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

The MacBook Pro 16-inch must fill some huge shoes, those of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, which Apple discontinued in 2012. The laptop has been rumoured for quite some time, with many people eagerly anticipating its arrival.

The laptop has arrived, and we’ve been putting it through its paces in our laboratories to determine if the wait was worthwhile.

Performance

The MacBook Pro review model we got is powered by a 9th generation Intel Core i9-9880H CPU. The TDP of this eight-core CPU is set at 45W, with a base speed of 2.3GHz and a turbo clock of 4.8GHz.

In addition to the CPU, the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M discrete graphics with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 1TB storage, and 16GB DDR4 RAM are included. This configuration now costs Rs 2,39,990 and is available off the shelf at a variety of Apple approved shops, both online and in-store.

There aren’t many MacOS benchmarks, but the handful that do evaluate the system’s performance tell a very positive narrative. The MacBook Pro scores 1032 for single-core performance and 6355 for multi-core performance on GeekBench 5.

The MacBook Pro gets 3155 points for the CPU in Cinebench 20, and 1279cb for the CPU and 114.2fps for OpenCL in Cinebench 15.

The ratings don’t signify much on their own, but where the 16-inch MacBook Pro truly shows off its capabilities is in creative tasks. We ran the system through its paces using FCP X, Adobe’s suite of tools for photo editing, video editing, and even some VFX work.

Sidecar enables the use of an iPad as a secondary display.

Photo Retouching

We installed a few hundred RAW images from a Nikon D850 onto the internal disc of the MacBook Pro to see how it would manage the load when processing them in Lightroom.

The 45-megapixel RAW files are huge enough to bog down most PCs, not just in the development module, but also when exporting to disc. We perform the export in 50-file, 100-file, and 500-file batches.

The MacBook Pro completes the procedure in 1 minute and 16 seconds on the first run of 50 files, whereas 100 RAW files took 2 minutes and 41 seconds. The system finished the huge operation of converting 500 high-resolution RAW files to JPG in full fidelity in 12 minutes and 48 seconds.

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

Surprisingly, the XPS 15 is faster at exporting 50 and 100 RAW data but lags far behind when exporting 500 files. We noticed that the clock rates on the MacBook Pro did not deviate from the claimed speeds during all export sessions in Adobe Lightroom.

The single-core boost clock, as measured by Intel Power Gadget, hovered between 4.4GHz and 4.8GHz, while the remaining seven cores averaged 2.3GHz, occasionally reaching at 3.0GHz.

The important lesson from this experiment is that the i9-9880 on the MacBook Pro did not throttle when subjected to full, continuous load over an extended length of time.Exporting a lot of RAW files at a resolution of 45 megapixels

Video Retouching

Apple’s devices are immensely popular in the video community, so it’s only logical to put the new MacBook Pro 16-inch through its paces in that setting. Users of the 16-inch MacBook Pro may take advantage of not just Intel’s QuickSync technology, but also the specialised T2 chip’s video encode-decode capabilities.

For this round of our testing, we used both FCP X and Adobe Premiere. We opened a project in each of the video editors. The project was a 5-minute timeline made up of 4K film. We made certain that the project used the same transitions and LUT files to verify that the two versions were equal.

FCP X took little more than 5 minutes to export the 5-minute 41-second 4K movie to a 4K, H.264 file, and 3 minutes 26 seconds to render the identical project in 1080p.

Premiere Pro took 14 minutes to export the identical project in 4K, H.264, and 8 minutes 14 seconds in 1080p. Interesting. For the best read/write speed, all relevant files were placed on the MacBook Pro’s internal 1TB disc.

We discovered that the variation in export times was caused by CPU clock rates. While exporting video, FCP X hits the processor with a steady but reduced load so that it is not pushed to its TJ-Max, allowing it to maintain its boost clock for a longer period of time.

Premiere, on the other hand, hits all eight cores with all of its demand, causing the CPU to throttle in less than a minute. Indeed, throughout the Premiere render process, we saw CPU rates decreasing as low as 1.8GHz on all cores! This was the same behaviour whether the render engine was Metal, OpenGL (deprecated), or Software. And, no, upgrading to Adobe Media Encoder did not enhance render speeds.

However, when the identical file was encoded in the H.265 container, things looked better in Premiere Pro. When exporting the identical file in 4K and 1080p, but using the H.265 codec, the export times matched those of FCP X, suggesting that it might just be a problem with how Premiere handles the h.264 codec.

While render behaviour in Premiere may have been an issue, the problem lies with the application, not the hardware. The MacBook Pro’s hardware is powerful enough to scrub through a 4K timeline without lowering the preview quality or generating proxies. That’s quite great accomplishment, especially if you use Premiere Pro.

It goes without saying that using Apple’s own suite of editing tools is the best way to get the most out of the MacBook Pro’s technology. However, Adobe and DaVinci users should not despair. Adobe’s sluggish render speed for H.264 encodes can readily remedied with a software update because it is just an issue of how Premiere loads its operations onto the CPU.

