the Webb blog

MacBook Pro (Late 2016) review

8 minute read

TL;DR: If you aren't already a Mac user in the market for a new laptop, then this isn't for you. If you are in the market or would like to see how I view my new computer, read on!

The adapter “problem”

I can understand why a lot of people are complaining about the dongles, plugadoos, throughports, &c, but I don't understand why I'm seeing these complaints from people who would never buy a computer from Apple. Quite frankly, it reads as bullshit and an excuse to complain on the Internet.

I have two plugadoos and I backed another one on Kickstarter. I haven't decided which one will stay at home and which one will stay in my bag yet (the Kickstarter one has more ports than the Satechi multi-port adapter I'm currently using). The transition period is always annoying but once everyone is in this USB-C future, no one will be complaining. To borrow Edison Wrzosek's response to a 9to5Mac article:

Ah, people have such short term memory... I still remember when Apple transitioned people, almost overnight, to USB-only iMac's, at a time when USB was nicknamed the "U-Son-of-a-Bitch" port in the PC world due to compatibility, reliability issues, and lack of supported peripherals. Now look at USB, it's supplanted almost EVERY other standard.

People just LOVE to whine and complain, and it's Human nature to abhor change, and be fearful of it. TB3/USB3.1 is the future, and it's here and now. Time to embrace it.

I'm still gonna rock my 2011 MBP for a while longer, but I'm really looking forward to a ubiquitous standard cable for ALL connectivity.

I really wish "U-Son-of-a-Bitch" port stuck, unofficially. That sounds hilarious.

Battery life


Charging? Hella quick. It's a great compromise IMO. That and I'm not sure if I'm using my computer like a normal person. It's not uncommon for me to be running several browser windows with tabs that are almost too small, while compressing a 1 GB folder of images, in addition to running local servers (not sure if this last part is applicable to power consumption).

Basically, it's meh. Could be better. I should've tested this to be certain, but I think my average is ~3 hours at max brightness.



I loved MagSafe because life is unpredictable. I've walked into my charge cable too many times to count and I never had to worry about my laptop flying to the floor. Because I shouldn't have nice things, I've done the same thing with my new MacBook Pro and it stayed on the table! The charge puck fell out of the wall instead, thankfully.

Speaking of the charge puck, another complaint I've heard is in regard to the retractable arms on the old charge puck. In practice, the absence of them is not a big deal. To store my charge cable and puck in my bag, I just fold and tie the cable while it's still plugged into the puck. I'm not focused on making my cable storage pretty while I'm in transit.

Not sure what the big deal is...

The screen

Good grief this thing is bright, and I like it.

I'm the kind of person who keeps the brightness on his phone to maximum so when I heard that this computer's brightness and color gamut was increased/enhanced, I was excited. Colour is such a huge part of my life, I get inspired by it. In certain lighting conditions, I do turn the brightness down though. I'm not an animal!

The ESC key, or lack thereof

Two weeks in and I'm still confused when I need to use it. Albeit only for a split second but it's enough to give me pause and think, "That's weird", before continuing with whatever I was doing. Currently, the only time I use it is when cancelling a screenshot in progress, dismissing autocomplete keywords in Atom, or exiting an iTunes visualization or whatever else is in fullscreen mode.

Before I've experienced this for myself, I heard developers (who also didn't have the computer to even try it) say they wouldn't be able to do programming on it. Maybe I'm just a simple man because all I do is code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but if you need to use a physical ESC key to get things done you might have other issues or a hella interesting programming environment (if I'm wrong, let me know).

The Touch Bar and Function keys

This thing is neat. My most-used “keys” are volume up/down. Sliding the volume level is much more satisfying than repeatedly tapping a button. I know, that sounds weird to say but it's true! There's more granularity too. I've slid the volume down to where the on-screen display says the volume is effectively off but I can still hear audio. With the old function keys, volume was changeable in steps.

Something to get used to is doing hard refreshes in my browser. I have Vivaldi setup to do a hard refresh to clear the cache sometimes and that keyboard shortcut is Shift + F5. Well, I don't have my Touch Bar setup to show me the function row by default so my shortcut (when not using an external keyboard) is Fn + Shift + F5.

The Touch Bar changes based on whatever app you're using, which is great. However, I don't think I've ever used it for an app besides iTunes. When editing the photo of how I tie my charge cable, I saw this in the Touch Bar (using Affinity Photo):


Touch ID

Like with the iPhone, you have to input your password when cold booting but in-between cold boots, it's wonderful to use a single finger press to unlock my computer.

Mmm, dat sweet Touch ID

How much time do we spend typing passwords? Who knows, but my time doing so has decreased dramatically in part to Touch ID. The other reason for my (almost) no password typing life? 1Password.

1Password is life

You'd need to type in your Master Password to unlock it but now you don't! It's even less of a hassle to use an already hassle-free product for personal security. I don't know 90% of my passwords.

The keyboard

I thought I would hate the keyboard due to the short travel. This was based upon my previous experience of typing on the MacBook One (that's not the real name, but it's the MacBook with only one port) in an Apple Store once. Might as well be typing on a screen! I believe I was listening to ATP when I heard Marco Arment talk about the keyboard travel on the MacBook Pro I typed this post on, and he spoke highly of it. That made me feel better about purchasing this and in everyday use, I enjoy it. Typing doesn't sound particularly loud to me (this is another complaint I've heard). Maybe this is because I own a Das Keyboard? 🤔

The only gripe I have is with the new arrow keys. WTF. Someone coming to MacBooks without prior usage would acclimate faster, I think.

The trackpad


Shot of the massive trackpad
*DJ Khaled voice* Another one

The trackpad is nearly as big as my Magic Trackpad. As a former external-mouse-only guy, I can say that 1) having a big surface for multi-gesture controls is awesome and 2) it's even better when it's on a laptop. Even with the dbrand skin I have on it, the trackpad is super responsive. My palms aren't typically on the trackpad when I'm typing but when they are, the palm rejection is great.


I saved the best for last.

Let me tell you about the glory that is USB-C.

You know when you're outside on a sweltering hot day, and your sweat betrays you and only makes you warmer? Okay, picture that. Now, picture that you've just been given one of those red, white, and blue popsicle rockets. You bite off a bit and your body thanks you by cooling you down and you feel that elation of peace and tranquility and your mood improves by 10 notches.

That's how I felt when I needed to charge my computer and I realized that I could do so FROM ANY PORT FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE COMPUTER. MAN. I'm mobile with my laptop of course, and I like taking it to the living room while the family is watching TV or hanging out, &c. Typically, I was forced to sit in certain spots if my computer needed charging. Now, the world is my oyster. It doesn't seem like a big deal but trust me, it is.


Shot of the outside of my MacBook Pro

In conclusion, I will say that this computer was a fantastic upgrade for me. It even survives water getting splashed on it! Not saying I've ever done that recently, it's just something I've heard about… 👀 Of course, I'm going to feel some type of way ifwhen Apple refreshes this laptop later this year but it's okay. I like getting glimpses of the future when I can. This computer is 0.5 pounds lighter than the previous generation and I can definitely tell. I'm a happy customer.

All that's left for Apple to do now is make everything super energy efficient, crazily so. Oh, and fix software bugs. 🕸