Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro hands-on

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Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro hands-on


Hey guys it's a fun day here at the Engadget office I'm here with the new 16 inch MacBook Pro it's not everyday that we get a new first-of-its-kind product from a company but here we are I've had about 24 hours with the new larger MacBook Pro this replaces the 15-inch which is going away so I haven't had it just long enough to do a full proper review but what you're gonna see today are just some really early impressions and we'll come back to you with a full review sometime later so as you can see this is just a standard MacBook Pro basically mostly the same design just the screen is a little bit bigger it's 16 inches now up from 15 but really the size of the machine is not that different that's because although the screen is larger now Apple like a lot of other computer makers out there use space more efficiently by cutting the bezels both on top of the screen and the sides of the screen so all told it's just a little taller a little longer and a little wider than the 15-inch

MacBook Pro in particular with the thickness it's now on 0.64 inches up from 0.61 so it's a pretty negligible difference I would say the weight is a little maybe more noticeable this is 4.3 pounds up from a flat 4 pounds on the 15-inch model but either way for a 16 inch machine and in particular a machine that is meant to serve the kind of intense workloads this is really built for four point three pounds is still pretty light and pretty portable all things considered so back to the screen for a minute I would say that although we're calling this a 16 inch MacBook Pro ironically the screen is actually the least interesting thing about the machine yeah it's bigger it has a higher resolution of 3072 by 1920 pretty high brightness of 500 nits although not the first 500 nits machine we've seen it supports the p3 color gamut like a lot of other high-end Apple machines out there which is really good obviously for the creative professionals using it whether they're photographers or articlegraphers and the pixel density is pretty high that's

226 pixels per inch but the overarching the underlying screen technology is pretty much the same as other MacBook Pros that's why I say it's really not the most interesting thing about this machine yeah it's a new product but not quite the redesign that maybe Apple would have you believe as you can see here just the materials and design identity are the same same ports you've got two Thunderbolt three ports here on my left side and you've got two more on the right along with a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack let's talk about what isn't there there still is no SD card reader that's really gonna annoy a lot of the pros who this was designed for it annoys me and I don't even consider myself a creative professional so that's a miss I think given the target market but yeah let's get on to how this thing has actually changed in a more significant way the keyboard is probably the most obvious change here and I think might be the thing that a lot of people will be most excited about so listen up first the physical

Escape key has returned you'll also notice that the arrow keys have been reconfigured a bit so the side arrows the left and right one are shorter and smaller than the up and down arrows and the benefit of that is just they're easier to use by feel you sort of know without looking which arrow key you're hitting so that's a good thing especially for power users who use certain keyboard shortcuts a lot but more importantly just for the wider range of people even people beyond just the niche users of certain keyboard macros the whole keyboard mechanism has been changed here in a way that I think is going to please a lot of people so even Apple their official line now is still well most of our users are happy with the butterfly keyboard but even they need to admit now that some people actually really hate it and of course the butterfly keyboard has gotten bad press and for fair reason a lot of stuck keys debris getting caught around the keys so here Apple really went back to the drawing board it put its research department to good use and so what we have here is a keyboard that was inspired by the magic keyboard that's the keyboard that comes with the

iMac line and it's obviously not quite the same keyboard had to be adapted for a laptop form factor but a lot of the design principles are the same now for one thing that means that Apple is back to a so-called scissor mechanism as opposed to a butterfly mechanism and that allows for a denser more satisfying cushy feel to the keys they have a full millimeter of travel here and you know looking at the keys you might even be able to suss out that they are deeper than the flat ones are used to on more recent MacBook Pros but at the same time one benefit of the butterfly keyboards is that they were less wobbly than keyboards that preceded them so what you have here and you you can't see it in the demo unit I have because I haven't torn it apart is there are rubber domes under the keys and those domes lock into the key caps at the top of the stroke and so that design in short was designed to keep the keys from wobbling too much back and forth but still allow them to have pretty deep travel and so long in the short of it and I know this is hard to represent on a article is

