Review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch
4.6Overall Score

Price (RRP): $4249
Manufacturer: Apple

We’ve already had a look at a new model MacBook Pro, but that was the entry level model, so it lacked one of the most interesting new features of the range, the Touch Bar, along with its Touch ID sensor, or what would otherwise be called a fingerprint scanner.

Features

The review unit was what was until recently the top of the line model. I say recently because there has now been a slight makeover, with upgraded CPU and graphics card, and a reduction in price.

The review unit was a 2.7GHz Intel Core-i7 with Intel HD Graphics 530 and the Radeon Pro 455 graphics card. It has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid state drive. More specifically the processor is the Intel Core i7-6820HQ.

I’m guessing the equivalent in the newly refreshed line up is the $4099 2.9GHz Intel Core-i7 (it looks like it runs the i7-7820HQ processor) with Intel HD Graphics 630 and the Radeon Pro 560 graphics card. All I can say about all that is that it’d be much the same as the review computer, except a little bit faster.

Apple has committed to USB Type-C connections. The four connectors – there are two on each side – support both USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3.0. You can charge the computer using any of them, so you can power it from the left or the right as convenient. The power adaptor itself also has a USB Type-C outlet, rather than the old fashioned USB socket on most other computers. There’s also a 3.5mm microphone/headphone connection.

Apple MacBook Pro USB Type-C on 15 inch model, there are two more on the other side

The keyboard is Apple’s new short travel type, while the touch pad is enormous – 160mm by 100mm – and supports “Force Touch” technology. Also included is the Touch Bar. This is a touch sensitive strip – remember, there are still no Macs with touch sensitive screens – where one would normally find function keys. It has a display function, so it presents labelled soft buttons and suggestions, ready for you to touch. These vary depending on the application you’re using, so they’re context sensitive. At the right hand end of this is the combination power key and fingerprint scanner.

The built in Retina display has a resolution of 2880 by 1800 pixels and goes up to 500 nits of brightness. In addition to the built in display, the computer can drive two external 5K monitors or up to four 4K monitors.

The WiFi is 802.11ac standard. There’s Bluetooth 4.2. The camera is 720p.

Apple specifies the battery life as up to ten hours using the Web via WiFi, or for watching a movie in iTunes.

This is no lightweight, but a performance machine. The weight is reduced from earlier models, but it still comes in at 1.83 kilograms. It measures 15.5mm thick, 349.3mm wide and 240.7mm deep.

In Use

Apple clearly wants one to use Apple Pay. Indeed, I’d suggest that during setup, it was borderline pushy in its encouragement of the user to sign up. There was no “No Thank You” option. The most it would allow was “Set Up Apple Pay Later”. Afterwards, though, it didn’t bother me about the matter, so the “Later” would have been whenever I chose, if I ever did.

As I may have mentioned, I’m a long standing Windows guy and so there are aspects of Macs with which I’m sometimes less familiar than I ought to be. So, for the longest time, I found the touch pad very frustrating. And it was entirely due to me using it incorrectly.

Mac touch pads are actually things of beauty. Have been for years. They are smooth to the touch, positive in operation, and powerful in functionality. As a Windows guy, the Mac touch pads are the standard by which I judge those on Windows computers, and they always come up short.