Close to the Metal Ep. 22: Apple MacBook Pro live review

The wait is over. After four years, Apple has finally updated its MacBook Pro 13 and 15, revising the design to be slimmer, lighter, and more attractive than ever before. In doing so, Apple has brought the MacBook Pro in line with its other products – ditching, for example, the glowing white logo in favor of the new, chrome logo, just like that found on the iPhone, iPad, and 12-inch MacBook.

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Thankfully, the changes are more than just skin deep. Apple has finally updated the internals as well, exchanging the older fourth-and fifth-generation chips for Intel’s sixth-generation Core hardware. The graphics have been revised, too, debuting the first incarnation of AMD’s “Polaris” discrete graphics in laptops. And lastly, the hard drive has improved, with Apple now quoting maximum read speeds of just over three gigabytes per second.

That all sounds great. But like so many Apple products, the MacBook Pro has generated its share of controversy. This starts with the ports, which have all been converted to USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3. Though easy to use, and capable of charging the laptop, they demand a need for adapters. There’s also only two ports on the base MacBook Pro 13, and four on the MacBook Pro 13 and 15 with Touch Bar, which means there’s an overall reduction in connectivity no matter the model you buy.

Keyboard quality is also a pain point. The “butterfly” key switch Apple debuted in the 12-inch MacBook was received with a collective meh from users, but that hasn’t stopped the company from putting a tweaked version of it in the MacBook Pro. It’s perhaps better than that on its smaller cousin, but it’s still short on travel, and will certainly annoy users who type for hours at a time.

And then there’s the price. At $1,500 for the 13-inch model without Touch Bar, $1,800 for the 13-inch model with, and $2,500 for the 15-inch model, these laptops are incredibly expensive even by Apple standards.

So, are they worth the cash? Or is the new MacBook Pro bound to disappoint Apple fans?

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

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