I have been using this MacBook for almost a year. I choose the 13in model without the touch bar. I played around with the Touch Bar in store and immediately made the conclusion that it was a gimmick. I didn’t see a need for the Touch Bar, it was too high up. For me it was more efficient to leave my hands near the bottom of the keyboard, near the track pad and the keyboard shortcuts that I use always use like Command Z, X, C, etc.. Plus I didn’t think it was worth the extra $500AUD for the touch bar and the bump from 2.3 to 3.1 GHz i5.For that price I might as well got the 15in, for a few hundred more you can get the base model 15 with 2.2GHz i7 and 16GB ram. I didn’t really want to spend close to 3 grand Australian. Knowing I could get a better specced gaming laptop for that price if not cheaper.
So this brings us to the main issue that I have with the laptop…The Price!
The new line of MacBooks are expensive for what they are. They are under specced for what they cost. Yes I know it’s not always about specs with Apple and that is about the software too and yes this Laptop performs buttery smooth as expected.
But still the PRICE!
Looking around the Laptop it’s well designed as you expect from a Mac. Every part of it is premium and precision made. The whole unit seems very sturdy. I have even dropped this on a few occasions…accidentally from my bed and not a scratch.
But for the price Apple could of included things on the outside like a Memory card reader; very important as this is a MacBook Pro not just a MacBook. Expect to forever use dongles with this laptop. Even if Apple only included one USB-C and gave us a memory card reader in place of the second USB-C I would have been happy.
Unless you get the 15in with 4 USB-C ports your stuck with 2 ports on the 13. Again for the price!
The two USB-C ports are both on the left side, would of been good to have one on each side. So you can charge the laptop from any side depending on where the wall plug was. The only port on the right is a headphone jack. If you plug in an older iPhone 3.5mm headphones you can play, pause and change the volume of the laptop from the headphones. I’m sure it would also work with third party compatible headphones with the same inline buttons.
Another feature that would of been good is a Fingerprint scanner. Its only available on the touch bar models. I don’t think the fingerprint scanner would be that hard to include since they are on iPads now. They could of put the scanner in the power button. It’s now 2018 fingerprint scanners are old tech.
Next I want to talk about the keyboard. The keys are supposed to be improved version of the butterfly keys on the 2016 models, typing on this laptop sucks!
The keys are large but too close together. They’re shallow with less travel. Makes them hard to distinguish with your fingers. They feel like typing on a touch screen. All this leads to heaps of errors and I found myself pressing the back space more often.
I know these keys are designed to make the laptop thinner but I would rather an extra few millimetres in thickness and have more normal feeling keys. But I bet if you type enough I think this is something you won’t notice once you’re used to them.
Now this is just me but I don’t like Mac OS.
In my opinion Windows currently is so much better than Mac OS for reasons I won’t go into but I might cover in another post. 8 years ago I would say Mac OS was better but windows has come a long way since then. If you’re coming from 10 and want to try MacOS I wouldn’t not recommend it.
In saying all this Mac OS works fine on this laptop, it works as it has always. The Mac boots up quick, I hardly encounter any performance issues while moving around the OS. All animations and gesture are smooth and the Apple ecosystem is as tight as ever.
I know I said I don’t recommend this laptop and so far I have mainly said bad things about it but that’s it really. Those were my main issues with the laptop, it’s far from perfect. Now for the cool things.
The screen is the best to do work on. It’s very bright in sunlight, the viewing angles are almost perfect but the main thing is the colour reproduction. It close to real life yet there is still some punch to it. This was something I hated on my old Laptop.
For me colour reproduction is important. Because I’m into photography in my spare time and you need a good screen like this to edit photos on, it also helps with colour grading on my videos.
Also with the lid you can open with one finger.
Now for the speakers! This is upgraded from the 2016 model. This has to be the best sounding speakers I have ever heard on a laptop of this size. Its gets loud and has a decent sound stage. There is little to no distortion at its max level.
Apple has done a good job designing these new speakers. You need to hear them in person.
MacBooks have always had good track pads, highly responsive along with gestures. It took while for Windows laptops to catch up but even now they still can’t compare.
So why is this track pad so good. The size… its bloody massive it takes up half the laptop. Because of the size. I actually don’t need a mouse. I bought myself a Magic Mouse and I have used it like 5 times.
The new track pads have what Apple calls force touch. Which means the track pad is fake. It’s all glass and the clicks you hear and feel are fake. There are two levels of pressure. The normal click but if you put more pressure on you get a second click.
This is similar to the fake home button on the iPhone 7 and 8S. When the laptop is off trying the press the track pad is weird, it doesn’t move. But I think in the long run these new track pads will hold up better than real track pads.
Another cool feature is Air Drop, If you own an iPhone, iPad or iMac you can easily move files between them via Bluetooth. The process is super easy and quick. You can’t get this experience anywhere else.
To get the files off my iPhone and into the MacBook all I have to do is Air Drop instead of fumbling around for cables and then looking for the files on my phone.
iMovie and the other apps only available on Mac work perfectly and are well optimised. In my case iMovie is buttery smooth and much faster than Adobe Premiere on a similarly specced Windows Machine. The track pad works well scrubbing through the timeline and exporting the videos is super quick.
My work flow has greatly improved since using this MacBook.
The last thing I want to talk about is battery life. The batteries holds up and lasts pretty long. With the screen at around 40% brightness, the keyboard lights off and wearing headphones.
From a full charge I can edit my 1080 videos for around 4-5 hours until 10% around 10:00pm. Doing less intensive things than editing videos I can get close to 10 hours.
To charge the batteries from empty will take around 1 to 1.5 hours so even if I run low I can take a break and charge the laptop come back and have full battery.
So that’s it. Those were the main points that stood out for me. Any other feature I haven’t mentioned were either features that didn’t affect my experience or features that I never used like the camera.
So do I recommend this laptop for anyone at all?
With my situation I got the MacBook Pro 13 base model with the Core i5 2.3GHz, 8GB ram and 256GB SSD. I only ever edit 1080 MP4 videos roughly around 3-15 mins long and I store all my finished projects on a portable hard drive. I don’t use the MacBook for other than video content creation, photography and design. For me the laptop works perfectly and I highly recommend it if you are in a similar situation.
For the rest of you… it will depend on your needs and your budget.
If you need certain Mac only apps like Garage Band, Final Cut Pro or in my case iMovie. Then you have no choice. Or buy the older 2015 model if you can find. Cheaper and will still run all those Mac apps with no issues. You just don’t get USB-C, loud speakers and the cool trackpad.
If you just use Adobe applications I would recommend getting a windows Machine. For the same price you can get better specs or for the same specs you can get at a cheaper price.
If you just want a Mac OS experience, look at the MacBooks. Cheaper and provides the same MacOS experience. The only downside is one USB C port and a 12in screen but it does come in Gold and Rose Gold.
If you do go the 12in MacBook route and all you do is web surfing, social networking, email, streaming content and haven’t used a CD or USB since when… I recommend iPads. They do all that for a cheaper price than MacBooks, easy to use great battery life and more portable. And thanks to the new iOS update they have better multi-tasking and work almost like laptops
Video below to my unboxing.
Video below to my review.
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