Review: Apple's late-2016 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

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Comments

  • Reply 81 of 95
    I have two comments that don't appear to have seen any attention:

    1. Moving to a standard interface for power will be a boon to those of us whose life has required multiple power supplies for different locations. The USB-C option will be generic and much less expensive.

    2. Like many people, I use my MBP with an external monitor and keyboard at the office. This renders that fancy touch bar useless, yet Apple offers no alternative configuration with high performance that does not include that very expensive touch bar. I wish that it were otherwise.
    hoodslide
  • Reply 82 of 95
    While we are at it, a simple cable will allow me to power my new MBP from the airplane, as well as from the multiple USB-equipped power outlets that I've installed in my home.
    Soli
  • Reply 83 of 95
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,977member
    mscohen said:
    I have two comments that don't appear to have seen any attention:

    1. Moving to a standard interface for power will be a boon to those of us whose life has required multiple power supplies for different locations. The USB-C option will be generic and much less expensive.

    2. Like many people, I use my MBP with an external monitor and keyboard at the office. This renders that fancy touch bar useless, yet Apple offers no alternative configuration with high performance that does not include that very expensive touch bar. I wish that it were otherwise.
    The MBPwTB is just arriving this week. I suspect we'll see a lot of updates coming soon enough.
  • Reply 84 of 95
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,977member
    mscohen said:
    While we are at it, a simple cable will allow me to power my new MBP from the airplane, as well as from the multiple USB-equipped power outlets that I've installed in my home.
    In my lifetime I suspect we'll see a shift from AC at the outlet to DC. This would also help facilitate the waste of external PSUs shipping with every device.
  • Reply 85 of 95
    First impressions based on only a few hours of use:

    15" with all the BTO upgrades maxed

    Keyboard
    Loved it during a two-minute test at the Apple Store. Liking it less after using it more. The fact that the keys are bigger is good, that they don't wiggle is good, but the travel is a little shallower than I'd like -- the feedback isn't great, kinda like typing on an iPad screen, if that makes any sense. It is, as reported, louder than we're used to. Not a deal breaker.

    Trackpad
    Bigger is gooder. Still getting used to Force Touch or whatever it's called. I'm getting lots and lots of false selections (sensitivity set too high maybe?) and can't get the hang of how to click-and-drag, since holding it down brings up a Force Touch event. Can't tell if I don't like it or am just not used to it yet, too soon to tell. The "click" feedback is absolutely amazing though.

    Speed
    Seems to be missing from mine. I tried a transcode last night (something I do a lot) and it took exactly the same length of time as the Air it replaced. I thought a quad-core machine should do it faster than a dual-core. Maybe it's the software. I'll have to try something else, but so far I haven't noticed that anything feels much "zippier" with this machine compared to the Air. I still get the occasional pinwheel for no apparent reason, especially in iTunes. Speaking of that, I don't know what the hell is going on with iTunes, but the lag between operations is just as bad with this brand new top-of-the-line machine as it was on my 7-year-old 17".

    Storage
    I haven't noticed the benefits of the faster SSD yet, but that's mostly due to the fact that the things I've done with it so far involve passing stuff to and from outboard devices, and those devices aren't any faster than they were before I got this machine. Maybe when I get a chance to do some video editing the advantage will become apparent. Otherwise, so far it hasn't been.

    Touch Bar
    Meh. Maybe others will find it useful. I don't DISlike it, I just don't really find it all that compelling. I haven't found it significantly faster, easier, or more intuitive than just using the trackpad for most things. Again, maybe I'll like it more as time goes on. Strictly a personal preference issue though. It works fine.

    Screen
    Excellent. Love the smaller bezel. Looks much better than the one on the Air (obviously, the one on the Air is awful). Full brightness requires wearing sunglasses.

    Size/Weight
    I'm conflicted again. I used a 17" Unibody for years and didn't care that it weighed seven pounds -- it beat carrying around an iMac. Then I used an Air for six weeks and started to understand why people like thin and light.

    This one splits the difference, and it matters. It's still a little too heavy to swing around in one hand like an iPad or Air, so it's more like the 17" in terms of where and how I use it. I can't decide if it needs to get even thinner and lighter before I'll be happy, or if I was right in the first place -- that if it's gonna be too big to be an iPad replacement anyway, they might as well make it even bigger and include stuff like a longer-throw keyboard or more RAM or whatever.

    Ports
    No problem. I planned in advance and replaced the cables for my peripherals, and picked up a little USB-C hub for the stuff I can't control, like co-workers' thumb drives. I/O to my existing drives *seems* just a little bit faster, but I think that's probably placebo effect. I forgot to test transfer rates with the Air before it went away so I can't say for sure.

    Interesting unexpected issue: With the Space Grey chassis the port openings are really hard to see in subdued lighting. The "darkness" of the hole isn't contrasted by the lightness of the chassis the way it is with a silver computer.

    Audio
    It is louder than previous generations. Not LOUD loud, but louder. As for the claimed improvement in sound quality, I guess it's better, but it's really just the difference between really shitty laptop sound and slightly less shitty laptop sound. Still, any improvement is welcome so I'm not complaining.

