Apple MacBook Pro 2018 review
Apple MacBook Pro 2018 review
- PROS • Impressive performance • Improved keyboard • Retina display now even better • Up to 4TB of storage available
- CONS • Lack of ports may still annoy some • Laptop can get hot when pushed to the limit • Battery life can suffer a times
Apple’s hugely popular MacBook Pro range has just received a major reboot bringing more grunt to these portable PCs.
With this improved processing power and the ability to add a vast 4TB of SSD storage, the new MacBook Pro is aimed at offering blistering performance from a machine that’s not trapped on your desk.
Along with the extra muscle, Apple has also added a number of other upgrades including a True Tone Retina display – which changes depending on lighting conditions – and a refreshed keyboard which makes typing sound a little less noisy.
But do these updates really make the new Pro the ultimate Apple laptop and is it worth the extra money the firm is now charging?
Express.co.uk has been putting the larger 15-inch model through its paces and here’s our full MacBook Pro 2018 review.
The new MacBook Pro is now faster and more powerful than before
SPEED AND POWER
The new processing power of these latest laptops is the headline feature of this 2018 update.
Apple has seriously beefed up its new MacBook Pro range with upgraded processors which are up to 70 percent faster than its predecessors.
For our extensive tests, we took delivery of the top-end 15-inch Pro which features a blistering 6-core 2.9GHz Intel i9 processor with turbo speeds of up to 4.8GHz.
This laptop can also be configured with 32GB of RAM and a huge 4TB hard drive.
As you’d expect from those massively impressive specs this Pro model is no slouch with it gliding through even the most intensive tasks with relative ease.
Video and image editing is super slick and stutter-free with our review device coping well with even the highest resolution files.
A good example is a simple 4K video export with the 2018 Pro able to blitz through this job around seven minutes faster than a powerful older sibling.
During our time with the laptop we’ve also spoken to a number of pro users who have all reported significant speed boosts since switching to this latest Mac.
So it’s clear that this a supremely powerful machine that will speed up your workflow but that’s what you’d expect from a laptop that can cost in excess of £6,000.
If you really need a huge amount power then this latest Pro range should be top of your shopping list but it’s worth noting that you can still buy last year’s 15-inch Pro model for around £200 less than this upgraded machine.
And things get even cheaper if you’re happy to opt for the 2015 Pro which Apple still sells for just £1,609.
Both of these older machines continue to offer plenty of power so make sure you really need that extra punch before ordering this latest, greatest and more expensive laptop.
The keyboard has been updated with typing now more quieter than before
THAT NEW KEYBOARD
The MacBook Pro keyboard caused plenty of controversy when it first changed in 2016.
Some users loved the updated design, whilst others hated the hollow sound it made as you bashed out an email.
The fact it has much less travel in the keys compared to previous models is not to everyone’s liking but things have improved this year.
We’ve been using the new MacBook’s since they launched two years ago and have never had a huge problem with the keyboard.
However, it seems Apple is well aware that the noise their Pro makes is not hugely popular and so they’ve made a big change to this latest model.
Typing is now much quieter and punching the keys also feels a little softer than before.
With a new design this latest update should also make the Pro more reliable and less likely to fail.
If you’re still a lover of the old Apple keyboard this upgrade probably won’t change your opinion but it’s definitely a big improvement over last year’s MacBook Pro range.
An updated Retina display now features True Tone technology
MACBOOK PRO GETS A NEW RETINA DISPLAY
The pin-sharp Retina display isn’t anything new but Apple has now added True Tone technology to its new line up of MacBooks.
Similar to the latest iPad screen the new MacBook Pro now adapts depending on the lighting conditions around you.
True Tone works by automatically shifting the whitepoint of the display to match the colour temperature in the room.
And it’s not just the main screen that subtly changes as Apple has also added this update to the interactive Touch Bar that runs across the top of the keyboard.
For daily usage, this is a really nice addition as it makes the display much easier on the eye.
However, we’re guessing many Pro users may decide to switch it off when editing videos and photos as it can change the way content appears on the screen.
It’s also worth noting that Apple is not budging on its opinion when it comes to touch screens.
Like all of the laptops that have come before it, this latest Mac doesn’t feature the tappable display technology you’ll find on most Windows PCs.
BEST OF THE REST
It’s worth remembering some of the features Apple introduced when these new MacBooks first got their big refresh in 2016.
