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MacBook Pro 15-inch 2018 Review: A fully-charged power supply laptop

On paper it looked like an impressive predictable set of internal component upgrades. Apple 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro models will bring new Intel processors 8th Generator multiple storage and RAM options, a color temperature sensing True Tone display and other tweaks – all fine improvements over a ho-hum 201

7 update . At the same time, the slim unibody-aluminum design will remain unchanged since the last design overhaul in late 2016 and keeps both dear (the giant track) and not so loved (the narrow travel keyboard, USB-C connections).

If anything, the costly add-on option for one of Intel's new six-core Core i9 processors will appeal to pro-level users, such as video editors and 3D artists, who may start Feel that Apple does not keep up with its ever growing need for high-end equipment.

Saying things that went off to a rocky start, put it mildly. First, there was confusion over the keyboard: Apple claimed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard was quieter, but otherwise unchanged – but a teardown at the repair site iFixit showed a brand new membrane Well solve the problem of sticky and vacuumed keys on previous models that have asked class action cases against Apple.

Secondly, the speed-damper problem appeared just days after July 12, the announcement: Some of the most gung-ho-early adopters who drove out and got the Core i9 MacBook Pros as soon as they were released found a mysterious delayed performance. YouTube tech personality Dave Lee first brought the problem to public attention with a video where he demonstrated the heat and gas problems. These results were soon copied by others, including our own CNET Labs testing.

For his credit, Apple quickly investigated the problem and decided that a simple software source was blamed. A software update for the MacOS operating system seemed to solve the problem and you can read more about our experience before and after updating here .

If you are one of the first advertisers, instructions on how to install the MacOS 10.13.6 update are available here. The problem affected all Apple's new MacBook Pro models, both 13 and 15 inches. The inbound 13-inch MacBook Pro without touch bar is not affected, as it's not updated this year.

And now that the hype around this software bugger is to die down, we're left to judge how much is actually new to the MacBook Pro and if it meets the needs of a creative class that constantly moves towards 4K and – Higher video and other power-hungry tasks. A more thorough analysis of the new features and performance of the Core i9 15-inch MacBook Pro follows, but first we break down the keystrokes:

MacBook Go!

  • Post-patch, the Core i9 version is much faster than last year's high-end Core i7 model
  • TrueTone screen works well in a variety of lighting conditions
  • Options for up to 32GB of RAM and 4TB of flash storage can greatly help with video production
  • Updating the "stealth" keyboard makes it less vulnerable to wrenches, a major problem for anyone in the 2016 and 2017 models

MacBook No!

  • Only the most expensive Touch Bar models have been updated, so the 13-inch Pro input and the more affordable, non-Pro MacBooks are out in the cold (for now)
  • You're still locked into just USB C connection
  • The super flat keyboard, but possibly more reliable, is still not very comfortable
  • Touch Bar shelf feels like a technology looking for a purpose

High end, high prices

Do you ready for some serious sticker shock if you want the new MacBook Pros most buzzed-about new components and features. The model I unboxed for testing and review is a 15-inch MacBook Pro, which already sets the price of $ 2,399 (£ 2,349 or AU $ 3,499). However, this high-end configuration included one of Intel's new six-core Core i9 CPUs, a full 32GB RAM and a hefty 2TB flash storage device. (2TB used to be the upper limit, now a 4TB drive is available to anyone who wants to release extra $ 2000.)

All of these upgrades take this particular laptop up to $ 4,699 (£ 4,409 or $ 7,139). It's expensive, even for the kind of creative or technical professional who would be in the market for a machine like this. But, wow, software patch problems aside, there is some power plant. When you pull out almost all stops, you will get a laptop computer that screams, and this does.

This new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch Model with Apple's Touch Bar are the only new Mac notebooks by 2018, but the rest of the line is the reputation of being one update before the turn of the year. In the case of Touch Bar itself, the fingerprint reader works with a new separate security tag called T2 that adds some extras, as a sure boot path to ensure that no hard malware spills during your boot-up process. But the Touch Bar itself does not get any new killer qualities, and remains as worrying as ever .

  15-Apple Macbook-Pro-15-inch-2018

Sarah Tew / CNET


Here is a overview of all the new and improved 13-inch and 15-inch specifications :

  • New eighth-quad core Intel CPU (i7 or i9) [19659010] Support for twice as much RAM (now up to 32GB).
  • Twice as much SSD storage capacity available (now up to 4TB).
  • New TrueTone Screen Support, which optimizes colors for ambient light conditions.
  • New T2 processor for security and encryption of touch ID.
  • Handsfree
    (say "Hi, Siri" to enable).
  • Modest tweaks to the superblatted butterfly keyboard. Apple says that the changes are only intended to provide keyhugger but they may (or may not) affect the reliability as well.

To the nines

This has been my first chance to test a laptop with Intel's eighth-gen, six-core Core i9 CPU. Previously, 15-inch Pro was summoned on a seventh-quad core Core i7, not even slash, after last update in spring 2017.

Compared to a 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with a quad-core Core i7 , the new six-core Core i9 was significantly faster in standard benchmark tests we drove, even before Apple patched the CPU gas problem.

But – before Apple released the update – when we set up an intense workload to deliberately push the system, we could easily cause the Core i9 CPU in our 2018 MacBook Pro to ping-pong its internal temperature and CPU clock speed up and down fast, both in video coding and in 3D games.

When Apple released the update, we installed it on our Core i9 15-inch MacBook Pro and repeated some of the same tests. The CPU throttle stopped and the clock frequency of the CPU and internal system temperature were both quite stable even when running a 4K video code or a game set to maximum detail settings. In our standard benchmarks, which do not run long enough to trigger the damper problem, pre and postoplastic performance was essentially identical.

Do you need that kind of power? Most only mortals do not, that's why more affordable 12-inch
($ 1,289 on Amazon.com) and
MacBook Air
($ 859 at Amazon Marketplace) Models are still great for web surfing masses. But this MacBook Pro and pro audience do much more than web surfing.

For example, when Apple informed me about the new pros, the company offered personality statements and demos from several power users, including Carlos Perez, director of the record breaking Despacito music video, who talked about how bigger storage and faster MacBook Pro processor can provide him preview and color correction 5K recording in real time, cut out intermediate steps from the workflow.


Carlos Perez, director of the Despacito music video.

Brooks Kraft

Consider the graphics power below the hood as well: While the AMD Radeon Pro 560 Inside is not necessarily a gaming GPU, photo, video and design professionals who edit 4K video or reproduce giant 3D models seem to be a decent step up from baseline Intel integrated graphics on the 13-inch model. But for video troubles that really seem to boost power, Apple also promotes a new $ 700 external GPU box made by a company called Blackmagic – albeit sealed with non-upgradeable Radeon cards.

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