    Graphics
    Beats me. I bought the best they offered, but have no idea if it was worth the price or if I should have gone with the basic option. The Air only had integrated graphics and I didn't notice any problems, but then I didn't do anything with it that would really tax a GPU. Maybe it'll matter when I get around to cutting some 4K video?

    Other stuff
    For some reason my cursor disappears from time to time. Really annoying. I don't know if it's the hardware or the OS, but it didn't happen with the Air. It is especially bad with Photoshop, which so far is completely unusable because of this.

    Scratches are more obvious with the Space Grey finish because, apparently, based on what I see on the corner where I've gouged mine already, it's silver underneath. I don't care, but some people might.

    Summary
    Overall I like it and am not unhappy with it, but it doesn't feel like $5000. I keep reminding myself that a big chunk of that price is an extra TB of fast storage, but I'm still left with a lingering feeling that maybe I'm not getting as much value per dollar with this as I'd hoped.
    edited November 2016 pulseimages
  • Reply 86 of 95
    This review is incredibly misleading. Take the disk performance tests for example:
    "In comparison, the same drive barely scored 23 MBps (184 Mbps) write and 14.1 MBps (113 Mbps) read results on a MacBook Air using standard USB 2.0."
    Macbook Air has had USB 3.0 since 2012. So did you connect the drive via a slower USB 2.0 cable, or is this a misprint? What would happen if you plugged the same crappy USB 2.0 cable into the 2016 pro via a dongle? Same results?

    MBA's also have Thunderbolt 2, basically TB3 with only one pipeline for 20Gbps theoretical xfer. Given that you chose to utilize inferior ports on the older model, how can you possibly say:
    That highlights how much difference the connection technology makes, in addition to the overall speed of the system.

    Zero credibility. 

    avon b7
  • Reply 87 of 95
    I've been waiting a year for a proper MBP upgrade. What Apple came up with is an insult. Sadly, a generic laptop is a much better choice this time around. I can do my work in an OSX VM, get a faster processor, more memory, fully upgradable components, dual boot for better gaming on a much nicer video card, and pay nearly $2000 less. Bonus: full key travel, function keys, higher resolution screen with touch, and useful ports. And when the battery gets old, I won't have to back up and leave my "pro" machine with Apple for 3-5 business days. 

    Apple should spend their billions focusing on a way to reanimate Steve Jobs.
    edited November 2016 twa440pulseimages
  • Reply 88 of 95
    spheric said:
    jdw said:
    Note that if you log out of your account,
    you'll need to supply a password to log back in; Touch ID only works if your account is active.
    Now that is terribly disappointing.  The real joy of TouchID is to eliminate silly passwords to begin with.  I'd much rather implement a super-strong 19 digit password that I will only need to use as a backup, being able to use TouchID most of the time.  But if I still must type in a password to even access my Mac or login, the present implementation becomes a real kill-joy.
    It's exactly the same as with iOS: the password is required once at boot/log-in to unlock the secure enclave (and presumably the Apple ID for the App Store); after that, it will work via Touch ID. 
    I agree with Apple (and Google) here. As one commenter here put it, "Biometrics are neither user names nor passwords, they're a perfectly valid factor (along with something you know and something you have) with their own strengths and weaknesses vs various threat models." By themselves, they're too weak IMO.
  • Reply 89 of 95
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,946member
    First impressions based on only a few hours of use:

    15" with all the BTO upgrades maxed

    Keyboard
    Loved it during a two-minute test at the Apple Store. Liking it less after using it more. The fact that the keys are bigger is good, that they don't wiggle is good, but the travel is a little shallower than I'd like -- the feedback isn't great, kinda like typing on an iPad screen, if that makes any sense. It is, as reported, louder than we're used to. Not a deal breaker.

    Trackpad
    Bigger is gooder. Still getting used to Force Touch or whatever it's called. I'm getting lots and lots of false selections (sensitivity set too high maybe?) and can't get the hang of how to click-and-drag, since holding it down brings up a Force Touch event. Can't tell if I don't like it or am just not used to it yet, too soon to tell. The "click" feedback is absolutely amazing though.

    Speed
    Seems to be missing from mine. I tried a transcode last night (something I do a lot) and it took exactly the same length of time as the Air it replaced. I thought a quad-core machine should do it faster than a dual-core. Maybe it's the software. I'll have to try something else, but so far I haven't noticed that anything feels much "zippier" with this machine compared to the Air. I still get the occasional pinwheel for no apparent reason, especially in iTunes. Speaking of that, I don't know what the hell is going on with iTunes, but the lag between operations is just as bad with this brand new top-of-the-line machine as it was on my 7-year-old 17".

    Storage
    I haven't noticed the benefits of the faster SSD yet, but that's mostly due to the fact that the things I've done with it so far involve passing stuff to and from outboard devices, and those devices aren't any faster than they were before I got this machine. Maybe when I get a chance to do some video editing the advantage will become apparent. Otherwise, so far it hasn't been.

    Touch Bar
    Meh. Maybe others will find it useful. I don't DISlike it, I just don't really find it all that compelling. I haven't found it significantly faster, easier, or more intuitive than just using the trackpad for most things. Again, maybe I'll like it more as time goes on. Strictly a personal preference issue though. It works fine.

