Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Review: The Ultimate Choice for Creative Professionals

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Review: The Ultimate Choice for Creative Professionals

The 16-inch MacBook Pro must fill some big shoes, namely those of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, which Apple discontinued in 2012. The laptop has been rumoured for quite some time, and many people are anxiously awaiting its release. The laptop has arrived, and we’ve been putting it through its paces in our labs to see if it was worth the wait.

Performance

The MacBook Pro review model we received is powered by an Intel Core i9-9880H CPU from the 9th generation. This eight-core CPU has a TDP of 45W, a base speed of 2.3GHz, and a turbo frequency of 4.8GHz.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5500M discrete graphics with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 1TB storage, and 16GB DDR4 RAM are included in addition to the CPU. This combination is currently available for Rs 2,39,990 off the shelf at a range of Apple-approved stores, both online and in-store.

There aren’t many MacOS benchmarks available, but the few that do analyse the system’s performance provide a very encouraging picture. On GeekBench 5, the MacBook Pro scores 1032 for single-core performance and 6355 for multi-core performance.

In Cinebench 20, the MacBook Pro receives 3155 points for the CPU, and 1279cb for the CPU and 114.2fps for OpenCL in Cinebench 15. The grades don’t mean much on its own, but where the 16-inch MacBook Pro genuinely shines is in creative work.

We put the machine through its paces using FCP X, Adobe’s suite of tools for photo and video editing, as well as some VFX work.

Sidecar allows you to utilise an iPad as a secondary display.

Retouching Photographs

We loaded a few hundred RAW photographs from a Nikon D850 onto the MacBook Pro’s internal disc to see how it would handle the load when processing them in Lightroom.

The 45-megapixel RAW files are large enough to slow down most PCs not just in the development module but also when exporting to disc. The export is done in 50-file, 100-file, and 500-file batches. On the initial run of 50 files, the MacBook Pro completes the job in 1 minute and 16 seconds, whereas 100 RAW files took 2 minutes and 41 seconds.

In 12 minutes and 48 seconds, the system completed the massive task of converting 500 high-resolution RAW images to JPG in full fidelity.

In comparison, the Dell XPS 15 with a Core i9-9980HK CPU and 32GB DDR4 RAM completed the same export cycle in 1 minute 7 seconds, 2 minutes 4 seconds, and 19 minutes and 46 seconds for 50,100, and 500 file exports, respectively.

Surprisingly, the XPS 15 is quicker at exporting 50 and 100 RAW files but falls well short when exporting 500. During all export sessions in Adobe Lightroom, we found that the clock rates on the MacBook Pro did not differ from the quoted speeds.

The single-core boost speed ranged between 4.4GHz and 4.8GHz, according to Intel Power Gadget, while the remaining seven cores averaged 2.3GHz, occasionally hitting 3.0GHz. The key takeaway from this experiment is that the i9-9880 on the MacBook Pro did not choke under full, continuous load over a lengthy period of time.

Creating a large number of RAW files at a resolution of 45 megapixels.

Video Editing

Apple’s products are extremely popular in the video community, so it only makes sense to put the new MacBook Pro 16-inch through its paces in that environment. Users of the 16-inch MacBook Pro may take benefit of not just Intel’s QuickSync technology, but also the video encode-decode capabilities of the specialised T2 chip.

We utilised both FCP X and Adobe Premiere for this round of testing. In each of the video editors, we started a new project.

The project consisted of a 5-minute timeline composed entirely of 4K footage. To ensure that the two versions were equal, we made assured that the project used the same transitions and LUT files. FCP X took little over 5 minutes to export the 5-minute 41-second 4K video to a 4K, H.264 file, and 3 minutes 26 seconds to render the same project in 1080p.

The same project took 14 minutes to export in 4K, H.264, and 8 minutes 14 seconds in 1080p in Premiere Pro. Interesting. All required files were stored on the MacBook Pro’s internal 1TB disc for the optimum read/write speed.

The variance in export times was revealed to be driven by CPU clock speeds. While exporting video, FCP X applies a continuous but decreased load to the processor so that it is not pushed to its TJ-Max, allowing it to keep its boost clock running for a longer amount of time.

Premiere, on the other hand, overloads all eight cores, forcing the CPU to choke in less than a minute. Throughout the Premiere render process, we saw CPU rates as low as 1.8GHz on all cores! The behaviour was consistent regardless of whether the render engine was Metal, OpenGL (deprecated), or Software. No, upgrading to Adobe Media Encoder did not improve render times.

When the same file was encoded in the H.265 container, though, things looked better in Premiere Pro. When exporting the same file in 4K and 1080p but using the H.265 codec, the export times matched those of FCP X, indicating that the issue may simply be with how Premiere handles the h.264 codec.

While Premiere’s render behaviour may have been an issue, the fault is with the application, not the hardware. The technology in the MacBook Pro is strong enough to go through a 4K timeline without decreasing preview quality or producing proxies. That’s a fantastic achievement, especially if you use Premiere Pro.

Using Apple’s own suite of editing tools is, of course, the best way to get the most out of the MacBook Pro’s hardware. Adobe and DaVinci users, on the other hand, need not be disheartened. Adobe’s slow render time for H.264 encodes can easily fixed with a software update because it is just a matter of how Premiere loads its operations onto the CPU.

