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New MacBook Pro Hands-on: Touch Bar Is NOT a Gimmick

MacBook Pro 13-inch (2016, with Touch Bar) reviewApple’s new MacBook Pro is here at last. Unveiled at a dedicated press event on 27 October, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13- and 15-inch screen sizes, features sixth-gen Intel Skylake processors, a slim new design and a cool customisable Touch Bar above the keyboard… and costs a bit of a fortune.

Our new MacBook Pro 2016 review evaluates the looks, design, features and value for money offered by Apple’s latest line of professional-focused laptops.

Broadly speaking there are three models of the new MacBook Pro: a comparatively budget-focused 13-inch model without the new Touch Bar, and a 13-inch and 15-inch model with it. This review looks at all three models together, but we will make it clear when comments apply only to certain models.

The MacBook Pros are thinner and lighter than the previous generation: the 13- and 15-inch models are 14.9mm and 15.5mm thick (or ‘thin’, as Apple irritatingly styles it in marketing materials) and 1.37kg and 1.83kg respectively. (Last year’s MBPs weighed 1.58kg and 2.04kg, and were both 18mm thick, so Apple has achieved reductions of 17 and 14 percent respectively in thickness, and 13 and 10 percent in terms of weight.)

New MacBook Pro 2016 review: Dimensions

  • 30.41cm x 21.24cm x 1.49cm; 1.37kg (13-inch models)
  • 34.93cm x 24.07cm x 1.55cm; 1.83kg (15-inch models)

 

Externally the design is similar to last year’s, albeit on a slimmer scale, but there are numerous physical changes under the lid. The most obvious, and the flagship feature that occupied much of the unveiling event, is a touchscreen bar above the keyboard that Apple calls the Touch Bar, which we discuss in the next section.

One more thing before we move on: as expected, Apple has removed the traditional USB ports on the MacBook Pro, and the MagSafe charging port, and replaced them all with USB-C/Thunderbolt ports: four of them on the Touch Bar models and two on the 13-inch model without a Touch Bar. And you get a 3.5mm headphone jack too: phew!