MacBook Pro review (2016): A step forward and a step back
There's lots to like about the new MacBook Pro: its slimmed-down design, brighter screen, improved audio, faster graphics and disk speeds. But by doing things like removing full-sized USB ports, the memory card reader and even the Function row, Apple seems to forgotten how many of us actually work. An even better MacBook Pro would be one that doesn't require users to make drastic changes to their workflow.
- Attractive and well-built
- Thinner and lighter
- Retina screen is brighter and more colorful than ever
- Impressive audio quality
- Fast performance, especially the disk speeds
- Touch ID is a useful addition
- Spacious trackpad
- Easy to accidentally hit the Touch Bar instead of the Delete key
- No memory card slot
- The only ports are USB-C ports
- Rated battery life is shorter this year
- No more MagSafe
The last time Engadget reviewed a brand-new MacBook Pro design was in June of 2012. It weighed 4.46 pounds (a heavyweight by today's standards) and it ushered in some newfangled thing called the Retina display. Though Apple has occasionally refreshed the processors (the last time being all the way back in early 2015), that design from 2012 is virtually the same one we've been reviewing all these years.
Thanks to that stale design and often neglected internals, many Mac fans out there have delayed upgrading -- surely a new model was just around the corner, right? Though we're not sure you all were able to hold off until now, Apple has finally updated its MacBook Pro line, and it's not just a processor refresh either. Both of the new 13- and 15-inch Pros are thinner, lighter and more compact than their predecessors, with faster graphics and disk performance, a brighter, more colorful screen, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and louder, clearer audio.
Most notably, they mark the debut of yet another newfangled thing: the "Touch Bar," an OLED strip above the keyboard that replaces the age-old Function bar with touch-sensitive controls that change depending on the app you're using. Factor in a narrower selection of ports (almost guaranteeing you'll need a dongle) and the MacBook Pro isn't just a thinner or different-looking Mac; it's one you're meant to use differently. That's not necessarily a good thing.