Two years after introducing the first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple has finally come up with a long awaited update, even for pros. Along with updating the keyboard, they’ve added a few great things. I had the chance to do a one-month test on the best version of Apple’s 15-inch model, with 32GB of RAM, a 4TB hard disk, and a 2.9 GHz 6-core Intel Core i9 processor.
Upon unpacking it, I didn’t see any difference between the current MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Pro 2018. So once I’d set it up, it was time to put it through a couple of tests.
What’s New with the MacBook Pro 2018?
In addition to the True Tone Display that adjusts the screen to the ambient light, which in turn makes the content easier on the eyes, Apple also improved the butterfly keyboard. Thanks to the new silicon membranes, it’s not just quieter as you type but it’s also supposed to protect the mechanism from dust and dirt and prevent the keys from jamming.
What some are already familiar with from the iMac Pro has now been incorporated into the new MacBook, namely, the T2 chip, which is supposed to give the user more security through secure booting like on-the-fly encryption and also alerts Siri with a “Hey Siri” prompt.
With the eighth generation of Intel Core processors (Coffee Lake), the new Apple laptop also has the latest technology, and according to Apple’s own statements, the 15-inch model is supposed to perform 70% better.
The Everyday Test – Quick and Quiet
The first thing you notice in your daily use of the new Apple computer is how quiet the keyboard is compared to its forerunner. Not that it bothered me a lot before, but a direct comparison proves that it can be even quieter.
When powering up the new MacBook Pro and also waking it up from sleep mode, the supplementary T2 chip first shows its effect in the encrypted hard drive. For a long time, I was critical of the loss in speed and hadn’t activated any encryption, but I was surprised at its performance in comparison to the previous model and found myself reconsidering non-encryption.
Editing photos in Lightroom and Photoshop works well, without any problems. The power of the 32GB RAM and the new core processors becomes apparent with larger files and 360-degree images that display as 3D. With the Apple MacBook`s ventilation, the device doesn’t need to cool down right away, and editing is also smoother than with my 2017 model.
The Pro Test – Better and Faster, but only after the Update
Apple promised 70% faster performance, and Apple is known for keeping its promises. I’m just thinking of the new iOS12 update, which is due to appear in the fall and which, even in the beta version, has already made my iPhone X significantly faster. Unfortunately, they originally didn’t quite fulfill their promise. Since the Coffee Lake processors needed to take a break after a while due to overheating, the system would slow down and wasn’t able to sustain the promised speeds. After the announcement came out, it only took Apple a few days to issue a software update that solved the problem and enabled them to keep their promise of improved performance.
Once this update came out, I started pitting the new and the old Mac against each other.
Lightroom HDR Test
MacBook Pro 2018 vs. MacBookPro 2017
Those of you who follow my Instagram channel know that along with the whole technology bit, I like to take photos in my spare time. Recently, the road led me to a hotel in Zermatt, where the best view is probably the one from its windows. To get the right image, I had to shoot it in HDR (three pictures with different lighting). I took them with a Nikon D850 and combined them later using Adobe Lightroom. The combining process took 10 seconds with my old Apple MacBook Pro with 16GB and 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, while the MacBook Pro test computer only took about four seconds.
Photoshop 360 Rendering Test
Aside from normal photography, I also deal with 360-degree photos. I take them with a Nikon D750 and a fisheye lens. In addition to using specific software, I edit the pictures in Lightroom and Photoshop. For this, the program displays the prepared image in 3D visualization format, which allows me to turn the sphere in every direction to retouch the image.
I used this for the first time with my 2017 MacBook Pro and was amazed at how the Apple notebook reached its limit and got really slow and loud because of the ventilation. That gave me the impetus to try the whole thing one more time on the 2018 version so that I could compare them. The ventilation also had issues here, but the image editing on the new MacBook Pro was smooth, more fluid, and faster.
One More Thing: eGPU – The MacBook Pro at Even Faster Speeds
After seeing the pros in Hollywood work with Blackmagic eGPU, I didn’t want to miss out on taking a closer look at this USB-C upgrade. Unfortunately, Adobe’s products – like Lightroom and Photoshop in my case – don’t yet support this technology, which is why I had to spend a little more time modifying my test environment. I’m happy to say that in the next few days, I’ll be posting an article about the eGPU with the Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor. But there’s one thing I should mention here: this part is definitely not dumb, and I’ll be testing it both with and against an iMac Pro.
Summary for the MacBook Pro 2018
After two years, Apple finally came out with a MacBook Pro installed with the latest technology and suitable for both pro and regular users. The new Intel Core processors and the option to upgrade to up to 32GB make the MacBook Pro 2018 model competitive again. The True Tone display, which we already know from the iPhone X and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, looks familiar and is definitely easier on the eyes. In the same way, the new keyboard is easy on the ears and repels dust and dirt, and my tests of the new Apple MacBook Pro show that the i9 processor provides quite a bit in the way of performance.
If you’re thinking of retiring your old MacBook, you should absolutely pay attention to price and what you actually need. The inexpensive 13-inch model starts at CHF 1999 or EUR 1999 and has 16GB RAM and a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor. If you’d rather have the luxury model, you can get the 15-inch MacBook Pro for CHF 7416 or EUR 7959, complete with a 4TB SSD hard drive, 32GB RAM, and the new 2.9 GHz 6-core Intel Core i9 processor.