Apple Reviews

Review: Apple’s New 16-inch MacBook Pro

When Apple announced the new 16-inch MacBook Pro I tried to resist buying it for as long as I could but eventually, I caved and placed an order for one towards the end of December. I had a 13-inch MacBook Pro from late 2016 and although I didn’t really have any issues with it, I did feel it had become redundant. I have a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a new 13-inch MacBook Air for work, so having a 13-inch MacBook Pro as well didn’t make any sense. On short weekend trips I’ve gotten into the habit of just taking my iPad and for anything longer I’d rather take the slightly lighter MacBook Air. Since I was using my MacBook Pro mostly while sitting on my couch in front of the TV, I decided size wasn’t as important for a couch computer and went ahead and ordered the new 16-inch.

My first laptop ever was a 2001 12″ Apple iBook and since then the largest laptop I’ve ever owned or used had been a 13″. I always went for the smallest size possible since they were usually cheaper and also because they were more portable. So you can imagine the look on my face when I first put the 16″ MacBook Pro on my lap and opened it up. It was HUGE! I mean I had played with a display model at Xcite and Gait before ordering one, but in a large store on a large table it didn’t feel that much bigger than my 13″. On my laps, it was a completely different story and I honestly hated it right away and regretted buying it.

Now that I’ve been using the MacBook Pro for around a month, I have gotten a lot more comfortable with the size. I wouldn’t say I’m in love with it just yet, but at least it’s become a lot more bearable. There has been a lot of hype online about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro with a lot of reviewers calling it the best laptop Apple has ever made (sorry but the old-school 12″ PowerBook takes that spot), and although there are a lot of positives with the new design, I did face some issues.

First the good stuff and if you’ve read any review already you’ll know there are two things everyone has been talking about, the redesigned keyboard and the speakers. I never really had any problem with the previous keyboards, but I do know a lot of people hated it. The newly updated keyboard is better that’s for sure, there is more key travel so it feels softer to type on and its also quieter. I’m actually on my iMac right now typing this post and the keyboard feels similar to the one on the new MacBook Pro, that’s how good they’ve managed to make the new MacBook Pro keyboard feel. The second big change is the speakers, many people are calling it the best speakers you can get on a laptop, I don’t know about that but I can say that yes the sound on the 16-inch MacBook Pro sounds lightyears better than on my 13-inch. Side by side the difference is night and day but even if you don’t have another laptop to compare the sound next to, you’ll still clearly notice the difference. The sound is fuller and there is now bass which on the previous MacBook Pros didn’t exist. But this also brings me over to the negatives.

The speakers aren’t loud. I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet but the new speakers seem to be limited in volume to avoid distortion? I have this issue with Bang & Olufsen speakers, they tend to limit the volume below the maximum so to avoid any distortion that may occur. But then again maybe because the new MacBook Pro speakers sound larger than they actually are, I expect them to go louder? I don’t know but I noticed this volume issue because of how often I’ve tried raising it only to find out it’s already on maximum. The second issue I have with the new MacBook Pro is the heat. It’s winter right now so the temperature is nice and cool in my apartment but I’ve already noticed the laptop gets really warm on the underside. I would be just watching youtube videos and the laptop would get uncomfortably hot on my laps. I never had that issue with my other laptops and I’m worried in the summer it’s going to annoy me a lot. Finally the battery life. Before my 13″ MacBook Pro I had the older generation MacBook Air and I would easily get 8 to 10 hours of battery life. With the 13″ MacBook Pro that dropped down to around 4 hours and now with this 16″ I think I’m getting around 5-6. The problem is Apple says I should be getting 10+ and they used to be really accurate with their estimates but I can’t seem to ever get there.

Overall though this is a pretty well-rounded laptop. I got the entry model 16″ and it’s plenty fast for me and comes standard with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. I’m not comfortable with the size just yet but that’s understandable since for the past 20 years I’ve only been using the smallest of laptops. One advantage to the large size is that it’s now making my 13″ MacBook Pro feel a lot smaller and lighter which has made me consider keeping it but I’m not going to. The keyboard touch bar is still there and if you hated it before you’re still gonna hate it but if like me you like the touch bar then you’re gonna like it even more now since they’ve made the ESC button an actual key and separated it from the touch bar. For those wondering why I ordered the MacBook online instead of getting it locally, it’s simply because I wanted a US keyboard without the Arabic letters and also because it would come out cheaper than buying it locally. If you’re thinking of upgrading your MacBook then you can’t go wrong with the 16”. If it’s too big for you then you might want to hold out a bit because rumors are Apple is gonna release a new 14” one to replace the current 13”.

