MacBook Pro 16 inch review
The MacBook Pro is back to its glorious best. Apple’s latest portable PC aims to fix all the niggles found on its previous generation laptops and there’s no question that the US firm has done just that.
The new MacBook Pro 16-inch arrives with a bigger screen, more power and an improved keyboard that ends the woes of the Butterfly keys that have caused Apple so much grief over the past few years.
There are also improvements to the thermal design which helps to keep this latest Pro cooler under pressure ad you’ll find a much bigger battery tucked under the iconic aluminium case.
Apple’s new MacBook 16-inch clearly has plenty going for it but is it worth that £2,300 starting price?
Express.co.uk has been putting the new Pro through its paces since it launched and here’s our full MacBook Pro 16-inch review.
THE NEW SCREEN
The all-new display is one of the biggest changes to the new MacBook Pro and it’s a hugely welcome update. Apple has bumped-up the size of the display to squeeze a 16-inch Retina panel into the laptop and it looks pretty spectacular.
Like all of Apple’s latest laptops, Retina technology means the pixels pop from the display and you’ll find your content appearing rich with colour and as sharp as a freshly made pin.
Apple has also included the popular True Tone setting on this flagship machine which adapts to the lighting around you and makes it far easier on your eyes if you’re using it for a long period of time.
One of our favourite features of this new screen is the size of the black bezels have finally been reduced.
These were starting to look pretty dated compared to some of its Windows 10-powered rivals, as well as Apple’s own iPhone and iPad Pro ranges.
This not only improves the look of the new MacBook Pro, but also means you’ll get a larger screen without the overall footprint of this machine increasing too much. It’s worth noting that the size of the MacBook Pro is still slightly bigger than before though, so unless you were using a roomy laptop sleeve or carry case for your current 15-inch model, you’ll likely need to buy a new protective case for your shiny new machine.
While the 16-inch display has a respectable resolution of 3072-by-1920 with a total of 5.9 million pixels, Apple has stopped well short of offering a 4K panel. For those hoping to play – or edit – Ultra HD footage on the road, this will be a little disappointing.
However, when you power up this device you’ll find a crystal clear screen that offers plenty of room to work and play.
Apple hasn’t had the easiest time with its recent MacBook keyboards.
Its hugely problematic Butterfly keyboard design, which was introduced back in March 2015, is now the standard on all of its recent laptops. There have been numerous complaints about the tying experience on these machines with the feel of typing – thanks to the incredibly short travel of the individual keys compared to Apple’s desktop keyboards – not to everyone’s tastes.
However, something more serious is its design has been plagued with durability problems that forced Apple to offer an extended warranty on all models.
Apple has now definitely put all of this well behind them with the 16-inch MacBook Pro getting a new set of keys that have been inspired by the iMac.
This Magic Keyboard – as Apple is branding it – uses a traditional scissor mechanism with 1.0mm travel and an Apple-designed rubber dome that delivers a more responsive and satisfying key press by preserving more potential energy than in previous designs.
There’s no question that it’s a huge improvement over the previous keyboard design. In fact, typing on this new MacBook is reminiscent of the days before the move to the butterfly design. And that’s something we’re immensely happy about.
MacBook Pro 16-inch review
As well as feeling far better under your fingertips, Apple has also made some design changes to its layout, which also feels like a massive improvement.
The Escape button is now removed from the Touch Bar, being reinstated as a physical button next to the thin OLED touchscreen. And the Touch ID fingerprint scanner now also sits in its own space which makes far more sense.
Elsewhere, the cursor keys have been tweaked to improve the user experience too. These are now easier to find while touch-typing as the keys are a different shape to the rest of the keys – something that was changed in the move from the previous scissor key design to the ill-fated Butterfly design over the last few years.
It seems Apple has taken the criticism levelled at the Butterfly keys onboard and returned with a new design that fixes all of the issues.
Provided the same durability issues don’t crop up this seems to be a complete return to form and its’s something MacBook fans will surely be massively relieved about.
Apple’s new MacBook has a bigger 16-inch screen
At first glance, the new Pro looks very similar to the laptops that have gone before it …but that’s no bad thing. Apple’s iconic aluminium design still oozes class and there’s very little that comes close to its premium build quality.
This latest laptop feels tough enough to survive daily life on the road and owners can expect it last many years stuffed in their rucksacks.
There’s also another bonus of the design as, with Apple pushing the new display closer to the edges, you get that bigger screen without the overall size increasing too much. Place the 15-inch and 16-inch side-by-side and you’ll only spot a very minute difference in dimensions.
Don’t get us wrong, this is a large and pretty heavy laptop that won’t suit everyone. However, it’s still perfectly portable and you won’t have any issues carrying it around town.
There’s loads to love about the design but it’s worth mentioning that Apple is sticking with its USB-C ports with two on either side.
This means you will still need those annoying dongles if you want to connect your external devices and plug in your camera’s memory card.
This isn’t anything new and most Mac users are well used to this concept plus it does have one big positive.
