Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Daniel Osakwe
Review of the MacBook Pro 16-inch
Table of Contents
- The magic keyboard is amazing.
- The 16-inch display features slimmer bezels.
- In terms of sound, a laptop has never sounded better.
- A powerful 8-core Core i9 processor.
- Almost 11-hour battery life
- The display does not support 4K.
- It is heavier than a 15-inch MacBook Pro.
- There is no full-size USB port or SD card slot.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the largest MacBook we’ve reviewed so far. It offers the same powerful hardware and professional-class components as its smaller 15-inch sibling, but now it also packs a larger, more expansive keyboard, a larger trackpad, and a wider display. The result is a laptop that’s as powerful and productive as anything else on the market.
The new 16-inch MacBook Pro measures a massive 14.09 x 9.68 x 0.64 inches and weighs an equally hefty 4.5 pounds. It’s a lot of laptops for your arm to handle, but it’s also the most comfortable to use for extended periods of time. If you can’t handle the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you don’t belong in the Mac world.
This review focuses on the model that’s configured with a 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory, a 256GB SSD, and Radeon HD Graphics 5300M. This model is also available with an Intel Core i9 processor and up to 32GB of memory, and it comes with a 512GB SSD as well.
TECH SPECS FOR THE MACBOOK PRO 16-INCH
- CPU: 9th Generation Core i7, 9th Generation Core i9
- RAM: 16GB (expandable to 64GB)
- Storage ranges from 512GB to 8TB.
- GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M (4GB), Radeon Pro 5500M (up to 8GB)
- Display: 16 inches (2072 x 1920 pixels)
- Battery: 100-watt-hour up to 11 hours.
- Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.64 in.
- Weight: 4.3 pounds
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Price and release date
You can order the 16-inch MacBook Pro from Apple and other retailers, like Amazon. The product was released on November 15, 2019.
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 for the standard model with a Core i7 CPU, AMD Radeon 5300M GPU, and 512GB SSD. The new model replaces the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which was priced at the same level. You get a faster Core i9 CPU, Radeon Pro 5500M graphics, and a 1TB SSD for $2,799.
At $3,899, our review model offers 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a Radeon 5500M GPU with 8GB of RAM. This is quite expensive, especially considering a comparably configured Dell XPS 15 costs around $900 less.
There are, however, many good MacBook Pro deals out there. With a starting price of $2,199, we have seen the 16-inch MacBook Pro for $200 off.
On June 15, 2020, Apple added a new GPU option for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 8GB AMD Radeon Pro 5600M, which uses HBM2 memory, costs $700 more than the 4GB Radeon Pro 5500M. It’s not cheap, but it’s rated 75% faster than the 4GB 5500M.
16-inch MacBook Pro (2019): Keyboard
- Backlit Magic Keyboard that includes:
- 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 full-height function keys and 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement.
- Touch ID
- Light sensor for the environment
- For precise cursor control and pressure sensitivity, use the Force Touch trackpad.
Let’s begin with a discussion of the feel of this Magic Keyboard, which is based on Apple’s beloved desktop keyboards. As well as having a softer feel, the keys have more travel than the last few MacBook Pros. While typing this review, composing emails, or responding to Slack messages, I did not feel fatigued.
Apple has implemented a scissor mechanism with a new keycap design that is more concave, as well as a rubber dome under each key for better stability and comfort.
The MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) does not make me type any faster. It took me 74 words per minute to complete the assignment with 96 percent accuracy, which is only slightly faster than my average. My favorite thing about it is that I actually enjoy using it, even though you have to exert a little more effort when hitting the keys compared to the old flat-as-hell Butterfly keyboards.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch: The Touch ID
The Touch ID button on the MacBook Pro works well and is quick, but I wish Face ID were available for logging in, Apple Pay, and approving App Store purchases. It’s nice that Touch ID doesn’t require a password, and it’s nice that it’s also a power button.
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Display
- Liquid Retina XDR display.
- Up to 1000 nits of sustained brightness (full screen), 1600 nits of peak brightness
- Contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1
In light of the fact that the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) was designed for editing 4K video-in fact, it can handle 11 4K streams at once-I find it disappointing that this panel doesn’t support 4K.
The MacBook Pro has a resolution of 3072 x 1920, compared to 2880 x 1800 for the 15-inch model. Compared to its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro has a PPI of 226.
You can edit videos or binge-watch shows more easily with the slimmer borders. As I watched the trailer for The Mandalorian, I was able to see the fine vents on the dirty helmets of the Storm Troopers mounted on spikes.
Professionals will appreciate the ability to change the refresh rate of the display. Editors who want their content to be refreshed at the same frame rate should consider this.
According to our lab tests, the screen of the MacBook Pro is capable of reproducing 113.9% of sRGB’s color space. As a result, the OLED and non-OLED versions of the XPS 15 scored 239% and 210%, respectively. The HP Envy x360’s OLED version achieved 258%.
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) turned in a Delta-E score of 0.27, making it one of the most accurate displays around. A score of 0 indicates complete accuracy.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s display registered 429 nits, which is very bright, but below Apple’s 500-nit rating. Compared to the MacBook Pro, the OLED panel on the Dell XPS 15 reached a much higher 626 nits, but the non-OLED 4K model reached 418 nits.
Similarly, the HP Envy x360 15 with OLED was very bright at 483 nits, while the Razer Blade Pro 17 averaged only 267 nits.
Design of the 16-inch MacBook Pro
Those who have grown tired of Apple’s slab-of-aluminum laptop aesthetic will not be won over by the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019). Due to its smaller bezels around the screen, this machine does look more modern than other MacBooks.