Adobe Lightroom did the same thing; by intelligently loading the CPU, Lightroom was able to keep the Core i9’s boost clock going for a significantly longer period of time, allowing the machine to have incredibly fast render times.

Display

The Apple MacBook Pro’s 16-inch display has a 16:10 aspect ratio. When compared to the 15-inch model, you receive “more screen” both horizontally and vertically, with more screen vertically.

Personally, I like the 16:10 aspect ratio since it allows me to view more features in my editing application at once.

The display has a resolution of 3072X1920, a refresh rate of 60Hz, and 100% DCI-P3 coverage. The display exhibited a maximum brightness of 485 lux on our lux metre. Our lux metre measured the same brightness in all four corners and the centre, suggesting that the brightness of the display is uniform throughout all four corners.

The monitor is calibrated to show the sRGB colour gamut accurately out of the box, and converting to DCI-P3 is simple. Customers may alter the display colour profile using the display settings option, but if you deal with many colour spaces, Apple has a simple solution.

While the majority of the world’s content is still in the sRGB colour space, content creators working with 10-bit colour (HDR) video may exhale a sigh of relief.

When working on an HDR production in FCP, you may switch between sRGB and P3 colour spaces in the FCP preview window with a single shortcut. Despite the fact that the shortcut is only accessible in FCP, the execution is impressive.

You can operate in the P3 colour space without altering the colour space of the system. On a Windows-based workstation, you must adjust the entire system’s colour space before your editing tool can show the colours appropriately, resulting in colours being displayed erroneously elsewhere.

Working with different colour spaces is made easier by Apple’s MacOS’s ability to modify display properties on an application-by-application basis.

Color-accurate in the sRGB colour space is the 16-inch display with a resolution of 3072×1920.

Needless to say, the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s display is not only adaptable, but also provides enough colour spectrum, brightness, and real estate for most producers to feel at ease. Even though the glossy display does a good job of reducing reflections, a matte finish would have improved the display.

Trackpad, Touch Bar, and Keyboard

In recent years, one of the most prominent criticisms levelled against Apple’s laptops has been the lack of movement on their keyboards.

With the new MacBook Pro, Apple intends to alleviate this concern. The redesigned keys not only have more travel (1mm), but they also have new scissor switches. These are the same switches that can be found on the Magic Keyboard.

Although the new keyboard is more comfortable to type on, the keys remain excessively soft and lack any feedback. They’ll take some getting used to, even if you’re coming from an older MacBook. The arrow keys have also been moved, returning to the inverted-T configuration requested by users.

The Escape key and power button have been removed from the TouchBar. Having a dedicated escape key is quite beneficial since it comes in handy when you need to force close an application but don’t have the option with the TouchBar.

Finally, there’s the fantastic trackpad. Apple laptops have the best trackpads on the market, and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro only adds to that. All movements and motions are recognised flawlessly, and each click gives powerful feedback. It also helps that the new MacBook Pro’s trackpad is larger, allowing for tasks like as video and image editing.

Sound

The speakers on the new MacBook Pro are unquestionably another amazing element of this new computer. They’re not just loud, but also pretty clear, even at full intensity. Two tweeters and one subwoofer are hidden behind each speaker grille, for a total of six speakers.

Force cancellation is a mechanism used by the subwoofers in which the vibrations produced by one subwoofer cancel out the vibrations produced by the other. This produces somewhat deeper bass with no audible rattling.

While the experience isn’t audiophile-grade, the speakers deliver pretty impressive stereo separation (for properly mastered content), which is especially obvious while watching movies. Regardless of the genre of the film, the speakers will deliver outstanding, clear, and strong sound. Each side of the MacBook Pro contains a pair of tweeters and a sub-woofer for excellent, immersive sound.

Battery

Apple’s laptops have always been known for their excellent battery life, and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro maintains that trend. Apple’s premium laptop, which has a battery capacity of 100Whr, lasted 7 hours and 41 minutes of typical office work.

This entails browsing the web and writing multiple stories, with only one 30-minute session of Photoshop thrown in for good measure. The brightness of the display was set at 60%, and no accessories were connected to any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

This is an excellent figure for a high-performance laptop, and it will be difficult to find any issues with it.

Verdict

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is more than simply a facelift. It feels more like an Apple-designed laptop from the ground up. It addresses the bulk of the creative community’s concerns, such as performance, a larger and better display, an improved keyboard, and even better speakers.

What the new MacBook Pro might have benefited from was an extra Thunderbolt port (or two). The absence of an SD Card slot is a source of concern, and Apple’s unwillingness to reinstate this little space is, to put it kindly, perplexing.

After all is said and done, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro ticks almost every box for a decent editing machine.

Nothing on the Windows side is as slim as the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which also has a comparable hardware specification. The Dell XPS 15 is available, however its 4K OLED display is unsuitable for creative workers, and the laptop’s IPS LCD panel is powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU and just 8GB of RAM.

The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, on the other hand, boasts excessive hardware (Intel Core i9-9980HK, 32GB RAM, and Nvidia RTX 2060), but the OLED display is problematic, with the IPS LCD alternative only available in Core i7 configuration.


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