Latest MacBook Pro makes apps dance

lifestyle April 22, 2017 01:00

By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

The innovative controls Touch Bar adjusts to whatever program is in use



THE NEW 15inch MacBook Pro notebook computer comes in a thin all aluminium casing and packs a powerful quadcore Intel processor as well as a revolutionary Touch Bar.

The thinner, lighter design makes the Pro more portable than ever – it’s only 15.5mm, which is 14 per cent thinner than the previous 14inch model, and takes up 20 per cent less space. And it weighs just 1.83 kilograms.

The extra thinness doesn’t translate into a problem with heat dissipation. Apple has given the logic board and fan blades “advanced thermal architecture” to keep the CPU cool even at peak performance.

 

The Pro can be silver or Space Grey in finish and I got the latter to test, which really looks cool.

Ensuring impressive performance, Intel’s sixth generation Core i7 quadcore 2.6GHz processor carries a large six megabyte buffer memory. You have 16GB of DDR3 RAM (working memory) and 256GB of PCIetype SSD (solid state drive) storage to allow fast reading and writing of data. The SSD drive allows for a writing speed of up to 2.2GB per second and reading at 3.1GB/s.

I noticed applications running fast and smoothly, with no hesitation in word processing and image editing software. I had several apps working simultaneously and nothing slowed down, so the MacBook Pro was multitasking very well.

The notebook’s good graphics performance comes from a Radeon Pro 450 GPU with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. That makes it as much as 130 per cent faster than the previous model. Gaming performance is 60 per cent better and video editing 57 per cent.

 

That decent graphics adapter lets the Pro make most of its excellent Retina Display with 2,880 by 1,800 pixel resolution at 220 pixels per inch and support for millions of colours.

The Retina Display has increased brightness and improved contrast and is also more power efficient. Apple calls it the best Mac display ever and the first in a Mac notebook built with oxide TFT technology. 

The display delivers 500 nits of brightness, which is 67 per cent brighter than on the previous model. The contrast ratio is that much higher too, and you can get into digital cinema with the 25 per cent wider range of colours.

So, yeah, it’s absolutely amazing for viewing photos taken with your iPhone 7 or a digital SLR camera. You see richer reds and greens so the images look both more vivid and more true to life.

I found that the new Retina Display produced extremely sharp and crisp text and really colourful photos.

Another big appeal to the new MacBook Pro is the very useful Touch Bar. It provides dynamic, context sensitive and intuitive suggestions that allow you to work faster and with much more convenience. It adapts to whatever app you’re using and presents app controls exactly when and where you need them.

 

 

The Touch Bar is a Retina resolution strip of glass with MultiTouch capabilities and 2,170 by 60 pixel resolution able to display millions of colours. It sits at the top of the keyboard, replacing a row of function keys.

Among other things, the Touch Bar provides formatting shortcuts and easy access to emojis, depending on the software you’re using. Even rookie Mac users will find it useful in discovering added functionality within the apps.

For example, when a Safari Web browser is open, the Touch Bar provides access to different tabs so you can switch among them without moving your cursor.

The Control Strip on the Touch Bar covers display brightness, volume and Siri. The controls are also collapsible and can be expanded by tapping on the leftpointing arrow. Once the strip is revealed, you can tap familiar buttons, including media controls, keyboard brightness, Launchpad and Mission Control.

You can use the Touch Bar to browse a photo library by sliding a finger along the middle when you’re using the Photos app. With the Calendar app open, you can select a day, week, month or year from the Touch Bar. With the Messages app, tap the emoji button to reveal more emojis and tap again to insert one into the message.

The Touch Bar can be customised for Mail, Safari, Finder, Notes and Calculator and the Control Strip is customisable too.

The new MacBook Pro’s fingerprint reader is integrated into the power button at the end of the Touch Bar. Touch ID lets you quickly unlock your Mac using a fingerprint instead of typing in a password. 

I also like the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard with improved key responsiveness so that typing feels more comfortable. Apple credits a second generation “butterfly mechanism” that’s four times more stable than the traditional “scissor mechanism”. 

The sound system is even better. The speakers are louder at twice the dynamic range thanks to careful positioning so that sound is transmitted with minimal distortion. The woofers and tweeters project outward in the most unobstructed direction.

Gone in the new Pro are the conventional full sized USB ports. Instead you find four fast Thunderbolt 3 (USBC) ports, each ready for charging, data transfer and video out and fully compatible with USBC addons. 

Each port handles 40Gbps throughput of data transfer. You can, for example, connect two external 5K displays (5,120 by 2,880 pixel resolution at 60Hz) and two high performance external drives to the MacBook Pro to create a large workspace. Connected to USB 3.1 Generation 2 devices, the ports support data transfer of up to 10Gbps.

Battery life is a decent 10 hours.

With a 2.6GHz processor and 256GB storage, Apple’s new MacBook Pro retails for Bt89,900. With a 2.7GHz CPU and 512GB of storage, you’ll pay Bt105,900.

Key Specs

- Operating system: macOS Sierra

- CPU: 2.6GHz quadcore Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz, with 6MB shared L3 cache

- Memory: 16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory

- Storage: 256GB PCIebased onboard SSD

- Graphics: Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching; Intel HD Graphics 530

- Display: 15.4inch (diagonal) LED backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2880 by 1800 native resolution at 220 pixels per inch with support for millions of colours

- Charging and expansion: Four Thunderbolt 3 (USBC) ports with support for charging, display

- Wireless: WiFi: 02.11ac WiFi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compati¬ble; Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology

- Camera: 720p FaceTime HD

- Audio: Stereo speakers with high dynamic range; three microphones; 3.5 mm headphone jack

- Battery and power: Builtin 76.0 watt hour lithium polymer battery with up to 10 hours wireless web; 87W USBC Power Adapter

- Dimensions: 34.93x24.07x1.55cm

- Weight: 1.83kg