The 16-inch MacBook Pro top features that include a larger display, a new keyboard, faster GPUs, and more.
If you’ve been buying a new MacBook Pro because you hated the keyboard, then I’ve got great news for you: the 16-inch MacBook Pro Magic Keyboard is absolutely wonderful.
The new Magic Keyboard feels like the standalone model ship with the iMac is very similar. There’s not as much key travel as the wireless Magic Keyboard, but it’s far and away better than the MacBook Pro butterfly keyboard switches that have been a disappointing part of the big refresh since 2016.
Besides the fact that it will actually hold up under normal use, the best thing about the new keyboard is that typing on it feels fantastic. It doesn’t sound like your hands crash into the keyboard anymore, which is one of the reasons I hated typing on previous MacBook Pro models.
Yet Apple didn’t just stop using new scissor switches to replace the butterfly switches. It has addressed a number of additional issues that users have been talking about since 2016. For example, Apple brought back the actual ESC key which was relegated to the Touch Bar’s virtual key, to the delight of developers and anyone else who regularly uses the key.
Second, the arrow keys of the inverted T are back. While the inverted T arrow keys may not look as good as the design of the full arrow key, the inverted T makes it much easier to use touch to find the right key.
Last but not least, in an effort to prevent accidental brushes against the Touch Bar, Apple included a larger gap between the Touch Bar and the top row of keys.
While a vast number of users would attest that the butterfly switches were bad, a few good qualities have bundled the design that Apple wisely decided to keep around.
The individual LED backlights under each of the keys, for instance, are still a thing that provides more backlighting and less bleed from under the keys. The keys also retain their balance so that the entire key evenly depresses evenly when you press them off-center.
Needless to say, this is a huge improvement over the previous MacBook Pro keyboard, and I look forward to all other Mac laptop models making changes.
The next biggest change to hit the MacBook Pro outside of the keyboard is to include a larger and slightly more dense display. The display gains an extra inch from the previous model’s 15-inch diagonal to 16-inch diagonal.
The display sports a higher resolution with a slightly higher PPI, along with the increase in size. The display’s native resolution ranges between 2880-by-1800 and 3072-by-1920. The change results in a 1792-by-1120 higher default scaled “retina” resolution.
With productivity apps and professional video editing and photo editing applications, the extra screen real estate is nice to have where extra space makes it easier to get things done.
The ability to set up up up to 8 TB!) (of internal flash storage is one of the most surprising new features to come to the MacBook Pro. Even though the pricey is listed at $2,200, the price is actually quite competitive with what is currently on the market. For example, for the same amount of storage, OWC’s external Thunderbolt 3-enabled 8 TB Thunderblade SSD, a cost exactly $2,200.
Getting 8 TB internally can provide an immediate boost in productivity for people working with lots of media, or for someone who needs to carry the entire content of a production on the go without having to rely on external media.
Apple gives MacBook Pro users the option to configure up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM for the first time ever. As always, such an upgrade comes at a premium but if you use lots of heavy memory applications, or if you run multiple virtual machine instances, it can speed up your workflow.
Apple RAM has always been overpriced, so if that happens to be an option, I always recommend upgrading yourself. Although RAM can be upgraded manually on Apple’s desktop machines such as the iMac or even the Mac mini (with a little bit of work), it’s difficult to do it on the MacBook Pro because the RAM is soldered to the logic board. In other words, if you need 64 GB of RAM, during the building-to-order stage, you will need to buy it.
On its 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple provides many GPU options, but the highest-end model, the AMD Radeon Pro 5500 M, is the one I prefer.
The 5500 M comes in 4 GB or 8 GB varieties and packs a serious punch that allows playing video games, editing and exporting images, and easily manipulating graphics.
The 5500 M is the most powerful GPU to be found in an Apple laptop so far and performs even better in some of our preliminary benchmarks than a Thunderbolt 3-connected Blackmagic eGPU Pro. Search for additional analyzes and data for the full review.
Apple has a 100W lithium-polymer battery inside the MacBook Pro, another first for Apple’s storied laptop line, to handle the larger screen and extra horsepower under the hood. The 100W battery is the TSA’s maximum battery size, meaning you won’t see batteries bigger than any Apple portable product.
Apple states that the MacBook Pro can last for 11 hours with regular wireless web browsing thanks to the 100W battery, which is one hour longer than the MacBook Pro15-inch last-generation. In addition to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple also throws in a new 96W power supply to help replenish its massive battery pack.
The inclusion of a new three-mic set with high SNR and directional beamforming is one of the most surprising new features found on Apple’s newest MacBook Pro. Apple says the microphone is capable of recording studio quality without the need for an external microphone.
I was really impressed with the microphone’s recording quality, especially its low noise floor. Using the microphone inside the MacBook Pro might just be possible for more than just scraping audio. Stay tuned in my full review for further downloadable commentary audio comparisons between the new microphone and the previous MacBook Pro microphone.
The impressive new six-speaker Hi-Fi system with force-canceling woofers enhances the new microphone. The sound from the speakers sounds ridiculously nice for a laptop, and when in a pinch I could definitely see the MacBook Pro speakers being used for music playback.
One of the speakers ‘ most irritating characteristics in pre-16-inch MacBook Pro models was how the speakers produced vibrations throughout the casing so that you could hear it while typing. Apple seems to have dampened the vibration significantly which is great news for people at the same time who like to type and listen to music.
The new MacBook Pro is a major improvement compared to its predecessor. Not only is it a fix for the keyboard or a larger display it is also a well-rounded machine that improves in a number of impressive ways over the previous MacBook Pro.
In the near future, we will have a full review airing that will go deeper with thoughts and criticisms about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. While the last15-inch MacBook Pro Apple released no CPU boost, this model’s thermal dynamics received some much-needed attention that helps improve performance. We will also be discussing this in future coverage.