The Good The 15-inch MacBook Pro has a brilliant Retina display, a powerful processor and new video card options, as well as faster flash storage and a new Force Touch trackpad.
The Bad It offers only the smallest updates compared to last year’s version, despite its very high starting price. The new AMD graphics aren’t very conducive to gamers.
The Bottom Line The current 15-inch MacBook Pro owners do not need the upgrade, but a few tweaks here put this expensive system at the top of the list for powerful mid-range laptops.
Editorial Note (June 27, 2017): At this year’s World Developers Conference , Apple gave its laptop line a modest makeover. The $1,299 12-inch MacBook and $999 13-inch MacBook Air have been updated with faster, more powerful Intel processors. New MacBook Pros – the $1,299 13-inch, $1,799 13-inch with Touch Bar, and $2,399 15-inch with Touch Bar – Have these new circuits, along with updated graphics hardware.
Otherwise, except for the fall in RAM and a slight drop in prices there, the 2017 party is very similar to the one from 2016, with the same enclosures, ports, trackpads and screens. But be warned: Buying a new MacBook Pro may require you to invest a variety of adapters for your legacy devices. Also note that 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2015 was discontinued though $ 1,999 15-inch model from this year, which is fully viewed below, remains accessible to anyone who wants all ports and fewer keys.
Apple’s MacBook Air and Pro lines have remained unchanged for generations. Each year brings several settings and updates, usually only for internal components, from better hard drives to faster Wi-Fi to new processors. That’s just because both the Air and Pro designs were so far ahead of the curve when they first introduced that these laptops still look so modern.
During 2015, almost every MacBook received some updates, though they were largely a blink of a flash and a loss. And both MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro have been upgraded to fifth-generation Core i processors, also known as Broadwell, and the 13-inch Pro has also added a new Force Touch trackpad.
The one-of-a-kind touch panel that uses four sensors and some quick feedback rather than the traditional hinge was one of the highlights of the new 12-inch MacBook , A 2-pound ultraportable portable unit that has been the sole design of Apple laptops in recent years.
With all the changes above and the all-new 12-inch MacBook, the 15-inch MacBook Pro feels like it’s been spotted in the upgrade section. The 15-inch Pro gets a Force Force trackpad and faster solid-state hard drive, as well as updated graphics in the form of an AMD Radeon R9 M370X GPU. But perhaps the most important component upgrade is missing, as the Core i7 processor is the same as last year’s model (five generations of Intel’s fifth-generation Core i7 chips are just beginning to leak out).
Despite the lack of major changes, the 15-inch MacBook Pro remains the largest and most powerful Apple laptop and has excellent day-to-day performance, especially if you need extra GPU power for photo or video work, or a generous screen of true 15-inch Retina panel.
Prices remain the same – at $ 999 for the base model (£ 1599, $ 2799) and $ 2499 (£ 1,999, $ 3,499) for our updated test unit, with a larger 512GB hard drive and AMD graphics. This makes it a great investment, especially compared to the 13-inch Pro, which is available for only $ 1,299 (£ 999, $ 1799). Unless you specifically need the size, power or features of a 15-inch MacBook Pro, this 13-inch model is our current choice for the most versatile all-rounder MacBook.
Apple MacBook Pro (15 inches, 2015)
|Price as reviewed||$2,499|
|Display size/resolution||15.4-inch 2,880 x 1,800 Retina screen|
|PC CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon R9 M370X|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||Apple OS X Yosemite 10.10.3|
Design and features
With only minor internal changes, this MacBook Pro looks the same as what we looked at mid-2014 , and in fact the design of the product has only slightly changed since 2012.
In addition to being a year older, most of our impressions of the design of the last few iterations of this notebook remain the same.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is slim but with a wide desktop size. Especially when compared to newer, lighter laptops, it feels denser than it seems at first glance, but there is a certain sense of indestructibility due to its non-flexible aluminum construction. It is not a full day package, although it could be pulled over to work and to work or on a day trip without much hassle.
The keyboard remains the same as in the last few generations of the MacBook. Other laptops match, but do not exceed, the backlit Apple keyboard, with the exception of Lenovo, a company that invests heavily in keyboard development and development.
New for this year is Apple Force Force Trackpad . Already available on the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Force Touch trackpad eliminates the upper hinge, which previously required physically pushing the glass top of the pad, usually somewhere from the bottom half, to register properly. Instead, the new pad places four sensors under the pad, one at each angle. This replaces the design, which some describe as a “diving board” with a simple, flat surface.
