MacBook Pro


ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

If like me, you've got a new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you may get yourself in a situation where the ports just aren't enough.

With the MacBook Pro, the ports you have access to are:

  • 4 x USB C / Thunderbolt
  • 1 x 3.5mm Headphone Jack

This is all perfect, until you need to plug in an external display, or have an old USB A drive you want to use. For sure, there are adapters everywhere, and you can literally find any combination of dongles.

The problem arises when you have adapters that break over time, or when using multiple adapters, they tend to get lost.

Well, a while ago I backed something on Kickstarter called HyperDrive. It's an adapter that is more of an extension, as it just slots on to the side of the Mac, and turns 2 USB C ports into a lot more.

I was going to make a video for this when I first received it, but that just never happened. But ever since Apple released Clips for iOS, I've been making small videos.

So I've created one for this. I won't share here what the actual details of the HyperDrive is here, because I don't want to spoil the video!

You can't get a HyperDrive from Kickstarter anymore, but they are now running an IndieGoGO campaign where you can find them.

It's truly a game changer for me.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

There's a bit of talk over the new MacBook Pro's keyboard, and the noise it makes. So I decided to make this little video, to show the noise of the new keyboard, against my old MacBook Pro, and also an Apple Wireless Keyboard.

P.S. I love the new keyboard noise.

Devices:

  • MacBook Pro - Late 2011
  • Wireless Keyboard - 2007
  • MacBook Pro - Late 2016
ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

I've been using my new MacBook Pro for a while now, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it! I probably haven't written about everything that's new, but I've split everything up in to the main categories that I think everyone will care about.

Design

The physical design has changed a bit since the previous MacBook Pro, with it's much smaller profile, and smaller bezel around the screen. And of course because it's so light, it's much more portable. Sure my old MacBook Pro wasn't that heavy, and I could still carry it everywhere. But this is so much better at it. It's so easy to just whip it out of my bag when I'm on the train into university.

I'm a fan of dark colours, so I definitely had to get the Space Grey version. It's so much better than the boring silver.

Display

The display on this MacBook is absolutely unbelievable, and I'm still finding it hard to fathom the fact it is this good. Maybe it's because it's my first Retina Mac, but then there's also the Wide Colour support. I've had a look at some different images on this new Mac and my old one, and the colours are just so vibrant.

Speakers

Not a feature I thought I would be writing about, but these speakers are a true improvement to the previous laptops. They're so loud that I probably couldn't ever have them at full volume when at my Mac, but maybe when you have a few friends round, this could be the sound system. It's that good.

They're also surprisingly clear, and the sound quality is a lot better. The fact that the speakers have moved to either side of the keyboard is a big bonus as well, because everything just sounds more real. I can't really describe this, but it's just so much better.

Keyboard

I honestly don't see what all the fuss is all about, I really like this keyboard. It feels a lot more stable than the older design, and if I think about it, I can tell that the keys don't travel as far. But they have some travel in them, and they make a pretty good clacking sound as I'm typing. I didn't have a transition period to get used to it, I was able to type straight away.

Ports

This is one of the things that gained a lot of attention, and I completely see why. My MacBook has 5 ports, 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB C, and a headphone port. I understand dongles aren't brilliant, and they cost even more money. But I believe USB C is the future of wired connectivity, and therefore devices will slowly move over to this standard.

My issue is with the fact that it doesn't connect to my iPhone 7. Okay, the iPhone came out before the Mac, and not all iPhone users have a new Mac they can plug their iPhone into. But I would argue that hardly anyone even plugs their phone into their laptop anymore, so including a USB C -> Lightning cable in the box would of been so much better.

Then there is the headphone port, if Lightning is the future of audio, then why isn't it on here? And more importantly, why can't I use my EarPods with my laptop? Usually I would only ever use one pair of earphones (my current iPhones EarPods), on all of my devices. But now if I want to take my Mac somewhere and listen to music, I'll have to either take two pairs of EarPods (3.5mm Jack and Lightning), or just use the old ones and carry a Lightning -> 3.5mm Jack adapter. Neither solution is any good.