    Screen
    Excellent. Love the smaller bezel. Looks much better than the one on the Air (obviously, the one on the Air is awful). Full brightness requires wearing sunglasses.

    Size/Weight
    I'm conflicted again. I used a 17" Unibody for years and didn't care that it weighed seven pounds -- it beat carrying around an iMac. Then I used an Air for six weeks and started to understand why people like thin and light.

    This one splits the difference, and it matters. It's still a little too heavy to swing around in one hand like an iPad or Air, so it's more like the 17" in terms of where and how I use it. I can't decide if it needs to get even thinner and lighter before I'll be happy, or if I was right in the first place -- that if it's gonna be too big to be an iPad replacement anyway, they might as well make it even bigger and include stuff like a longer-throw keyboard or more RAM or whatever.

    Ports
    No problem. I planned in advance and replaced the cables for my peripherals, and picked up a little USB-C hub for the stuff I can't control, like co-workers' thumb drives. I/O to my existing drives *seems* just a little bit faster, but I think that's probably placebo effect. I forgot to test transfer rates with the Air before it went away so I can't say for sure.

    Interesting unexpected issue: With the Space Grey chassis the port openings are really hard to see in subdued lighting. The "darkness" of the hole isn't contrasted by the lightness of the chassis the way it is with a silver computer.

    Audio
    It is louder than previous generations. Not LOUD loud, but louder. As for the claimed improvement in sound quality, I guess it's better, but it's really just the difference between really shitty laptop sound and slightly less shitty laptop sound. Still, any improvement is welcome so I'm not complaining.

    Graphics
    Beats me. I bought the best they offered, but have no idea if it was worth the price or if I should have gone with the basic option. The Air only had integrated graphics and I didn't notice any problems, but then I didn't do anything with it that would really tax a GPU. Maybe it'll matter when I get around to cutting some 4K video?

    Other stuff
    For some reason my cursor disappears from time to time. Really annoying. I don't know if it's the hardware or the OS, but it didn't happen with the Air. It is especially bad with Photoshop, which so far is completely unusable because of this.

    Scratches are more obvious with the Space Grey finish because, apparently, based on what I see on the corner where I've gouged mine already, it's silver underneath. I don't care, but some people might.

    Summary
    Overall I like it and am not unhappy with it, but it doesn't feel like $5000. I keep reminding myself that a big chunk of that price is an extra TB of fast storage, but I'm still left with a lingering feeling that maybe I'm not getting as much value per dollar with this as I'd hoped.
    Thanks for the summary lorin. The information is useful. After spending so much on it, I hope you don't run into any deal breaking issues.
  • Reply 90 of 95
    SaberOneSaberOne Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Very extensive review but you lost me at bullet number 4, where you stated 'Four versatile USB-C expansion ports'...
  • Reply 91 of 95
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,977member
    SaberOne said:
    Very extensive review but you lost me at bullet number 4, where you stated 'Four versatile USB-C expansion ports'
    What about versatile lost you?
  • Reply 92 of 95
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    First impressions based on only a few hours of use:


    Other stuff
    For some reason my cursor disappears from time to time. Really annoying. I don't know if it's the hardware or the OS, but it didn't happen with the Air. It is especially bad with Photoshop, which so far is completely unusable because of this.

    This comes up from time to time across different releases. It's usually due to some bug in the OpenGL drawing. If you can live with choppy redrawing, that should work as a temporary fix.
  • Reply 93 of 95
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 213member
    @DanielEran, one thing you didn't touch on in your review: How did you get one and where the hell is mine?

    I ordered just after the announcement and have had it in service for nearly 2 weeks.  Loving it!
  • Reply 94 of 95
    Good news
  • Reply 95 of 95
    People also forget that the current (Late 2015) iMac is already a transitional machine. It has Skylake architecture, but with legacy ports.

    Next year's iMac won't have those ports. Only Ethernet, which isn't actually legacy. Otherwise, all USB-C. Could still be Skylake.
    iMacs use desktop CPUs. Even though many other components are mobile. 

    So so they won't be skylake. 

    Theyll also be full USB C. 
    The current Mac lineup uses an entry level Broadwell i5, the rest are Skylake (6G Core i5 CPUs), albeit desktop versions vs the mobile chips used in the latest MBPs. 

    Hopefully iMacs will get refreshed with full TB3/USB-C. That could also enable the return of Target Display Mode, so you could use your new 4k/5k iMac screen as an external display for your MBP via a single TB3 cable. TB2/DisplayPort can't do that, and USB-A can't do anything fun.
    The current iMac 5k doesn't top out at i5 CPUs. It also uses desktop Skylake i7, which was the newsest available when they came out. I have one. 

    Cannot imaging any reason for holding back on the next gen CPU. Nor holding back from the USB-C/TB push. It would pure win from that point on - though I can imagine keeping an SD card slot simply because there is plenty of room. but keeping USB-A/FireWire, etc. would only slow adoption of USB-C. 
    edited January 2017 pulseimages
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