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MacBook Pro 16-inch Hands-on Review: The Most Powerful Notebook in Apple's History

MacBook Pro 16-inch Hands-on Review: The Most Powerful Notebook in Apple's History

On November 13th, the highly anticipated MacBook Pro 16-inch was officially released, starting from $2399.

This is the second time that Apple has updated the product for the same product line this year, which is rare in the past.


Three years ago, Apple introduced the Touch Bar and adopted a new model for the MacBook Pro. A few years later, the design of the MacBook Pro finally ushered in a full update.

Like AirPods Pro, the new MacBook Pro also appears suddenly on the official website without a warm-up.

After experiencing the new MacBook Pro for a while, we want to tell you what important upgrades are available in the new MacBook Pro.

After all, the screens and keyboards that you use often are different this time.


MacBook Pro 16-inch Design: a 16-inch Screen is Inserted in a 15-inch Body

As the new MacBook Pro 16-inch is on the shelves, MacBook Pro 15-inch is off the shelf and exits the stage, and the MacBook Pro 16-inch will replace it.

It's not a noticeable increase in the size of the new MacBook Pro 16-inch and the previous 15-inch models. If you put the two together, it is even hard to see the difference.


The actual weight and size data can also explain everything. Take the latest MacBook Pro 15-inch this year as an example. It has a size of 34.93cm x 24.07cm x 1.55cm and a weight of 1.83kg.

Nevertheless, the size of MacBook Pro 16-inch is 35.79cm x 24.59cm x 1.62cm. The changes in indicators stay at millimeter-level. Moreover, the weight of the whole machine is controlled within 2.0kg. In other words, a 16-inch screen is inserted in a 15-inch body.

Indeed, the larger screen size in the same size body means that Apple has further reduced the black-edged area around the MacBook Pro's screen, which makes the 16-inch display area more compact and provides a more comfortable visual effect.


It is worth mentioning that the pixel density has also increased from 2880 x 1800 pixels of the MacBook Pro 15-inch to 3072 x 1920 pixels of the MacBook Pro 16-inch. Besides, it also supports the dot by dot display, which is good news for the majority of designers.

Some features such as brightness of up to 500 nits, P3 wide color gamut, and original color display have also been retained.



MacBook Pro 16-inch Keyboard: Scissors-switch Keyboard for a Better Experience

To reduce the viscous and loose feeling when a single button is pressed at the different positions and to ensure the stability and solidity, the MacBook Pro 16-inch adopts the new keyboard design based on the scissor-switch structure, instead of the previous butterfly structure which was criticized.

Just in terms of appearance, compared to the previous flat keyboard area, the button of MacBook Pro 16-inch is obviously "thicker", indicating that the keystroke will be longer.


Moreover, the rubber dome film in the keycap has been redesigned by Apple to retain more pressing potential while making more timely feedback.

According to the actual typing experience of an hour, I feel that I'm not as tired as before. Furthermore, the keystrokes of the new keyboard are longer, the sound is softer, and the feedback is more realistic.

Apple engineers explain that the keystroke of the new keyboard has reached 1mm, twice as long as the previous one. Although the keystrokes are not as good as the Magic Keyboard and the mainstream Windows notebooks, the tactile feeling is much more comfortable than my 2017 MacBook.

In the aspect of the button layout, Apple also refers to the design of the external keyboard of Magic Keyboard for iMac, and uses an inverted T-shaped layout, instead of setting the left and right buttons of the four-way button to be equal to the same row of buttons.


Regarding the Touch Bar, the area looks similar to the previous one. Still, now the ESC key and Touch ID identification keys on both sides are separate, no longer integrated, at a certain distance with Touch Bar in the middle, being independent physical keys.


In the previous MacBook Pro, the fingerprint button on the far right was also independent. However, since it is very close to the Touch Bar, it's easy to accidentally touch the Siri button next to it when using fingerprint recognition verification, which is annoying.

The call for the ESC key to be independent has been around for an extended period. In the past, Apple put it into the Touch Bar, which had no feedback. Many users had to look at the keyboard area to find their location accurately, which was very inconvenient. The redesigned physical ESC button is more acceptable.


In general, the MacBook Pro 16-inch keyboard is more practical to use. It is a solution to some problems such as false touch, vulnerability. Meanwhile, it improves the accuracy of touch typing.
 

MacBook Pro 16-inch Performance & Configuration: The Gospel of Creative Workers

The MacBook Pro 16-inch standard version is powered by a 6-core Intel ninth-generation Core i7 processor running at 2.6GHz, while the high-end version uses an 8-core i9 processor at 2.3GHz. Both models use the same chip as the new MacBook Pro 15-inch that was launched this year.


With the help of the GeekBench 4 and Cinebench R20 tools, we test the MacBook Pro 16-inch high-end version. 