Four sensors do this so that you can “click” anywhere on the surface of the pad with the same results, and a push effect that combines sensors with quick (or “tactical”) feedback allows you to have two levels of click perception within application or task. This deep clicking feels like a finger and the brain, like a trackpad, has a stepped physical mechanism, but in fact the movement you feel is a small tactile tactical tap, which, even when fully explained, still feels like you’re suppressing a two-level trackpad.
On the one hand, it is brilliant engineering that will help future laptops be thinner with less moving parts. On the other hand, it’s so easy to do that you’ll never notice the difference.
The 15-inch Retina display looked eager when it was first introduced, but is now better than the HD resolution on widespread laptops of all sizes and prices. Still, it remains a major selling point, and it looks just as crisp, bright and sharp as any high-end laptop. The Retina screen has a resolution of 2 880 x 1800 pixels and is best demonstrated when displaying text or professional high resolution photography. In 2015, every Apple laptop except the two Air models and the lone “classic” MacBook Pro, still surprisingly available, has a display better than 1080p.
Ports and connections
|Video||HDMI, mini-DisplayPort (x2)|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, combo headphone/microphone jack|
|Data||2 USB 3.0, 2 Thunderbolt 2, SD card reader|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
Connectivity, performance and battery
That’s about as far away from one USB-C port on a new 12-inch MacBook as you can get. Here you get two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, which also doubles as a Mini DisplayPort output, an SD card slot, as well as Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. You won’t find an optical drive or an Ethernet jack, but both are increasingly rare, even on 15-inch laptops.
This is a premium laptop and you can fairly expect premium performance from it. At the same time, this model does not upgrade its processor from the previous fourth-generation Intel Core i-series to the current fifth-generation chips (as seen in 13-inch Pro and Air), so the year-over-year growth is minimal. It is also difficult to compare the 2014 and 2015 configurations we tested, since our 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2014 only had Intel’s integrated Iris graphics, while our 2015 configuration has a discrete AMD graphics card, the Radeon R9 M370X.
Compared to mid-size Windows laptops running Core i7 processors and the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2014 and 2015, they closely match Razer Blade , and slightly faster than the new Dell XPS 15 with Nvidia graphics and 4K display. And all of the above is much faster than the fifth-generation Core i5 processor in the 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro.
An AMD graphics card, which is included in the more expensive MacBook Pro configuration, is useful for editing high-end photos and videos. As for games, this is probably less. OS X is still anemic at best, even in higher-end games such as BioShock: Infinite and Metro: Last Light, only available for Macs in crippled forms that lack some high resolution and detail settings. Even then, Nvidia midrange GPUs such as the GeForce 750M on the Dell XPS 15, which we tested, are better tuned to the core games, at least in this head-to-head comparison, using the Tomb Raider cross-platform game.
Apple claims that operating system connectivity and battery chemistry should take you about an hour of extra battery life in this 2015 MacBook Pro compared to the 2014 model year. Again, perhaps because this year’s test unit should support a separate graphics card, and the one we tested last year did not last, the battery life we saw in the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro compared to the 2014 model , was almost the same. This system worked at 9:34 am during a video battery test, about 15 minutes longer than our 2014 test suite.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is a powerful yet portable laptop that feels more at home at the desk (perhaps tied to external hard drives and docking stations) than in a travel bag. But it’s also thin and lightweight to make an episodic trip without burdening it, so Apple freely charges such a premium for other 15-inch high-end laptops as well as for the rest of the MacBook range.
It is the largest and most powerful laptop that Apple produces, and if you don’t upgrade to a 5K iMac or Mac Pro desktop, it will be on the wishlist of photographers, designers, video makers and more.
But for everyone else, it may be a better choice in the MacBook lineup. The 13-inch Pro is the current champion for the combination of price, performance and features, while the 13-inch Air, while slightly dated in design, is still an extremely useful laptop at a very affordable price.
|Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2015)||Apple OSX 10.10.3 Yosemite; 2.5 Intel Core i7-4870HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M370X; 512GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2014)||Apple OSX 10.9.4 Mavericks; 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4770HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1536MBB Intel Iris Pro Graphics; 256GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2015)||Apple OSX 10.10.2 Yosemite; 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-5257U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1866MHz; 1536MB Intel Iris Graphics 6100; 128GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 15 (4K, 2015)||Microsoft Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-4712HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M; 512GB SSD|
|Razer Blade (14-inch 2015)||Microsoft Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 4720HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M; 256GD SSD|