While the MacBook Air is tremendously popular, some users need a little bit more. More performance, a bigger battery, more ports, a larger screen…if you need more, you need a MacBook Pro. If you want a Mac laptop with a display larger than 13-14 inches, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is your only option.
Before you spend all that money (often upwards of $3,000) on something you hope to keep and use for years, it’s worth asking if this is a good time to buy. In the world of computers, there’s always something better on the way, but if it’s a lot better and it’s coming soon, you might want to wait. Here’s our buying advice for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
16-inch MacBook Pro: Pricing and specs
Released: October 2021
The 16-inch MacBook Pro received a massive Apple silicon upgrade at Apple’s “Unleashed” event. It starts with a new processor (the M1 Pro or M1 Max), but it’s more than just speed. It has a new display (Liquid Retina XDR), more ports (three Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC slot), a full-sized row of function keys, and a new design. It replaces the Intel model that was released in 2019.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499, $100 more than the previous model. There are processor, RAM, and storage options that can push it over $6,000.
16-inch MacBook Pro: Why you should buy
The MacBook Pro is a tremendous machine that checks off nearly every box on a pro user’s wishlist. It’s fast, capable, and powerful, and brings Apple’s pro laptop into the forefront of the pack. The display is reason enough to want one, bringing mini-LED and ProMotion to a Mac for the first time, with extreme brightness (1,600-nit peak) and excellent color accuracy. Apple claims the M1 Pro chip is 70 percent faster than the M1 and the M1 Max has a GPU four times more powerful than that in the M1. It’s also got more RAM, several times more memory bandwidth, and a crazy-fast SSD.
There are also a lot more ports. Apple added three Thunderbolt 4 ports to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as HDMI and an SDXC card slot. There’s an upgraded 1080p FaceTime camera as well, though you’ll need to deal with a screen notch like on the iPhone. But we think that’s an acceptable trade-off for so much power.
16-inch MacBook Pro: Why you should wait
You really shouldn’t. Unless you really want a Touch Bar, then you should buy a 13-inch MacBook Pro. An M2 Pro MacBook Pro likely won’t arrive until late 2022 at the earliest.
Macworld recommends: BUY
A new MacBook Pro is a big investment, and the 16-inch model means spending at least $2,499 and likely over $3,000. But if you need the power it provides, get one now. Every new Mac is always the best Apple has ever made, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a gigantic leap both over the prior model and in the history of the MacBook Pro, and we think you’ll be very pleased with your purchase.
Our only recommendation is to get as much storage and memory as you can afford. The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at 16GB of RAM and goes up to 32GB with the M1 Pro and 64GB with the M1 Max chips. The upgrades aren’t cheap, but they’ll be well worth the investment years from now when your machine is still running as smoothly as it was when you bought it.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.