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Is the new Macbook Pro a massive disappointment? Head-to-Head


Apple have launched the latest Macbook Pros, featuring a refined design, updated processors, a new Touch Bar and more. Are these improvements enough to justify the new higher price and is there really any reason to buy one? Andy (@AndyVan) and Tom (@TheTechChap) go head-to-head to find out.

Andy says...

Lately, Apple seems to be in a habit of making everything very inconvenient. From removing the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone to replacing every port on the new Macbook Pro with a USB Type C. Now I need an adaptor for my hard drives, phone charger and SD cards. It's a pain the arse, especially the loss of the SD card slot.

Price is a problem, too. With the new entry-level Macbook Pro (without the new Touch Bar) starting from £1,449. Many fans of the Pro and the MacBook Air, including myself, are now looking to cheaper PC alternatives following Apple's recent launch.

For me, the new MacBook Pro is a great advert for the old one, which makes it a disappointment in my eyes.

Tom says...

The new Macbook Pros are ridiculously expensive, but it's the price you pay for what is arguably the best laptop on the market.

I love my current Macbook Pro – it's fast, reliable and very portable, three areas the new Macbook Pro improves on even further. The more powerful Skylake processor (and dedicated Radeon graphics card in the 15-inch model), bigger touchpad, innovative new Touch Bar and future proof USB C ports are solid upgrades. Combined with a redesigned thinner and lighter chassis, the new Macbook Pro 2016 is the ultimate laptop.

What do you think?

Related: Macbook Pro 15-inch 2016 vs Dell XPS 15

Thanks for watching and join us next Wednesday for another episode of Head-to-head.


November 2, 2016, 9:01 pm

I'm glad I didn't wait to pull the trigger on a Windows laptop when it was on sale.

Rann Xeroxx

November 2, 2016, 11:35 pm

"The new Macbook Pros are ridiculously expensive, but it's the price you pay for what is arguably the best laptop on the market."

ROTFLMAO.... really? Maybe a few years ago. Now with the Surface Book, HP Specter 360, hell even the Razor Blade Pro in the market Apple, has not been the best laptop in a long, long while.


November 2, 2016, 11:51 pm

Its more than a disppointment. We are weighing our options in the studio, considering that 28" Surface costs around the same as new Macbook Pro. Full touch, rather than little emoji touchbar seems the way to go.


November 3, 2016, 8:49 am

if that is what you are comparing... you are really off it. Comparing a desktop computer versus a portal computer for the studio does not need (nor should it need) to be manufacture or model specific. Only after you decide on your need for mobility should you start to look at manufactures and their models.


November 3, 2016, 9:04 am

They have priced a large number of people out of buying one, me being one of them.

Your best options now would be to buy a refurb, pre-owned or move to windows.

many of their products have gone in this direction. Whilst many of their products are still superior to their competitors, the gap is not as large as it used to be. Windows 10 with an SSD is good and stable in some ways.

You could buy a half decent Windows machine, get 2-3 years life out of it and then change it to another decent machine and your total expenditure(on the 2 laptops) will STILL be less than buying a macbook pro.


November 3, 2016, 9:46 am

I am seriously beside myself by what the "professionals" are complaining about (not to mention the non-professional peanut gallery).

I am providing my unwarranted thoughts in the hope that maybe it can give a few people a new way to look at the situation.

There have been two fundamental issues throughout the computer age in regards to manufactures and change. I remember when I was working for Microsoft, we tried so very very hard to get manufactures to drop the legacy ports of that era. Dell in particular had made a couple of prototypes that did just this. With what was made we were able to get boot-time to go from in minutes to in the teens of seconds. This was dramatic and not the only way this improved the user experience. However, Dell got cold feet and dropped out of the effort as well as Sony and a few others. Basically the effort collapsed and status quo rules to this day.

