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So I've been using the new MBP 15" since it first launched along side a new, previous generation 15" MBP. At first use I was skeptical on the keyboard and the touch bar as well. After having used it for a few weeks doing programming work, occasional, light Photoshop CS6 use, and heavy email, spreadsheet and word processing use here are my thoughts...
Keyboard - This was one of my major concerns. I basically spend all day typing. If I am totally honest I've gotten a bit "sloppy" at typing after using an iPad so long and iPhone. I personally feel that in some ways the spell correction features have helped people but I also feel that for me personally I have become lazy in my typing skills. Anyhow, with that said, I'm somewhat conscious of my typing right now so I was really concerned with the keyboard itself. At first, I didn't like the keyboard. It felt "digital" to me. It has a more solid feel along with the shorter key stroke which is noticeable. However, after having used both laptops side-by-side for a weeks I know prefer the 2016 MBP keyboard over the previous generation. The previous generation's keyboard feels old and loose to me now. The old one feels "old-school."
Size and weight - The new MBP feels much nicer. I've always valued performance over form factor. That's why I would prefer the 17" MBP years ago even though I traveled quite a bit. When I first unboxed the new laptop I do what most of us do. I put it on-top of my other laptop to compare the size. At first I didn't think the size difference was much of a difference but again, after having used it for a while I can confirm that it feels much smaller that the specifications would suggest, but in a good way. The screen and keyboard aren't smaller but there is less bloat with the new MBP. There is less wasted space around the screen and less wasted metal around the keyboard and trackpad.
Trackpad - The trackpad is much larger. I first wondered if it would be harder to use than my other MBP with such a large trackpad. Again, after a few weeks I've gotten used to it and the trackpad on my other MBP now feels like a trackpad from my Powerbook 160 from years ago. Well, maybe not that old, but old.
Performance - There isn't much to say here. It's fast as you would expect based on the specifications.
Battery Life - I've been working away this morning for an hour now. I've been working on email, word processing, and web browsing. One hour of use, to be exact it's been 53 minutes of use, has drained my battery down to 95%. I guess 5% for 53, now 54 minutes, of time isn't too bad. I haven't experienced any significant battery drain. I'm running 10.12.2.
Touch Bar - I too was wondering if it was a gimmick. One thing I did do is that I modified the Control Strip part of the touch bar. The Control Strip is the three inch or so section on the right side of the touch bar. My one modification was the addition of Launchpad. I use Launchpad constantly and I wanted it easily accessible. After having used Touch Bar extensively I wouldn't want a laptop without it. It's the little things like being able to quickly file emails in the appropriate folder with a single touch. Touch Bar can make you more efficient like shortcut keys do.
Bottom line is that I would certainly buy the new MBP over the previous generation and I would not criticize it until you spend a decent amount of time using one.