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Home / Technology / Apple MacBook Pro Review (2018, 15-inch): The heat is on

Apple MacBook Pro Review (2018, 15-inch): The heat is on



It seems that Apple can not start a laptop these days without going first and foremost in at least one controversy. With the new MacBook Pros, it went into two. One: Was this keyboard really designed to be calmer (as Apple claims the public) or to solve the problem of dust and pig that breaks them? Two: A software bug caused these laptops to melt down the speed in intense thermal conditions, triggering a software update and apology from Apple.

The heat (pun) around these controversies has a higher temperature than usual because there has been more fear in the Mac universe than normal in recent years. The switch to these new designs two years ago came with what feels like an equal number of advantages and compromises. On the one hand, they are thinner, lighter and more powerful. On the other, you have a polarizing (or worse) keyboard design, dongler and some kind of vague mistake that Apple really cares about the Mac at all in the iPhone.

It's far too much for a simple specification-bumped laptop to handle alone, so it's no surprise that this MacBook Pro has not come as savior for professionals looking for the watchmaker. Nevertheless, it's a solid computer that's fast and powerful.

Powerful Processors

  • Verge Score

  • Good Things

    • Powerful Processors
    • Thin and Light Design
    • True Tone Display
      • Bad Things
        • Polarizing Keyboard Design
        • No SD Card Track
        • Difficult Repairability

    The first controversy over MacBook Pros deals with the "butterfly switch" keypad. They broke, to say it bad (although to what extent it is impossible to know for sure). Casey Johnston on The Outline has led to accusing Apple to take into account the fact that it only takes a small grit to have a single key to work and fixing the problem causes a huge expensive repair. [19659016] The keyboard seems to be redesigned for reliability, even though Apple does not want it.

    Apple's response was to announce a repair program that covers all butterfly switches the MacBook keyboard for four years. That was the right thing to do. Its other response apparently was to reshape this MacBook Pro keyboard to reduce the problem and then refuse to admit that it was therefore redesigned. Apple claims that this "third generation" butterfly keyboard is quieter, not that it is more reliable.

    This is what Apple did: it puts a thin layer of silicone between the keys and the butterfly. As iFixit found (and Apple's allegedly related patent claims), it serves the team to protect the switches from crumbs and may even push these crumbs out of the assembly. I hope these keyboards will be less prone to errors and I do not think there's a reason to avoid buying this laptop.

    It makes the experience of writing a little finer. Keyboard travel is about the same, but it is a better sense of resistance when writing. It is also almost imperceptibly calmer; It's less clacky, basically. I really like writing on this keyboard, although I'm sympathetic to people who prefer more key trips.


    This computer has all the benefits and deviations of previous MacBook Pros. The screen is beautiful, but it's not like edge-to-edge that you can get with many laptops today. There are four Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports (even on the smaller 13-inch version), which means you can not escape dongles and you can not have a power cord that magnetically attaches. (Do not run the power cord.) It is still incredibly well built and feels like it is cut by a single piece of aluminum.

    It is also thinner than most "pro" Windows laptops with powerful processors. Thinness has become a point of doubt because it makes the laptop more complicated to cool. But it is undeniable that this as a physical object is very nice to carry around.

    There are a number of other improvements on the MacBook Pro. Chief among them is a new "T2" chip, which controls a bunch of the internal mechanics of this computer. It allows Apple to add new iOS-esque features like a True Tone display, which adjusts the color temperature on the screen and Touch Bar to match the ambient light in a room. In the test, it just did, although it was very difficult to tell the difference on the Touch Bar.

    We turned True Tone Off pretty quickly because most "pro" work on The Verge is video and photo editing, and color accuracy is more important than if the screen is easy on eyes.



    The T2 chips also let you say "Hey Siri" loudly and the computer can hear it. It also works, but I still do not find Siri to be super useful on a Mac, especially since it is not integrated into the core Spotlight data search. This is an area where Windows, with its Cortana system, has a somewhat more elegant solution than MacOS. Finally, T2 adds a lot of security. For example, it handles encryption for files so it will not slow down the ridiculously fast SSD inside this computer.

    It's also Touch Bar, which does not inspire much affinity. There are still moments when I feel that it is nice. But most of the time I feel I'll be as pleased with clean old function keys and more money on my bank account. It often feels like a solution in search of a problem. Using fingerprint with touch ID to log in is good, but it's not good to log in with your face using Windows Hello.

    Apple put a bigger battery inside these machines, but it is no longer claiming battery life. It's simply that to compensate for higher power take-off from buffers and faster RAM. In the test, it was about the level of previous generations, that is, not quite a whole day. Verge video director Vjeran Pavic, who did all our stress testing, says that it also does not improve battery life under heavy load so much either. If you do serious video work, you should expect about the same as what you had before. (For him it was about three hours.)