The second aspect is that we have now built a computer echo system that uses so many connector types that its unwise if not truly impossible to include them all on a notebook computer. And its not just the computer itself that its he problem. We still see the need for VGA on projectors as an example. Gamers have a strong belief in PS2 keyboard connections to decrease latency. We have HDMI and DP for more modern display connections. The RJ-45 for wired LAN and the audio jack from headphones. For some there is eSata for your external drives and the SD card slot. Finally the USB Type A, Thunderbolt2 and now the combined Type-C / Thunderbolt 3 connector.

In short it is a mess!

As a professional, I buy mobile devices like notebook computers so I can be mobile. Lugging a computer around and through airports has always been exhaustive. I nearly broke my back during the days of my Dell Inspiron laptop. Which brings me to the point of my reasoning for my glee for having only the 4 Thunderbolt 3/Type-C ports on my notebook. I can now use a single cable to “dock” my computer where I can work with two 5k displays and all my attached devices because they include all the ports I need or want. When I head out to clients, I simply unplug that single connector. While I do not have a need to connect my notebook up at the clients office, if I did… because of the universal nature of Thunderbolt 3 / Type-C, I can do what no computer without a Type-C can do. I can use a (add explicit) dongle to connect to any port I wanted.

I would like to expand a little as well in regards to having to “update” my peripherals. As a “professional” I use a yearly cycle to rotate through them. I keep the older peripherals around as “backup” incase the current fail. I rely on my hardware (and software) to make money. When something new comes around that can dramatically impact the time spent doing a task, then more then likely it will have a positive impact on my revenue. Thus I would be a fool not to jump in. So trust me, if I am getting 2600MB/s instead of 245MB/s then you better believe I am ecstatic!

So basically what I am saying is this… the changes to the ports on the new MacBook Pros is for Professionals and not for the home enthusiasts that has not true necessity for moving forward as quickly as a professional. Apple is STILL selling the previous model of MacBook Pros that can satisfy legacy needs. If these do not meet your needs, then go with another platform. But do not complain because a company is brave (and smart) enough to move forward to address the needs of its professionals.

As a final to my conclusion… yes I am upset with Apple for not doing more in the area I wanted to see change… and for not announcing new Mac Pros or iMacs… for not building their own displays… and for otherwise letting their computer echo system of peripherals decay. But the ports… for my needs its spot on!


November 3, 2016, 12:23 pm

Never thought I would ever agree with Andy on anything but I do here. It is just awful, gimmicky and a stayed same old design. Ive even said that they would put design before sales - says it all except what design.

Apple is obsessed with thinner lighter thinner again and removing the usual ports so they can have a nice clean design is well stupid and shows how they couldn't care about their customers. I have had mac's since from 1982 and this has just been the final nail in the coffin. I do not know what planet they are on more like plain of different existence because they do not speak the language of earth anymore.

The price is beyond insane, they do not have a strong business market and now they have just priced themselves out of their core customer base and creative media professionals... As for the UK ripoff prices well they have shown their ugly monstrous greedy teeth...Their is no justification for the costs and the stupid choice of poor fairy dated hardware say for the processors. And yes I do know about business before I get some couch expert telling me this and that when they have no real life experience such corporate matters.

The touch thing is good for small slim fingered emoji fans who love all those types of things and that is fine, its fun sure but not practical for real work despite what they showed. Touch typists are going to massively struggle. Focus on a bar takes away more focus of the screen, and this tech is not new its been around for yrs. As for the dongle problems backwards step is a compliment - it is dire. If they wanted to try to influence change at least they could of left a normal USB port and the MagSafe which is certainly dumber. The track pad makes the whole laptop look UGLY. Still do not see the so called design genius. I have the Mac Pro (2013 edition/black one) now that is innovative and clever etc.

I have the iMac and iPad and iPhone all latest versions and I am now writing this in my 2011 17" MBPro which I love and prefer it to any of the new to latest offerings. In fact on that subject why the hell they did stop the 17" is beyond me, yes it might not of sold as many but when it was dropped most mac fans were shocked and now they are sought after. Anyways - Apple have messed up and they seem to have turned their backs on the iMac and Mac Pro's for the foreseeable future.

