So about 4 months ago, I bought the 16-inch MacBook Pro, just before Apple Silicon was introduced. I’ll go into why I bought an Intel Mac rather than waiting for an Apple Silicon Mac in another post, but this is my 4 months later review.
My machine has an i7, 5300M GPU and 32GB of RAM – the base model (mostly). I’ve found that over 4 months of use, it’s worked absolutely beautifully and performed up to my expectations. Programming using Xcode and video editing using Davinci Resolve is mostly all smooth, but the fans do often spin up! It does get quite hot too – at about 40° at idle. It’s not too bad on a daily, but when using it on my lap it is quite hot. It’s perfect for this winter!
Ports, peripherals and battery
So, there are 4 USB-C/ Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. I think that this is an absolutely perfect amount of ports, and 2 ports would be 2 too few. Connecting up a monitor, drive, charger and having one spare port is useful, just in case. Unlike the new M1 MacBooks, I can connect more devices without using a hub, and it makes the 16-inch MacBook Pro more portable – walking about with a hub connected is not fun! There’s also a rare 3.5mm headphone jack on the right-hand side of the computer, and it’s perfect for lag-free video and audio editing, and for listening to music without carrying a set of large headphones around.
I’ve found the battery life on the 16-inch MacBook Pro satisfactory. It’s not mindblowing, but it’s not like I have to keep it plugged in all the time. I can use it for about 5-6 hours straight while watching YouTube, compiling code and running the Xcode Simulator at the same time, which isn’t as good as the advertised 11 hours, it’s still sufficient.
So, the 16-inch MacBook Pro was the first Mac with the all-new scissor switch keyboard, and I definitely think its a much better keyboard compared to the old butterfly switch keyboard. Luckily, over the course of this year Apple has updated it’s entire MacBook lineup with this keyboard, and it is clearly a much better mechanism – I’ve had absolutely no issues with any of the keys, and I always manage to press the right key. Maybe it’s just me? If you have an old MacBook with the old butterfly switch keyboard, you should definitely check out the new mechanism, and perhaps even consider switching(aha)!
Display, Speakers, Microphone
The extra space on the MacBook Pro is incredibly useful. You may think “It’s only an extra diagonal inch”, but until you’ve used the device, you won’t realise how useful it is! It’s super bright as well, and HDR10 compatible. My GPU (the AMD 5300M) is absolutely acceptable for me, since I don’t play many games or do many heavy tasks bar editing.
The speakers in the 16-inch MacBook Pro are absolutely remarkable. I’ve stopped using my headphones for music now – just to appreciate the incredible sound quality this MacBook has. It’s kinda hard to show through a blog post, so check out my video for a real test!
I think the microphone in this Mac is amazing for it’s size and portability. It’s really handy to have a great mic ready at all times – no cables needed! For a mic test, check out my video!
Is it worth buying now?
So with Apple Silicon Macs released and the 16 inch MacBook Pro being over a year old, why am I reviewing this now? Well, as we’ve seen with the M1 Chip, Apple hasn’t redesigned the outside of any of their new Macs. That means that this entire review will be relevant regardless of when Apple release the Apple Silicon 16-inch MacBook Pro, apart from performance and battery life. I think that if you want a MacBook Pro with an incredible array of features, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is an incredible Mac to buy, especially if it being Intel-based doesn’t bother you.
Overall, my past few months with the 16-inch MacBook Pro have been absolutely brilliant, and it’s been absolutely perfect for my use and my needs. I think I’m going to keep this MacBook Pro for at least a few years, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it turns out in a few more months and years.
Thanks for reading – tell me down in the comments if you’re into the 16-inch MacBook Pro and your opinion on it! Please feel free to share my post on Twitter!