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First impressions of the new MacBook Pro — January 29, 2017

First impressions of the new MacBook Pro

I recently upgraded from a late 2013 13″ MacBook Pro, to the new 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with touch bar. I thought I’d write a few first impressions after using it for a couple of days.

I like to end on a positive, so I’ll start with the things I don’t like about it.

The negatives

No Magsafe

This is the biggest negative for me. The magsafe power cord was a really nice feature of previous MacBooks, attaching the power cable to the laptop magnetically, so that a sharp tug would simply disconnect the power, rather than sending your ridiculously expensive computer crashing to the floor.

The new MacBook is powered through any of the 4 USB-C ports, with no magnets in sight. It’s a pretty tight fit too, so if I knock that cable, it’s not going to come out, it’s going to take my laptop with it.

It’s kind of nice being able to plug the power cable in on either side of the laptop, but I’d rather have the magsafe back. There are a few magnetic USB-C adapters surfacing, but nothing I’d feel confident to use at this stage.

No power via Thunderbolt display

I have a dual screen setup, using a Thunderbolt display as my main screen, and one of the things I really liked about that with my old Mac was that I could power the laptop via the magsafe cable included with the display. So when I was at my desk, I didn’t have to use a separate power adapter for the Mac, so I could keep it in my bag for when I was working remotely.

With the lack of magsafe, I now have to use the Mac’s power adapter at my desk, and unplug it and take it with me if I work away from home (or buy a second power adapter).

There’s also a useless magsafe connector now dangling impotently from my Thunderbolt display.

The touch bar

As I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere, this feature seems like a solution without a problem. It seems like a cool idea, but it’s not actually particularly useful as far as I can tell, and it’s annoying having to look for the volume control, tap it and then slide to adjust, rather than just hitting the familiar keys.

I also have the laptop on a stand and use an external keyboard, so I suspect the touch bar won’t see much use from me.

All the dongles

With Apple getting rid of all USB-A ports, adapters are required if you want to use any non-USB-C stuff with your new Mac. This isn’t a huge deal for me, as I only really need the thunderbolt adapter to plug in my display. The display has 3 USB-A ports in the back of the screen, so I can use those when connected to the display for my wireless mouse and phone charging cables. When I’m using the laptop on its own, I rarely use the USB ports anyway, but I got the USB-C to USB-A adapter just in case I need it at any point.

The positives

Touch ID

I LOVE this feature! I use 1Password and my master password is really long (and secure!) I was forever mistyping it due to trying to type it too fast. Now I just touch my finger to the sensor and I’m in. Same for unlocking the computer. Less typing, less chance of RSI. Winning!

Fast charging

Not a huge deal, but despite the inconvenient lack of magsafe, it does charge nice and fast via the USB-C cable. I haven’t timed it, but it’s fast.

It’s a Mac

I don’t have any other specific features to rave about, but despite the negatives mentioned above, it’s still a great computer, and it does everything I need it to do. Also I didn’t have to pay for it, so I have no room to complain!

However, when it comes time to replace this one, I will be taking a look at what else is available and considering very carefully whether a Mac is still the right choice for me.