Cant use the iPhone without a bunch of cables, can't use cameras without a bunch of cables, need cable dongles with cable end converters. Oh and its more money for more mess - seriously Apple? that is a design genius! NOT.... Oooh it turns on though. And last but not least no start up chime.

At least MSFT are doing something and working hard to fix or iron out the issues with windows 10. They have really started to try to innovate and bring their hardware products up to a hight standard. I think Apple should look at something like the Google Chrome Pixel note book, the design and build quality of that is exceptional and probably my favourite design and high end quality note book I have ever seen. Just a thought.

Design 1 / 10
Touch bar 2 / 10
Track Pad 2 / 10
Cost 0 / 10
Thunderbolt only 0 / 10
Innovative 0 / 10

Result = Ditch Apple Products go back to Windows.


November 3, 2016, 12:29 pm

I appreciate what you wrote and liked some of your thoughts but I have to disagree on the part about its designed for professionals. Professionals want a mature progression so it does not impact how we operate instantly and use the MBK's. This is a kill switch from Apple without due consideration for its customers or indeed future professional customers. They should of still included a USB port and MagSafe but they did not because they put clean lines and less to replace thinner and lighter solutions not mention a stayed boring design meaning it has not moved on. Basically it is a mess and it is a huge step backwards 15 - 20 yrs now in terms of peripheral support. Ive got it so badly wrong and should stop focusing on his own obsessions...Just a thought.


November 3, 2016, 2:10 pm

USB-C/TB3 is a truly universal, forward-looking connector; every laptop should have one. It allows a single connection to a dock / monitor with power, HDMI, Ethernet, USB-A etc., so you don't need to detach a pile of cables to be mobile.

When you are mobile, though, it would be nice to plug in a USB memory stick, HDMI projector or SD card without needing to use dongles. So it should have those ports *as well*. Sure, the future will doubtless be all-USB-C, but in 5 years this laptop will be obsolete anyway.

Whilst I generally applaud Apple's aesthetics, they often sacrifice practicality for style - e.g. rear-mounted iMac USB ports, the rear-mounted Mac mini SD slot, all their mice ever, the easily-scratched aluminium etc. Here, it feels like they've gone all-USB-C just for symmetry.

I also think they've got a bit addicted to removing ports. They called it right a few times, but now they're just looking for excuses to do it, as if doing so automatically equals innovation / daring / "courage". It's almost done as a kind of controversial statement, to get attention.


November 3, 2016, 7:58 pm

Professional laptops from Dell and Lenovo last far longer than 2-3 years. Lenovo in particular is known for building bullet-proof machines. I'm fully invested in Dell through my company, and my new personal laptop was a Dell because of the great experience I've had with the work laptops over the years. It also cost $1000 less what a comparably equipped MacBook Pro would cost.


November 3, 2016, 8:00 pm

They're comparing them because the Microsoft workstation offers far more capability than the MBPs for about the same price. The need to be mobile is probably not relevant in this case.


November 3, 2016, 11:02 pm

lol. I mentioned 2-3 years as a generalisation, had i said longer I am sure someone would have replied stating that their windows machine never lasted that long.

What I will say is that with windows it isnt always just about the spec. Generally speaking, let me emphasize "generally" windows machines date a lot quicker and at the very least need regular re-installs.

Over time the machine slows down, sleep state state eventually turns to comatose state, instability sets in. Windows is better with win10 but they have some huge UX issues that just should not be there.

I had a Dell inspiron i7, I have to say it was the worst laptop I had ever bought. Will never buy the budget ranges of any brand.


November 4, 2016, 3:19 am

YMMV but the laptop I turned in a month ago was leased back in 2011 and I never had to re-install Windows. It was a Latitude i7 and was running Win 7 Pro. It was used every day, rebooted very rarely (1-2 times/month), and generally abused. Besides the battery, everything worked perfectly.
My current work laptop is another Latitude i7 (Skylake) with 16GB RAM.
My current personal laptop is a XPS 15 (non-touch).
I will wager that I won't have to re-install Windows, unless I get a better ssd to replace the factory unit.

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