Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

This week my new MacBook Pro finally arrived.  To be specific it’s configured as follows.

Apple 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Space Gray)
2.9Ghz i5 Processor, 16Gb of Ram & 512Gb of Flash Storage.

Size and Weight

It’s noticeably lighter than the non USB-C model.  (.46lbs lighter)  Also the bezel on the screen is much thinner around the edges and the machine is noticeably thinner. (.11″ thinner)


The Transition

My biggest concern migrating to this machine from my 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display, was like most people, the transition to solely USB-C ports.  To give you an idea here is what my old setup looked like.



So as you can see there is a LOT going on here.  Most would probably say, “Just buy an iMac or a MacPro.” But the fact is I need to be portable with my photography.  My main obstacle was going to be getting the Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Dock to work with a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter to work sending data, audio, and video flawlessly.  Because remember the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar does not have anything but an Audio Jack and 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.

I was thrilled to learn that Apple’s adapter worked just as anticipated.  Problem is that was not the only adapter I was going to need to make all of this work.  In fact here is a list of all the adapters I did need.

1 Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
1 Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
2 Apple USB-C to USB-A Adapters

This very quickly tacked on another $100 but if it wasn’t for my Belkin dock still working that $100 would have easily turned into almost $300.

As for the USB-C transition it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  My setup now looks like this.


Not awful.  My biggest concern right now is I don’t have an SD card reading option.  9to5Mac did a poll on which port users use most and surprising only 18%+ people use that SD port regularly.  The photographers of the world might disagree.  Of course for another $30 Apple has the Adapter Available.


The Speeds

I must also note that the read write speeds of the built in flash storage is ridiculously fast. To give you a comparison here is the read/write speed of an External HD, Flash Drive, and Built in Flash Storage.

Apple Built In Flash
USB Hard Drive
USB Flash Drive

I’m really blown away with these speeds.  Even with the entry level i5 processor tasks like rendering in Final Cut Pro fly.  I maxed out the non-upgradable ram to 16GB.  Most people wish they had a 32GB option even it was exclusive to the 15″ model but 16GB will cover most people outside of creative professionals. If you’re going to do any upgrades at all upgrade the ram from 8-16GB.

As I mentioned the internal flash storage is wicked fast but if you can live with 256GB of storage internally and the rest on externals you’ll save yourself $200.

The Touch Bar

5 days into own thing this machine and the only thing I’ve used the Touch Bar for is changing the screen brightness.  I think the success of this feature is going to depend heavily on how third party apps incorporate their functionality into it.  Apple current uses it for predictive typing, showing my tabs in a safari browser, and your standard function keys and although I’ll admit it’s very fast, I just don’t see a ton of value in it.

Touch ID

This is Apple’s first computer to incorporate a Touch ID sensor similar to their mobile lineup.  They use it for the same functions such as unlocking the machine and approving Apple Pay transactions.  I don’t use it much as I do not use Apple Pay online and my Apple Watch typically unlocks my machine for me.  Interesting fact the Touch ID sensor also acts as a physical power button for force shut downs.

Overall Impression

The size and weight of the machine are easily my favorite part of the update.  Carrying it around in my camera bag the weight makes a huge difference.  If your considering upgrading I would heavily consider the pervious model that Apple is still producing.  You’ll save hundreds of dollars, not have the burden of having to carry so many dongles around, and still have an extremely capable machine.  As time goes on a USB-C becomes more mainstream it’ll make more sense but until now it’s not completely necessary.


Published by Jared

Founder of Days Away Creative LLC, The Growing Photographer, and more!

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