It’s been less than a year since Apple released its touch bar MacBook Pros. And now just after 8 months, a new, improved version of the MacBook Pro has arrived. The 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro has a few minor improvements from last year’s model. Should you consider buying this laptop? Is it worth upgrading from previous generations of MacBook Pros? Well, let’s take a look. Visually, you can already tell the 2017 MacBook Pro is only an incremental upgrade from the previous generation. There are no external changes to speak of whatsoever. Nevertheless, this thing is an absolute beauty, the best-looking laptop around in my opinion. Other competing laptops like the Dell XPS 15 are also good looking in their own right. But overall for fit and finish and how the design comes together, the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro is class leading for me. Again, this is subjective. Like last year’s model, the build quality is second to none. Full aluminium build. There’s hardly any flex in such a thin device. The precision of the machining is incredible.The Razer Blade and the Dell XPS, they come close but this is as close as you can get to perfect in mid-2017. The only thing I can say I prefer on the Dell XPS would be the smoother edges, thanks to its carbon fibre chassis – which is more comfortable to use. Dimensions wise, the laptop is 34.9 centimetres across, 24 centimetres tall and is only 1.55 centimetres thick. Even with the incredible build, it only weighs 1.83 kilograms – so thats just over 4 pounds. If we look at the actual physical features; we have a 15.4 inch retina display – nice glossy finish, above which we have a 720p FaceTime camera, new 2nd generation ‘Butterfly’ keyboard, an absolutely ginormous trackpad and of course the touch bar.And the power button which also doubles as a fingerprint reader. Also, the speaker grilles on either side. On the sides we have a couple of USB C ports and the 3.5 millimetre headphone jack. So again, the exterior hasn’t changed from the 2016 MacBook Pro, but the insides have. So let’s take a look at whats changed. So, in the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pros, the CPUs have been upgraded to 7th generation ‘Kaby Lake’ Intel Core i7s. This year’s base model comes with an Intel Core i7 7700HQ. This is up from previous year’s 6700HQ. So this bump up to 7th generation CPUs makes the MacBook Pros more efficient, so they produce less heat. Slightly improve battery life and performance in general.
But there is a lot better performance and efficiency when you work with 4K video. Same amount of RAM as last year’s 15 inch base model – still 16 gigabytes, and it still cant be upgraded to 32. Still using DDR3LP, which is slightly disappointing – because so many rival Windows laptops now now have DDR4.This is no way a deal breaker but is slightly disappointing. The RAM is still running a very speedy 2133 megahertz. We’ve also got new dedicated graphics cards – they are AMD Radeon Pro 5 series cards. Up from last year’s 4 series. This year’s base model comes with a Radeon Pro 555 card, which is a bump up from last year’s ‘450’. Again, this year’s GPU can be upgraded to a ‘560’ if you feel the need – with 4 gigabytes of VRAM. Again, nothing major but incremental changes. It’s a shame we’re not seeing Nvidia GPUs in here. A (GTX) 960M or (GTX) 1050 would have been perfect in my opinion. There are new, faster PCIe drives – this is good to see, but again it’s an incremental upgrade. Its available in 256 gigabytes, 512 gigabytes, 1 and 2 terabyte upgrades. So, some solid hardware upgrades in this year’s MacBook Pro 15, but nothing ground-breaking when you compare it to last year’s MacBook Pros. So, how does it perform? In day to day tasks – as you expect from a high-end laptop – it tears through everything you throw at it.For more intensive tasks like 4K video editing – they’re still kind of a breeze. But when it comes to gaming, it’s possible, but don’t expect to play the latest titles like Battlefield 1 on high settings and again, nowhere near the native resolution. And keep in mind you will need Windows to do that. Now, moving onto the display. Again, same display as last year’s model – a 15.4 inch Retina display running at a resolution of 2880 by 1880. Very sharp display, really vivid colours, really accurate, just like last year’s. And it truly is one of the best laptop displays on the market. Yes, it’s not a 4K display, but unless you’re working with 4K all the time and you really need that pixel for pixel accuracy, its plenty good enough for basically everyone. Speakers haven’t changed from last year’s MacBook Pro – very loud, very ‘bassy’, produces very high fidelity sound, even at maximum volume. It’s still the best laptop speaker on the market today.Again, not by a huge margin – some competitors do come close, but its still definitely the best around. Now let’s take a look at
