Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 Laptop Review: A convincing Core i9-9880H and Radeon Pro 5500M powered multimedia laptop

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Apple has refined upon the old 15-inch design with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro by making some small but important changes. Firstly, the company has replaced its much-criticised butterfly keyboard mechanism with a scissor-switch design that is not only proven and provides more travel than butterfly keys, but also should be more durable too. While Apple has taken heavily from the design of its most recent MacBook Pro 15 for the new 16-inch model, the latter is slightly thicker than its predecessor and delivers more efficient cooling too.

Unfortunately, Apple has persisted with only including four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack in the new MacBook Pro. Ethernet, HDMI, a card reader and USB Type-A are all things of the past in Apple’s ecosystem, so purchasing at least one dongle is probably necessary. Likewise, upgrade and repair options are as bad as they were previously, with Apple soldering the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD and Wi-Fi chip to the logic board. This means that you must not only live with an outdated 802.11 ac Broadcom Wi-Fi chip but also that you will need to replace the logic board if any of these components develop a fault.

The MacBook Pro 16 is an excellent and luxurious multimedia laptop with poor repairability.

The new 16-inch panel offers no surprises, either. The panel supports neither 120 Hz refresh rates nor Adaptive Sync, but its image quality is just as good as the display’s in previous MacBook Pros that we have reviewed. The larger chassis has also allowed Apple to equip the MacBook Pro 16 with significantly better speakers than its 15-inch predecessor had. More efficient cooling has been long overdue too and allows our review unit to get significantly better performance from its Core i9-9880H processor than its predecessor could. While its new Navi GPU does not set the Windows world alight, it represents a good upgrade from the Vega GPUs with which Apple equipped the last MacBook Pro 15.

The MacBook Pro 16 did not set any runtime records for multimedia laptops despite having a 100 Wh battery, as its Core i9 processor, large display and dedicated GPU are all power-hungry components. However, you should get close to two hours longer between charges when browsing the web than you could with the MacBook Pro 15, which is a tangible improvement. The MacBook Pro 16 should last at least a full working day between charges too, something that none of our comparison devices could achieve.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 16 is an excellent multimedia laptop. It suffers from a few weaknesses, the greatest of which is its exorbitant price. US$2,799 only gets you a year’s warranty too, and you may want to consider buying at least one USB Type-C dongle.

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