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Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019: First Impressions and Benchmarks | The World’s Best Pro Notebook | 961souq

By admin November 27, 2019 0 comments

After years of trying to make an iPad or iPad Pro work as a viable MacBook substitute, I finally decided this year that my next work computer would be a MacBook Pro rather than an iMac.

Knowing about the keyboard issues with previous MacBook Pros, I also decided that I’d wait until the 16-inch MacBook Pro was released before making the switch from desktop to laptop. I had my order in to Apple for a “fairly loaded” MacBook Pro within minutes after hearing that it was available, and now I’ve been using the computer for about a week. In this First Impressions post, I’ll provide my opinions on the newest MacBook Pro and also provide a few benchmarks showing just how powerful this portable workstation is.

Keyboard and Trackpad

First up, the keyboard and trackpad. Apple switched out the problematic “butterfly switch” keyboards that kept failing on recent MacBook models for a new “scissor switch” design. The Magic Keyboard, which is the same size as the popular desktop version, includes the Touch Bar display, a Touch ID power button, and a physical Escape key. The latter was a point of contention for a lot of those who used earlier Touch Bar keyboards and didn’t like the virtual esc key.

I am totally in love with this keyboard. It offers just enough tactile feedback to ensure that you know that typing is going to be fast and accurate, and it is also very quiet. Yeah, I know – there’s a continent of our readership that loves those loud, clacking mechanical keyboards, but I personally find them totally annoying.

Apple also brought back the traditional “inverted T” layout for the keyboard arrow keys. On some other MacBook models, that had been replaced by two smaller up/down arrow keys and two full-size left/right arrow keys. I’m not sure why that bothered some users, but it did.

The backlighting on the keyboard is bright but not blinding – it adjusts to the amount of ambient light, so it’s not going to keep your seatmate awake on an airplane (the display will, however!).

Perhaps it’s the machine rather than the Touch ID button, but Touch ID seems lightning-fast on this computer. A previous 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that I owned seemed to take forever to identify my fingerprint – this Touch ID button fills in passwords and unlocks items in a heartbeat.

The Force Touch trackpad also seems quite large compared to others I’ve used on previous MacBooks. It’s approximately 6 inches wide and a bit less than 4 inches deep, providing a vast surface for controlling your cursor.

Keyboard and TrackPad Grade: A


Display and FaceTime Camera

The 16-inch diagonal Retina display on this MacBook Pro is nothing short of fantastic. With a native resolution of 3,072 x 1,920 pixels at 226 pixels per inch and support for millions of colors, everything is sharp and colors are intense. Sure, it’s not a 5K Retina display like the one I’m used to, but I can’t carry an iMac around with me on trips.

The thin bezel of the screen means you have pretty much a side-to-side image with no wasted space. Of course, there’s a small bezel at the top for the FaceTime camera and at the bottom to accommodate the hinge and connectors.


Processor and Graphics

Since this will be my sole workstation for the foreseeable future, I decided to equip it with the faster (but not fastest) processor – 2.3GHz 8‑core Intel Core i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, with 16MB shared L3 cache. This machine is also equipped with 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 onboard memory since it’s virtually impossible to upgrade.

Graphics-wise, the processor comes with an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU builtin. Since I do a fair amount of video work, I chose to add the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 memory to speed rendering.



The 16-inch MacBook Pro can be outfitted with a 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB SSD. I ran the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test on the device and found a write speed of 2,806 MBps and a read speed of 2,522 MBps. While I was unable to perform the same test on the iMac’s Fusion Drive, I had a friend run the benchmark on his new Dell XPS 15. His drive was noticeably slower at 2,215 and 2,118 MBps, respectively, for write and read.



How did the MacBook Pro do in benchmarks? I ran the popular Geekbench 5 benchmark on both my old iMac and the new MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is definitely a step up in capability.

The old iMac was a late 2015 27-inch Retina display model equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor running at 4.0 GHz. The Geekbench CPU results showed a singlecore score of 1038 and a multi-core score of 4308.

By comparison, the MacBook Pro Geekbench CPU results showed a singlecore score of 1031 — almost identical — but a multi-core score of 7136, definitely a jump up in capabilities.

Geekbench has a “Compute” benchmark as well that tests the GPU of the computer. Testing the iMac with its built-in Intel HD Graphics SKL and AMD Radeon R9 M395X GPUs, the GPU scores were 30072 for the Metal Compute API and 26478 for the Open CL Compute API.

Running those same two Compute benchmarks on the MacBook Pro with its AMD Radeon 5500M GPU didn’t show that much of a difference – in fact, the Metal score was actually less at 28827 and the Open CL score was slightly higher at 28170.

I decided that a “real-world test” might be a better idea, so I loaded a Camtasia 2019 project file for a video 12:09 in length and rendered it at 1080p on both the iMac and the MacBook Pro. For the iMac, the rendering took 5:22, while the MacBook Pro blasted through in 3:20. That’s a full 37.9 percent faster than my iMac.

Although the Geekbench Compute benchmarks didn’t appear to be all that good, the real-world test is what I was interested in since it measured a relative speed increase in the work I’ll be doing. I’m happy with the speed boost and the fact that this workstation is portable.


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