Review: Apple MacBook Pro 13 with touch bar(2017)
In October, Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line-up and introduced the interesting Touch Bar. This touch panel is a part of the keyboard layout and offers contextual options based on the app in use at the time. However, there was one slight problem. These MacBooks were powered by the Intel Skylake (6th generation) processors, and soon after, many rival Windows laptops arrived with the newer 7th generation Kaby Lake chips. A course correction was needed, and this is what the 2017 refresh brings to the table.
It retains the svelte aluminium design, is just 14.9mm thick, and still sets the build quality benchmarks. There are two colour options: Silver and Space Grey. The 2017 MacBook Pro doesn’t look any different from last year’s model, and has two USB Type-C ports and 3.5mm headphone jack.
The 13.3-inch LED display (2,560x1,600 resolution) is sharp and you’ll be able to enjoy significantly more detailing than what the displays on even the most expensive Windows laptops can manage. This is compatible with the DCI-P3 colour standard too, and reproduces more colours as well. The screen is considerably bright and blocks out reflections effectively, which is useful in annoying ambient lighting.
It has the new 7th generation Intel Core i5 processors on board, paired with 8 GB RAM, giving an expected performance boost. However, what makes the biggest difference is the much faster solid state drive (SSD) that Apple has introduced. The 256 GB and 512 GB SSDs (the MacBook Pro 13 with Touch Bar variants get these two storage options) are now as much as 50% faster than before in terms of the read and write speeds—this means apps open much faster, multitasking is smoother and moving files around is significantly quicker.
The one area Apple has perhaps missed out on is with dedicated graphics. Even the top-of- the-line specification of MacBook Pro 13 must make do with the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, while the MacBook Pro 15 makes use of the AMD Radeon Pro 555 dedicated graphics chip.
Battery life has not been sacrificed. The MacBook Pro 13 will last around 10 hours on a single battery charge, and if you are careful with the display brightness, it can last up to 12 hours.
The 2017 MacBook Pro 13 with Touch Bar costs a lot of money for sure, but it leaves even the most expensive Windows laptops far behind when it comes to outright performance and battery life. Top that off with a gorgeous display, an excellent keyboard and fantastic design, and everything just comes together to make it worth that much money.