My Opinion about the MacBook Pro 13″ 2016 with Touchbar
The first and only other MacBook Pro that I have owned was MacBook Pro 15″ Late 2011. I used it as a portable device to read, program, watch videos, write, and basically do everything more efficiently than what my iPhone can do. When my MacBook Pro 2011 started to fail on January 2016 I knew that I had to make a decision soon before I lost my one and only laptop.
Why I chose the MacBook Pro 2016
After looking at the high prices of the MacBooks with poor hardware I started to lean more towards the Dell XPS lineup because they were cheaper and had better hardware than any of the MacBooks as well. There were two things that stopped me from going the Dell route. The first one was the lost of access to Xcode. You can only run Xcode on a Mac computer or a Hackintosh (although that comes with a lot of compatibility issues) and I needed access to that program because I use it a lot to help friends program iOS and OS X apps and occasionally I use it to test some C++ code as well. For things that Xcode could not compile I always had Eclipse installed. The second thing that stopped me from going the Dell route was the build quality of the machines. I did own a Dell laptop back in 2008 and the poor build quality caused a lot of problems when the plastic started to crack from the heat that the CPU/GPU produces while my MacBook Pro 2011 still looks brand new even after more 5 years of daily use.
What I think about the TouchBar
Originally I was not planning on getting the TouchBar MacBook because it did not look useful to me and it looked more of an annoyance but the MacBook Pro without the TouchBar also had really bad specs. I decided to pay a little more for the TouchBar model just because I could take advantage of a little more power. With MacBooks you really do need all the power you can get especially when technology is always moving forward.
After a week of use I have mixed opinions about the TouchBar. When I’m relaxing and just watching a YouTube video or a Netflix movie or even just chatting with a friend through Facebook or iMessages the TouchBar seems useful. I can quickly skip around the movie or video, I can find emojis quickly, I can adjust the volume, or even spellcheck quickly using the prediction feature. But when I’m programming, the feature becomes burdensome. It’s a lot harder to access the escape button when needed and it’s a lot harder to access shortcuts because you have to keep looking down at the TouchBar to make sure that you are clicking on the correct thing. With tactile keys you don’t ever need to look down when doing something productive. I don’t think I will ever get used to the lack of a tactile feeling on a keyboard when doing something productive.
This is by far the highest quality screen monitor that I have ever owned. My 2011 MacBook looks very pixelated when sitting next to this MacBook. And the high quality screen is very highly appreciated especially when working on a 13″ screen because you can fit more into the screen and still have absolutely no trouble doing any of your work. The colors of the screen are also very vibrant and I’m sure this would help photographers and video makers a lot although I don’t do a lot of that myself.
There are several features that Apple removed from the new MacBooks. One of them isn’t very important but very noticeable but they did remove the glowing Apple logo at the back of the MacBook with a glossy Apple that does not glow. The other thing that they removed were the legacy ports. Everything from DisplayPort to USBs and even SD card slots were removed and replaced with four USB-C ports. Don’t get me wrong, I love USB-C ports because they can do everything including charge the computer but I don’t feel that the time was right to let go of the legacy ports that most professionals still use. So if you’re like me and still use USB flash drives or SD cards you need to buy a dongle (adapter) or a USB-C hub. Typically a dongle can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 while a Hub can cost you easily well over $40. It’s burdensome to be carrying around a hub or dongles so this definitely is an annoyance.
So far TouchID is only really useful to log in, buy apps, buy books, and use Apple Pay and not much else. I really do like it but it won’t really be useful until other apps start adopting the technology into their applications like on the iPhone.
Would I recommend it?
No, I would not recommend it. For the typical user that just browses the web, uses Office apps, watches videos and movies I would not recommend this. You can easily buy a better laptop to do all of that for half the price. If you are familiar with the quality of the build and want to pay extra for that quality or if you rely on certain Apple-only applications then I would recommend this to you. But for the regular user I would not recommend this laptop. And if you are looking to play games on it then I would especially tell you to stay away because even the most expensive MacBook cannot handle gaming very well.