18 replies on “Review: Apple’s New 16-inch MacBook Pro”

great laptop, except for the touchbar.

there is no good reason for the touchbar to exist. apple proved that point by putting back a physical escape button. if the screen space is not enough for you to view all the necessary information you could buy an asus zenbook duo which has a massive 4k secondary display just above the fullsize keyboard (which has all the function keys btw) which can play videos, contain a chat window or do anything else the main display can. it’s also got a touchpad that doubles as a numpad if you nee that. it’s also just 15.6″.

the touchbar does not exist for users, it exists for apple to differentiate their laptops, so that apple can tout it as a “feature” and for it to be an expensive gimmick which can justify a higher cost.

I’m not sure what you mean by apple approved proved a point by putting back the physical escape button. That has nothing to do with the usefulness of the touch bar, it’s more about the usefulness of having a physical escape button.

but in any case, the touch bar isn’t useful in the default setting for sure but by installing BetterTouchTool it allowed me to customize it into a very useful space.

If you look at my keyboard shot above you’ll see what I mean. First three buttons for example on the left allow me to position my browser anyway i want with a button press, so i can easily do two windows side by side if i want. I also have my spotify display next to it, then I have a button to lock my screen for when i need to get up from my laptop, a button for airdrop, i have the weather displayed, my battery life, i can access emojis with a click of a button, all very useful stuff for me. and it’s fully customizable so you can have it pretty much display whatever you want.

but like i said in my post, people either love it or hate it…

the escape button is as useful as all the function keys. you sound like a power user so i don’t see why you couldn’t just map all the function keys to whatever you have on the touchbar, you already used a third party app (BetterTouchTool) to customize the touchbar. as for the display, no one really needs to be looking at their keyboard, you could display all of that information on the actual display which is literally an inch from the touchbar…

surely, you could get an app to display weather and battery on your main display. everything else can be configured as a hotkey.

thats and easy question to answer… this is wayyy simpler

mapping function keys first of all would mean I’d need to remember what each function key i mapped out would do and I can barely remember my gf’s name so that wouldn’t work for me. Secondly it would require a two button press to access those functions and thirdly I wouldn’t be able to display things like song artist/title, weather info or any other kind of info. Right now when I get a whatsapp message, for example, I get a green whatsapp icon on the touch bar letting me know. the touch bar is like an advanced version of the function keys.

and yes you can have all this info on the display for sure, but i prefer it on the keyboard instead of cluttering my screen.

keep in mind this is how i use it, it’s not necessarily how it’s meant to be used by you.

thats whats great about it, you want it to be regular function keys it can be, you want it to be just the digital version of the original buttons it can be, you want to have your stocks displayed you can, you want notifications to pop on it you can, it’s whatever you want it to be. adds an extra element of customization to your laptop.

The touchbar gives us increased functionality in Adobe software such as Premiere Pro and others, where shortcuts are assigned to one touch, like collapsing the timelines or instantly accessing speed changing tools. You may be only saving yourself a fraction of a second, but when u collect all these fractions up, it ends up speeding up editing times

Simple test to determine if the touchbar is a failure or not:

No one copied that feature like they usually do when Apple introduces something. 🙂

It did get redesigned completely, this is it. What you’re reading about is the 13” version which will follow the design of the 16” and get upgraded to a 14”

You were absolutely right
Also, I sold my 2015 15″ today to get the new 13″
The buyer contacted me using 248 classifieds (Thank you)

Now, I want your help in understanding how does the shipping process work if I want to order the new one from US

1. I will have it shipped to my friends place, what shipping service should we use to ship it to Kuwait (your recommendation please)
2. Does it need to be added in an additional packaging like a box or something to secure it during transit
3. What would it cost me approximately
4. Will I have to pay the 5% customs in Kuwait
5. Lastly, does the packaging need to be opened and the battery drained? I prefer to unbox it myself when it arrives in Kuwait

Thanks Mark

This laptop really annoyed me. It was released five weeks after I bought the five inch version from Xcite 🙁

Did you test this mac with external monitors? Many people have issues when connecting external monitor to mac. It start to heats up and fans goes crazy.

about 100kd more or less, i assume.
but honestly, it would actually make sense buying from the US when buying a high spec version since its either not available in Kuwait or they retail for too much

Gait does it. Not amazing prices, about 70kd less than apple’s trade in prices. You probably can do better selling it on your own, but fuck that hassle.

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