Is the MacBook Pro the Future of Laptops?
– Hey guys, this is Austin and this is the new 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro. So I’ve been using the previous model to edit almost all of my videos for the last year, and I’ve been pretty happy with it. However, this new MacBook is smaller in basically all ways. While these MacBooks look pretty similar at first glance, Apple’s actually made some pretty big updates to the Pro. So one of the most noticeable things right off the bat is the keyboard. So if you guys caught my video on the 13-inch version of this laptop, you’ll know that I actually like the keyboard a fair bit. Sure, it’s fairly low travel, however, with that butterfly mechanism, it actually feels pretty nice. It’s not maybe as good as something like a mechanical keyboard, but it’s actually really not bad for a laptop. One big thing on the new MacBook is the trackpad. It’s seriously enormous. Like it’s basically the size of my whole hand. Now MacBooks have had some of the best trackpads on any laptop and this is no exception. However, one of my big issues is the fact that because that trackpad is so big, it kinda gets in the way sometimes.
So to be fair, there is pretty decent palm rejection, so if you kinda leave your hand a little bit near it, it will usually ignore it. However a lot of times I find myself accidentally touching stuff on the trackpad, just because it’s pretty much the entire bottom of the laptop. The speakers are a welcome improvement. So while they’re a little bit lacking in bass, the highs are surprisingly clear and volume is more than good enough. The screen is also nice, so we’re getting that same size and resolution at 2880×1800, however it’s now sporting the new Apple P3 color gamut, it gets much brighter and honestly, this is one of the better laptop screens out there.
Could be a little bit higher resolution but there’s not a lot to complain about. If you hadn’t guessed, Apple kinda has the fundamentals of the whole building-a-laptop thing down by now. However (claps), that’s not all it takes to build a good laptop, and that’s where Apple’s kinda taken a step away from what they’ve been doing in the past. So the first and one of the most noticeable things right off the bat is the brand new Touch Bar. So instead of having a standard row of function keys, instead you have what’s essentially a very small OLED screen built into the keyboard and this can be used for a lot of things. So, for example, if you hold the function key, you can bring up all your standard function keys, so you’re not really losing anything. It’s a cool addition but it doesn’t really fundamentally change the way I use a MacBook. However, what does are the lack of ports. The new MacBook Pros have four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack, and that’s it. No USB-A, no HDMI, no card reader, you pretty much get what you get here. This, this is a bit of a nightmare.
However, if you want to get a ton of ports, if you want to really replicate all the stuff that you might be able to get with other laptops, this is not that crazy of a setup. So of course, with four Thunderbolt 3 ports that are all based on USB-C, while it’s a great port and you can do a lot of adapters off of it, you kind of have to do a lot of adapters off of it to do much of anything. So say that you want to connect your new MacBook to Ethernet. Well if you want to do it the Apple way, you’re gonna pick up a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, and then Thunderbolt 2 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter. That’ll run you about $60 for the pair. Want to say, connect an optical drive? No big deal, just get the USB-C to A adapter and of course, a good ol’ Apple SuperDrive, another 90 bucks.
But oh no, that’s not enough ports. How dare you only need an Ethernet and an optical drive. So we have a wide variety of different dongles to choose from on the other side of the MacBook. You want to connect something like maybe an HDMI monitor? No big deal, just get the multi-port adapter which is gonna run you a cool $50, now on sale. Not only can we actually charge our MacBook through the adapter, which is helpful since we’re using all the other ports for dongles, but this also gives us another USB port, which of course we’re using for a card reader because you know, the MacBook doesn’t have a card reader any more.
But one USB port (laughing), who do you think we are? Non-USB port people (laughing)? (beeping) But of course one USB port is nowhere near enough. That’s where this adapter comes in. So not only are we going to get four USB ports off the adapter, but all you need to do is plug it into the wall, give enough power to supply it to all of our devices, as well as pick up a USB-C to USB micro-B cable to actually connect via data because…this is complicated.
