The new MacBook Pro is the best work laptop Apple has ever made, but it still falls behind Windows rivals in two key areas
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- Apple's new MacBook Pro has a larger 16-inch screen and an improved keyboard, making it a compelling choice for Apple fans looking for a powerful work computer.
- The keyboard in particular represents a much-needed upgrade; Apple has ditched the butterfly mechanism keyboard in favor of a design inspired by its popular Magic keyboard.
- But, as has been the case with Apple's laptops in the past, the MacBook Pro is expensive compared to its Windows rivals. It also doesn't offer the option for a touch screen as many Windows devices of the same price typically do.
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Apple fans in need of a new laptop for getting serious work done have two reasons to rejoice. That's because Apple's new MacBook Pro, which starts at $2,400 and just launched on November 13, brings two important changes that make it a significantly better work machine: a much improved keyboard and a roomier display.After much criticism, Apple ditched the troublesome butterfly switch mechanism that's been present on its laptops since 2015 with the launch of its new MacBook Pro - the largest laptop Apple has built since it launched the now-discontinued 17-inch MacBook Pro in 2011.
The new MacBook Pro's larger display also makes it a more practical device for those who prioritize productivity but don't have the space for a desktop computer. By reducing the size of the bezels that frame the laptop's screen, Apple has enlarged the display without actually making the computer all that much bigger than its 15-inch predecessor.Otherwise, the MacBook Pro brings all the advantages - and disadvantages - you'd normally expect from a MacBook Pro. That's to say it offers fast performance, a high-resolution screen, a sleek design that never seems to overheat, and boisterous audio. Now that the butterfly keyboard has been replaced with a new one inspired by the company's popular Magic keyboard, I can add a high-quality typing experience to that list as well.
But it also retains two of the complaints I've had about Apple laptops in years past: it's expensive and doesn't offer as much flexibility as competing Windows machines. While most high-end Windows laptops of the same price have the option to configure it with a touch screen, Apple has never offered this choice. Instead, it has stuck with the Touch Bar, a touch-sensitive strip that sits above the keyboard and offers some shortcuts and buttons for adjusting settings.Some Windows machines also offer more variety when it comes to ports as well. Laptops from Dell and Asus, for example, have connections for HDMI, older USB slots, and SD card slots, whereas the new MacBook Pro only has four Thunderbolt USB C ports and a headphone jack. That may not matter to the average user, but the professional-grade audience that Apple is catering to with the MacBook Pro might appreciate those other input and output options.And while the MacBook Pro's large screen is plenty bright, sharp, and crisp, OLED screens are becoming increasingly common on today's premium laptops. That too could give shoppers who aren't partial to Apple's ecosystem reason to look elsewhere, especially if binging Netflix is one of the main reasons you want that bigger screen.
Here's a closer look at what it's been like to try Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The keyboard has gotten a massive, much-needed upgrade.
The display is sharp and crisp, and the larger size makes it much easier to get work done. But I found the Dell XPS 15's OLED screen to be more compelling for watching video than the MacBook Pro's.Advertisement
The MacBook Pro's performance is great, which isn't much of a surprise.
What did shock me, however, was how great the MacBook Pro's speakers were.Advertisement
Overall, the new MacBook Pro is the best Apple laptop you can buy for getting work done. But it's still notably expensive compared to Windows alternatives.
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