However, while I say all of this stuff, the only thing I've plugged into my Mac has been my external display. And because my HDMI cable is always plugged into my screen, attaching an adapter to it is completely fine.

Gaming

I have the 13" version of the MacBook Pro, and with just the integrated Intel Iris 550 graphics, it's not a computer that's hugely designed for gaming. But I've found that it was perfect for my needs.

I am a gamer, but not one that plays all the newest games, or even many games. The few I play are World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and a few smaller ones (the recent one being TouchGrind).

For World of Warcraft, I had to play it on the absolute lowest graphics on my previous Mac. It was find for me, because I still loved playing the game, but it wasn't the best experience I could have. On this Mac however, I put this straight up to the mid level settings to test it out, and it worked! I was getting about 60 fps in very populated areas of the game. It's a lot better than I expected it to be, and with the new display, the environments are really beautiful.

World of Warcraft Screenshot

Then there is Minecraft, it's not a hugely demanding game, but it's not the small pixel game that everyone may think it is. I have it with every video setting turned up to the max (Except view distance, because that can get stupid), and it's completely fine! It's the perfect Minecraft experience, and while that isn't much, it's great to know my laptop can support it. And also whilst doing a lot of other things at the same time.

Minecraft Screenshot

Touch Bar

I do like the Touch Bar, however I wouldn't say it's groundbreaking new technology. But maybe it doesn't have to be. It's made a few things for me much faster, especially the Emoji picker!

The design of the Touch Bar is better than I imagined, as it blends into the physical keys on the keyboard really well. I've had it in a wide range of lighting conditions, and it's always just felt natural.

It's certainly not just bringing iOS to the Mac in regards to adding a touch screen, I think it's a true extension to the keyboard.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I love this new MacBook Pro. It's the perfect laptop for me, and probably even more.

The design is a great improvement, and the only flaws I see at the minute is the lack of ports, but this will improve over time as more of my devices become USB C.

I've had three MacBooks before this one, and my previous one lasted me 5 years. So I expect this one to last me probably the same amount of time.

It is a bit expensive, and more so for myself because of the Brexit price increase, but I think it's totally worth it.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

My new MacBook Pro has arrived! So this is a sort of preliminary post, before my actual write up on what I think of it.

Spec

For starters, this is the configuration of my new Mac:

  • 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • 3.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • Intel Iris Graphics 550
  • 256GB PCIe-based SSD

Name

The name you may of guessed already, is "Wrathion". I started this very recently, in which all of my devices are named after Dragons in WoW. For a bit of back story, the Black Dragonflight were my favourite, until they became corrupted, until one little egg was rescued and is now the only uncorrupted Black Dragon. He is still a whelp (like my 13" Mac), and is Black (sort of like my Space Grey Mac), so it sort of fitted!

Stickers

Yes, I've already put stickers on my Mac. Eight to be exact. I do plan on covering it even more, but I didn't want to rush into anything!

Anyway, here's a little GIF I made of my sticker situation:

Sticker MacBook

Thoughts So Far

This MacBook is amazing, and actually a lot better than I thought. Also, something which may be unique, I love the new keyboard.

I'll get on using my Mac, and pretty soon I'll be writing a better piece on what I think about it.

Stephen Hackett begins his monthly column on MacStories, with a really interesting article about where the been MacBook Pro fits in.

The current MacBook Pro line is a little bit of a mess. Even after brushing aside the last-generation machines that are still for sale, the current offerings are confusing. Both 15-inch models come with the Touch Bar, but only two of the three 13-inch models offered do.

That $1,499 non-Touch-Bar-but-still-in-the-new-skinny-case 13-inch MacBook Pro is what I'm typing on right now. It's a great little laptop. The screen is gorgeous, battery life is great and it's more than fast enough for what I need when I'm not in front of my 5K iMac.

You can clearly see Stephen has left his mark already, by quoting a piece from 2006.

Read the full post.