The fact that I was able to work on this system without irking the person sitting next to me was pretty surprising to me as someone who commutes on a crowded bus for nearly two hours each way. The footprint of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is only 2% larger than that of the 15-inch model.
Nevertheless, you’re making some compromises here. Despite being slightly thicker and heavier, the 16-inch MacBook Pro weighs 4.3 pounds, as opposed to 4.02 pounds for the 15-inch model.
In comparison with its predecessor, the new Pro measures 14.09 x 9.68 x 0.64 inches. This laptop weighs 4.5 pounds and measures 1.1 x 9.3 x 0.5-0.7 inches.
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Ports
- SDXC card slot.
- HDMI port
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- MagSafe 3 port
- This device has three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports.
In my opinion, this isn’t very pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pros come with Thunderbolt 3 ports and USB-C connections.
This is nice, but I wish Apple would include a microSD card or SD card slot for photographers, as well as a full-size USB port. For other peripherals, you’ll need full-size USB cables, which means you’ll have to keep using dongles.
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Audio
- High-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers
- Wide stereo sound
- Support for spatial audio when playing music
Other laptop manufacturers should rethink their strategy. I have never heard of a sound system like the one on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
A force-canceling woofer delivers beefier bass that’s half an octave deeper while minimizing vibrations even at maximum volume.
As I played 311’s Beautiful Disaster with my wife in another room, she didn’t believe that the audio was coming from a laptop. Our first-generation Echo Show is much richer and fuller-sounding than this second-generation Echo Show. When I played the Mandalorian trailer in our office, several people said “wow.”
The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s studio-quality three-mic array will definitely be appreciated by podcasters and musicians. It has a 40% reduction in a hiss. This system would allow me to attend Google video calls without having to wear a dorky headset.
As a test of the mics, I conducted a live video interview on Cheddar without donning a headset, which is usually a big no-no for broadcasts. During the segment, however, my voice was heard clearly.
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Efficiency
- The CPU has 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores.
- 16-core GPU
- 16-core Neural Engine
- Memory bandwidth of 200GB/s
Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful laptops in its class. You can choose between an 8-core Core i9 CPU and a 6-core Core i7 processor. Even though you get 16GB of RAM out of the box, the system can handle up to 64GB of memory. During our testing, we found that 32GB was plenty for most applications.
Apple’s starting configuration includes 512GB of SSD storage, while the $2,799 model includes 1TB of storage. However, you can configure the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) with an 8TB SSD. The model we have has 2 TB.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro scored 7,250 on Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, a bit lower than the 7,584 scored by the Dell XPS 15 (which has a Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU).
Video editors will appreciate the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple’s system transcoded a 6.5GB 4K video to 1080p in just 8 minutes, which is the same amount of time it took the Dell XPS 15. However, that system had a slower Core i7 CPU, so it took longer than the Razer Blade Pro 17.
As usual, Apple SSDs are among the fastest in the world. The 16-inch MacBook Pro achieved write speeds of 2,805 MBps and read speeds of 2,540 MBps on the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. Compare that to the Dell XPS 15’s 2,224 MBps and 2,116 MBps for writing and reading.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro should be able to handle any workload with ease in the graphics department. Our review model has AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics and can be upgraded to AMD Radeon 5500M graphics with up to 8GB of video RAM.
With the resolution set to 1920 x 1200, the 16-inch MacBook Pro produced a fairly decent frame rate of 27.2 fps on the Rise of the Tomb Raider game benchmark.
With the same preset, the Dell XPS 15 scored 19.54 fps. Although the frame rate on the MacBook Pro dropped to 19.6 fps when we set the texture quality to very high (which is by default on the Dell).
MacBook Pro 16-inch: Battery duration
- Up to 21 hours of Apple TV app movie playback
- 14 hours of wireless web access
- A 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery 1
- The 140W USB-C Power Adapter
Legally, you are only allowed to include 100 watt-hours in a laptop. That’s exactly what you’ll get with the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple claims you will be able to surf the web for 11 hours on a 16-inch laptop, which sounds impressive.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro lasted 10 hours and 55 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous web browsing at 150 nits of brightness. This is great battery life for a big-screen laptop and outlasts competing Windows systems.
The OLED version of the Dell XPS 13 lasted 8 hours and 47 minutes, compared with the non-OLED version, which lasted 8 hours and 48 minutes. The Spectre x360 15 OLED lasted 7 hours and 46 minutes, while the non-OLED Spectre x360 lasted 8 hours and 9 minutes.
Apple does not make any claims about fast charging. Despite its size, the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s power brick is quite powerful, as it’s a 96W USB-C power adapter that’s the same size as the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s 87W adapter.
Every Apple laptop should have a keyboard like the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019). It’s great that Apple has included it in the MacBook Air since superior ergonomic comfort shouldn’t be a premium feature. This laptop offers plenty of other reasons to splurge, such as its vivid 16-inch display with narrower bezels, outstanding audio system, and excellent battery life.
Additionally, it is a very powerful laptop, thanks to the combination of a Core i9 processor, lots of RAM, and the fastest SSD in a laptop. If you want more power or extra features, you’ll have to decide how much more you’re willing to pay over the $2,399 starting price. The only drawbacks to the 16-inch MacBook Pro are its price and lack of legacy ports, which some professionals would appreciate.
It offers comparable performance, a keyboard with even more travel, and an OLED display for hundreds less than the MacBook Pro. However, if you demand a large canvas for work and play, the 16-inch MacBook Pro should satisfy you for years to come.