(sighs) All in all, this is clearly the most functional package that you could possibly hope for with your MacBook Pro or not. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, this is more than a little bit ridiculous. However, all of these kind of taken by themselves are actually not that crazy. Sure, if you didn’t want to have to go the Apple approach, you can get a USB-C to Ethernet adapter. For example, some of the T1’s and T3’s, you can swap the cable out to be native USB-C but the bottom line is, for a lot of the Pro things that you want to do, and even some of the more standard things, you’re going to need a lot of adapters with this new MacBook. However, with the help of the new LG 5K UltraFine monitor, you can see that our cable situation is just a little bit cleaner. So when LG hit me up and wanted to sponsor a video with their new 5K display, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to show it off.
Now there’s actually a lot that is cool about Thunderbolt 3. Most notably, this entire setup is running off of a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. So with the single cable, the MacBook is able to drive the 5K display, and the monitor’s able to send power back to the MacBook, so you don’t need to plug it in and on top of that, we have three additional USB-C ports on the back of the display, meaning we can plug in all of our peripherals in a much cleaner way. There is a smaller 4K UltraFine option out there. However, if you have the 15-inch MacBook Pro, you can actually power two of these 5K displays with the single laptop. When you pair the UltraFine with the new MacBooks, you actually get a lot of cool extra features. So not only can you control things like brightness from inside the settings here, but you’re also getting that same P3 color gamut which is exactly what you’re gonna get on a 15-inch MacBook and with that crispy crispy 5K resolution, you’re getting some seriously beautiful pixels. Believe me, I tried, I looked at every single one of the pixels and they’re all 100% beautiful. You’re also getting some surprisingly decent built-in speakers especially when you consider that they’re from a monitor.
(hip hop music) And on top, you’re getting a webcam. It’s a really solid package, I gotta say. If you’re getting one of the new MacBook Pros you should definitely look into the UltraFine displays. It should be no surprise that the new MacBook Pros are expensive. So while it starts at $2400 for the 15-inch model, you can spec it up to over $4000. So the model I have here has the gigahertz Core i7, 16 gigabytes of memory, the Radeon Pro 460 graphics, and a one-terabyte SSD. These are pretty decent specs for a laptop however, there are a couple key things missing. One of the biggest is that there’s only one option for RAM on the MacBook and that is 16 gigabytes. So while that’s not a huge deal for me, a lot of Pro workloads can absolutely benefit from 32 gigabytes of RAM. The new MacBooks are also rocking Skylake processors instead of the latest seventh generation Intel Kaby Lake chips. Now this isn’t a huge deal for performance, while Kaby Lake is a small improvement, it isn’t a massive difference over Skylake. However, what is a little bit of an odd choice is that this actually has lower-end integrated graphics.
Unlike the last generation model, which had Iris graphics standard by default, and an option to go to dedicated graphics, the new MacBook Pros have the less powerful HD Graphics 530 on the integrated side, however, it makes up for that with dedicated graphics across the board. Compared to both the base model as well as the upgraded dedicated model of last year, you’ll see the Radeon Pro 460 graphics in the new MacBook are a big step forward.
However, if you look at the Geekbench 4 scores, you’ll see that, while on the single thread side, the new MacBooks are slightly faster, on the multi-threaded, they’re actually a little bit slower. In the real world, you really shouldn’t notice any difference on the processor side, where those improved dedicated graphics should make a pretty big difference. Battery life on the 15-inch MacBook has never really been the strong suit, and it’s about the same on the 2016 model.
So with fairly light use, you’re getting anywhere between five and six hours, however, if you’re doing something heavier like video editing, then you should expect more like two or three. So, is this the future of laptops? Kind of, ah, I dunno. On one hand, the hardware’s nice. There’s a lot of core things that make the MacBook a very nice laptop to use. However, the biggest hangup for me are the ports. Sure, two, three, four years from now I think we’ll be pretty much entirely switched over to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. However, in the meantime, #donglelife2016. So what do you think about the new MacBook Pros? Let me know in the comments below and if you missed it, you can check out my “Is It Worth It” episode on the 13-inch version of the new MacBook.
Anyway guys, thank you so much for watching and I will catch you on the next one.
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