13-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2017)

A good al­ter­na­tive to a 13-inch MacBook Air

Mac|Life - - NEWS -

$1,499 From Ap­ple, ap­ple.com Fea­tures 2.3GHz dual-core In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor, 8GB mem­ory (2133MHz LPDDR3), 256GB SSD stor­age, In­tel Iris Plus Graph­ics 640, two Thun­der­bolt 3 ports

Since the end of last year, there have been two ma­jor at­tributes that de­fine the high and low end of the MacBook Pro line-up. Aside from screen size (and thus weight), you must choose be­tween high-end mod­els with a Touch Bar and low-end ones with tra­di­tional func­tion keys. With the lat­est re­fresh com­ing just seven months later, that dis­tinc­tion per­sists.

The model re­viewed here is of the lat­ter type, and though it of­fers a slower In­tel Core i5 clock speed than its more costly sib­lings, its mem­ory spec is now in line with them, risen from last year’s 1866MHz to 2133MHz. 16GB re­mains the max­i­mum mem­ory ca­pac­ity you can get, as a $200 build-to-or­der op­tion.

Ad­di­tion­ally, all MacBook Pros have been re­freshed with sev­enth-gen (Kaby Lake) In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sors, and newer In­tel Iris Plus Graph­ics pro­ces­sors – a 640 in func­tion key mod­els, and a 650 in those with a Touch Bar. CPU clock speeds have been upped across the line-up too, with our re­view unit boosted from its pre­de­ces­sor’s 2.0GHz to 2.3GHz. Step­ping up a gen­er­a­tion to In­tel’s Kaby Lake pro­ces­sor ar­chi­tec­ture de­liv­ers big­ger gains from the CPU than the in­te­grated GPU. Our HandBrake test fin­ished seven min­utes sooner than the out­go­ing model, even beat­ing last year’s 13-inch, 2.9GHz MacBook Pro with Touch Bar by a slim mar­gin. How­ever, the GPU per­formed barely any dif­fer­ently in our Tomb Raider bench­mark than last year’s Iris Graph­ics 540.

On both func­tion key mod­els, ben­e­fits from the 2016 line-up still ap­ply. Per­haps the most ap­peal­ing is the Retina dis­play‘s 500-nits bright­ness and wide color (P3) gamut, which are de­light­ful if you snap wide-color pho­tos with an iPhone 7, be­cause you can see more col­ors and edit them ac­cu­rately on this Mac.

In all, you’d have to be very keen on the Touch Bar, two ex­tra Thun­der­bolt ports, and per­haps the bet­ter GPU to eas­ily jus­tify drop­ping $1,799 on the next model up. Hav­ing two ports is fine for lighter de­mands such as a printer, a USB flash drive, or your iPhone, not nec­es­sar­ily all con­nected at once.

the bot­tom line. A good Mac, but the ex­pected gains of Kaby Lake can’t over­come our con­cerns about cost. Alan Stone­bridge

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.