According to GeekBench, the score of the single-core performance is 5,585, and the score of the multi-core performance is 28,565; MacBook achieves a total score of 3,123 on Cinebench R20, which is basically in the same level as the MacBook Pro 15-inch. 

As for the absence of the latest ten generations of Core, it is related to Intel. Both batches of Intel 10th generation Core processors released this year are 10nm and 14nm chips in U Series and Y Series. 

They are aimed at low-power, thin and light notebooks such as MacBook Air, rather than the high-performance laptops such as Pro.

Therefore, if you still expect the MacBook Pro 16-inch series equipped with the 10th generation Core processor, it's best to wait until the next year's update.

The most significant change is the graphics chip. The MacBook Pro 16-inch standard and high-end versions are equipped with AMD Radeon Pro 5300M and 5500M discrete graphics cards, all of which are 7nm process chips with 4GB GDDR6 memory, and can be further equipped with up to 8GB of memory.

 This is the most significant upgrade of the graphics chip in the MacBook Pro series in recent years.

Apple officials also stressed that compared to this year's MacBook Pro 15-inch high-end version, the 16-inch version at the same price range achieves 2.1 times faster in graphics processing performance. If both are top-notch versions, the difference in speed will be further increased by 80%.


By using the Unigine Heaven software, we also find that the display frame rate of the MacBook Pro 16-inch high-end version can be maintained at 80fps or higher over a long period of time, and the final total score is 2,132, which is 2 times higher than the 15 inch top-end version equipped with Radeon Pro Vega20 graphics card. 

The improvement of performance is also associated with Apple's adoption of a new cooling architecture. This time, Apple redesigned the cooling duct for the 16-inch model, and the area of the heat sink has also increased by 35%. 

In other words, when you work at full speed with a high load, the heat dissipation efficiency of the machine will be higher, avoiding overheating, and frequency reduction. 


MacBook Pro 16-inch Battery: Longer Battery Life

Regarding the battery, the 16-inch model incorporates a new 100Whbattery (that of the 15-inch model is 83.6Wh) and comes with a 96W USB-C power adapter (that of the 15-inch is an 87W power adapter). Both are for the same purpose - uplift in performance.


According to Apple, for browsing the web page, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can last up to 11 hours, while the 15-inch model is about 10 hours. It is a small improvement.

MacBook Pro 16-inch Other Features: Interface, Storage, Speaker

In terms of the interface, the MacBook Pro 16-inch still includes a combination of 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) and a 3.5mm headphone jack, so we still have to keep the various previous adapters.

But the starting point for storage memory is also higher. This time, the standard version is equipped with a 512GB SSD, and the high-end variant is 1TB. You can choose up to 8TB solid state for both versions. The RAM starts from 16GB (2666MHz-DDR4), and the maximum is 64GB.

We also test the 1TB hard drive of the high-end version with the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test tool, which shows a write speed of 2176.8 MB/s and a read speed of 2451.7 MB/s. 

They are consistent with the 15-inch model. It's expected that the read and write rate of the 512GB hard drive will be slightly slower.


Finally, as for the speakers, the speakers of MacBook Pro 16-inch are still located on the left and right sides of the keyboard, but the number of speakers has been increased to six. 

It continues the design of the three microphone arrays, with two subwoofers placed back to back. If you compare the new and old models, you will find that the stereo volume of the new computer has been increased significantly and that the layers of the bass sound more distinct.
 

Conclusion: MacBook Pro 16-inch Means Apple Re-engages Professional Users

The long-awaited major update of MacBook Pro has finally arrived, which is maybe the feeling of many Apple users for new MacBook Pro 16-inch.

Equipped with a larger screen, a higher configuration, and almost the same weight as the MacBook Pro 15-inch, it has solved most of the previous problems of keyboard and cooling systems that have been criticized for many years.

Indeed, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is a new product worth talking about under the spotlight.


However, it isn't the largest notebook that Apple has ever made. Going back ten years ago, you could find the MacBook 17-inch of the MacBook series as the top flagship on Apple's official website.

For a long period in the past, there were no significant dimensional changes in the entire MacBook Pro's product line, while it only can be seen that some adjustments mean in pursuit of thin and compact design.

The appearance of the MacBook Pro 16-inch indicates that Apple has finally given up the strategy of making small improvements and returning to the direction of pragmatism. 

This change is also what the loyal users of Macs who pursue ultimate creativity and productivity want to see.

In 2019, Apple also made great efforts on the professional Mac product line, whether it was the previously released new Mac Pro (and of course, the ultimate Pro Display XDR) or the fully updated MacBook Pro this time. It reflects that Apple re-embraces professional users.
 
Will you buy a MacBook Pro 16-inch?











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