MacBook Pro: 2016 Entry-Level Version Is Slick, But Overpriced

The MacBook Pro was announced on Thursday, and the general details of Apple’s new device were reported by The Verge.

“The entry-level MacBook Pro starts at $1,499, while the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar runs $1,799. Apple is also keeping around a $1,299 MacBook with the previous design, aimed particularly at enterprise customers. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399.”

The article added that while all three can be ordered at the present time, only the entry-level Pro, which doesn’t include the Touch Bar, will be shipped immediately. The other configurations will be shipped in two to three weeks. This author got his hands on the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, which — unlike the other versions — doesn’t have the much-hyped Touch Bar. Even without the Touch Bar, it’s safe to say that this MacBook is slick, fun to use, and has a great screen. But it’s also at least $200 overpriced.

Apple MacBook Pro
The new MacBook Pro looks stunning. [Image by Daryl Deino]

First, it’s important to note how beautiful the space gray version of the 2016 MacBook Pro is. Your eyes really have to see it in person to appreciate it. It looks like far more thought went into designing the new MacBook Pro than any other Apple product in recent memory, and that is certainly saying a lot. There is less bezel and more screen this time around and the device is really thin.

The fact that the new MacBook Pro still only has the same screen resolution it had in 2012 is troubling, but Apple makes up for it with the new Wide Color display, which produces accurate colors that are stunning and pop right out. The Pro is great for viewing pictures and watching movies. Speaking of watching movies, the Pro has improved speakers on the side, which get pretty loud and have a lot of “thump” to them. They are the best speakers that have been put on a laptop to date.

2016 MacBook Pro
The 2016 MacBook Pro has a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. [Image by Daryl Deino]

The entry level MacBook Pro runs a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor that runs at 2 GHz (3.1 GHz Turbo Boost). The other higher-end models run significantly faster chips, but the entry level Pro’s speed will be fast enough for most. Apps such as Photoshop, iTunes, Word, and even Final Cut Pro have run just fine on the entry-level Pro. When you get into editing 4K videos on Final Cut Pro, you see somewhat of a lag. You can still successfully edit a 4K video, but patience is required. The 8GB of RAM on the entry level, which many have complained about, is good enough. Still, it would be great if Apple updated their default models with 16GB of RAM instead of charging extra.

There is the dreaded (by some) butterfly keyboard. If you used it on the 12-inch MacBook, you’ll appreciate the fact that the keys have more travel on the Pro. There isn’t much travel, but once you get used to the keys, they don’t need it. There is a natural feeling to pressing the keys, no matter how shallow they are. It’s safe to say that some may even like the keyboard on the new Pro more than the pre-2016 MacBook Pro.

The best part of the 2016 MacBook Pro is the battery life. Apple says you get about 10 hours of battery life. One test running Netflix movies back-to-back with the brightness set at 60 percent over Wi-Fi lasted 9 1/2 hours. Using the MacBook Pro to write this review only put the battery life down to 92 percent after 40 minutes with the brightness set at around 70 percent. Apple has lived up to its promise by providing the ultimate battery for their ultimate notebook.

As one can see, everything is great about the entry-level MacBook Pro until you realize that the price is $1499 — $200 more than it should be priced. For $1499, one can buy a Dell XPS 13 that has an i7 processor and a better graphics chip. One can also buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which converts to a tablet, with an i7 processor for the same price.

Then again, this is Apple, which still offers a better operating system than any Windows laptop or tablet hybrid. Besides, Apple has been able to overcharge consumers for their computers for years without much backlash. Will people really be willing to overspend on the new MacBook Pro (the priciest 15-inch version runs well past $2500)? Apple is about to find out very soon.

[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]