Review: The new MacBook Pro packs serious power, but only for a select few

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) $2,399 (starting) View Product The Good
Capable of incredible performance
Keyboard is improved
Always-on “Hey Siri” is nice to have
TrueTone display regulates screen “temperature” continuously
The Bad
Mediocre battery life
Touch Bar still a solution looking for a problem
Requires adapters to connect to legacy gear
Struggles with intense gameplay
The Bottom Line The 2018 MacBook Pro will satisfy creative professionals looking for raw power, but the cost, ongoing design issues, and lack of gaming prowess will keep others away.

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Where the new MacBook Pro does not fail to impress is in raw processing power power. Quite simply, this machine is a beast. The Core six-core i9 chip has a clock speed of 2.9GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz — the highest specs on any Mac laptop ever built.

You can feel it in everyday tasks like web browsing and the productivity apps I mentioned before. Websites load insanely fast: Over a T1 internet connection with about 450Mbps download speed, the media-rich front pages of The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, and Fox News all loaded in less than 2 seconds (sometimes less than one second). This was in an extension-free Safari with a completely clear cache; when I tried the same thing on Google Chrome (with a half-dozen extensions), the sites took 5 seconds or more to load.

Apps launch incredibly quickly, and running a dozen or more, including Photoshop and Lightroom, doesn’t even appear to slow things down (thank you, 32GB of RAM). Booting up, from a complete shutdown to the login screen, takes 10 seconds, and another 22 until you can actually do anything. Unlocking with the Apple Watch, something that takes so long on my 2015 MacBook Pro that I usually just end up typing in my password, is practically instantaneous.

That’s the easy stuff, though. Of course the MacBook Pro kills it when it comes to day-to-day tasks, but that’s not what it’s designed for. Where the processing power really comes in handy is with serious apps like Adobe Premiere.

To get a sense of just how much better the new MacBook Pro is at crunching video, I got an assist from Mashable video producer Michelle Yan. We copied over a roughly 12-minute 4K video (23.976 fps) to both a 2016 MacBook Pro (2.9GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM) and my test unit, then exported it on both machines.

On the 2016 MacBook Pro, the export took 6 minutes, 20 seconds. On the 2018 machine, it took 2 minutes, 11 seconds — about 66% faster.

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