Home / Gadgets / Apple MacBook Pro Review (2019, 16-inch): Back to the form

Apple MacBook Pro Review (2019, 16-inch): Back to the form

I have not a lot of bad things to say about Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro. In my month of using it, I've found that it's well known and, above all, reliable. This is crucial considering that people who have used MacBooks in the last few years can not quite say the same thing.

All products have problems, but in recent years, MacBooks are suffering from a plague. If it's not the keyboard, it's power throttling or even potentially dangerous batteries. The media's attention to these issues has been omnipresent, and Apple has used enough leverage in the press to apologize for this reworked MacBook.

It's a very good excuse and with $ 2,399 and more a very expensive one. But instead of relying on a radically new design, the new MacBook Pro plays it safe, adds small improvements and fixes the big issues. That may make it a bit boring, but could be just what Apple needs after years of dropouts.

A new keyboard

From broken buttons that pop up to buttons that do not register at all, we all have had complaints since the introduction of the new "Butterfly Switch" by Apple in 201

5 on MacBook keyboards. Apple's desire to make the laptops thinner and lighter ended with a mechanism that allowed fewer key strokes – the amount each key moves when pressed down – via a traditional, bulkier, pincer switch system. Apple's design took up less space, but it accidentally made the keyboard prone to errors.

Buttons could become unusable if you were unlucky enough to dust particles – dust particles! – to have under the keycaps. It took a while for Apple to recognize the problem and introduce a repair policy, even though the company claimed the problem was only a "small percentage" of MacBook owners. Apple finally improved the butterfly mechanism with a slight tweak, but the company's reputation was damaged.

Apple said it had done "extensive research and user studies" in recent years to influence the design of its next keyboard, until it became clear that it already had a great design: the Magic keyboard that made it for the iMac. The same keyboard is the same one you'll find in this year's 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro now has a larger key travel of 0.7 millimeters to a full millimeter. Press something when you tap a key. Thanks to a rubber dome manufactured by Apple, the keys feel a bit more resilient and the key caps do not wobble so much. No, this is not the biggest keyboard in the history of keyboards, but it's pretty good for a laptop. The springy feedback is pleasant; typing is relatively quiet; and best of all, I had no problems at all.

Also the physical escape key is back. It is no longer just an option on the touch bar, but is now located next to the OLED strip and is happy with the press. The touch ID fingerprint sensor has also been disconnected from the touch bar. It's on the right side and easier to find without having to search for it. Finally, the arrow keys are again arranged more clearly.

Photo: Apple

Reliable Performance

One of the other problems with newer MacBook models is thermal throttling. When the laptop is used for processor-intensive tasks, it generates a fair amount of heat. It keeps getting hotter, until the inside of the computer reaches the maximum temperature recommended by the CPU manufacturer. The CPU then slows down to cool down and prevent possible damage. But of course, slowing down means slowing down performance – not ideal if you really need to do some work. Apple has discovered and fixed a bug that caused the MacBook Pro 2018 to slow down more than necessary. Further improvements to the new 2019 model will go even further.

On the one hand, the thermal architecture of the machine was revised, which allowed the air flow to be increased by 28 percent. A larger heat sink improves heat dissipation by 35 percent. The MacBook Pro is still getting hot and it may be very loud when the fans move away, but I have not seen how the machine's performance suffers.

I got Rise of the Tomb Raider and it went fine, even though I had to turn up the volume to drown out the fans. I could not point out any performance related issues that were to blame for my bad gameplay. In Adobe Premiere Pro I edited a 4K video over a period of two hours and hardly noticed any jerking of the machine.

It should be noted that I use a model of the MacBook Pro that is slightly better equipped than the $ 2,399 basic configuration. My model, which Apple lent me to test, features the 9th generation Intel Core i9 CPU with 2.4GHz and 8 cores, 32GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics card with 8GB of RAM and 2TB Storage. All this Techspeak essentially means that he is very powerful and the final price? $ 3,899. That's not as high as you can go with the upgrades. You could continue to use up to 64GB of memory and expand your storage to an incredible 8TB for $ 6,099. Yikes.

The fully charged versions of the Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 are not as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but a bit more expensive than the base version of Apple's 16-inch laptop. You can also swap components in these competing computers while everything is soldered into Apple's laptop. So you're not just paying more for a MacBook Pro, but more for an upgrade or a repair.

