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. LaptopMag.com 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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