We’re back with what we think could be Apple’s best overall laptop, the MacBook Pro 13″, 2019 model. With this model, Apple has brought the price down to a point where you’re forced to wonder if you should even go for the Air models anymore because for just a few hundred dollars more, you’ll get a more powerful laptop that might better suit your needs.
With our model packing a 1.4GHz 8th-gen quad core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 256GB of storage (customisable up to 2TB), this is a great laptop for its price (S$1,899 as configured).
There are two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports on this model along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which works fine if you’re working light. There’s up to 4 ports on the higher-end models, but we do wish that there are at least 3 ports on all models, since two ports are easily used up with one for charging and the other for connecting an external hard drive or the likes.
The build quality is great, as expected of Apple’s products. Even after a few years, it’ll still appear as a premium product and solid to the touch. This is a 13.3″ Retina display with True Tone, DCI-P3 wide colour gamut and 500 nits of brightness. We do prefer the screen to be a bit brighter, but for most daily use cases, it works fine.
The controversial touch bar has joined the 13-inch MacBook Pro, replacing the command keys at the top. We’ve gotten used to not having the physical buttons and feel that the touch bar actually streamlines the look of the laptop. There’s also Touch ID which is good for making purchases and such securely.
The keyboard is also improved, but not the best. It would be nicer to have a bit more click and key travel distance, but there’s still areas to be better here. Audio quality is good, but not better than the higher-end MacBooks.
Our favourite part of pretty much any Apple laptop is the trackpad, and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint. Not many other laptops can match the responsiveness and feel of Apple’s trackpads, and we’ve certainly been spoiled in this aspect.
Battery life is good, with a solid 7 to 8 hours on normal usage and if we bring the brightness down, we could probably push it to 10 or 11 hours, which is exactly in line with what Apple claims. Of course, this is dependent on what we’re using. If it’s Photoshop and Lightroom, the battery life will definitely be shorter than if we’re just viewing YouTube videos and browsing the web.
The big issue we have with this MacBook Pro model is the RAM. The base configuration comes with just 8GB and that’s not enough for productivity apps such as Lightroom, Photoshop or video editing software nowadays. Even phones have more than 8GB of RAM, so we’d really like to see the base configuration start at 16GB of RAM instead, for the MacBook Pro line.
We’re left scratching our heads and wondering where the Air is going to fit into the Apple lineup. Comparing the price of the MacBook Pro we’re testing (S$1,899) against the MacBook Air (S$1,789), there’s no reason to save that S$100 odd dollars and get a laptop that’s quite a bit less.
Granted, the Air is beautiful and perhaps the lightweight factor is enough for some users to choose it over the Pro, but we’re finding that we’re picking it up a lot less thanks to the MacBook Pro.
We won’t compare these to the Windows laptops out there, because honestly, when you buy an Apple product, it’s about buying into an ecosystem that works flawlessly together, and that’s the real value of Apple products.
More information on the MacBook Pro 13″ 2019 is available on Apple’s website.