As well as improving productivity, the Touch Bar is vibrant, responsive and just looks damn cool. It doesn’t spell the end for the traditional function keys it’s replaced either. You can customise the bar however you like, meaning those volume-toggling, brightness-altering shortcuts are there when you want them.
It’s not just about the Touch Bar either, but what’s on the end of it. Instead of a standard power button, the Touch Bar MacBook Pro has squeezed it an iPhone-inspired, finger print-reading Touch ID sensor. As well as letting you make online payments with your finger – fiddly bank codes be gone – it also means you never need enter a password again. That’s reason enough to love this innovative addition.
Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar Screen: 13-inches of pure perfection
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Simply stunning. That’s the only way we can describe the MacBook Pro’s screen. There are two sizes available, with the 13-inch model (the one we’ve been testing) lining up alongside a larger 15-inch option. As impressive as the Pro’s screen is, those holding out for a 4K laptop will have to look elsewhere.
While the Pro isn’t at the top of the resolution charts, in terms of overall image quality, it’s simply without rival. Its stunningly sharp 2560 x 1660 pixel Retina display sees its solid resolution boosted by much-improved brightness and contrast ratios.
They might not sound like the sexiest updates, but with brightness having been boosted 67% and contrast ratios having risen by the same figure, the effect on the screen is stunning. Crank up the brightness and images are near life-like. It all combines to create a screen you’re not going to want to put down. Whether you’re watching Netflix or editing videos, creating a work presentation or indulging in some casual gaming, visually, this is as good as it gets on the move.
Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar Features & Performance: Everything you want and more
Pro means power, and this model’s got plenty of it. There are a number of configurations to choose from, the one we’ve been testing pairs a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo boosted to 3.3GHz, with 8GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. Finishing off this feast of high-end innards are Intel Iris 550 graphics. The result of all this? A machine that effortlessly cruises through whatever you throw at it.
Yes, there are machines out there with more core grunt, but just like the iPhone 7, it’s the way that Apple melds together the power of the MacBook Pro with its efficient macOS Sierra software that gives it the edge. It’s an unfussy, unshakable beast of a machine, and one that handled everything we threw at it over the past two weeks.
No matter how many data-intensive tasks we performed, the Pro sauntered its way through the lot. Video editing, fine. Gaming, not a problem. Intensive work shift, no sweat. If you’re after a machine to simply browse the web, watch Netflix and check Facebook, the Pro will be wasted on you. This is a serious machine for serious users.
All this power does have a minor downside though – the laptop can get a little on the warm side. The closed body means the fan is positioned on the rear of the underside. Block this even slightly and you’ll be getting warm hands pretty quickly.
This is a machine about more than pure power too. Stereo speakers have made an appearance, giving the Pro a serious audio punch. Combine this much-improved sound with that stunning display, and you’re going to struggle to put an end to your Netflix binge sessions. Especially when the battery life is still 10 hours strong on a single charge.
Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar Keyboard & Trackpad: Effortlessly elegant
It really is a full house for the MacBook Pro. Having ticked all the sex-appeal boxes, this slim, sleek, easy-on-the-eye laptop hits the mark on the traditionally boring features too. It’s a complete and utter joy to use. And not just because of that innovative Touch Bar. Sure, typing experience might not be the headline feature you show off to your mates, but it will have a huge impact on your productivity.
Here, Apple has refined the butterfly-hinged keyboard first introduced on the MacBook, and we love it. The mechanical feedback you get with each keystroke is a reassuring reminder that this is a quality machine. On top of this, the trackpad has grown 50% over past models (more on the 15-inch model), and with pressure sensitivity also joining the fray. Combine the lot together and you’ve a device that lets you stroll through whatever work you’ve got to handle.
Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar Verdict: The ultimate laptop
More than laptop evolution, the 2016 MacBook Pro Touch Bar is computing revolution, and not just because of its innovative new input option. Yes, the OLED strip is a brilliant way to speed up whatever you’re working on, but it’s still early in its evolution cycle. There are already dozens of programmes that support it, and this figure is only set to grow. What really wows though, is how the whole package works together.
Combine the Touch Bar with more power than you’ll use and a display that’s without parallel and you’ve got a laptop that’s in a league of its own. Finish this off with one of the best designs we’ve ever seen, and you’re onto a near fault-free winner. Is the new 2016 Apple MacBook Pro Touch Bar the ultimate laptop? Without a doubt. Should you buy it? If you’ll really make use of its power and can stomach the asking price, undoubtedly.