Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

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Last updated on September 17, 2020 2:15 pm

Replete with all the indicators and whistles expected from Apple’s flagship device, the Apple MacBook Pro has arrived a few months before, and it may look a little unconventional than you remember. Nearly two years ago, Apple launched a redesigned variant of its flagship laptop that would enhance Apple’s image forever. So Here I cover the Apple MacBook Pro review of 2018. Also, check Apple Macbook Pro 13 Price and specs of other variants.

Measuring in at over half an inch thick, the MacBook Pro 13 wields the power of Thunderbolt 3 ports, an only port that supports almost everything you can consider. Still, the MacBook Pro is not without debate, as some of the improvements bring compromise. Instead of being capable of using your old HDMI, standard USB ports and SD card slot out of the box, you’ll have to spend more cash on adapters.

See Also: New Dell XPS 13 review of 2019

And, depending on what MacBook Pro you choose, you may obtain a thin OLED touch bar where the function keys used to be. This ‘Touch Bar,’ is the main attraction of the MacBook Pro remains both a point of contention and a major selling point. We could even see Apple extending this Touch Bar to the entire lower segment of the next MacBook Pro, as Apple is throwing around the idea of an OLED touchscreen keyboard.

Luxurious, but by no means egotistic, the MacBook Pro comes at a premium. Like most of Apple’s products, it’s built to influence when it comes to appearances. It doesn’t do anything too extraordinary, at least not in the way that Apple’s recent concessions suggest of its future water-proof and scratch-resistant MacBooks, which we, unfortunately, didn’t see at WWDC 2018.

However, the MacBook Pro 13 of today is a laptop mostly successfully geared toward experts, which is far more than can be stated for the other members of Apple’s MacBook family.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Design

The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro looks similar to last year’s version, with its thin, low-profile full aluminum design. The laptop is available in space gray or silver color options, and I’d recommend the former, unless you want a MacBook that appears to have traveled here from the past, slimming along the way.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

Weighing in at 3 pounds and measuring in at 0.6 inches, the MacBook Pro 13 is more portable than the Dell’s XPS 13 (weighing 2.7 pounds, measuring 0.6 inches) and the Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (weighing 2.5 pounds, measuring 0.6 inches), and a bit thicker than the 13-inch HP’s Spectre x360 (weighing 2.9 pounds, measuring 0.5 inches).

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

With four Thunderbolt 3 ports (Type-C) and a headphone jack, the MacBook Pro reveals that Apple’s future-facing view still demands that we buy separate dongles to plug in our previously owned devices. That means you’d need one of the Apple’s $19 USB Type-C-to-USB adapters to connect a device such as your smartphone, pen drive, etc.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Keyboard, Touch Bar, and Trackpad

The Apple MacBook Pro’s backlit keyboard, trackpad, and Touch Bar offer robust input experiences. However, they might take some getting used to. When testing the butterfly-mechanism keyboard on the, I clicked my way to around 70 words per minute, falling below my 80-wpm average. While the keys have only 0.7 mm of key travel (far below the 1.5 to 2.0 mm we suggest), they make up for it by asking 74 grams of force to actuate the keys. In comparison, the new 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro’s keys have a bit more key travel (0.8 mm). However, they felt right to me.

The 5.3 x 3.3-inch wide Force Touch trackpad presented accurate tracking as I drove the cursor on the desktop. Since it’s a nonmoving input surface that transfers haptic feedback, the pad doesn’t offer clicking feel by default, though I modified that in the Trackpad settings of System Preferences, by changing the Click slider to Firm.

Dragging and dropping files, though, works entirely different than on any other notebook I’ve ever examined, asking you to use a half-press before pulling files.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

When I switched between my favorite apps, I noticed that the Touch Bar lightens up with many options. I made some usability of the video playback travel bar for YouTube videos in the browser and the resizing objects slider in Pixelmator. Though the Touch Bar offers some neat characteristics, I found it frequently used as a helpful reminder to delete Browsers stock bookmarks (Yelp, Yahoo, Disney, and more). Since the Touch Bar launched last year, other apps, such as Evernote, Dashlane, and Spotify now have added support for it.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Display

The MacBook Pro’s 2560 x 1600-pixel display is a beauty to watch, offering an eye-popping color and sharp accuracy. When viewing the 4K sci-fi film Tears of Steel on this display, I loved the gloriously vibrating pink tones of a holographic brain and noted crisp, pure-white spotlights and affluent, black corners of a bellhouse attic. I even noticed the fine details, such as the red dot on a minuscule knob of a forearm.

According to our colorimeter, the Apple MacBook Pro’s screen produces 123 % of the sRGB spectrum. That easily beats the 98-% ultraportable category average, as well as the results from the Dell XPS 13 (94 percent), the HP Spectre x360 (102 percent) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (104 percent).

The MacBook Pro’s panel is also accurate, registering a 0.2 on the Delta-E test, where closer to 0 is better. That’s well below the 2.6 ultraportable category average, the 1.3 from the Dell XPS 13, the 0.7 from the HP Spectre x360 and the 4.4 from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1.

