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MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review roundup: This gimmick isn’t for everyone

Published Nov 14th, 2016 9:41AM EST
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar Review Roundup

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At the beginning of the month, we rounded up reviews for Apple’s 13-inch, Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro. Despite its hefty price and lack of the most intriguing new feature, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with most outlets claiming that the MacBook Pro with function keys would be a solid upgrade for anyone that needed to move on from an aging machine.

The consensus isn’t quite as clear when it comes to the Touch Bar models.

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Below, we’ve cobbled together some highlights from 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar reviews from around the internet:

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal’s

Joanna Stern is as critical as anyone of the new MBP. While she prefers the design and the display of the latest model, the additions aren’t nearly enough for her to recommend this model over last year’s:

“So how do you decide? Do you invest in the present—the “old” MacBook Pro with performance, good-enough portability, a keyboard to cherish and lots of ports? Or do you invest in the future—a beautiful, highly portable machine with new tricks? Or maybe you do what I’m doing: Stare down at your three-year-old laptop and wonder if you can tough it out another year or two while this sorts itself out.”

Read the full review


The Verge

Having already covered the computer itself fairly comprehensively earlier this month, The Verge dedicated most of its review to discussing the Touch Bar:

“The good news is that the Touch Bar’s interface is all software. It can be updated and refined and improved. I suspect it’ll take a little while before Apple and third-party developers find the best use for each of their specific apps, but I hope they’ll learn quickly that there’s a fine line between presenting helpful options and overwhelming their users. Apple and developers will also have to decide who the Touch Bar is for: pros or amateurs. Many of us are already familiar with keyboard shortcuts in the apps we’re using, and so far I’ve found that forcing myself to use the Touch Bar tends to slow me down.”

Read the full review



Much like the WSJ, Engadget is disappointed in the trade-offs a user has to make when deciding whether or not to upgrade to the latest MacBook Pro model:

“I’m one of many Mac owners out there who has been waiting for Apple to upgrade the MacBook Pro line. Now that it finally has, I find the new laptop isn’t quite what I wanted. For me, the ideal MacBook Pro is actually a mashup between this and last year’s model. Let me keep my full-size USB ports, and my function keys, and my longer battery life, but stick with this thinner and lighter design. Stick with this improved display, Touch ID sensor, fast disk performance and more robust audio quality. For me, this is both a step forward and a step backward.”

Read the full review



Although many MacBook Pro users have been waiting years for a significant upgrade to the lineup, SlashGear feels like it still might be worth waiting another year for the MBP that will improve on everything Apple introduced in 2016:

“I can’t help but imagine a 2017 MacBook Pro with Kaby Lake processors and several months of developers getting to grips with the potential of Touch ID and the Touch Bar. As it stands today, though, the dongle frustration and the fact that you really need to pay $1799 or more – the entry-level 13-inch misses out too much, in my opinion, to be worth considering – are outweighed by the improvements in graphics, the excellent build quality, and the promise its unique hardware coupled with macOS represents.”

Read the full review



CNNMoney also has plenty of praise to shower on the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro, but as with virtually every other review, has some reservations as well:

“Overall, the latest version of the MacBook Pro is all about the Touch Bar. Is the novel concept reason enough to purchase the new MacBook Pro? No. But it’s a sweet bonus to arguably the best performing laptop on the market.

If you’re debating whether the extra $300 for the Touch Bar and TouchID is worth it, it depends what kind of user you are. Sure, both features are handy, but they’re more of a bonus than a necessity. The pricier model will also give you a faster processor and two more Thunderbolt ports (a plus if you need to connect to more displays).

Then again, if these qualifications aren’t appealing and you’re not doing a ton of intensive work, such as video or photo editing, you’re probably better off with a cheaper MacBook Air.”

Read the full review


Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.