A Week with the 2016MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nathan King, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. Nathan King macrumors member

    Nathan King

    Aug 24, 2016
    Omaha, NE
    One Week with the 2016 MacBook Pro

    I had been using a base model mid-2012 MacBook Air prior to purchasing the new MacBook Pro. As a business analyst and photographer, my daily usage involves concurrently utilizing four to five Safari tabs, Microsoft Outlook, one or two large Excel spreadsheets (nearly one-hundred thousand rows) averaging two pivot table caches each, and Microsoft Word. Separately, I often batch edit RAW files from a full-frame DSLR in Lightroom or do heavy compositing with ~100mp drum-scanned large format film .tifs in Photoshop. I consider this to be above average usage, but many of you likely do more demanding things on a regular basis. If you do, please remember to factor that into my comments.

    My particular MacBook Pro is the 13” low-end touch bar model in Space Gray. The fit and finish is typical of Apple, that is to say excellent. All seams and gaps are tight and even, hinges work smoothly with just enough resistance, edges smoothly rounded, and color applied evenly. It’s noticeably thinner and smaller than the MacBook Air while keeping the same 13” screen size.

    A large amount of my work involves writing, so a quality keyboard is a large factor in any purchasing decision. The keyboard on the MacBook Pro is no match for a good mechanical keyboard with either switches or buckling springs (think IBM Model M). That said, the keyboard is a remarkable accomplishment given the space constraints of the laptop. Your fingertips increase pressure on the key until a very crisp break is felt. Given the very short key throw you’re still likely to bottom out the key, but the tactile feedback is enough to allow most of the pressure to have been released by then. The most fatiguing keyboards I’ve used are those that lack feedback, causing the user to try and press “through” the bottom of the stroke. Thankfully, the new keyboard does not fall into this category due to a pleasing execution of the butterfly design. The weight of the press and cleanliness of the break does not change, even pressing a key at an edge.

    I’m not sure how much of an improvement the screen is from the 2015 MacBook Pro, but it’s an enormous leap from the Air, and that’s being generous…to the Air! The retina screen of the Pro is far less fatiguing to use for extended periods of time given the increase in resolution and contrast. Color accuracy is nearly as good as my external NEC monitor, and that’s saying something. My inkjet prints are very close to the screen right out of the box.

    The touch bar. It seems to be a divisive feature. Many appear to love it, and nearly as many seem to find it useless. My opinion is near the middle. I type at right around 130 words per minute, so I find autocomplete worthless for all practical purposes. I’m about two words ahead of what is being suggested on the touch bar, and looking down to make a selection would only slow my speed. The touch bar adds useful functionality to many of the apps native to OS X. It may not be groundbreaking, but I can see the potential for some really creative developers to truly add immense value to end user’s workflow.

    I get eight hours of battery life crunching data with the aforementioned Excel files and business intelligence software. Rarely am I running on battery power for more than seven hours, so I’m pleased. I can see where even lighter use could achieve the quoted ten hours of battery life.

    In short, the 2016 MacBook Pro feels like a next generation laptop. People who purchased MacBook Pro's only a few years ago will likely not find value given the price, but people looking to upgrade from the Air or MacBook Pro owners with laptops over four years old should be pleased. Ultimately, the usefulness of key new features will hinge on the willingness of the industry to adopt them, but Apple is in the process of changing the user experience in a fundamental way. It will be interesting to see what the future brings.
  2. HappyIntro macrumors member


    Apr 30, 2016
    Great, thoughtful review, thanks for sharing. I appreciate your balanced outlook on its value proposition. I would say your usage is very much above average for MBP owners. While I recently chose to purchase the 2015 model, these 2016 MBPs are very beautiful and powerful machines!
  3. Apple 26.2 macrumors 6502a

    Apple 26.2

    Jan 1, 2011
    What up, 212?!
    Great write up, glad you're enjoying your new machine... enjoy it!
  4. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    I am running the same base 13" 2016 with touch bar in space grey, coming from a Late 2011 15" top model in stock configuration. Difference is satisfactory and I do not feel I paid more than what I should have. Laptop will last next 5 years comfortably.
  5. Uplift macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    Great review thanks for sharing. It's good to hear from those enjoying the machine. You are absolutely right about seeing the value, I upgraded from a high end 2015 model and do feel the price hike is excessive for the extras I received.

    I was mainly scratching an itch, I was too curious to see where the touch bar goes, plus I wanted some extra GPU power.

    I managed to grab it on education discount and sold my last gen model for £1300 so I done 'ok'. Though I must admit, this price was my absolute limit. Without the edu discount I wouldn't have bothered and Apple may have lost me unless we seen dramatic price drops in future gens.

    I don't feel cheating though. I love almost everything about it, the only annoyance is the left and right arrow keys are now full sized, where as up/down arrow keys are half size. On the last gen I was able to feel the spacing between the keys and easily locate all 4 arrow keys without looking at the keyboard. Only a little brain adjustment needed which will happen over time.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thank you for the nice write up! My experience with my 15" machine are very similar to yours.

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