APPLE MACBOOK PRO
With six cores of processing power in a 1.5cm body, this is a pocket(-ish) rocket A
Six cores of processing power in a 1.5cm body... Dang, Apple! It sent us the high-end version for testing, and we discovered some pretty interesting things during the review
From $3,499 ($7,139 as tested) apple.com/au
pple’s high-end laptop finally gets a big leap forward in power this year, putting six-core processors in as standard (the 13-inch model gets a tidy quad-core processor). The basic $3,499 model (2.2GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of ultra-fast flash storage) is pretty handy itself, and compares well to the T3- favourite 15-inch Surface Book 2: for the same price, you get the same storage (but faster), the same RAM, two extra processor cores, but a weaker GPU. We got the XXXTREME version to test the MacBook Pro, a machine that comes in at tear-inducing $7,139, kitted out with a 2.9GHz Core i9 chip, 32GB of RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 560X 4GB graphics card and 2TB storage.
Outside of a big boost in processor power, the only other changes of note in the new MacBook Pros from last year’s model are a new keyboard that Apple promises is quieter (but others say should be more reliable too, as several people had issues with the previous generation) and a True Tone screen, which changes its colour temperature to match the ambient light in the room, making it more comfortable to use. This is one of our favourite features on iPad and iPhone, and once you try it, every computer without it will feel horrible to use.
The good news, then, is that the beastly processor proves to be as much of a bonus as expected – compared to last year’s model (which had a similar processor to the Surface Book 2), hardcore video encoding was nearly 30 per cent faster in our tests. For pro stuff that taxes the processor, this is the performance machine, even at the more basic end. However, gaming performance doesn’t compare to the likes of Nvidia 1060 in the Surface Book 2 (especially since macOS isn’t good at it).
The MacBook Pro still has other advantages, including being thinner and lighter than anything else in its power range. The screen is also sharp and really vibrant, with wide-colour support. Keep in mind that there are four Thunderbolt 3 ports here, a headphone jack, and nothing else. No regular USB, no SD card reader, no HDMI – it lacks flexibility. It’s also strictly a laptop, so no touchscreen or 2-in-1 shenanigans.
That troublesome keyboard is also divisive: it’s very low-travel, and feels ‘clicky’. We really like it, but some detest it. You’ve been warned.