These laptops include a brilliantly accurate Force Touch trackpad, decent stereo speakers, Touch ID fingerprint scanner – which unlocks the Mac in a flash – and a design that is lighter and more easy to handle.
Those opting for the 15-inch Pro will get the biggest advantage from this new look as it makes this big laptop feel much more compact and less bulky in your bag.
The new interactive Touch Bar is a useful addition although the jury is still out on whether this is really a must-have feature.
Having used a Mac with this mini screen for a number of years we still don’t feel we are getting the best from it as many of the shortcuts it offers still seem easier via the standard keyboard quick key shortcuts.
The new MacBook Pro 2018 also features the custom Apple T2 chip that first debuted on the extremely powerful iMac Pro.
The Apple T2 chip brings security features like secure boot and encrypted storage to this laptop range.
Apple MacBook Pro review
YOU’LL STILL NEED THOSE DONGLES
If you were hoping to see Apple change its mind about those USB-C ports you’re going to be disappointed.
The new MacBooks are sticking firmly with this concept which means you’ll still need to carry plenty of dongles in your bag if you want to plug in external devices or memory cards.
We totally get why Apple has made this decision as USB-C is clearly the future but it can be hugely frustrating if you forget to pack an adaptor.
One positive of these new ports is the ability to charge from either side of the laptop which stops the problem of having a power cable trailed across your lap.
Thunderbolt 3 technology also has twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2 and offers 40 Gbps of throughput per port which makes data transfer incredibly fast.
Although we like the improved way of charging and the improved speeds we’d love to see the return of the indicator light that appears on the older MagSafe charger as it instantly showed when the laptop is getting power and when it’s fully refilled.
THIS MAC IS HOT STUFF
There’s very little not to like about the new MacBook Pro and the improvements to the keyboard, processor and screen undoubtedly make this a very desirable machine.
However, there is one thing to be aware of.
Apple wants to make its Pro as thin and silent as possible so it doesn’t pack a giant fan inside the aluminium body.
But with that speedy processor putting out a lot of heat it can struggle to keep cool.
Our review unit has got pretty hot at times which has been especially noticeable in this summer’s heatwave.
You’ll mainly notice this excessive warmth when the processor is being pushed to the limit but, at times, it can become a little uncomfortable on your lap.
Early reports also suggested that the excessive heat was causing the processor to slow due to something called thermal throttling.
Apple has since released a software update to fix this problem and we can’t say we’ve noticed any speed issues with our fully updated machine.
Apple has also released a new leather cover for the Pro
Apple says this new Pro will last around 10 hours on a single charge and that usage is certainly possible in real-world tests.
Turning the screen brightest down and watching a movie will see this battery stay relatively full.
However, get the display glowing and start using more intensive applications and you may find yourself hunting for a plug much sooner than you might like.
In fact, battery life can be as low as three to four hours when pushing things to the limit.
Luckily, when you do connect it to power it charges ridiculously quickly with it going from flat to full in under an hour.
If you want a cheap laptop then this is not the device for you.
Prices for the 15-inch 2018 Pro start from £2,349 and rise to over £6,200 if you add all the bells and whistles.
It’s worth noting that one thing that pushed the price to this sky-high level is that 4TB hard drive.
Adding that huge storage costs £2,880 alone and is only really worth it if you know that you’ll really need that amount of space.
If you opt for the 13-inch Pro you will pay a little less with that machine starting from £1,749.
This is clearly a lot of money but considering most Macs will easily last at least 4-5 years we still think it’s a decent investment.
We’re huge fans of the MacBook Pro and there’s a number of reasons why this is still our laptop of choice.
This portable powerhouse not only looks stunning but now offers desktop specs and performance when you are away from your desk.
The new screen and improved keyboard add to the appeal but it’s the sheer usability that continues to make this one of the best laptops on the planet.
Its durability, incredible build quality and radically improved speed means it’s unlikely to ever let you down.
Of course, like most modern technology, there are some niggles with the new Pro including those USB-C ports and slightly erratic battery life.
The fact it can get so hot is also an irritation and it’s also pretty expensive especially as there are older MacBook Pros still on sale that will offer good performance at a much cheaper price.
However, if you simply want the ultimate Apple laptop that will power you through your day then it’s really hard not to recommend the 2018 Pro.