MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro: No longer the king of high-end laptops, but still royalty

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro received minimal updates between 2016 and the 2017 model reviewed here. In the following year, it received zero, not even a base update for the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors. If it weren’t broken, the maxim of not fixing it would make sense, but the keyboard we called “an acquired taste” has been the subject of collective lawsuits, with Apple finally agreeing to repair all MacBook Butterfly keyboard models.

And the Touch Bar really turned out more a curse than a blessing for some people. Also, in a year of 4K options, its previous “high resolution” Retina display no longer stands out, although it retains its reputation for good color. Due to all of this, we have lowered the design rating from 9 to 8.

Additionally, the competitive landscape has really changed in the past couple of years, as tons of innovations by manufacturers for Windows models have since gone mainstream: the MacBook Pro faces more flexible models with detachable keyboards and flip 360-degree displays. for both clamshell and tablet operation, all equipped with touchscreen and stylus support. In addition, there are some comparable clamshell models at the same or better prices, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.

On the other hand, the performance of the MacBook Pro has stood the test of time. While it’s not the fastest in its class, it’s still solid in multicore processor tests, and its battery life is still one of the best 15-inch laptops we’ve subsequently tested.

We hope to see renovations to the MacBook line in October 2018 as part of Apple’s annual hardware follow-up to its WWDC software ads. So, unless you’re in a hurry to upgrade, you may want to hold onto purchasing this model until we find out what its future holds.

Best 15 inch laptops

Below is the full review of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, originally released July 2, 2017 and updated May 11, 2018.


I’ll start with the good news. If you’ve splurged on one of Apple’s very expensive high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops when it is a major redesign was launched in the fall of 2016, you won’t feel particularly put off by this modest mid-2017 update.

The aluminum outer body remains the same, as do the port selection, the excellent Retina resolution display, the new keyboard, the larger touchpad and even the second screen Touch Bar.

apple-macbook-pro-15-inch-2017
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for 2017 retains the same design as last year.

 

Sarah Tew / HDOT

The novelty is the transition to the current 7th generation Intel Core i-series CPUs, sometimes referred to by the code name Kaby Lake. The MacBook Pro models we have reviewed at the end of last year it had older sixth generation Intel chips (although they were certainly fast enough for almost any business as they are). Of course, Intel is already starting to do this we are talking about eighth generation Core chips now, so it’s best not to get too obsessed with the exact CPU model in any laptop you buy – there’s always something new coming.

The 2017 Pro also gets an updated set of graphics hardware options. The integrated graphics chip runs from the Intel HD 530 to the HD 630 (part of that leap to the Kaby Lake platform), and the discrete graphics range from the AMD Radeon Pro 450 and 455 parts to – you guessed it – Radeon Pro 555 and 560 options. Every 15-inch MacBook Pro laptop includes an AMD GPU, while 13-inch models make do with Intel’s integrated graphics.

If that’s the good news, the bad news might be that if one or more of the features of the new MacBook Pro design have kept you away (the super-flat keyboard, the Touch Bar, the USB-C ports), then this set of revisions 2017 won’t do much to change your mind.

apple-macbook-pro-15-inch-2017
It is still Apple’s most powerful laptop.

 

Sarah Tew / HDOT

On the other hand, if you’re thinking of upgrading to a MacBook Pro or upgrading from a much older model, the upgrade to newer Intel CPUs and faster AMD graphics cards keeps the MacBook competitive. This is still Apple’s largest and most powerful laptop (and has been since 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued in 2012) It remains an excellent choice for professionals, creative or otherwise, who want desktop-like power in a reasonably portable package.

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017)

Price as reviewed$ 2,799
Screen size / resolution15-inch Retina display with 2,880×1,800 pixels
PC CPU2.9 GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ
PC memory16GB 2133MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 630 / 4GB Radeon Pro 560
storage512GB Apple SSD
Network802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 4.2
Operating systemMacOS 10.12.5 Sierra

The 15-inch MacBook Pro has two default configurations. The Core i7 / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD / AMD Radeon Pro 555 model starts at $ 2,399 (£ 2,349 or AU $ 3,499). The step-up version, which is the one we tested, offers a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 for graphics for $ 2,799 (£ 2,600 or AU $ 4,099).

If you’ve noticed that even the high-end configuration exceeds 16GB of RAM, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common complaints about the current Pro. The All-in-one iMac desktop line, curiously, it just doubled the RAM options in its 21.5-inch and 27-inch models (now up to 32GB or 64GB).

Touch and run

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops still have the OLED Touch Bar that extends across the top of the keyboard, replacing the old row of function keys. Allows fingerprint login, instant access to volume and brightness controls, the MacOS version of Siri, and special touch functions in various software apps. It is the same size in both 13-inch and 15-inch models, measuring 2,170 pixels wide and 60 pixels high.

apple-macbook-pro-15-inch-2017
The Touch Bar includes a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a Siri button.

 

Sarah Tew / HDOT

The Touch Bar is a feature that some people love and others barely use. I fall right in the middle of the spectrum, frequently using the Touch ID fingerprint reader (similar to the iPhone’s) as well as touch controls for volume and screen brightness. In Safari, I often use the Touch Bar to switch between tabs, where each open browser tab gets a small thumbnail of the Touch Bar. These activities probably take up 90 percent of my Touch Bar usage.

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