together and put out macs that aren't 3 years behind the times in terms of specs. Tim cook is the worst CEO apple has ever had. No mac pro in 3 years? Thats ludicrous. This current mac book is actually a step backward from the MacBook I currently use but a lot more expensive.

  12. I really don't care about the whole dongle thing, and this is coming from a PC guy. I wanted to jump into macOS to see what it is like, I will not get the touchbar as I don't see myself using it. I also want something to edit my videos on and Final Cut looks to be the best.

  13. Hi. Great review. I just sold my 2013 iMac and looking at getting a MacBook Pro but can decide on the 2015 model one 128gb 13" which has all the ports already there or the 2016 13" non touch bar one? Also I have a 1tb hardrive with all my music and video edits etc but want to get a LaCie rugged hardrive as it's portable. What would you recommend? Thanks

  14. Thanks for this review of day to day tasks. I was looking for this kind of video for months. So, no lag when you use several apps? Like office + spotify + web browsing + keynote/numbers???

  15. I bought the 13 inch touch bar model but found one online for $300 less than Apple sells it for. I love it! the touch bar isn't all that useful though.

  16. So i'm thinking about purchasing a Mac book pro 13''. But what's all this talk about Kaby Lake? I don't want to buy one and then in a couple of months something better comes along. What to do? Can anyone help? 😮

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