Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch review: The best Mac in years

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch review: The best Mac in years

Lawsuits. Emergency repair programs. A never-ending barrage of online criticism. That’s the past three years of the MacBook Pro, in a nutshell.

The PR nightmare had just begun when I requested a Mac as my work laptop. The MacBook Pro was my default choice at home, handling music production and gaming in spite of its slim size and great battery life. My 2015 MacBook Pro had never let me down.

Yet my experience with the 2016 MacBook Pro was very different. Placed on my desk next to the mounting stacks of excellent Windows laptops, I found its keyboard frustrating. Its design looked dated. Even its performance felt limited. 

Mac fans, myself include, want Apple to return the MacBook Pro to its former glory. The MacBook Pro 16 provides the first glimpse of hope in years. Is this the laptop I’ve been waiting for?

The Mac apology tour

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t revolutionary. It wasn’t launched at a glitzy press event. It’s not a leap forward in design, and it certainly isn’t innovative. It’s a patch. 

At its core, the MacBook Pro’s design remains intact. The unibody aluminum chassis is still a strength, and Apple hasn’t dared to touch that this time around. The same goes for the Thunderbolt 3 port selection and the massive Force Touch trackpad.

However, once you get past the Space Grey of it all, small changes reveal a desire to please fans.

Even the thin bezels around the new 16-inch screen show Apple is listening to criticism. The chunky borders on other MacBooks have looked dated for years now. However, shrinking the bezels would have meant a smaller overall footprint, a smaller touchpad, and less room in the chassis for components.

Instead, Apple added an extra 0.6-inch of display, making for 3,072 x 1,920 resolution. The massive screen offers a fuller view of your work, perfect for multitasking or working in a complex application like Adobe Premiere. It’s not quite the 17-inch laptops of yore, but it’s close.

This is the best Mac keyboard ever released.

While the new display looks great, the keyboard is the most drastic change. Apple painted itself into a corner with its attempt to modernize the keyboard. The company calls the new set of inputs a “Magic Keyboard,” to match the still-popular iMac accessory. Its full millimeter of travel feels like an ocean compared to the prior design. The physical Escape key and the inverted “T” arrow keys make a return. 

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