Apple has introduced its 16-inch MacBook Pro, a long awaited upgrade to its premium series of laptops. The new MacBook Pro also marks a return to the older scissor mechanism for the keyboard, after the controversial butterfly mechanism, which faced a lot of criticism from users and reviewers alike over unreliability issues.
The new 16-inch MacBook Pro will start at Rs 199,900 in India replacing the 15-inch variant that was just upgraded back in May 2019. So what has changed with the new MacBook Pro, other than the bigger display? We compare below.
When Apple had upgraded the 15-inch MacBook Pro to six-core and eight-core processors, it had reduced the starting price for its premium laptop in India. The 15-inch model was initially priced at Rs 2,24,900, but after the upgrade, Apple reduced the price by Rs 25,000 to Rs 1,99,900. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro continues with this price of Rs 199,900 for the 512GB storage version with the 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor. The 1TB version with the eight-core Intel Core i9 will cost Rs 2,39,900.
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The first obvious upgrade is the screen size, which is now a 16-inches Retina screen with a higher 3,072 x 1,920 pixels resolution, though the maximum brightness remains at 500 nits. This is not entirely a bezel-less display like we’ve seen on other laptops from rivals.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro comes in three processor variants: the six-core i7 from Intel and two variants of the eight-core i9 processor. These do not come with the latest 10th gen Intel processors. They are still on the 9th gen processors like the MacBook Pro’s revamped in May. The base RAM variant is 16GB, though now users can upgrade up to 64GB RAM, which was limited to 32GB earlier.
Storage options are 512GB and 1TB on the MacBook Pro with upgrade options being 1TB (for 512GB), 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB SSD. This is the first MacBook Pro to offer such high RAM and storage options for upgrade. But the India website does not show an option for this kind of customisation on the RAM and storage front.
The older MacBook Pro 15-inch had a 15.4-inch display with 2,880 x 1,800 pixels resolution and pixel density of 220ppi and maximum brightness of 500 nits. In May this year, Apple upgraded the MacBook Pro to be powered by the Intel eight-core processor (ninth generation), in addition to the six-core version. The minimum RAM offered on the MacBook Pro 15-inch variant is also 16GB with 32GB upgrade. Storage options on the MacBook Pro were 256GB or 512GB SSD, with the upgrades to 1TB, 2TB and 4TB.
The older MacBook 15-inch came with Radeon Pro 555X or 560X, which was limited to 4GB of GDDR5 memory along Intel UHD Graphics 630 for graphics. With the new MacBook Pro, there are three variants for GPUs, depending on the processor. The six-core i7 variant has AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and Intel UHD Graphics 630.
The eight-core i9 variant clocked at 2.3GHz has AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and Intel UHD Graphics 630. The highest eight core i9 variant at 2.4Ghz has AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. Apple said that this is the first time they are offering 8GB of dedicated RAM for graphics, and the new AMD Radeon Pro are the first 7nm mobile discrete GPUs.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro promises up to 11 hours of wireless web browsing capacity, while the earlier variants had 10 hours of battery life. The new version has a 96W USB-C Power Adapter. It has an integrated 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, which the company claims is the biggest ever on a Mac.
The older 15-inch variant had 10 hour of battery life promise and an 87W USB-C power charging. In comparison, the 13-inch variants have a 61W USB-C Power Adapter. These versions are still officially listed on the Apple website for sale.
The big change with the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the Magic Keyboard, which has gone back to the more reliable scissor mechanism that we saw on the earlier MacBooks, including the older 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Air, which is still being sold in India, though the company has officially discontinued it.
Apple is bidding goodbye to the butterfly mechanism it introduced with the MacBook Pro in 2016, and one that was criticised for not being so reliable. It had acknowledged user complaints around the keyboard and also introduced a Keyboard Service Program for the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.
The company says it has refined the scissor mechanism, and the keyboard now has 1mm of key travel. The key are more stable, responsive thanks to the Apple-designed rubber dome.
The new Magic Keyboard also features a physical Escape key, and an inverted ‘T’ arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and a separate Touch ID. The MacBook Pro 16-inch continues with Force Touch trackpad, which is also present on the older MacBook Pro models. The older 15-inch variants had the Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID sensor.
The new variant continues to be offered in Silver and Space Grey colour options. But the 16-inch MacBook Pro is slightly thicker at 0.64 inches compared to the 0.61 inches thickness on the previous generation.
The 16-inch version has a width of 14.09 inches and depth of 9.68 inches. Dimensions for the 15-inch version are: height 0.61 inches, width 13.75 inches and depth of 9.48 inches. The new one is heavier at 2 kg compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro at 1.83 kg.
The new 16-inch MacBook Pro packs a high-fidelity six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers. It comes with wide stereo sound and support for Dolby Atmos playback. The new MacBook Pro also has a studio‑quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming.
Compared to this, the older MacBook 15-inch series had standard stereo speakers with high dynamic range. The earlier MacBook had three microphones. From an audio perspective, the new laptop is more powerful.
But just like the previous version, the new MacBook Pro 16-inch has four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, WiFi 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0. It also continues with the 720p HD web camera on the front to support video calling and there’s a headphone jack as well. The Apple T2 Security chip continues on the new MacBook Pro 16-inch as well.
Apple also says it has redesigned the thermal architecture to ensure that professional users can run it at higher power for longer periods. The new fan design has larger impeller with extended blades with Apple claiming it can ensure more heat dissipation than before, thus allowing it to support intensive workloads.