Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) laptop review

With the Apple Macbook Pro (16-inch, 2019), Apple has reinvigorated their brand. The company had been playing it safe, with just refresh after refresh and incremental upgrades to their product line over the last couple years. When they did try to think outside the box, it ended in the very disappointing Butterfly switch keyboard that caused so many issues that. There were even lawsuits. So, Apple had to correct course.

Apple has done just that. The Apple Macbook Pro (16-inch, 2019), which may get some decent discounts for both Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, has given its popular Pro line a shot in the arm. It includes some important upgrades, like the Magic Keyboard and some other key refinements. Most of all, it offers a larger, not to mention more gorgeous, display.

Apple was right when they said that Apple fans would get “more of what they love.” Though the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 has built on the success of prior releases for a fantastic smaller machine, the 16-inch Pro is king in the product line. Not only is it as good as it gets for Pro users, it makes up for the underwhelming MacBook Pro 15-inch 2019, which preceded it by a few months.

Considering how the butterfly keyboard had more than its share of issues, the upgraded keyboard is a huge feature on this new Mac. Since the company has moved on from the problematic keyboard to the Scissor switches that make up the Magic keyboard, the Apple Macbook Pro (16-inch, 2019) is already a huge improvement over earlier Macs.

Now, the largest MacBook Pro has a new and much-improved keyboard that’s a dream to use. This new keyboard not only eludes all the issues the older MacBook Pros had, but also allows the 16-inch MacBook Pro to stay unbelievably slim at only 0.64 inches. That’s just a slight increase over the MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)’s 0.61-inches.

Those who were holding off buying a new MacBook Pro until the keyboard issues were sorted will definitely be pleased with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Hopefully, all these improvements on new keyboard in the MacBook Pro will find its way onto regular MacBooks and MacBook Airs soon.

Further upgrades are found in the internal components, with 7nm AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics cards making their debut, giving this mobile workstation some seriously impressive graphical grunt. And, for the first time ever, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM and up to 8TB of SSD storage. These two updates make this laptop a seriously formidable performer when it comes to graphic-intensive tasks like rendering videos.

The battery life has been boosted with a 100-watt-hour battery (16 WH larger than the previous models, and now the largest capacity laptop battery the FAA will allow on flights) – and in our tests, we were seriously blown away by how long the MacBook Pro 16-inch model lasted between charges. You really don’t have to suffer from miniscule battery life just because you’re using a powerful laptop with the new MacBook Pro. That’s a compromise many of its rivals ask us to make.

Much-improved speakers (seriously, you need to hear them) and built-in microphone both round out the 16-inch MacBook Pro as a seriously capable mobile workstation – and one where you no longer feel the need to plug in too many external devices. This, along with an almost identical thin and light design that we’ve come to love from the MacBook, makes the MacBook Pro 16-inch a truly portable pro laptop.

And, we haven’t even gotten to the screen yet. Oh, that screen. Apple’s move to 16-inches hasn’t resulted in a compromise in image quality, with the resolution being bumped up to 3,072 x 1,920 and a pixel density of 226 pixels per inch.

That’s a fairly decent jump over the 15-inch model’s 2,880 x 1,800 resolution, which offered a pixel density of 220ppi. A larger screen with an increased pixel density is very welcome indeed. But, there’s also the fact that the increase in screen size hasn’t made the 16-inch model much larger than the 15-inch model, thanks to the much thinner bezels surrounding the screen.

There’s a lot to love about the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019, and not much to dislike. The lack of expansion outside of the four Thunderbolt ports remains a disappointment to pro users. But, the laptop also makes up for that by adding features that make you less likely to need to plug in external tools. Who needs an external hard drive when you have 8TB of SSD storage? There’s the matter of the price, which is admittedly pretty steep. However, in reality, it actually costs the same as the previous model, which might annoy anyone who just bought one of those.

Overall, Apple has improved on almost every aspect of the MacBook Pro, and address the complaints of people (like us) who were disappointed that recent MacBook Pro releases haven’t been revolutionary or exciting. The MacBook Pro 16-inch shows that Apple still loves the MacBook and has some exciting ideas for its future.

Perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises about the MacBook Pro 16-inch is its price. Now, don’t get too excited – this isn’t a cheap laptop. Far from it. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is, like other MacBook Pros, a very pricey laptop. But what’s surprising is that the base model starts at $2,399 (£2,399, AU$3,799, AED 9,999) for a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

This, you may have noticed, is the same price as the 2019 model of the MacBook Pro 15-inch, which for the same price comes with a 6-core 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage.

The fact that you get double the storage and better graphics, along with all the other new features of the new MacBook Pro, such as that larger screen, for the same price is remarkable. For anyone who was holding out buying a new MacBook Pro, your patience will have been rewarded.

However, that also means that anyone who bought the 15-inch MacBook Pro – which only released back in June 2019 – could feel rather aggrieved at paying the same money for less. The fact that Apple is no longer selling the 15-inch model on its website (you can now only choose between the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2019 and the MacBook Pro 16-inch) could compound the feeling that they’ve bought an expensive product that’s outdated a mere six months after it launched.

There is also a higher-end model that comes with a 2.3GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD for $2,799 (£2,799, AU$4,399, AED 11,679). Again, this is the same price as the high end 15-inch MacBook Pro from earlier in 2019.

As with previous models, you can configure the base models with more powerful hardware, including upping the storage to that incredible 8TB, and packing the laptop with up to 64GB of RAM. The fully specced-out MacBook Pro 16-inch is a seriously powerful device – but also an expensive one as well, costing $6,099 (£5,769, AU$9,679, AED 25,539).

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