Registering up to 458 nits of max brightness (a measure of brightness), the MacBook Pro’s display also outshines the competitors. That mark tops the 288-nit ultraportable category average, the 302-nits Dell XPS 13, the 318-nits HP Spectre x360 and the 275-nits Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Webcam

This $1,999 Apple MacBook Pro features a 0.7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera that fails to match its price tag. Indeed, it captured true colors from my purple T-shirt and the wall behind me, but that picture contained the same noise that we see in shots captured a typical $500 notebooks.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Audio

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

The MacBook Pro can easily kick out the jams. Its speakers charged our large conference room with its clear and loud sound, sinking out our loud air conditioner. Calvin Harris’ “Rollin” sounded great on the notebook, with robust and sturdy bass; clear vocals; and subtle synths. While audio pros likely have high-end headphones and speakers to connect to, this notebook offers some of the best of the sound outputs I’ve ever heard come from an ultraportable laptop.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Graphics

The Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 650 in the MacBook Pro 13 supports modest gaming, as it ran the Dirt 3 (set to medium resolution at 1650 x 1050 pixels) at 41 fps, which exceeds our 30-fps smoothness threshold average. That’s comparable to the 40 fps from the HP Spectre x360 (Intel’s HD 620) and better than the 37-fps ultraportable category average, the 38 fps from last year’s model (Intel’s Iris 550), the 28 fps from the Dell XPS 13 (Intel’s HD 620) and the 28 fps from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Intel’s HD 620).

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Performance

This MacBook Pro 13’s latest 7th-Gen Intel Core i5-7267U CPU, coupled with 8GB RAM, enables some serious multitasking. I saw no slowdown or lag after opening all of my favorite Mac applications (1Password, Tweetbot, the Pixelmator, the Airmail, and Slack) while I had already been streaming a Full-HD 1080p YouTube video playing in the background and 12 Safari Browser tabs open.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

This latest-gen CPU kicked competitors, registering a score of 9,213 on the Geekbench 4 benchmark performance test. That easily beats the 6,999 ultraportable category average; the 7,053 from last gen MacBook Pro (6th-Gen Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM); the 7,287 from the Dell XPS 13 (Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM); the 8,147 from the HP Spectre x360 (Core i7-7500, 8GB RAM); and the 8,571 from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Core i7-7600U, 8GB RAM).

The 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD in the MacBook Pro reproduced 4.97GB of mixed media files in 7 seconds, registering a staggering speed of 727 MBps. That’s way faster than the 200.83-MBps ultraportable category average for ultraportables, the 508.9-MBps SSD in 2016 MacBook Pro, the 339.3 MBps from the Dell XPS 13 (256GB SSD), the 318 MBps from the HP Spectre x360 (512GB PCIe SSD) and the 242 MBps from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (512GB PCIe SSD).

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Heat

The latest generation of Apple MacBook Pro 13 is one cool customer. After we’d streamed a Full-HD video on it for 15 minutes, our heat gun registered 82.5 degrees Fahrenheit on its touchpad, while 89 degrees on the G and H keys and the underside registered 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that were all lower than our 95-degree comfort threshold zone.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Battery Life

The MacBook Pro 13 provides you healthy battery life, but it’s not as reliable as the runtimes of some of its competitors. The latest MacBook Pro 13 lasted around 8 hours and 40 minutes on our Battery Test, which is better than the 8:24 category average for ultraportables and close to the time recorded by the last year’s model (8:48). The Dell XPS 13 (13:49), the HP Spectre x360 (10:06) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (12:21) lasted much longer.

You might need to consider this MacBook’s bigger sibling if you need longer battery life. The 15-inch MacBook Pro 15 lasted 11 hours and 10 minutes on this test, which is good enough to make me think leaving the power adaptor at home.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review – Configuration Options

Our test unit of the 13-inch MacBook Pro 13 with Touch Bar will cost you $1,999 and features a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7267U CPU, 8GB RAM, a 512 PCIe NVMe SSD storage accompanied by integrated Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 650. Users who don’t need that much storage space can save $200 by opting for the entry-level $1,799 version which has the same configuration, except for its 256GB SSD storage. Apple offers a $200 upgrade option to double the RAM option from 8GB to 16GB, and a $400 option to move from a 512GB SSD to a 1TB SSD storage.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 Review

If you don’t need a Touch Bar, you can get the 13-inch MacBook Pro 13 without a Touch Bar beginning at $1,299. That model incorporates a 2.3-GHz processor, 128GB SSD storage, 8GB RAM and two Thunderbolt 3 ports on board.

Conclusion

The latest MacBook Pro 13 offers the blisteringly fast speed that professionals desire, as well as a super bright and colorful screen. The speakers are also excellent. However, this laptop would have been much better if Apple had allowed a wider variety of ports and a more affordable beginning price for the Touch Bar variant. If you’re willing to continue without the Touch Bar on the MacBook, consider the $1,299 MacBook Pro 13, which has two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than four, less storage and a comparably slower CPU.

But if you’re not engaged to the macOS platform, you can preserve a lot of cash by getting a Windows 10 machine alternatively. Opting for a Core i5 HP Spectre x360 with similar specs (and a touch-screen display) will save you a massive $810, and a likewise configured Dell XPS 13 is $700 less. You can further save $300 by going with the Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which has one of the best keyboards we’ve seen in any laptop till date. But the MacBook Pro 13 outperforms all of those systems in terms of all the aspects, except the battery life.

9 Total Score
Final Thoughts

The latest MacBook Pro 13 offers the blisteringly fast speed that professionals desire, as well as a super bright and colorful screen. The speakers are also excellent. However, this laptop would have been much better if Apple had allowed a wider variety of ports and a more affordable beginning price for the Touch Bar variant.

Design
9
Keyboard, Touch Bar and Trackpad
9.5
Display
9.5
Webcam
8
Audio
9
Graphics
9
Performance
9.5
Heat
9.5
Battery Life
8.5
PROS
  • Stronger processor
  • Faster RAM
  • Same excellent design
CONS
  • Subpar battery life
  • Keyboard learning curve
  • Awfully pricey for the parts
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