Apple MacBook Pro 15 Inch with Touch Bar
Nice processor and graphics options better performance, the touchpad spacious and easy, excellent autonomy. It’s the largest and most powerful notebook of the brand
Even if you are not particularly convinced by the Touch Bar, this slightly refreshed MacBook Pro still reigns supreme in the realm of high-end laptops, especially for the creative ones.
Let’s start with the good news. Those who had broken their bank account to buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro in its redesigned version launched in the fall of 2016 do not have to take out their handkerchiefs. The 2017 update is modest since we find the essence of the previous model: aluminum chassis, Retina screen, large touch pad, Touch Bar and limited connectivity.
The main novelty is the arrival of 7th generation Intel Core i processors from the Kaby Lake family and new graphics chip options ranging from Intel HD530 / 630s to AMD Radeon Pro 450/455s up to the Radeon Pro 555/560. All 15-inch MacBook Pro are equipped with AMD while the 13-inch models are Intel.
So much for the good news. On the other hand, the bad news is for those who had been put off by some specificities of the new MacBook Pro that they will always find: ultra flat keyboard, Touch Bar, USB-C ports …
On the other hand, if you were thinking about switching to a MacBook Pro or changing an older model, you’ll gain on CPU and graphics performance. Because it is still the largest and most powerful notebook PC of the Apple brand that remains a reference choice for all professionals, especially the creative ones who seek the power of a desktop machine in a format relatively portable.
The 15-inch MacBook is available in two configurations:
-Core i7, 16GB of memory, 256GB of SSD and Radeon Pro 555 chip
-Core i7, 16 GB, 512 GB of SSD and Radeon Pro 560
There is also a 15-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar with Intel Core i7 at 2.2 GHz, 16 GB of memory and 256 GB of SSD. You will have noticed that the high-end configuration has a ceiling of 16 GB of RAM, which is one of the main criticisms of the Pro.
The Touch Bar
The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro have the Touch Bar that replaces the function keys on the top of the keyboard with an Oled touch screen. This allows you to manage the sound, brightness, macOS version of Siri and contextual functions in some applications.
The Touch Bar has its followers and detractors. Some use it, others not at all. At the time of release in late 2016, native Apple applications on macOS were supported and only a few third-party applications. Now, popular programs like Photoshop and Spotify are Touch Bar compatible.
Speaking of tactile surface, let us evoke here the excellent extra large touchpad introduced at the same time as the Touch Bar. It offers Apple’s typical responsiveness and support for multi-finger gestures. Two areas in which Windows laptops still have progress to make.
This pad is associated with the ultra-thin keyboard that is also found on the 12-inch MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The shallow depth of the keys requires a time of adaptation to feel at ease. From our point of view, this is a keyboard that is very suitable for a 12-inch ultra-slim laptop, but on a large model like the MacBook Pro, we would have liked to have a classic keyboard.
4 USB-C Ports
Personally, the presence of USB-C connectivity is not a problem. This format is smaller, more convenient because reversible and versatile since it manages data, power, video and more. The 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro has four of these ports, two on each side. The 13-inch model without Touch Bar only has two.
However, if you need to connect a USB stick, HDMI or DisplayPort, you will need to invest in an adapter that Apple and other brands offer as an option.
Power To Spare
It is quite normal that such an expensive machine equipped with a Core i7 of last generation has panicked our test benches. It exploded the counters, even in front of Windows laptops dedicated to the video game.
However, the Pro is not a machine for video games although we can still run titles like Tomb Raider at 54.1 frames / second in 1.680×1.050 pixels.
In terms of autonomy, it is only marginally higher than the 2016 MacBook Pro, from 10h05mn to 10h43mn. In actual use, with several active applications, the use of the Touch Bar and occasional solicitation of the graphics processor, the autonomy should be a few hours shorter.
The High Price For The Biggest Laptop At Apple
The MacBook is not only the largest notebook PC of the brand but also the most expensive. It is a significant investment that must last several years. But there is an alternative to have almost all these options for less: the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar.
And if you do not need the power the Pro offers, there’s also the new version of the 12-inch MacBook that adopts a Core M chip and costs the same price as the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar. It offers the advantage of a classic keyboard and a more varied connectivity (USB-A, HDMI, mini DisplayPort). For our part, we have a soft spot for the XXL touchpad, the Touch Bar and a more compact chassis.