Apple MacBook Pro (13.3-Inch, 2017, MPXQ2LL/A) Review

     
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Truly, if there is a company that has made their products appeal to the masses despite being expensive, that would be Apple! Having started in the computer market, their products have evolved into premium, good-looking MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) which were originally released back in 2006. In 2017, yet another version of MacBook Pro was released for the enjoyment of Apple supporters. But how does this new laptop serve friends of Apple, and would it also make a good laptop for the Average Joe? Let’s see…

Fast Enough to Get a Demanding User Going

The 2017 MacBook Pro’s choice of processor ranges from Intel Core i5 to Core i7, all of these being 7th generation Kaby Lake based units. The exact models are:

– 2.3GHz Core i5-7360U
– 3.1GHz Core i5-7267U
– 2.8GHz Core i7-7700HQ
– 2.9GHz Core i7-7820HQ

Your choice depends on how much performance you require; however, all these are new models and in general, will suffice for pretty much any type of software-related work. You would be looking at the Core i5 models if you wanted to save money and space: most of the i5 MacBook Pros sport a 13.3″ display, while the i7 ones have a bigger 15-inches screen.

Storage is brought by solid-state drives, the storage sizes being 128, 256 or 512 GB. As far as I know, the technology they use is NVMe for even snappier ride. I’m afraid they can not be upgraded later on – so think long-term and pick the right choice right from the beginning. For RAM, there is either 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3 installed. That, too, can not be upgraded as the memory is soldered on the motherboard. If you want the best future proof the 16GB version should be worth it.

The graphics performance is never excellent when integrated graphics are doing the job. In the new MacBook Pro, the graphics engine is either integrated Intel HD or Intel Iris chip. These units are not feasible for high end gaming as they can not run the combination of smooth frame rates, high settings and latest demanding games. However, if you reduce settings to low or medium, titles like GTA 5 and Battlefield 4 become well playable.

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For a Modern User, The Display is A-OK

Depending on the model you choose, you get either a 13.3 or 15 inches display to look at. In the similar vein, the resolution is 2560×1600 or 2880×1800. I don’t personally mind these resolution, however considering competitors are offering 4K screens, this might put Apple at a disadvantage. Yet, the IPS panel type and 500 nits brightness should bring a clear, crisp and most of all bright image for effortless outdoors use. Thankfully, despite the thin screen borders, the 720p Facetime-ready webcam is located in the middle of the top bezel.

Apple Trusts on Modern Connections

The manufacturer uses its own technology in the ports section, as few Thunderbolt connectors are found on the sides of the new MacBooks. It looks like you get two Thunderbolt 3 in models without Touch Bar, and four with the Touch Bar enabled laptops. The ports support USB Type-C standard which is essential, as the notebook doesn’t have the regular USB (A) ports available. In another words, if you want to use USB devices with this computer, you will need USB Type-C to USB adapter for sure.

The MacBook Pro 2017 offers a snappy 802.11ac wireless adapter for your Internet connection needs. Bluetooth 4.2 can be used in addition, too. Apple has decided the wired networking is over in their products, so if you want RJ-45 (Ethernet) compatibility you’d better get an adapter!

There is no SD card slot on this model as Apple decided to drop it from their MacBook Pros in the late 2016. Another, less surprising thing, is the excluded optical drive – you’ll need to use an external DVD drive if the access for discs is essential. Actually, also external card readers exist in case you want to transfer photos from a camera without effort.

Battery Life and Other Benefits? Apple Delivers!

It is no secret that MacBooks have, throughout their 10-year history, rode to fame with long-lasting batteries. It looks like the 2017 version is no different, sporting one of the best battery lifes according to this ArsTechnica chart. To be honest, over 16 hours sounds peculiar to me, and this test probably doesn’t resemble real life very accurately. However, it gives an idea what you can expect, and also shows where the new MacBook stands compared to its rivals. Ideally, you could expect over 10 hours from the 15-inch version in day to day use.

These MacBook Pros are not a heavy bunch. They weigh around 3 pounds; moreover the thickness is only 0.6 inches. The laptops will look sleek, streamlined in their aluminum body and will be no issue to carry for long times.

The much-hyped Touch Bar is available on the 15-inch and the more expensive 13-inch models. Backlit keyboard is included on all models.

Pros:
Performance - The 7th generation Intel processor and a NVMe-based solid-state drive offer plenty, even for the demanding users.

Battery life on the larger model - At least on the 15-inch version the battery duration is great, with the notebook lasting well over 10 hours in regular use.

Cons:
No regular USB - As useful as the Thunderbolt (USB Type-C) connectors on this notebook are, they do not support the regular USB without adapters.

Hard time for gamers - Even though it's a Pro version, there is no great support for games on this model.

Verdict

The MacBook Pro 2017 continues the Apple’s line of well-thought, plush consumer laptops. They are a snappy bunch of modern notebook technology, allowing a power user, digital artist or programmer to fully enjoy the performance and ease-of-use Apple products always provide. The hickup of many laptops, the questionable gaming performance, is also present here – but gaming aficionados avoid this by choosing another notebook. For any kind of productive work, and also if you want to convey a cool image, the MacBook Pro from 2017 is a noteworthy choice.

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