I have switched to the new MacBook Pro 13” (With Touch Bar) a few days ago. Here is my opinion after the first few days 😉

MacBook Pro 2016
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MacBook Pro 2016

I decided to get the 13” cause, I want an ultra portable system, cause I carry it with me every day and the weight counts for me. And the 13” model weights just 1,37 kg instead of the 1,83 kg of the 15” model.

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My MacBook has the 3.3 GHz i7 with two cores (Turbo Boost up to 3,6 GHz) and 16GB of RAM. Another Upgrade was the SSD: I have the 512GB PCIe, that is enough for me.

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I had a MacBook Air (13” from 2013) until now, and I was impressed with the weight and size! The 13.3” (33,78cm) IPS display is also very impressive. Very bright and the 2460×1600 pixel resolution is awesome. At least for me, the on board Intel Iris Graphics 550 is enough. I don’t do many graphics on this system, just a few photos here and there. I use this system as my work horse, mostly for programming and visualization (Parallels) for testing.

Shortly before my new MacBook arrived the first reviews popped up… that gave me a mixed feeling! Many of the reviews criticised the battery life and the overall performance! Both things I desperately need!

I decided to start from scratch and don’t restore my Time Machine back up. That is something I like to do from time to time, cause I play around a lot with my systems and install/delete a lot of things. So a fresh start seems to be a good idea. The only thing a transferred directly: Two virtual Windows installations from Parallels!

Here is what I installed so far:

  • Sublime (My main Editor)
  • Microsoft Office 2016 (Insider Fast Ring)
  • Coda 2 (my Web related editor)
  • Shimo (I use a lot of different VPNs)
  • Snagit, Camtasia and ScreenSteps (For creating documentations)
  • Parallels 12 Pro (Virtualisation)

The overall installation and transfer took a bit over three hours. I used the first adapter (later on that later) to connect my Apple Thunderbolt 27” Display; the performance of the build in gigabit ethernet helped me a lot.

MacBook Pro 2016 with Display
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MacBook Pro 2016 with Display

During the initial installation of all my stuff, I started to play around with the Touch Bar! Nice, but at least for me and now: just nice to have!

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Something totally different is Touch ID: It Makes perfect sense! It’s fast, very precise and accurate, like on the newer iPhone models.

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Because I have a long and complex password, this is nice and a great time saver! And I hope that more and more developers start using it.

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Right after the installation I started my regular Workflow: Fire up an Windows 10 based virtual system, Sublime and a few other things. The performance was and was impressive! And the 16 GB Ram makes perfect sense for me (doubled from my MacBook Air). During the first few hours, I had to start another virtual System (A Windows 2016 Server) to test a few things and the overall performance was great, much better than on my three-year-old MacBook Air. Some of that is based on the fact, that the MacBook Pro has the double amount of memory, sure.

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After working a while at the office I had to leave and now the interesting part of my initial test started: Working while traveling, where often is no changing option available! My 3-year-old MacBook Air lasted between 8 and 10 hours, even when I had a virtual Windows 10 based system running minimum 7 to 8 hours. While traveling, I mostly do the same workload like in the office: Developing stuff and testing it on virtual Windows and Linux (Centos) systems. The only part that didn’t impress me: eight Hours! That is OK, but not better than my older Air! I use a 50% display brightness and WiFi during all the time. Like with my Air before.

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There are a few things that I like very much: The huge new trackpad is great! And I must admit: I love the new keyboard! The first impression wasn’t so good, but that changed very quickly.

Adaptors: OK, Apple decided to make the new MacBook Pro series USB-C only. That could be a pain! And I mean a real Pain… I need a lot of adaptors for nearly everything! To connect my Apple Display, to use regular USB Sticks and due to the fact that there is no native HDMI Port: To attach a Beamer! Some customers don’t have a WiFi, so adapters for an Ethernet Adapter.

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I think it will take a while to get everything with a native USB-C connectivity. And a least the original Apple Adapters are pricey!

To wrap it up a bit: After the first few days, I like the new MacBook Pro a lot. There are a few things that I don’t really like (e.g. the lag of USB-C equipment), but the overall impression is good and solid.

Do I really recommend that new MacBook… Puh, that is a tough one! It depends: I started to look at some PC systems (e.g. The Microsoft Surface Book and some from HP), but I’m a Mac guy, and I don’t need a Touchscreen! So I decided to stay with the Mac. And it’s not cheap! You might get a better deal if you go with a PC Utrabook or Tablet.

So, if you want a powerful and portable Mac, and if you are willing to spend a bit more than you have to for a powerful PC: YES! The MacBook Pro 2016 is definitely worth a look!