I spent part of my time off a couple weeks ago shopping. Ever since I returned from the West coast last year I’ve been looking to buy a new Mac. Editing photos on my 13″ MacBook Pro was disappointing because it was so slow. Even though it was reading the images off of a fast internal SSD it still couldn’t compete with my 2010 iMac pulling the photos over a Firewire 800 connection. I think it boils down to cores and RAM. The iMac has a 4-core CPU and 12 GB RAM; the MacBook Pro only had 2 cores and 8 GB. Lightroom eats cores for lunch.
I considered buying a new MacBook as well as buying a 5K iMac but I really, really didn’t want to be shackled to the office for photo editing anymore. I wanted to be able to take my machine with me – to the living room, to the dining room. That really left only one option – a MacBook Pro. I knew Apple would be replacing the Retina generation so I waited for the Touch Bar models to come out last year. I wasn’t ready to pay a premium at the time so I waited a bit more until the price was right.
I finally settled on a 15″ MacBook Pro with TouchBar and I’ve been loving it. I purchased a refurbished 2016 model (the first of the new design). I’ve had both 12/13″ and 15″ Macs over the years and I sway between screen sizes based on what I need at the time. I chose a 13″ model last time because I was using my MacBook mostly for web browsing and wanted something that was easy to carry around. The 13″ Retina display also provided the same virtual resolution as my old 15″. I’m bumping up to the 15″ again primarily because I need a quad core CPU for photo editing; the dual-core in my 13″ just won’t cut it and Apple doesn’t offer four cores in its 13″ machine anymore. The additional screen space is also helpful.
My thoughts from the first few weeks:
- Size / Weight
- It weighs half a pound more than my outgoing MacBook Pro but feels lighter because the weight is distributed over more volume
- It’s 15% slimmer than the old MacBook Pro which helps it feel lighter than it is
- It feels more balanced; the weight seems more evenly distributed and it doesn’t tip as often. Maybe that’s because the screen is lighter
- The machine feels solid with no flex; the keyboard is solid as well
- The 15″ form factor sits better on my lap
- Space Gray
- Space Gray was introduced on the iPhone 5S in 2013 and has spread across Apple’s product line. It’s a dark shade of silver that looks different depending on the way the light hits it. It looks more silver in bright light, black in dim light, and purple in mixed light.
- I like Space Gray better than silver but I wish it were offered in the Space Black of the Apple Watch or even just the Black of the iPhone. Guess I’ll have to wait for the next redesign!
- The speakers are very, very loud but have balanced treble and bass. They sound really good. Thanks Beats!
- I actually really like the keyboard. I’ve never been a fan of huge key travel but I am a fan of clickiness. This second-generation butterfly mechanism is clicky as hell!
- The Touch Bar is neat. I like having sliders for brightness, volume, and music. I’ve already added a dock to it using BetterTouchTool. I like having the ability to customize it. Force touch would be neat here.
- I love the idea of only having one port that performs multiple functions and I gladly purchased the accessories I needed but damn it Apple, move the two ports a bit further apart! I bought four USB-C to USB-A converters and they are barely too wide to stick next to each other. They are barely wider than the width of a USB-A connector. Just add a few millimeters in-between!
- I like being able to plug the power adapter into either side of the machine
- I see Apple’s logic here; I bought four different adapters and I’ve only used one of them two times. 95% of the time I’m adapter-less. I’m considering a hub with more connections so that I can plug my adapters into that and then only plug one thing into my MacBook. #firstWorldProblems
- I miss the illuminated Apple logo on the back but I guess that is the cost of progress.
- Love the extra screen brightness and wider color gamut
- The solid state trackpad works well. Most of the time I forget that it doesn’t have any moving parts. It is humongous and kind of ridiculous in a way but it has pretty good palm rejection so my cursor doesn’t go flying everywhere when I type.