Macbook Pro 13″ Review

MacBook Pro 13″ Review 2017

Late last year I had to replace my old Dell laptop with a new device. This happened to coincide with a move towards doing a lot more work with network virtualization technologies and software development.

My old Dell laptop had served me very well and I was comfortable in a windows environment, consequently, my first instinct was to look at a new Windows machine. However, the more I tried to work with open source software packages and the more online tutorials I watched it became clear that this work area was the domain of the Mac. Everything felt like it was optimized for OSX/Linux, with support for Windows being more of an afterthought. I already had an older iMac and a MacBook Air for family use so I had some familiarity with Apple products and OSX but to switch to an Apple for work was still a big step. I starting using the MacBook Air and after a few weeks was comfortable enough to decide that I did want to make the move to a Mac for work. I considered buying a newer MacBook Air but decided that the new MacBook Pro would probably provide the performance and scalability I would need going forward.

I decided on a MacBook Pro 13″ with 3.3GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Touch Bar and 2 years of Apple Care.

My thinking was:

  • I travel quite a bit so 13″ was better.
  • I work quite a bit with VMs on my machine so RAM upgrade and CPU upgrade seemed wise.
  • 256GB SSD seemed a bit small but 1TB was too much (I use a lot of cloud storage) so 512GB SSD seemed a good fit.
  • Touch Bar looked like a really cool idea so why not.
  • Apple Care – C$279 for 2 years of worry-free use seems reasonable compared to the overall price of the unit plus I have found Apple phone support to be great in the past.

So how has it been? In a nutshell, fantastic! Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

The machine is small, thin and light – only fractionally bigger and heavier than my slightly older MacBook Air but with a bigger screen. I like the keypad – I find it very fast and responsive. The bigger TouchPad is very good, especially once you learn some of the gestures – I do not use a mouse at all now. The much-maligned Touch Bar is also great. I don’t use it that much apart from the Touch ID, which works very well,  but I think it’s a fantastic idea and will probably use it more as more applications are integrated. I’m not sure why people don’t like it – most don’t say why in their reviews. I also don’t have any complaints about the 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports – it’s the price of the adaptors that’s frustrating. Overall performance seems very fast so far although I have not stressed it that much yet.

One issue – after 6 months half of the screen went black so I had to get the whole screen replaced under warranty. A fairly painless experience although it did mean two trips to the Apple Store and 2 days with no machine.

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