Adobe Lightroom has done the same thing; by intelligently loading the CPU, Lightroom was able to keep the Core i9’s boost clock running for much longer, allowing the computer to have astonishingly quick render times.

Display

The 16-inch display on the Apple MacBook Pro has a 16:10 aspect ratio. In comparison to the 15-inch size, you get “more screen” both horizontally and vertically, with more screen vertically.

Personally, I like the 16:10 aspect ratio since it allows me to see more tools in my editing programme at the same time. The screen features a resolution of 3072X1920, a refresh rate of 60Hz, and 100% DCI-P3 coverage.

On our lux metre, the display had a maximum brightness of 485 lux. Our lux metre recorded the same brightness in all four corners and the centre, indicating that the display’s brightness is consistent throughout all four corners.

The monitor is calibrated to reliably show the sRGB colour gamut out of the box, and converting to DCI-P3 is straightforward. Apple allows customers to adjust the display colour profile via the display settings option, but if you work with several colour spaces, Apple provides a simple solution.

While most material in the world is still in the sRGB colour space, content makers working with 10-bit colour (HDR) video may breathe a sigh of relief. When working on an HDR project in FCP, you may use a single shortcut to swap between sRGB and P3 colour spaces in the FCP preview window.

While the shortcut is only available in FCP, the implementation is remarkable. You can work in the P3 colour space without changing the system’s colour space.

On a Windows-based workstation, you must modify the entire system’s colour space before your editing programme can display the colours properly, leading colours to be displayed incorrectly everywhere else. The ability to configure display characteristics on a per-application basis in Apple’s MacOS makes working with multiple colour spaces quite straightforward.

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

Needless to say, the display on the 16-inch MacBook Pro is not only adaptable, but also provides enough colour spectrum, brightness, and real estate for most producers to feel comfortable. Even while the glossy display does a decent job of reducing reflections, the only thing that could have improved the display is a matte finish.

Touch Bar, Trackpad, and Keyboard

One of the most common accusations levelled against Apple’s laptops in recent years has been the lack of movement on their keyboards. Apple hopes to solve this worry with the new MacBook Pro.

Not only do the new keys have longer travel (1mm), but they also feature new scissor switches. These are the same switches found on the Magic Keyboard.

Although the redesigned keyboard is more pleasant to text on, the keys remain very soft and do not provide adequate feedback. Even if you’re coming from an earlier MacBook, they’ll take some getting used to. The arrow keys have also been repositioned, returning to the inverted-T arrangement that users had requested.

The TouchBar has been changed as well, with the escape key and power button removed. It’s really useful to having a separate escape key since it comes in handy when you need to force close an application but don’t have the choice with the TouchBar.

Finally, there’s the magnificent trackpad. Apple’s laptops have the greatest trackpads in the market, and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro only improves on that. All movements and motions are flawlessly detected, and each click provides strong feedback. It also helps that the new MacBook Pro’s trackpad is bigger, making operations like video and picture editing possible.

Sound

The new MacBook Pro’s speakers are undoubtedly another outstanding feature of this new notebook. They’re not only loud, but they’re also quite clear, even at maximum volume. Each speaker grille conceals two tweeters and one subwoofer, for a total of six speakers.

The subwoofers use force cancellation, a technique in which the vibrations produced by one subwoofer cancel out the vibrations produced by the other.

This results in somewhat deeper bass with no discernible rattling. While the experience may not be audiophile-grade, the speakers provide really outstanding stereo separation (for properly mastered content), which is especially noticeable when viewing movies.

Regardless of the movie type, the speakers will provide superb, clear, and powerful sound.For superb, immersive sound, each side of the MacBook Pro includes a pair of tweeters and a sub-woofer.

Life of the Battery

Apple’s laptops have long had a strong battery life track record, and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro continues that trend. Apple’s premium laptop, which has a 100Whr battery, lasted 7 hours and 41 minutes of average office work.

This involves perusing the web and composing several tales, with just one 30-minute session of Photoshop tossed in for good measure. The display brightness was set at 60%, and no accessories were connected to any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports. This is an impressive number for a high-performance laptop, and good luck finding any flaws with it.

Verdict

The 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade. It feels more like a laptop designed from the ground up by Apple. It solves the majority of the creative community’s issues, including performance, a larger and better display, an enhanced keyboard, and even better speakers.

What the new MacBook Pro could have used was an additional Thunderbolt port (or two). The loss of an SD Card slot is a concern, and Apple’s refusal to bring this small slot back is, to put it mildly, baffling.

After all is said and done, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro checks practically every box when it comes to a capable editing machine. Nothing on the Windows side of things is as thin as the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which also has a comparable hardware spec.

We have the Dell XPS 15, however the 4K OLED display is a poor choice for creative workers, and the laptop’s IPS LCD panel is powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU and just 8GB of RAM.

Then there’s the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, which has overkill hardware (Intel Core i9-9980HK, 32GB RAM, and Nvidia RTX 2060), but the OLED display is troublesome, with the IPS LCD option only available in Core i7 configuration.

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