Looking for a budget-friendly premium laptop that can seamlessly tackle a range of tasks, from video editing to programming? The 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro might have piqued your interest. However, as we step into 2024, the question remains: Is this aging laptop worth it?
A Timeless Design
One of the standout features of the 2016 MacBook Pro is its design. Even by today’s standards, it maintains a modern aesthetic. Available in Space Grey and Silver, it embodies the iconic Apple look. This model was the pioneer of the Touch Bar, an OLED strip that replaced traditional function keys, offering context-sensitive controls.
Beyond aesthetics, the MacBook Pro 2016 introduced a thinner and lighter design, a larger trackpad, a touch ID sensor and four Thunderbolt 3 ports. These improvements brought it to the forefront of laptop innovation at the time. However, it also carried its share of drawbacks, including the controversial butterfly keyboard and the absence of legacy ports.
Performance and Display
Under the hood, the 2016 MacBook Pro packs decent specs for a laptop in this price range. Equipped with a 6th Gen Intel Skylake processor, this laptop is capable of handling light to semi-intensive tasks like 4K video editing. Dedicated graphics options, including AMD Radeon Pro GPUs, further enhanced its performance.
The Retina display, with a resolution of 2880 x 1800 pixels and 500 nits of brightness, remains stunning. Its wide color gamut (P3) ensures vibrant and accurate visuals, making it a top choice for creative professionals. In 2023, this display still holds its own against newer competitors.
With a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of LPDDR3 memory, this MacBook Pro delivers a decent level of performance. While it may not match the power of the newer M1 and M2 MacBooks, it handles most everyday tasks smoothly and efficiently.
The laptop also boasts dual graphics processors: an integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 and a discrete AMD Radeon Pro 450 or 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This versatility allows it to tackle applications like Final Cut Pro X, Pixelmator Pro and Adobe Photoshop. The ability to switch between graphics processors based on workload helps to preserve battery life.
Connectivity and Features
The four Thunderbolt 3 ports offer high-speed data transfer, charging capabilities, and compatibility with various external devices and displays. The addition of USB-C support ensures flexibility when connecting peripherals and adapters.
The inclusion of the Touch Bar, while divisive, offers context-sensitive controls and shortcuts for different tasks. Its integration with Touch ID adds a layer of convenience and security.
- Butterfly Keyboard: One major downside is the infamous butterfly keyboard. Its reliability issues and the cost of repairs after the warranty period can be a significant concern.
- Software Support: The 2016 MacBook Pro no longer receives major software updates. While it will still receive security updates for a while, its long-term viability is limited.
- Port Selection: The lack of legacy ports may require you to invest in adapters or dongles, which can be inconvenient and costly.
- Pricing: Used prices for this model can still be relatively high, especially when compared to newer alternatives.
- Overheating and poor battery life: When running intensive tasks, the laptop usually gets hot, making it uncomfortable to use. Battery life is also not great, especially when you compare it to modern laptops.
The 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro remains a solid and stylish laptop that can handle most tasks in 2023. However, the butterfly keyboard issues and limited software support make this a bad choice. If you prioritize reliability and longevity, you might want to explore other options.
If you’re on a tight budget and are okay with an older laptop, consider the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro, which offers a better keyboard and retains legacy ports. Ultimately, your choice should come down to your budget and priorities. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the M1 MacBook Air or the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air offer exceptional performance and longevity, making them worthwhile investments for years to come.
In the end, the 2016 MacBook Pro is a testament to Apple’s commitment to design and performance, but its age and quirks may leave you looking for a more future-proof choice.
For more budget Macbooks, click here to read our article on whether the 15-inch 2013 Macbook Pro is worth it.