    So let's talk about thermal throttle, the second controversy you're up to.

    It's not fair to say that all we have is a special shock with these new MacBook Pros, but the new 8th Gen Intel processor is definitely the biggest internal change. The device we received for review was a top 15-inch machine with a six-core i9, 32GB RAM and a 4TB SSD. As specified, it is $ 6,700, but almost half of that price is the price of internal storage. You can also get this computer with a six-core i7 piece, or a 13-inch size with 8th generation quad-core i5 or i7 processors. (The 13-inch model without touch line has not been updated.)

    These processors, especially the six core i9, have been in the middle of the second controversy. After a video from Dave Lee showed that the Core i9 MacBook Pro seemed to exhibit very poor thermal gas jamming – so much that it performed worse than a 2017 Core i7 MacBook Pro – the technology world was basically completely blown, street-level crisis. Here we go again.

    To his credit, Apple contacted Lee and worked to copy his results. Finally, it meant that it detected a failure, a so-called "missing digital key" in the firmware, which causes thermal gas leakage. On July 24, Apple released a software update to fix that error. Since then, we have been restoring our own tests.

    Here's about benchmarking: Like any test, variables in your original setup can not easily change results. Before the update was released, some testers, as Geekbench founder John Poole, found that the Core i9 may actually be slower than a comparable i7 . Others, like Jonathan Morrison, ran test after test only to find out that i9 exceeded i7 every time.

    Here's another thing about benchmarking: Like any scientific test, the result worst is not a passport or error. The worst result is that it is unintentionally . Our performance is not so bad, but there are some cases where we've been in confusing results, even after the software update.

    Here's just one example: We took a 5.5-minute video of 4K drone recordings and exported it to 4K h.264 with a bitrate of 30 Mbps, resulting in a 1.2GB file. (The test was not as intense as what we've seen others do, so do not take this as more than one data point among what's probably very many others.) We drove it on a 2016 MacBook Pro and on this MacBook Pro both before and after Apple Software Update.

    In Adobe Premiere Pro, we saw almost no difference to the software update on our special test. It did not export any faster. And compared to the two-year laptop computer, exports were only around 8 percent faster. On the other hand, Apple's Final Cut Pro X saw significant improvements, both on different laptops and across software versions. The software update took what was already an impressive improvement, and made it even more impressive: 64 percent faster than the 2016 model. MacBook Pro 2018 MacBook Pro 2016 MacBook Pro 2018 MacBook Pro 2018 MacBook Pro Software Used 2016 MacBook Pro 2018 MacBook Pro 2018 MacBook Pro 19659038] 2018 MacBook Pro Core i7, 16GB RAM Core i9, 32GB RAM, (before update) Core i9, 32GB RAM (after update) Premiere Pro CC 12: 31 11:35 11:35 Final Cut X 6:46 4:35 2:26

    These are, as said , confusing results. Premiere Pro, which should have been exposed to thermal gas splitting, did not change. Final Cut X, which Apple probably had already optimized for this system, saw a big improvement. It's strange, but that's how these things often go. Benchmarking may vary depending on source and settings. Dave Lee, who tested this entire thermal drama, has reported much faster results in his post-update test.

    It's very easy to get lost in the trees and miss the woods. Here is the forest: After the software update, we found that the MacBook Pro drove clearer, cooler and faster everywhere. Some of our Premiere Pro exports saw improvements as high as 40 percent faster than our 2016 laptop computer. When you stop looking at referrals and processor temperatures and take in the whole experience of this computer, you will find it feels fast and performant.


    Do I trust these laptops? Apple probably did not make it easy. Not following the extreme statements about why keyboard design changed, and not after the thermal throttle, which was somehow missed by Apple's own testing laboratory before they were released.

    But yes, after seeing the results from Apple's software update, I trust this MacBook Pro. But I'm also in the lucky position not only to be able to trust, but to verify. If you really have a job that will push your computer's upper-term terminals, I suggest you find a way to test your workflow before investing in one of these computers in the long run. And if you do not expect to push the limits of this system, you'll be fine (although you might want to consider saving money and waiting for Apple to release new medium sized laptops).

    The truth is that this is mostly an iterative update with faster processors and a few new watches and whistles. It's still a design that many Mac users have been in conflict for almost two years. As solid as the unibody frame on this laptop there is no way it can carry the weight of solving all that anxiety.

    So you have to discern what you want Apple would do from what it ] has done . And after the software update, what Apple has done is to deliver a very good laptop, one I think you can count on. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to love.

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