With all those ports it means you can charge the MacBook from any side which is definitely a big bonus over the ageing MagSafe connection.
Frustratingly, Apple still refuses to pop a little charging light on the cable which means you’ll need to open the lid to check if it’s refilling or has a full tank.
Let’s hope that update finally returns in the future.
The MacBook Pro keeps its iconic aluminium design
The new design means the MacBook Pro isn’t much bigger despite its larger screen
Apple’s new MacBook Pro is now powered by the latest 6-core and 8-core Intel i9 processors. To boost things further, you can configure the machine with up to 64GB RAM to make every task appear silky smooth.
Helping performance even further is a more advanced thermal architecture. Thanks to larger impellers with more blades, new fans improve airflow by 28 percent keeping things cooler and helping to make sure the MacBook runs to its full potential more of the time.
If you’re concerned about storage on your Mac then this last model should ease the stress with it now configurable to feature a whopping 8TB of internal memory – double what was available on the previous generation.
We’ve been photo editing, gaming and using this MacBook for all of daily digital tasks and haven’t faced any issues with performance.
We’ve also spoken to other pro users who have seen big gains in performance with the 16-inch model clearly a much more capable machine than anything that has gone before it.
Apple has boosted the battery in the new MacBook Pro and that means a few extra hours of life are coming to your lap. With a giant 100-Wh battery inside, users should see a boost to performance with Apple claiming the new MacBook Pro can last for around 11 hours.
We’ve been running a video test on our model and it’s performed pretty well with over three hours of playback only making 40 percent dent in the battery – that certainly seems better than the current 15-inch model, which was by no means a battery life champ.
Along with those video tests we’ve also been pummelling it with our daily digital chores which include writing in Pages, surfing the web in Chrome and editing photos in Photoshop.
With all these applications running you will make a much bigger dent in the battery life with us getting around 5-6 hours on a single charge. That’s better than before but it’s worth remembering that you may need to find somewhere to refill it if you are a heavy user.
To power up this monster battery, Apple has had to rethink its charger but with some clever design has managed to increase the performance of the power pack without making it any bigger.
It’s not quite the same iPhone 11 Pro-level of fast-charging we’ve seen on some rival laptops, but the new charger does manage to refill the hefty new battery cell to around 60 per cent in an hour.
The MacBook Pro features some incredible speakers
If you want a laptop to belt-out some tunes then this could be the device you’ve been waiting for. Apple has packed a six speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers inside this laptop and the result is mightily impressive.
Place this new Apple laptop against some of its rivals and you’ll realise just how good it sounds.
In fact, this Mac outclasses some dedicated audio devices that we’ve tested this year and Apple clearly has a fabulous audio team at its HQ in Cupertino.
This new Mac now joins the HomePod and latest AirPods Pro as some of the best-sounding gadgets you can buy right now.
And it’s not just listening to this Mac that has been improved as the new Pro also gets studio-quality microphones for those who want to record audio on their laptop.
MacBook Pro 16 inch review
The new MacBook Pro is an impressive machine and ticks-off many of the complaints about the previous generation – not to mention ditching the awful keyboard that caused so many reliability headaches.
That said, there a few things we would’ve expected to appear in a dramatic update to the MacBook Pro line – something that only happens on this scale a few times every decade. That includes the industry-leading Face ID facial recognition from the iPhone and iPad lines. Given the position of a laptop screen when using it, the category seems perfectly suited to unlock as soon as you open the lid and it recognises your face.
Next up, although the battery does refill pretty rapidly there’s no official fast charging claim and, as we mentioned earlier, you’ll still have to contend with a bag full dongles if you want to connect anything to this machine. Given that it’s marketed at professionals, that means you’ll need a cable for your DSLRs, video cameras, external monitors, SD cards, the list goes on… and each of these is sold separately from Apple.
One final thing to note: you really need to make sure you spec this laptop to your needs before you buy as upgrading anything inside the new MacBook Pro isn’t easy.
MacBook Pro 16 inch review
It’s a MacBook Pro so, as you’d expect, there’s no bargains to be grabbed.
The starting price is a little over £2,300 – which is actually the same as last year’s machine.
That’s not bad value for what you are getting but things can get a lot worse if you begin adding extras.
Upgrade the processor, add the 64GB of RAM and massive 8TB hard drive and you could face a bill of well over £5,500 – ouch!
MacBook Pro review
Apple is back with a very accomplished laptop.
This new machine gets so many of the updates that Apple fans have been asking for and it arrives at a price that, whilst still expensive, hasn’t actually been increased.
For the same money you’d have spent on the previous 15-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll now get a bigger screen, vastly-improved keyboard, better battery life, and more processing power.
There’s also those ludicrous speakers, option to add a massive 8TB hard drive and things are all kept cooler via that advanced thermal architecture.
We’ve very few complaints about this machine. in fact, our only main criticism is the continued need for a bag full of dongles if you want to connect or plug anything into the MacBook.
Apple is paying some serious attention to its Pro users and the new MacBook certainly won’t disappoint those looking for the ultimate laptop.