At its WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Jose, California, Apple refreshed many of their Mac computers including the MacBook Pros, which were just refreshed less than a year ago bringing a brand new design. I managed to fight off the urge to buy one last year and instead save some money. But things were a little different this year. I decided to pick up the refreshed 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro because I genuinely do need a powerful and portable editing machine while I travel next month. This is my first MacBook Pro and I’m pretty excited to share my thoughts of it with you over the next few weeks, months, and hopefully years (if it lasts me that long). Apple products tend to have a pretty long lifespan.
So we’ll see that upon removing the plastic wrap and sliding off the top of the box, the MacBook Pro is on top in all of its aluminum glory. There’s a handy pull tab that will make removing it all the less challenging. Underneath, we’ll find some standard paperwork, a 2mm USB-C charging cable, and an 87-watt USB-C power adapter. The 15-inch model has the 87-watt adapter while the 13-inch model has a 61-watt adapter. That is all that’s included in the box and that’s all you really need to get this device up and running.
Now the fun part begins. We get to unwrap the MacBook Pro from its protective plastic. There are very few things better in life than undressing brand new tech products. We’ll see a very compact 15-inch laptop. This laptop only measures in at 15.5mm thick. Just imagine two flagship smartphones like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8 stacked on top of each other and that’s like roughly the thickness of the new MacBook Pros.
You’re probably asking yourself what is new with the 2017 MacBook Pro. Not much is new in terms of hardware. Actually, most of the new improvements are found internally. The new stuff is found inside of this machine. They feature Kaby Lake processors which perform roughly 10% faster than the Skylake chips in previous models, the 2016 models. Kaby Lake is the newest processor from Intel. You also have the option to select AMD’s Radeon Pro 500 series graphics. I opted in for the 560 variant with 4GB of memory but there is Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB of memory that you can select.
Now let me share some first impressions of some of the hardware related features from a first-time MacBook Pro user. The trackpad is insanely large. I have yet to even get close to swiping outside the pad with my fingers. It honestly might be a little bit too large. But hey, it’s better than it being too small.
The butterfly keyboard is not bad in my opinion. I’ve adapted to the butterfly keys on the original MacBook, which I used every single day or at least have used up until getting this machine. So I have no problem typing on these keys, however, they have been updated and it does show. They feel a little bit more tactile and there seems to be a little bit of extra travel but not too much travel. And the extra spacing between the keys is nice.
The Touch ID sensor is awesome. The Touch Bar, on the other hand, well, I’m not going to dismiss it just yet but it has a learning curve to it. Just about every single app has its array of touch buttons that appear that I’ll have to learn. And what’s more is that not only do you have to actually learn what functions will be available when a particular app is selected but you’ll have to learn what each icon means. Many of the icons are pretty intuitive but some of them are not. Thankfully though, I’m a human and I can pick these things up pretty quickly.
The speakers are fantastic for a laptop, especially of this size. The port selection is not great. You have four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. It does take some courage to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack on the new MacBook Pros, especially when the company removed them in their flagship smartphones. Honestly, I’d rather they just give me more Thunderbolt 3 ports.
So with that said, I’ve only just about scratched the surface. There are so many other features that I did not talk about, many of which are in the software that I’ll just kind of have to use on a daily basis to get a grasp of. I think the biggest con is definitely the price. This model with the base processor and storage configuration and 560 graphics will net you about $2500. You do get a beautifully built machine and macOS but it’s still a ton of money and there are some alternatives from Windows that come in at much cheaper price tags.
Let me know what you think of Apple’s new MacBook Pro and some other Mac computers in general in a comment down below.