Apple MacBook Pro 15-Inch With Touch Bar (Late 2016) Review: Is … – Forbes

MacBook Pro 15 Late 2016 (L) and Dell XPS 15 early 2016. (Credit: Brooke Crothers)

MacBook Pro 15 late 2016 (L) and Dell XPS 15 early 2016. (Credit: Brooke Crothers)

With the late 2016 Touch Bar model, the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro has evolved into one of the most portable 15-inch laptops on the planet. What else makes it worth the $2,399 starting price — or not? Read on.

I wasn’t a big fan of big-screen laptops until I started using the Dell XPS 15 (early 2016) last year. Then it quickly began to vie with my 2-pound 12-inch Retina MacBook as my main machine. Needless to say, the two couldn’t be more different but I liked the quad-core speed of the XPS 15 and its 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD 3,840-by-2,160 display. And with a 84WHr battery, it lasts a long time between charges.

But enough about the XPS 15. The point is it primed me for Apple’s newest 15-inch MacBook Pro. (Note that this isn’t a comprehensive review. I plan to do that later after I spend more time with the MBP.)

What I like:

Performance: I wish smaller laptops came with quad-core processors (thermals and price usually make this prohibitive). Four is faster than two. In short, there’s little that can slow down a quad-core i7, 16GB of memory, and a fast SSD.  If I have 20 open Chrome tabs, a photo editor, Microsoft Office 365, and a CMS app running (among other things), nothing slows down. At least not enough for me to notice. That’s not the case for mainstream laptops with a dual-core i5, 8GB RAM, and a so-so SSD. So, all that performance in the MBP 15 makes a difference and improves my workflow. And it’s addictive.

That said, if you’re a super speed junkie, the MBP 15 is not the fastest quad-core laptop on the planet because of Apple’s bias toward thinness, as this review at MobileTechReview points out. That applies to the adoption of AMD’s Polaris GPUs too (the Radeon 450, 455 and 460). Those power-efficient GPUs were chosen by Apple because they can be squeezed into the MBP 15’s 15.5 mm-thin chassis.

Portability: This is really important to me (thus my partiality for the 12-inch MacBook). Right now, I don’t see any high-quality 15.4-inch laptops out there that are easier to grab and go than the MacBook Pro 15 Touch Bar. It slips easily into my backpack and while the extra 2 pounds (compared to my 12-inch MacBook) is certainly noticeable, it doesn’t feel like a dead weight. I’ve been toting the new MBP 15 around for a while now and it makes the cut as a tote-friendly laptop (I set a pretty high bar considering my benchmark is the 12-inch MacBook).


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