15-inch MacBook Pro

The latest por­ta­ble with Force Touch

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

We didn’t have to wait too long for Ap­ple’s largest notebook to gain a Force Touch track­pad, and the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is now be­ing of­fered in 2.2GHz and 2.5GHz mod­els (there’s a build-to-or­der 2.8GHz op­tion, too). As you’d ex­pect from the ‘big’ MacBook Pro, you get a stun­ning Retina dis­play, which looks fan­tas­tic, and a Core i7 pro­ces­sor that de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent per­for­mance when stacked up against the Retina 5K iMac.

Un­like the re­cently-re­leased 13-inch MacBook Pro, there’s no gen­er­a­tional up­grade to the CPU. Here you get last year’s 22nm Haswell pro­ces­sors rather than the even more power-ef­fi­cient 14nm Broad­well of the 13-inch ver­sion (although that model is lim­ited by hav­ing a dual-core i5 pro­ces­sor). This is an odd de­ci­sion in light of CPU de­vel­op­ments, so maybe we’ll see the 15-inch mod­els leap straight to In­tel’s Sky­lake ar­chi­tec­ture – but that’s likely to be at least a year away.

So, it’s easy to be for­given if you think this all sounds un­der­whelm­ing and a lit­tle un­der­de­vel­oped for some­thing that should have moved on af­ter al­most a year. But it’s not the whole story by any means. We looked at the 2.2GHz ver­sion only, so couldn’t test the new AMD Radeon R9 M370X graph­ics, but we were very pleased when com­par­ing its bench­mark re­sults against the 2.5GHz ver­sion from last year, which had a dis­crete graph­ics pro­ces­sor in the form of an Nvidia Ge Force GT 750M with 2GB GDDR5 mem­ory. This new model’s graph­ics bench­marks are down on last year’s 2.5GHz model, which you’d ex­pect given its In­tel Iris Pro GPU. For ex­am­ple, frames per sec­ond in Unig­ine Heaven 4.0 were down from 11 to 7.5, but in our Arkham City tests, the frame rate was slightly up from 46 to 49, yet down a frac­tion at 19 rather than 23 when run­ning at the dis­play’s na­tive res­o­lu­tion.

Else­where there are some clear wins. Black­magic’s Disk Speed Test brings to the fore Ap­ple’s claim that the flash stor­age in this new model is up to 2.5 times faster, de­liv­er­ing sequential read speeds of up to 2.0GBps (we recorded nearly 1.8). Write speeds were in the re­gion of 1.2 times faster – still very pleas­ing.

CPU per­for­mance was also not far from last year’s 2.5GHz model, only re­ally los­ing out on sin­gle-core per­for­mance. As for bat­tery life, we gained an ex­tra hour in our stream­ing test, which is not to be sniffed at. All this adds up to a ma­chine that’s been slightly tweaked to eke out ev­ery last bit of per­for­mance from com­po­nents that are look­ing a lit­tle aged. Chris­tian Hall

From £1,599 Man­u­fac­turer Ap­ple, ap­ple.com/uk

Pro­ces­sor 2.2GHz, 2.5GHz or 2.8GHz quad-core In­tel Core i7 Mem­ory 16GB Stor­age 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of flash stor­age Not in­no­va­tive by Ap­ple’s stan­dards, but the largest of Ap­ple’s note­books is still a stun­ning Mac. It seems like this MacBook hasn’t re­ally moved on, but tiny tweaks en­sure it’s still a great ma­chine.

Now with Force Touch track­pad

2.2GHz model per­forms well

Good bat­tery life for a 15-inch

What, no Broad­well?

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