- Improved performance
- Lightweight, slimline design
- Innovative Touch Bar
- High-quality Retina display
- Limited to 16GB memory
- No user upgrades or repairs
- USB-C connectivity only
Apple's June WorldWide Developer Conference had more than its fair share of product announcements, including the forthcoming iMac Pro and HomePod smart speaker. But perhaps a more important long-term development was Apple's belated discovery of virtual reality. If nothing else, the need to embrace VR has forced Apple to admit that Macs just don't cut it when it comes to the sort of 3D graphics performance required for this emerging technology.
Price & performance
The MacBook Pro got a major revamp last November, introducing a new, slimmer design, along with the eye-catching Touch Bar, so there's no significant change to the laptop's basic design.
The 15.4-inch Retina display offers 2,880-by-1,800-pixel resolution (220.5ppi) and 500-nits brightness, and is both a treat for the eye and well suited to graphics and video-editing work. At 1.83kg and measuring just 15.5mm thick, the MacBook Pro is also impressively slim and light for a laptop that delivers high-end performance.
Prices remain unchanged too, starting at a hefty £2,349 (inc. VAT; £1,957.50 ex. VAT, or $2,399 in the US) for the 'entry-level' model, which is now equipped with a 2.8GHz Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 555 GPU with 2GB of VRAM, and a 256GB SSD.
We tested the higher-end standard configuration, which costs £2,699 (inc. VAT; £2,249 ex. VAT, or $2,799 in the US) and now packs a Core i7-7820HQ CPU running at 2.9GHz (up to 3.9GHz with TurboBoost), 16GB of RAM, a 4GB Radeon Pro 560 GPU, and a 512GB SSD.
While the price points remain the same, these 2017 updates do provide a significant improvement in performance. In fact, the new £2,699 model that we tested delivered very similar results to a custom, BTO-configured model from last year that cost a full £3,329 (inc. VAT; £2,774.16 ex. VAT, or $3,499 in the US).
Processor performance in Geekbench 4 was slightly better than the 2016 BTO model, scoring 4760 for single-core performance and 15,890 for multi-core (compared to 4550 and 14050). Graphics performance was almost identical to last year's model, reaching 85fps when running the Cinebench R15 OpenGL test, while the AJA storage tests also reported similar scores, with write and read speeds of 2000MB/s and 2500MB/s respectively.
Battery life doesn't seem to have been affected by the more powerful GPU, still lasting for 7.5 hours when streaming video from BBC iPlayer (with the brightness level lowered to a perfectly watchable 50 percent), so you should certainly be able to get a full days' work from the MacBook Pro when you're out of the office.
Of course, the MacBook Pro's weaknesses remain the same: it's a professional-level laptop that's limited to a maximum 16GB of RAM, with no user upgrades or repair options available.
The 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro is still expensive, but it's undoubtedly better value for money than last year's model: our £2,699 (inc. VAT) review unit delivered professional-level performance that would have cost more than £3,300 just a few months ago.
Read more reviews
- Nokia 3, First Take: Affordable Android, but beware the trade-offs
- Mophie Charge Force cases for iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8, Juice Packs for Galaxy S8: hands-on
- Dell Latitude 5285 2-in-1 review: A business-class Surface Pro clone with a clever kickstand
- Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet review: Budget tablet gets a boost with Alexa
- Parrot Bebop 2: The FPV drone for work? (TechRepublic)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) review (CNET)
|Processor / Chipset|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 (7th Gen) 2.8 GHz|
|Max Turbo Speed||3.8 GHz|
|Number of Cores||Quad-Core|
|Cache||L3 - 6 MB|
|Features||Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0|
|Installed Size||6 MB|
|Memory Speed||2133 MHz|
|Configuration Features||provided memory is soldered|
|Installed Size||16 GB|
|Humidity Range Operating||0 - 90% (non-condensing)|
|LCD Backlight Technology||LED backlight|
|Monitor Features||220 ppi, Wide Color Gamut|
|Diagonal Size (metric)||39.1 cm|
|Display Resolution Abbreviation||WQXGA+|
|Audio & Video|
|Multi-GPU Configuration||1 single GPU card / integrated GPU|
|Graphics Processor||AMD Radeon Pro 555 / Intel HD Graphics 630 - 2 GB GDDR5 SDRAM|
|Sound||Stereo speakers, three microphones|
|SSD Form Factor||soldered|
|Type||Force Touch trackpad, Touch Bar, keyboard|
|Localization & Layout||English|
|Features||Multi-Touch Gesture Recognition, Touch ID sensor, ambient light sensor, force click, multi-touch touchpad, pressure sensitivity|
|Wireless Protocol||802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Drive Type||no optical drive|
|Clock Speed||2.8 GHz|
|Run Time (Up To)||10 sec|
|Input||AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)|
|Connections & Expansion|
4 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3
|Product Line||Apple MacBook Pro|
|Model||with Touch Bar|
|Country Kits||United States|
|Platform||Apple Mac OS|
|Hard Drive Capacity||256 GB|
|Included Accessories||USB-C power adapter|
|Data Link Protocol||Bluetooth 4.2, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n|
|Diagonal Size||15.4 in|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Type||1 year warranty|
|ENERGY STAR Certified||Yes|
|Min Operating Temperature||50 °F|
|Max Operating Temperature||95 °F|
|Operating System / Software|
|OS Provided: Type||Apple OS X 10.13 High Sierra|
|Type||Apple AirDrop, Apple AirPlay, Apple Automator, Apple Calculator, Apple DVD Player, Apple Dashboard, Apple Dictionary, Apple FaceTime, Apple Font Book, Apple GarageBand, Apple Image Capture, Apple Keynote, Apple Launchpad, Apple Mac App Store, Apple Mac OS X Chess, Apple Mission Control, Apple Numbers, Apple Pages, Apple Preview, Apple QuickTime, Apple Safari, Apple Stickies, Apple System Preferences, Apple TextEdit, Apple Time Machine, Apple iBooks, Apple iMovie, Apple iTunes, Calendar, Contacts, Dictation, Drivers & Utilities, Game Center, Maps, Messages, Notes, Notification Center, Photo Booth, Reminders, Siri, iCloud|
|Multi-GPU Configuration||1 single GPU card / integrated GPU|
|Graphics Processor||AMD Radeon Pro 555 / Intel HD Graphics 630|
|Graphics Processor Series||AMD Radeon Pro, Intel HD Graphics|
|Installed Size||2 GB|
|USB-C Ports Qty||4|
|USB-C Features||USB Power Delivery|