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Apple's high promises are finally realized

The real perception of Apple's ultra-thin, extremely powerful professional notebook has finally risen to the magnificence of USB-C maturation, fixation of an incorrect keyboard and polishing of an increasingly versatile MacOS platform.

AppleInsider tested a few configurations of the new 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro. At the high end, we have the Core i7 quad-core model, clocked at 2.97Hz standard and 4.5GHz in Turbo Boost, packed with 16 gigabytes of RAM, as well as a 512-gigabyte solid state drive.


It's quieter, yes. And if you're new to the MacBook Pro with USB-C design, you'll need to type it and it requires minor adjustments. Coming from a MacBook Pro 2015 as my daily machine, I found myself melting the narrower keys unnecessarily hard. After a few days of being more aware of how powerful I was writing, I found out that my style was naturally much softer. The result was not only reduced volume by typing on the keyboard (from my own typing, beyond the cushion that Apple has implemented), but also makes sense to write with less key journeys.

Of course, not everyone will feel comfortable making this adjustment. The MacBook Pro keyboard will not be a hit with everyone, but we feel it's a comfortable writing experience, which is now a bit quieter than its predecessors.

In the case of elephant in dust particle size in the room, the time will tell if the show stops problems with the previous keyboard design has been addressed.

Fortunately, all signs of so far point to yes. The tests have shown that the newly redesigned keys, complete with seals placed under the hoods and above the switch, actually hold particles.

Just do not eat lunch over your keyboard – it's probably good advice for using a laptop.

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports (and eGPU support)

Despite the fact that they have the same ports and true exterior, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers a big and welcome improvement: All four Thunderbolt 3- The inputs are now full-speed ports. This is an upgrade from the last two 13-inch models, which saw the two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right side of the device, with limited bandwidth.

One of the most important calls for having four Thunderbolt 3 ports on a MacBook Pro is the fact that some of them can be used for virtually any purpose, including charging of the battery. By ensuring that all four ports have the same bandwidth features, this means that the latest model ultimately really realizes the potential of these ports.

And it's a big deal for anyone who wants to upgrade to an external graphics card or eGPU investment. Any professional should consider, especially with the 13-inch model that lacks a dedicated GPU.

With support for eGPUs, now full of MacOS High Sierra, and the new Blackmagic accessory finally supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C monitors (like the LG UltraFine Retina monitors), it's finally time to start looking at this powerful upgrade option, especially if you are a video professional, or you like to play games or you want to use virtual reality. Owners of the 13-inch MacBook Pro can now get the best of both worlds – the portability of a smaller form factor, and the fast power of a dedicated GPU when it's docked. It's a game changer and it's all possible because of Apple's full embrace of Thunderbolt 3.

The main use of Apple's all-in adopsion of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 is that users will be forced to use dongles to connect anything to their Mac.

This argument has always been weak, as Thunderbolt accessories are limited in choice and usage, and USB-C-only cables are cheap and plentiful. The argument has become even weaker in 2018.

Going all-in on USB-C (and to a lesser extent Thunderbolt 3) is easier than ever. Even older accessories that connect to a computer via a microUSB port on the device itself can play well with the MacBook Pro-you can dike the dongle and still use the old device with a direct cable that costs just a few dollars on Amazon. [19659006] When you think about this way, the four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports on the MacBook Pro are actually better equipped and more versatile than the previous design. My last system was a MacBook Pro 2015, which only had two USB Type A ports – and when I was on my way and tried to charge and sync gadgets, I felt the pain.

Now with a 2018 MacBook Pro and a few cheap USB-C-to-what-i need cable purchases, I have more available ports than ever, and I live dongle free – except for a USB-C to SD card adapter . Boo hoo for me.

Griping on USB-C just had some sense some years ago, but we're past it and you should also be. Apple saw the future and embraced it and they were right. It's better here. Come with us.

This is not to say that the USB-C situation is perfect, or to complain if it's invalid. In my own manly pursuit of having a Thunderbolt cable to rule them all, I suddenly invested five dollars in a pair of cheap USB-C to 3.5mm headset adapters, and hoped I could have a set of headphones and a pair of desk speakers permanently attached to my docking station. This effort proved to be unavailable, despite the manufacturer's assurance that the cables work with the Mac. The universal standard of USB is not so universal, it turns out.

Thunderbolt 3 could be even worse, where some cables do not even support USB 3.1.

I also used a Thunderbolt 2 cable, along with a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter, to quickly transfer files between 2015 MacBook Pro and the new 2018 model. Setting up this was much more pain than it should have been and attempting large file transfers, while both machines are running and running macOS, proved useless and led the system to the knees. Apparently, this works better when a machine is in Target Disk Mode, but I found myself giving up and transmitting wirelessly 100 gigabytes between systems over AirDrop. Convenience won out over technical knowledge for a one-time mega file transfer and that was fine.

