Monday, 6 March 2017

MacBook Pro (late 2016) first impressions


One of my clients who is a bit of an early adopter grabbed a new MacBook Pro (MBP) last week. It's the 15" i7 wizzbang bit of gear that looks really quite lovely. He asked me to migrate his data from his old MBP to the new one. I ran a full backup to external USB and it was all going swimmingly, and then I remembered - damn! The new MBP's don't have regular USB! They only have USB-C! Aaargh. Fortunately the Apple Migration tool is great and I was able to punch it all across via wireless (this is very slow - I recommend an alternative via ethernet)

After using the machine for an hour or so this morning, this is what I've come up with:

Pros:
  • The screen is gorgeous - the Retina screen is just so lovely to look at and has such awesome colour depth. I really liked it. Flicking through some of the desktop images and pictures showed the resolution and colours beautifully. I reckon my next one has to have this
  • the touch bar above the keyboard - I thought this would be gimmicky but after a bit of use I found it quite handy. I do miss my Function keys though.
  • touchpad - this is responsive and super accurate. One of the biggest faults I have with a laptop is the poor accuracy and/or speed of the touchpad. This one was quite nice (although it has it's faults)
  • physically a very easy laptop to move around - light but solid construction and good hinges on the screen
 The Expected
  • great build quality (like other MBPs - even my 5 year old one)
  • snappy - i7 processor (2.6Ghz Quad Core i7)
  • lots of RAM (16GB)
  • fast disk (256GB PCIe-Based SSD)
 In short - I expected high performance from this laptop and while it was crunching the iPhoto database from the old machine, I installed and ran Parallels, with a full Windows install running some fairly intensive image software and the thing didn't miss a beat. It really cracked along and I expected that to be the case.

 Cons:
  • The Keyboard - is shite. I'm sorry but the keys have no feeling to them, bugger all travel and just have a weird texture that I didn't like. I was jumping between the client's mid 2012 MBP and this brand new one and the comparison was no favourable. Seriously - typing is a kinesthetic experience. How about a bit of nod in that direction?  Check out Lenovo's L series laptops for a great typing experience. I hated the keyboard
  • The touchpad clicks - while the touchpad was accurate and fast, the clicking feeling again was sub-par for me. I like a bit of tactile response (as you've guessed) when I'm wailing away on the keyboard. I don't want to have it feel like a tablet (which I despise typing on) or a phone (also = despise)
That's really all. For me though that keyboard is almost a deal breaker. Perhaps I'd get used to it over time though (if someone wants to give me one of these toys to play more with). Would I buy one for? There's a very high probability of that. It really is a well constructed laptop.

Here is the link to the model closest to what I was playing with: http://www.apple.com/au/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro/15-inch - for $3600 it's a big price tag for a pretty decent machine. Is it worth it though? Well I had a bit of a poke around and looked at Lenovo's site. For a similar machine (size, processor, RAM, disk etc) Lenovo have a nice little ThinkPad P50.

Specs are:

System component

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.50GHz)
  • Windows 10 Home 64
  • 15.6" 4K (3840x2160), anti-glare, IPS
  • 16GB DDR4-2133MHz SODIMM (8GBx2)
  • NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 4GB
  • With Color Sensor
  • 720p HD Camera with Microphone
  • Backlit Keyboard with Number Pad - English
  • Integrated Fingerprint Reader
  • 256GB SSD PCIe-NVMe OPAL2.0
  • 170W AC Adapter - ANZ (3pin)
  • 6 Cell Li-Polymer Battery, 90Wh
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC(2x2) 8260, Bluetooth Version 4.1 No vPro
  • 1 Year Depot


And this is $5050! See: http://www3.lenovo.com/au/en/workstations/thinkpad-p-series/P50/p/20ENCTO1WWENAU0 

I've specced it up from the basics to get close to the MBP. Hopefully this provides you with a little bit of perspective when you look at the MacBook's price. The Lenovo is a well built bit of kit too - I've used one of these before. The build quality isn't up to the MacBook though. It doesn't have the clean lines and aesthetics of the Apple products either. Still, I'll take either one if someone wants to give it to me!

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