I was fortunate to get a very sexy 2016 Space Grey 15” Macbook Pro with the touchbar. My 2013 Macbook Pro was having multiple hardware issues and thanks to Applecare they ended up replacing my laptop. Usually they replace it with the same model but because mine was a custom order with maxed out RAM and a larger Hard Drive they did not have any old ones in stock so I received the 2016 version. I also want to say that I’ve been using Apple Computers since the late 1990’s so I’ve gone through a lot of computers and laptops in my years of being an Apple user.
The first thing that had to take place was connecting all my current devices to my laptop. The 2016 Macbook Pro has the all new USB-C ports which are not compatible with older USB devices without an adapter. So here is the quick breakdown of how I got everything connected.
How I connect:
Desktop Hard Drives and Monitor
I’ve been using the Belkin Thunderbolt Dock 2 for a few years to quickly connect my GTech 4tb G-Drive which store all my design and video files and a 4tb Western Digital that is used for Time Machine. I also connect a 21” LG monitor through the dock. Thankfully that meant I only needed to get one adapter to connect all these devices. I got the Thunderbolt 2 to USB-C (or thunderbolt 3) adapter from Apple. Belkin has a native USB-C dock coming out soon. I will be investing in the new dock the faster speeds it will provide.
Portable Hard Drive
The Gtech Mobile USB 1tb 7200 rpm is my on the go photo and video storage. I could have bought an adapter but decided to just buy a new cable at a much cheaper price. This little cable from amazon was under $7 and worked perfectly for the Micro-B connector used by a lot of portable hard drives. The best news is no adapter!
SD Card Reader
One of the ports that I miss the most is my SD card reader that was built into the Pro lines of the past. At the time I acquired the laptop there were not many options for a native USB-C card reader. I ended up getting the SanDisk card reader from Apple. It has proven to be a handy card reader. The only negative thing I can say is that it’s not easy to get the cards out. When more options become available I will be looking but until then this works great for loading pictures onto my portable drive.
iPhone and iPad Pro
I ended up buying 2 USB-C to lighting cables so I could charge my iPhone and iPad on the go. I do most of my syncing through wifi so these cables were not mandatory but I still like to have a few of them around.
Things I’m still waiting on
Really the only thing I’m waiting on is a proper power block to charge my iPhone and iPad if I don’t have my laptop. I don’t want to carry a USB and a USB-C cable. My goal is to get rid of all old USB cables this year.
My Review of the Laptop
Initially when the laptop came out I thought Apple was crazy for removing the SD card reader and adding this odd touch bar. My thoughts have not changed on those two issues but as a whole the laptop is really great.
I never experienced the horrible battery issue that seemed to be associated with this laptop. I don’t get 10 hours but I can certainly take it out anywhere and feel comfortable using it for extended periods of time.
Things I Love:
The speakers – I actually ended up getting rid of my wired desktop Bose speakers. The sound from the laptop speakers is really great. Eventually I might get some wireless speakers but until then I’m quite happy with the sound.
The screen – The laptop is much brighter and the text is crisper. The screen on the 15” Macbook Pro is truly amazing. When I don’t need the function of the dual screen I’ve been using my laptop a whole lot more. It’s easy to grab it and take it and enjoy using the screen.
Touch Login – I’ve gotten used to logging in on my iPhone and iPad with my fingerprint but I love being able to login to my laptop. It also works great when installing software or updating. Instead of typing your password just use your finger. It’s such a small thing that really adds to the overall experience of this laptop.
The Keyboard – When I first got the computer the keys felt odd. The spacing felt different and I could not type as fast. Now that I have gotten used to the keyboard I actually love it. Going back to my old work laptop or wireless keyboard feels horribly strange.
Things I Don’t care for:
Touch Bar – Even after trying to use it I don’t find it to be useful (except touch login). It’s too small and it takes longer to do basic things like adjust the volume. It might be that I’ve been on a mac so long that I don’t need to look at my keyboard but the touch bar makes me look when I want to use it. That means I’m not being as fast which means I’m not using it. Also it’s much to small to scrub through pictures, I don’t need to add a million different emojis either.
No SD Card – I don’t understand this move at all. Almost all modern cameras use SD cards. Not having to carry another little cable when traveling was awesome. Now I have to keep up with my SD card reader or a cable and adapter to pull directly from my camera. It’s a pain.
Trackpad: I never thought I would say this but it’s too big. It’s very easy when resting your fingers to do some crazy swipe motion. It’s taking time to adjust my fingers to resting in the appropriate place.
All in all the new laptop from Apple has gotten a lot of bad press but I have to say it really is a great laptop. Yes, it has a few quirks but they are easy to overcome.