2018 MacBook Pro Review

Macworld | Jul 17, 2018

Apple's pro laptop is a processing beast.




2018 MacBook Pro
Rating: 4.5 mice COLD OPEN: It's been over a year since Apple updated the MacBook Pro. And it's well worth the wait.


MAIN BODY: So what was Apple waiting for? Intel's new Coffee Lake processors, which adds two more processing cores to the laptop. Now the MacBook Pro has 6 cores, and the difference is huge.

Using Geekbench to test for speed, we found a 44 percent increase over the quad-core processor in last year's MacBook Pro when using multi-core apps. In other words, if you use high-end pro software, you're going to have a little more free time on your hands.

If you're not using pro apps, you'll still see a speed boost. Our benchmarks showed a 19 percent increase in performance when using single-core apps—that would include mail, writing software, and even your web browser.

Cinebench's OpenGL test shows a nice increase in graphics performance. In this 3D rendering test, we saw a 31 percent increase in frame rates. That should make animations and video playback look a lot smoother.


Also contributing to the speed boost is the switch to DDR4 RAM, and you can now install up to 32 gigabytes—twice the amount as before. And you can bet that pros will fill up those RAM slots to get every bit of performance.


What else is there to like about the new MacBook Pro? The butterfly keyboard is now much quieter, though we need to spend more time with it to see if it's more durable. And it feels like the previous keyboard—which, for some, is something you'll just have to live with.

The folks over at iFixit did a teardown of the MacBook Pro, and they found that Apple is using a silicone protector over the butterfly mechanism. This protector is probably being used as a shield against dust, as well as to dampen the sound.


The new T2 chip handles security features, but it also now lets Hey Siri work on the MacBook Pro. So whenever you want to use the digital assistant, just say "Hey Siri."

As someone who always has my hands on the Mac, I don't use Siri very often. But with the upcoming macOS Mojave upgrade, we could see Siri come more into play, as it works with the new Home app that operates HomeKit and internet of things devices.


If you were hoping for a touchscreen Mac, I'm sorry to disappoint you. Instead, Apple has the Touch Bar, and it hasn't changed much since it was introduced in 2016. I have to be totally honest here—I don't use the Touch Bar very much at all. It does have useful functions that change depending on the apps you use. But it just isn't on my radar when I'm using the laptop and it's wasted on me.


The Touch Bar, as well as the main display, now have True Tone, which automatically adjusts the white point on-screen based on the ambient lighting in your room. It even works with Apple and LG Ultrafine displays.

With the way the human eye works, how we see color is affected by light and other surrounding colors. True Tone helps create the best, most accurate colors. But, depending on your work, you might not like True Tone, and you can turn it off.


The MacBook Pro still relies on Thunderbolt 3 for connectivity. You get four ports, which also work with the newer USB-C spec. But if you have older devices with USB-A ports, you're going to have to get an adapter or a hub.


Overall, the upgrade to the 2018 MacBook Pro is one for professionals to take notice. This laptop is the fastest one Apple has made, and by a wide margin. And if speed is the number one priority for you well above everything else, you won't be disappointed in the new MacBook Pro.

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