First Impressions Of The New 15-Inch MacBook Pro

We’ve had a top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro review unit in hand for an hour or two, and in that time, that’s the main thing I can tell you.

15-Inch MacBook Pro

I’ll give you a few more impressions, of course, but “pro” machines require quite a bit of testing to judge, and we intend to take our time with it. Is it fast? Of course it’s fast: it has a six-core Intel i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage. As shipped, this machine would run for $6,699 (though $3,200 of that is the SSD).

Unfortunately, without taking apart the keys there’s no way to know how that subtle difference in sound was achieved. And taking apart the keys is a very bad idea on this machine because Apple has not changed the fundamental design that makes it very easy to break the clips. It’s still a butterfly mechanism, and replacing a key can still require replacing the whole top deck if those clips break.

The keyboard is less clacky, but we can’t speak to its reliability yet

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has speculated that it’s possible that Apple did improve this keyboard for reliability and not just sound, but it won’t admit to it. I have no information about that, but it’s not an unreasonable thing to think. As I mentioned in the announcement for the MacBook Pros, Apple declined to explain how it made the keyboard quieter. Anyway, there’s a pun in here about sound baffling and baffling communications from Apple, which I will leave as an exercise to the reader.

As far as the keyboard’s feel goes, this “third generation” does have about the same key travel as the 2017 models, so far as I can tell. I still don’t mind that, and I think most people can accommodate themselves to it. But then again, I was never truly offended by the minimal key travel on the first-generation butterfly keyboard, so you might not trust my judgment.

As for other impressions: it’s a MacBook Pro! It has excellent build quality, four Thunderbolt ports, a headphone jack, and Touch ID. It also has a very nice Retina Display that I nevertheless wish had smaller bezels, true 4K resolution, and support for touch or pen. (I know I know, keep dreaming.)

I’d say more but, again, I feel like the only way to say anything valuable about the performance of this machine is to really test it. So we’re off to begin that work. If you have a particular thing you’d like us to test, leave a note in the comments.

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