the keyboard and mouse and of course the touch bar. No changes in these from last year – same ginormous trackpad and the second generation ‘Butterfly’ keyboard, and no changes in the touch bar. Although Apple has not mentioned and changes to the keyboard specifically, this one does feel slightly more clicky than last year’s, which give nicer, more tactile feedback. Again, as with all other devices with this new keyboard type – it takes getting used to. Its not really better or worse than any other keyboard, but once you get used to it, it can be enjoyable to type on.But again, not any more so than a keyboard with more key travel. The trackpad is great just like all of Apple’s Force Touch trackpads. Which has matured through the years and is now just really solid tech. However, I would say from a purely visual standpoint that it is slightly too big. Some people have reported issues with palm rejection. I’m not having this problem, but visually, it is too big and the size doesn’t actually add much utility to the laptop. Now, the touch bar. Same as last year’s, and what can I say? It’s a cool feature to have and mess around with once in a while. It has some uses which can speed up your workflow, but these are very niche in their nature.My experience with the touch bar basically makes things we do regularly; like changing the brightness, changing the volume – makes them more tedious – which would be fine if it provided significantly better features, but it just doesn’t. On Final Cut, you can use the touch bar to switch tools for example – from cursor to splitter. That’s great, but I already know the keyboard shortcuts, which is ‘A’ and ‘B’ – which is to be honest, quicker than using the touch bar. As of now, we just have to wait for better software support for the touch bar to hit the market, and really see where it takes us. The Touch ID power button is a great feature – now that we have Windows Hello, it’s a quicker way of logging in, and it’s something which the vast majority of people will appreciate. Finally, let’s have a look at I/O and battery life. Like last year’s MacBook Pro, we have 4 USB C ports, 2 on either side and a 3.5 millimetre headphone jack to the right side.They do the job, but you will definitely need to buy some adaptors and dongles if this is going to be your daily driver. I’ve got the ‘Satechi’ one – it’s got 2 USB 3 ports, an SD card and MicroSD card reader, a
USB C port to make up for the one that it takes up. So that’s what most people need, if you need a display connector or other things, there will be a dongle out there for it. Again, this a really aggressive approach by Apple. Accessory makers will be forced to make USB C devices. So give it another year or two and the market should catch up – fingers crossed. When it comes to battery life, this really boils down to what you use the laptop for. For daily tasks like browsing, watching videos, you can expect around 8 to 10 hours of battery life on a medium brightness. If you start ramping up the brightness, you’ll get around 5 to 7 hours of battery life. For really light usage, on a medium-low brightness, like taking notes and Word, it can easily pass the 10 hour mark.However, if you start pushing the computer and do video editing or gaming, your battery life can fall right down to 2 to 3 hours. Again, these are things you would normally do plugged in. So, the 2017 15 inch MacBook pro is a really solid laptop – it performs great, looks fantastic, the best build quality, great display, good speakers, really good battery life – as long as you keep to moderately intensive tasks and again a distinct lack of ports. So should you buy it? It really depends on what you want to do with it. For the average person, you would get way better value with something else like a MacBook Air or a 13 inch MacBook Pro, or again the vast array of excellent Windows laptops out there – and this is because the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro starts at an eye-watering £2349.My unit costs £2699. For the average person – for this price tag, I can’t really recommend it. No, it’s not for gaming. You would get way better performance and value from a Windows laptop like the Razer Blade running Nvidia graphics. Neither is it for Adobe video editing users like Premiere Pro and After Effects, also because of the lack of Nvidia graphics. If you are thinking of switching to this from a previous 15 inch MacBook Pro, if you have a 2015 or 2016 MacBook Pro – I wouldn’t consider switching to this. The tiny performance increase isn’t worth the money and neither is the touch bar in my opinion.However, if you have a pre-2015 15 inch MacBook Pro, you can definitely consider upgrading. But also take a good look at what high-end Windows offerings there are out there. So, the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro is really for creative users who use Apple
software like Final Cut and non-video Adobe software and other creative users. If you use things like Final Cut Pro or Photoshop – things like that…It is a laptop which you can consider. But because of the price tag, isn’t a laptop I can recommend to everyone. Thanks for watching our review of the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro. Don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up if you liked it, and subscribe for more of the latest tech. What’s your opinion of the 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments section below. .