Clearly, not all of these problems, especially the ongoing USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 cable wonkiness, are Apple's failure. But when I tried to explain to a normal person what types of cables I needed to ensure MacBook Pro was connected to my eGPU over Thunderbolt 3, I connected my eGPU to my 21.5-inch LG UltraFine 4K screen over USB-C and that certain lengths of cables would not be compatible … well enough to make my head hurt, not least the bad listener who suffers through ramblings of a geeked out madman.

Just know that for most users, the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 support is at the end of a point where you can feel relatively safe in exchange for – and ideally complete – the new connectivity on your Mac. Probably.

Touch Bar

We're a couple of years in Touch Bar's life on Apple's MacBook Pro setup, and the unique feature still feels as it's far less than the potential. Although some of this can be chalked up to developers who have not shown much of a propensity to add support to the touch line, much of the blame must also fall on Apple itself, which has failed to add tools or important [19659006] In many ways, Touch Bar reminds us of 3D Touch on iPhone – an impressive technical achievement with a lot of promise, but a feature that still struggles to be crucial.

Fortunately, BetterTouchTool for macOS is a must have for anyone who has a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which provides greatly improved functionality and customization to the control strip located above the keyboard. Just a few small tweaks – like two fingers swipe for fast volume control, or hits swipe for brightness-take the touch line from a gimmick to a godsend.

BetterTouchTool is so amazing, it's all the more surprising that Apple has not done much to improve Touch Bar nationally in MacOS. The downside, apart from the fact that a lifetime license costs $ 20: It requires a lot of effort to customize and set up to your liking.

Hope Apple makes native Touch Bar customization and customization a priority in macOS soon, because BetterTouchTool shows that the hardware itself is more than appropriate. It is the software that is missing.

True Tone Screen

True Tone Technology, first introduced on iPad, then iPhone, finally to its MacBook Pro. It works on how to expect. It's comfortable on my eyes and I enjoy it. Some professionals who work with images or video and need specific color characteristics will not like it and they can turn it off.

In a welcome and unexpected twist, LG's UltraFine monitors can also have TrueTone support, provided you connect your MacBook Pro to those with your laptop open (TrueTone uses the sensors embedded around the MacBook Pro Retina screen). Certainly, this is less important on a desktop display, where the environment around you is less likely to change, but it is nice to have.

Beyond this, the Retina screen is what you've come to know and expect from MacBook Pro lineup for many years. The things top panel design introduced two years ago, does not sacrifice quality – this is a beautiful display that is still the best in class on a laptop.

And no, it's not a touch screen. It continues to be a good thing.

Performance and MacOS High Sierra

Apple, which again looks like Intel's chip release cycles, has found itself releasing new Macs, even though the company has bothered its next-generation Mac operating system. This contrasts with iPhone, which sees annual updates next to the iOS platform, and makes everything inside and outside feel fresh and new.

Although there is nothing new in the operating system, we are pleased to report that the MacOS High Sierra truly zippered with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and everything feels like a breeze, even with integrated Intel graphics.

In Geekbench 4 Tests, our 2.7-gigahertz model came into a single-core score of 5,286 and a multi-core score of 18,953. These numbers certainly blew our early 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro – at that time a state-of-the-art machine with a Core i7 processor. The three-year MacBook Pro saw a single-core score in Geekbench 4 of 3,993, and a multi-core score of 7,998-the latter being more than doubled in the 2018 model.

We also ran Cinebench R15 tests, and OpenGL maximized at 40.60 fps, while the CPU went as high as 725cb. In comparison, our 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro tests – which have a 2.3 GHz core Core i5 CPU, average 684cp in Cinebench R15.

These tests are impressive and the data is useful for comparison, but they do not really tell the whole story, especially as Apple pushes Metal 2 into MacOS, and with MacOS Mojave just a few short months away. We expect that many of Apple's native software, as well as third party developers, will see improvements to take advantage of the new MacBook Pro hardware, as well as Mojave.

The other things, including Hey Siri

The Mac finally has Hey Siri support, which is great. Siri on Mac remains lousy undercooked, but.

Powered by the T2 Touch Bar Touch, Hey Siri on Mac works as you would expect, although the installation process when you start your new Mac is a bit longer, with a few more voice requests than required on iOS devices.

In our tests, the MacBook Pro was good for both hearing and understanding, but unfortunately it was not as good as our HomePod. In an attempt, I asked in a plain speaking voice: "Hey Siri, how's the weather like tomorrow?" Both my Mac and my HomePod – who are in another room – respond at the same time. This is very different from the interaction between HomePod and an iPhone or iPad, where the other devices ignore the request.

