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MacBook Pro Review: Is It A Good Buy?

By Edge Ison , Nov 15, 2016 05:38 AM EST
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Apple recently unveiled its new MacBook Pro with the much-hyped Touch Bar. The new Pro, which appears to be designed to cater to both heavy-duty users and mainstream buyers, hits store shelves this week at the base price of $1,799. Should buyers shell out this much money for a revamped MacBook Pro?

The new MacBook Pro, which comes in both 13-inch and 15-inch variants, is thinner and lighter than its previous iterations, and comes with a powerful new sixth-generation i5 or i7 processor and a high-resolution Retina display. But while the new Pro is indeed impressive and offers the innovative touchscreen panel, some users are questioning the laptop's price, keyboard, battery life, lack of ports, and, yes, the new Touch Bar.

The Touch Bar is the new MacBook Pro's most highlighted feature. The OLED touchscreen panel, which sits at the top of the keyboard, replaces the traditional function keys, escape keys, and power button. There's a fingerprint scanner on one end, which allows Pro owners to use Touch ID and Apple Pay to securely make online payments. The Touch Bar changes functions depending on what the user is doing, allowing her to scroll through photos, go through predictive text choices, add emojis, etcetera.

The problem with the Touch Bar is that mainstream users don't have much use for it. The image thumbnails that appear are too small to recognize and the predictive text feature only works with certain web apps. Until third-party app developers come up with more ways to utilize the Touch Bar, it will remain not so much a productive feature but one that's just nice to look at.

Another common complaint about the new MacBook Pro is its less-than-exceptional battery life. According to The Verge, its test indicates that the laptop can go up to about 8 hours before dying - not quite the promised 10 hours and a far cry from the 12 hours offered by the MacBook Air.

The new MacBook Pro also seems to have a problem with estimating the amount of time left before the battery runs out. The Verge notes that this is an issue that Apple attributes to modern processors.

CNET says that the decision to buy - or not buy - the new MacBook Pro may boil down to the issue of ports. As various tech reviewers have pointed out, those who purchase the revamped Pro will also have to acquire several special cables or dongles to connect their devices to the laptop.

Apple's push for a USB-C only future has been criticized by many, but CNET points out that many of the new laptops being released are also going USB-C only, which means that this really is inevitable anyway.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will be available starting at $1,799, going up to about $2,899. The 15-inch variant starts at $2,399. There's also a new MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar that will sell for $1,499.

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