Review: Apple 2018 MacBook Pro (15-inch)
With its flagship laptop and top-of-the-line desktop replacement, Apple has predictably gone all out – to the point where this muscle-bound MacBook Pro could be too much laptop for many people.
But if you demand maximum performance as well as portability, Apple's newest 15-inch MacBook Pro delivers.
In fact, it can deliver as much power as you want: the MacBook Pro I've been using for the past week was spec’d to the ceiling with a six-core Intel Core i9 powerplant, 32GB of RAM and 4TB of super-fast SSD storage.
Yes, that’s an insane amount of power and it comes with an eye-watering $10,339 price tag.
But this will handle handle anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat – which makes it the ultimate laptop for software developers who need to run multiple virtual computers when working on projects, or a creative professional dealing with multiple simultaneous 4K and 8K video streams on the beautiful, vibrant Retina Display.
A more reasonable fit out is the $4,099 entry level 15-inch model with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of memory and 512GB SSD.
If you can make do with a smaller screen, the 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro trims its tech back to a quad-core Intel processor, slightly slower (but more power-efficient) RAM chips up to 16GB and a maximum 2TB of storage.
Regardless of what’s under the bonnet, everything about the MacBook Pro radiates class – starting with the svelte form factor, slim profile and 1.8kg weight which sees this notebook slide into any satchel or carry-on bag and leave plenty of room for the rest of your work and travel kit.
Even the keyboard has been given a once-over to be subtly quieter with less of that metallic clickety-clack sound as you type, as well as being more resistant to liquids and fine particles.
More impressive, however, is how Apple brings everything together with scores of refinements that you may barely notice at first but would immediately miss if you switched to a less-polished laptop.
For example, the TouchID system integrated into the TouchBar strip securely logs you in without having to enter a password. This sound like a small thing but if you've had to use a fingerprint sensor, you'll know the frustration of having to place your finger on the sensor several times before it's properly recognised.
New to the 2018 MacBook Pro series is True Tone, which adapts the screen’s colour temperature to match ambient light levels, although for photo and video editing you’ll want too disable this to preserve consistent colour accuracy.
My only criticism of the MacBook Pro is the one which many others have made and which Apple shows no sign of heeding: the company’s all-in embrace of USB-C ports means that connecting most other USB devices, SD card readers and even the latest iPhone requires a fistful of dongles.
If you can live with that, you’ll almost certainly love the MacBook Pro.
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18 Aug 2018
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