There are other costs to consider, such as mass and weight. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is bigger and heavier than the 15-inch MacBook Pro that replaces it (though not much). It's a huge laptop that fits only in my pocket. You will not notice a big difference with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but if you come from a 13-inch laptop like me, you should be warned that your coffee table feels tighter.

If you're the type to hold your laptop with one palm and work quickly standing up, like when I'm in emergency situations at trade shows like the CES, this is not the ideal choice. Your arm quickly gets tired of holding the 4.3-pound machine.

But I'm careful to also to complain a lot about weight and size. Apple has long tried to develop the lightest and most portable products, but we can see a change this year. The iPhone 11 Pro is heavier and thicker than its predecessor, resulting in a first-class battery life. The heavier and thicker MacBook Pro offers better thermal management and a better keyboard. If eliminating restrictions requires a bit of suffering, I'll accept it.

All-Round Outstanding

Apart from the nice keyboard and exemplary performance, the rest of the MacBook Pro can keep up. The 16-inch screen has narrow bezels and looks more modern alongside laptops like the Dell XPS 13.

The display with a resolution of 3,072 x 1,920 is sharper than the 2,560 x 1,600 panel of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. and it looks beautiful. Colors look exactly, the contrast is excellent and it can get very bright. I worked in the dog park and could easily see the LCD screen even in sunny weather.

Otherwise, the MacBook Pro looks like any other MacBook that was previously on the market. This follows with the trackpad, which as always is excellent and has the ability to register the gentlest clicks. Not to mention the fact that it offers plenty of space.

But if I had to take a feature out of the MacBook Pro and deploy it to every other laptop in its class, I'd have to pick the speakers. It may seem a little silly to rave about tiny speakers, especially if you normally wear headphones, but I really think the MacBook Pro's new six-speaker system is the best you can achieve with a laptop. It has ruined all the other laptop speakers for me.

Music sounds full and dynamic, and audio can easily fill a small space – all of which I found helpful when editing a video. It's convenient not to rely on headphones to get a better picture of what the video sounds like if you have such good speakers. There are also studio-grade microphones, and I would say they are similar to my Blue Yeti USB microphone and produce a little disturbing noise.

The battery life is good and takes a whole working day, especially in heavy use consists of slack, surfing the internet and lots of typing. At a higher intensity, the battery percentage drops rapidly. For example, during a two-hour editing session in Adobe Premiere Pro, my battery dropped from around 80% to 22%. Thankfully, recharging the laptop with the included 96-watt adapter is a quick fix.

The Missing Link

With all these upgrades, it's puzzling that the 720p webcam has not seen any improvement, namely in the form of Face ID. Where is it? Apple's biometric authentication on MacBooks is still limited to Touch ID, which is fine, but Face ID would be more practical. Not only would this make the MacBook Pro equivalent to Windows computers that offer Windows Hello face authentication, but also Apple's other Pro products with screens that support face detection.

The touch bar, which is located above the keyboard and provides access to brightness and volume controls, but is still largely unusable. Because it's an OLED strip, it can turn into context-specific tools in different apps. For example, in Safari, you can tap the touch bar to search for a website. It sounds good on paper, but I have not found a good reason to tap on this slim screen instead of moving my fingers a few inches and tapping the trackpad. We spent a few years with the Touch Bar and it's still not very convincing. Bring back physical buttons!

Do you know what else would be nice to bring back? Varied harbors! Apple here has four Thunderbolt 3 USB C ports and a headphone jack (surprisingly, I know). That's all very well, but considering this device is for professionals, is it too much to ask for an SD card slot or even a USB-A port so I do not have to take so many dongles with it? [19659004] An expensive excuse

The problems I have with the MacBook Pro are far outweighed by the positive experiences I've had with it over the past month. The question is now, should you buy it? If you have the money and are looking for the best and largest laptop from Apple, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is just the ticket.

But it's probably more laptop than you need. Apple will probably renew the 13-inch MacBook Pro next year, replacing its thermal with a similar system and removing the butterfly switches on the keyboard. (And yes, this 16 incher is currently the only MacBook with the updated keyboard design.) Possibly, Apple even brings these improvements to the MacBook Air. If you want a smaller and cheaper machine, I'd say, wait – but only if You do not want to switch to Windows.

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