2019 16-inch MacBook Pro Quick Review: Pros and Cons

2019 16-inch MacBook Pro Quick Review: Pros and Cons

The 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro unveiled on 13 November 2019 is the fifth-generation MacBook Pro that replaced the 15-inch model from the previous generation. Dubbed by Apple as the most powerful notebook they have ever made as of date, this device is marketed toward creative professionals and other power users.

The Pros: Advantages of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro

Better Hardware than the 13-Inch Model

The base model of the larger MacBook Pro now comes with 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost of up to 4.5GHz, dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, and 512GB SSD storage.

Note that the base model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro launched in July 2019 comes with 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost of up to 3.9GHz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, and 128GB SSD storage.

Hence, between the two, the 16-inch model delivers a more powerful kick than its 13-inch sibling, especially when it comes to processing capabilities due to a better Intel processor and a dedicated AMD graphics processor.

The top-tier model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor with a Turbo Boost of up to 4.8GHz, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, and 1TB SSD storage.

New Retina Display Configuration

Another advantage of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is the new 16-inch Retina display with 500 nits of brightness that promises to deliver brighter whites and deeper blacks from the precise alignment of liquid crystal molecules.

Note that the Retina display is based on in-plane switching LCD technology. Thus, it generally inherits the advantages of an IPS LCD. However, Apple has added several refinements such as the P3 wide color gamut, which is a new standard of color gamut positioned as an alternative to sRGB and Adobe RGB.

The LCD also sports an oxide thin-film transistor or TFT that has about 10 times faster pixel charging than the conventional amorphous silicon TFT. The TFT also has a proprietary metal layer that purportedly maximizes the transmittance of the pixels, enhancing brightness and color uniformity while reducing pixel cross-talk.

Comes with a New Apple Magic Keyboard

The previous generations of the MacBook Pro, starting with the fourth-generation 13-inch and 15-inch variants that were launched in 2016, came with a new keyboard that featured a butterfly mechanism. However, reviewers and users reported drawbacks such as poor tactile response and unsatisfactory key travel.

With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple introduced the redesigned Magic Keyboard based on scissor-style switches rather than the butterfly mechanism that give better tactile feedback and longer key travel, as well as balanced off-axis pressing.

Note that the Touch Bar remains at the top-center portion of the keyboard for shortcuts, easy access to apps, and specified gestures or controls. The device also features the Apple-branded fingerprint-based biometric Touch ID for faster authentication.

Better Audio Capabilities from Hardware

Speakers on laptops are not much of a thing. However, Apple wants the 16-inch MacBook Pro to be a one-stop workstation for creative professionals that is why it places a six-speaker sound system within the device to produce a room-filling wide stereo sound.

Dual force-canceling woofers allow the entire sound system to significantly reduce vibration for a more natural audio experience and a half-octave lower range to the bass.

There is also a built-in three-mic array configured with a high signal-to-noise ratio for better noise reduction and nuanced capture that purportedly rivals professional third-party microphones. The intent is to allow users to produce podcasts or music recordings on the go.

The Cons: Disadvantages of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro

Pricey Even for the Base Model

Like in most Apple products, to include the 2019 Mac Pro, one critical disadvantage of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is price. The base model starts USD 2399.00, while the highest configuration retails at USD 6099.00.

There are Windows-based alternatives that provide better value for money. In addition, users with a limited budget might be better off buying a Mac workstation or a Windows-based desktop computer. This larger MacBook Pro is also not ideal for professionals who would not benefit from high hardware specifications.

It is also important to remember that creative professionals need to spend on productivity apps, more hardware, and other equipment. Hence, this device is not ideal for budding creatives or business owners running on a tight budget.

Not Really a Mobile Laptop Computer

Laptops beyond the 13-inch screen real estate can be a burden to carry. The 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro should not be considered as a mobile computing device because it is considerably heavy. In fact, it is slightly less portable than its 15-inch predecessor.

Professionals who are on-the-go, especially those who take public transportations, would benefit more from buying a top-tier 13-inch MacBook Pro. Carrying around a large and heavy device can be physically exhausting.

Limited Ports and Poor Upgradability

There are four USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports with support for charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt for up to 40 Gbps and USB 3.1 Gen 2 for up to 10 Gbps. However, the expansion and wired connectivity are limited to these ports.

Note that there is no dedicated HDMI output, and as such, users need to buy a compatible cable for high-definition multimedia interfacing. They also need to purchase adapters for plugging in external hardware such as external storage based on earlier USBs.

Another downside of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is the poor upgradability. Like in most MacBook devices, users cannot easily upgrade their CPUs, GPUs, and internal storage. Thus, they need to decide what particular configuration they need for current and future use.

The Touch Bar Remains Gimmicky

A strip of an OLED display placed at the top-center portion of the keyboard improves the overall aesthetics of the MacBook. However, this Touch Bar still has to make a compelling case for its functionality or usability.

There is no practical purpose for this piece of touch-based display, aside from jacking up the price of MacBook devices. It is definitely a solution searching for a problem. The cost of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro could be cheaper without it.

It is also worth mentioning that OLED displays have a limited lifespan. They are also prone to imbalanced color degradation. Thus, the Touch Bar would eventually showcase significant burns or visual artifacts left by degraded pixels.

Takeaways: The Pros and Cons of the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro

The new and larger MacBook Pro is undeniably the most powerful Macintosh laptop computer made by Apple. With advanced hardware and thus, computing capabilities, this new device caters to power users, especially creative professionals such as video editors, graphics designers, music producers, and game developers, among others.

However, the steep price makes this new MacBook Pro unideal for entry-level users and even professionals whose computing requirements are limited to general office productivity. It is also important for interested buyers to take into consideration the configuration that is suitable for their current and future computing requirements.

It is also important to note that like in any other Macintosh computers, purchasing and using a MacBook Pro devices also mean embracing the established advantages and disadvantages of the macOS operating system.