I think these keys are a giant improvement I have made very few typos typing on these no stuck keys I also had my colleague Devendra who is a prolific laptop reviewer take a quick look and he agreed that they are much better than the ones they're replacing and I'll tell you I also had a chance to test these side-by-side with a legacy 15-inch MacBook Pro that was pre butterfly keyboard and the keys here were just a lot more stable the other ones were wobbly er and I actually did make a lot more typos so the trajectory of progress seems to be upward and forward for Apple although the butterfly keyboards I think most of us would admit was kind of a hiccup for the company so then of course this wouldn't be a hands-on with a MacBook Pro if we didn't talk about what's under the hood not just what's visible to the human eye so under the hood I'm gonna actually talk about the audio experience I think this is something that sometimes it gets overlooked in laptop reviews and actually this is one area where

Apple put in a lot of work for this particular product so under the hood here on the left side you've got a three mic array Apple would have you believe that that is studio quality so that you could let's say use it instead of a professional mic like a blue Yeti to record podcasts and I did have a chance to listen to some comparison recordings both against the blue Yeti and also some competing laptops from Dell and Razer it's true that the sound that was recorded on this machine had less of a hiss to it but that said I'm eager to do more testing on my own not just trust someone else's recordings but maybe will try to record an episode of the Engadget podcast or do at least some audio tests on this machine and just see how it works for our purposes there's also a six speaker set up in here and there are some forced canceling subwoofers that are meant to cancel each other out specifically when it comes to distortion that would result from vibrations in the machine and they're to the audio quality really is great the sound really is louder and Basinger than some other computers

I've compared it to so far and I'm eager to do more testing there but so far it has triumphed triumphed in a number of different musical styles not so it's not just a one-trick pony in that regard and then of course there's performance so there are different configurations here and so depending on what you get and to what extent you really choose to level up and add on different upgrades this could of course get very pricey you can have either a six core or an eight core Intel processor these are going to be either Core i7 or Core I 9 either way they are ninth generation Intel Core processors the base configurations have 16 gigs of ram but you can go all the way up to 64 gigs likewise you start with a 512 gigabyte SSD and if you pony up for it you can go all the way up to an 8 terabyte SSD which is Bunker's I don't think I've heard of that on a laptop before for graphics you're looking at a base of a 4 gigabyte AMD Radeon Pro 5300 M GPU then the next configuration is a 4 gigabyte AMD Radeon

Pro 5500 M GPU and then there's an 8 gigabyte version of the 5500 M that you can get as an upsell basically obviously this thing promises to be fast in a really screaming sort of way that's also the sort of thing that we want to take time to test another thing that's going to take time is the battery testing so this has a larger battery than before it's a hundred watt battery which Apple says and I did not know this is the maximum size allowed by the FAA Planes so we have we have maxed out until policy changes make other things possible but so it's a 100-watt a battery inside an apple also says that it's redesigned the fans the thermal sync to make this more efficient and all told all those factors combined Apple says that this is now capable of 11 hours of battery life up from 10 hours on the 15-inch MacBook Pro just to note too that in addition to the larger battery the accompanying charger is higher capacity - it looks the same as before it's the same size but it is a higher capacity as well so if you're reading this you're reading this starting on

Wednesday November 13th that is the day that the machine goes on sale and it should ship by the end of the week because this is replacing the 15-inch MacBook Pro it feels appropriate that it is taking over the same categories of prices same tears of prices I should say which means that the base configuration starts at 23 99 and you can add on upgrades from there there's also a step up configuration that starts at $27.99 and there's still room for some upgrades on that model as well but again those are the prices that you would have paid for the 15-inch version as well so stay tuned - and gadget we are gonna have a full more comprehensive review coming up this is really just early impressions to show you what we've gleaned so far and to just walk you through all the specs and claims here but much more on this front in the meantime thank you guys for reading.

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