In another attempt, I tried to whisper "Hey Siri, open finder." The first two attempts, HomePod, heard my command while Mac did not. Of course, HomePod can not open Finder. On a third attempt, I found success – my Mac opened Finder and HomePod became silent.

It should not be that hard to be done. Apple has a tight integration between the platforms, but there is still a split between iOS, which HomePod is based on, and MacOS.

It should also be noted that I'm heavily invested in HomeKit and still can not control HomeKit devices from my Mac with Siri or any app. This has been a problem for many years, but fortunately it will be solved with this fall's release of macOS mojave. Until then you will be waiting again.

Mojave will do a great deal to build bridges that share between the legacy macOS ecosystem and the iOS ecosystem. But there is still much more work to do, and Hey Siri is another example of it.

With all the extra power of the quad-core processor, the MacBook Pro needs more power to keep 10-hour usage of prophecy. Apple has increased the battery size from 49.2 watts to 58, about 18 percent bigger. In regular, non-CPU-intensive work, like regular office work, we have routinely exceeded Apple's 10-hour tutorial with many hours.

The new MacBook Pro also comes with Bluetooth 5.0 support, which has up to four times range, twice the speed and eight times the broadcasting capacity of Bluetooth 4.2. It is backward compatible with older devices, but communication will default to the lowest specific wireless device. As a result, users can not see immediate gains from the new protocol.

The price

I'm coming straight and saying: It's too loud.

Apple hunted the prices of the MacBook Pro series a few years ago to help distinguish the new design with Touch Bar and Thunderbolt 3. The company tried to relieve some of it later, with a new model sans Touch Bar and a few hundred dollars cheaper. But the entry level model is also less powerful, has fewer ports, and can not be upgraded to the extent that the Touch Bar models can. And Apple has not yet updated the Pro model in 2018 either.

The only other modern option, the 12-inch MacBook, has not seen a 2018 update. And with a single USB C port (not even Thunderbolt 3) as well as an ultra-low-power Intel chip, it should not be a concern for a professional user of the most important workstations.

On the third generation of this Thunderbolt 3 design, it felt like the right time for Apple to cut prices, and Apple did not.

The company could also have cast a leg to pro users and updated the "Escape" model, with a full range of keys, to the same internal specifications as the Touch Bar models, with a discount of a few hundred dollars. They did not.

We see what the rest of 2018 brings. These new models do not see price reductions, but maybe the Touch-Bar-less model will get a premium option this fall. It would be a nice peace offer for the pros after some difficult transition years in the MacBook series.


MacBook Pro 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro is a really great laptop. It does not try to do anything new or different – at least nothing that was not introduced many years ago.

But this time it does everything better.

This is without doubt the final that Mac fans have asked for from Apple for years. The reason it was time to stop trying to innovate and step into new features and just focus on what works.

Some of the improvements that occurred over three generations of Touch Bar MacBook Pros have nothing to do with Apple itself. In some cases, only the maturation of the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 accessories market, and the availability of excellent accessories and cables at affordable prices, and ultimately realizes the benefits of a reversible plug with ultra-fast data and power transmissions. [19659006] In some cases, Apple's excellent and devoted developer community, who has taken a good idea – Touch Bar – made it really great. But do not thank Apple for it, so Andreas Hegenberg, the developer of BetterTouchTool.

But let's give Apple some credit here. Although the company has not granted the keyboard errors from previous models, it may have taken steps in 2017, and again this year. And the design company presented two years ago remains fantastic and stylish and functional. This is a beautiful machine.

In addition to the internal performance improvements, with major leaps and bounds in the processor and internal storage drive, improvements in MacOS like Apple File System and plug-and-play eGPU support are complemented. [19659006] 2018 The 13-inch MacBook Pro is ultimately the sum of its parts, and that's what makes it a winner. Instead of trying to hang the hat on one thing, it builds on many things.

Fortunately, it appears that Apple was laid back in 2016, quite darn solid.

4.5 out of 5

AppleInsider Its full review of the i7 and i9 15-inch MacBook Pro models comes Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Where to Buy

Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama buys $ 75 of every 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Coupon Code APINSIDER when used with this shopping link. B & H, another authorized Apple reseller, also runs a campaign on the new models by giving away a free $ 50 gift certificate with selected configurations. Both dealers will not collect commodity charges on orders shipped outside of NY and NJ, potentially saving buyers up to $ 635 compared with Apple purchases.

For the lowest prices and best deals on multiple retailers, visit our 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar Price Guide. And for step-by-step instructions on how to redeem the APINSIDER coupon code, see our savings guide.

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