Last year, I bought Apple’s 13“ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. I had been waiting for an upgrade to the MacBook Pro line for a couple of years, and my 13” MacBook Air was getting up in age. When my Machine arrived in November, I posted my initial impressions. Candidly, they were relatively lackluster. I’ve been using the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for about a year now as my primary machine, and I figured it was time for an update.
When I bought my new MacBook Pro, I knew I wanted a 13“ model, but as a ”power user" I opted for a top of the line model. I decked my machine out with a 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. While I’m not sure I use all this processing power, it’s nice to have. Though I in all likelihood, I could have gotten by with a lower end model and opted to upgrade the RAM and SSD.
Look and Feel
I was instantly blown away by the size and weight of the machine. Still today, I love the way this machine looks and feels which I pick it up to take it with me. At 3.02 pounds and only 0.59" (1.49 cm) thick this Machine is in every way the natural successor to the MacBook Air. I opted for Space Gray, of course, and have been happy with that choice, though I have noticed a few nicks around the edge of the machine, especially around the USB-C ports where the coating has started to wear.
Keyboard and Trackpad
I was initially quite upset about the keyboard and trackpad. I will say the Keyboard has grown on me and while I still prefer the old style Apple Keyboards, I have become accustomed to the feel of the MacBook Pro keyboard. Most of the day my MacBook Pro is docked at my desk, and I use an external keyboard. My current Keyboard of choice is a Logitech K750. However, now that Apple (finally) offers a Magic Keyboard with a Numeric Keypad (a requirement for me) I will likely switch to that next time I’m in the market. I have been lucky and not experienced any problems with stuck or broken keys that seem to plague these models. However, about 85% or more of my use is on an external keyboard.
After about a year of use, I still find the larger size trackpad on the MacBook Pro not only unnecessary but annoying. I’ve discovered the increased size of the trackpad affords me no real benefit. Because the trackpad is so wide, I find my wrist and palms naturally rest on it which can make clicking and moving the cursor more cumbersome than on the smaller trackpad of the 13" Air. While I’ve adapted somewhat, I am still finding it less comfortable to use and more missed clicks as I contort my hand. I have long struggled with RSI issues so may be more sensitive to this than most.
All the Dongles
Over the course of the last several months, I’ve spent a few hundred dollars on various adapters and still find that I don’t have a single native USB-C device to use with my computer. I looked at the different Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market, and while I pre-ordered the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, I ultimately canceled my order because it (as were most Thunderbolt 3 Docks) was so delayed by that I had already spent a small fortune on adapters and found solutions that worked for me. At any given time I typically have 3 of the four ports on my MacBook occupied. (1. Power, 2. Display, 3. USB Hub.) If I had a lower-end MacBook Pro with only two ports, I think a dock would be much more critical.
My favorite accessory for my new MacBook was a Dell 24“ 5K display. After much debate about purchasing the LG 5K display, I ultimately choose to purchase the Dell UltraHD 4K 24” Monitor P2415Q. It was a fraction of the price, (currently about $350 on Amazon) has a beautiful screen and includes a few additional USB-A ports. Whenever possible, I purchased new USB cables for my existing devices. Since I still have a large number of USB-A devices, I kept my USB-A hub, but swapped out the cable for a USB 3.1 Type C to Type B Cable, making everything connected instantly compatible with my MacBook Pro.
After a short period of adapting all the devices at my desk, the Thunderbolt–3 Ports have become a non-issue. However, I do have to carry a few more dongles when traveling. I’ve bought USB-A to USB-C adapters to keep in all my laptop bags.