Last month my old MacBook Pro 15″ 2011 was replaced by a brand new MacBook Pro 2016. Here I will list pros and cons and why I am really waiting for a docking station. In summary, I am very happy with my new working device, but Apple could have avoided some annoyances.
What is better
I am very happy with this one, even if I would like to have more than 16 GB of memory. But the MacBook is a lot faster that in the past because the 1 TB SSD is lightning fast.
So, these are the pros:
* SSD is lightning fast. There is no comparison to the old SATA SSD in my old MacBook.
* The display is by far better than the old one.
* The fingerprint sensor ist definitively a plus. Starting a screen lock when leaving the desk for short is so comfortable now. But the sensor makes a somehow shaky impression.
* Since macOS os still missing a keyboard shortcut for screen lock the Touch Bar is quite useful because you can define your own key for that purpose. But it is of limited use if you tend to use your MacBook closed with an external display.
* The Touchpad is bigger and far better to use than the old one. I must admit that I am a Touchpad fanboy and do not use a computer mouse anymore.
What is worse
- Neither SSD nor RAM can be replaced or upgraded: You are stuck with the pre-configuration by Apple. This only does not only mean that you have to pay the irrational Apple prices. Another consequence is that – if you are using your equipment for about 5 years – you have to buy the full packet at the beginning. This is really expensive.
- The old keyboard was one of the best keyboards I ever worked with. I have problems to reach the same speed with the new one. And it is much louder. I wish Apple would have stayed with the old keyboard.
- I must admit that I really miss a physical escape key. It is not only that the haptic is something worse with the Touch Bar, sometimes when I need the escape key within some application it simply is not available for me.
- The old MacBook had some lights one the side for controlling the battery status if the MacBook was closed. This was quite useful.
- The new MacBook comes without any display connector currently provided by display manufacturers – no display port, mini display port or HDMI port. Even for my LG 34UM95-P I will need a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 connector. This will maybe become better in the future, but at the moment this is a real discomfort. When I used Apple’s HDMI adapter for the first time at a customer it requested to install some driver and requested a reboot. Quite awkward and something Apple could have preinstalled.
In my work as a consultant I have to do presentations or live trainings a lot. Thus I need different adaptors to take with me. It would have been nice if an HDMI connector would have been part of the MacBook.
- I loved the MagSafe magnetic power connector. It saved my old MacBook several times when my kids where playing together or with friends. I see the advantage in consolidating port types, but I still miss it.
- The biggest joke is that the MacBook comes without an ethernet connector. To make things even worse, at the time of buying there was really no adapter available from Apple. (I am not sure if this is still the case.) So I am stuck with an adapter from StarTech and for the first time I had to install a driver from an external manufacturer for something I use for my daily work with my MacBook. Needless to say that I had to reinstall the driver after some macOS update. Quite annoying.
The connector trouble is the biggest issue with the new MacBook. You are able to recognize MacBook users like me by carrying a bag of adapters with them.
What is missing
- Since I plan to use my MacBook for the next 5 years I would have liked to order one with 32 GB of RAM. I fear I will have to face some memory shortage in the future when running different VMs on it. Check Point explained that they expect 8 GB of RAM for their R80 management server. So a poc installation with one management server and a gateway cluster will result in 12 GB RAM used. One or two additional client and server VMs and the memory is gone.
- What is really, really missing are docking stations. I was used to connect my old macbook to my display, to power and to an USB hub when I came into office in the morning. Now I have to connect an USB-C cable for power, one USB-C adaptor for Thunderbold 3 to Thunderbolt 2 and the monitor cable to that. Then I connect my USB-C to Ethernet and USB-A adapter, hope that the driver starts and connect the USB hub and ethernet cable to that. Apple, what is the use of selling cool looking computers leading the users to act very uncool every time they want to work with them? And why do you bring such a product to market if you are not able neither to deliver the necessary adapters with it nor to sell a corresponding docking station? Are you only aiming at hipsters sitting at Starbucks and are you completely uninterested in people doing real business with your products?
As you can see from above there is a real need for docking stations. You could connect them with only one Thunderbolt 3 cable for power and data. That sounds nice. But it seems that none are available on the market at the moment. Be aware that there exist some Thunderbolt 3 docking stations which are said not to work with the new MacBook Pro because they use an old Texas Instruments chip set.
These are the docking stations announced and aimed to MacBook Pro 2016 that I found:
|Belkin announced a dock to be operated separated from the MacBook. It is connected with an USB-C connector, delivering power.||Soon||???|
|CalDigit announced a dock to be operated separated from the MacBook. It is connected with an USB-C connector, delivering power. This dock also provides eSATA connectors.||
|CalDigit announced a dock to be operated separated from the MacBook. It is connected with an USB-C connector, delivering power. It is said that power is only 15 W.||
|Elgato announced a dock to be operated separated from the MacBook. It is connected with an USB-C connector, delivering power.||Soon||300 €|
|Henge Docks announced a vertical dock to operate with a closed MacBook. The MacBook is placed into this dock.||Spring 2017||189 €|
|Henge Docks announced a horizontal dock to operate the MacBook opened. It is also available with either 2 USB-C or 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports (price in brackets). The MacBook is placed into this dock.||Spring 2017 (???)||549 € (???)|
|OWC Digital announced a dock to be operated separated from the MacBook. It is connected with an USB-C connector, delivering power.||Late April||319 €|
Maybe someone is willing to add some more information in the comments section.
- 03/14/2017: Release of CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Lite
- 04/10/2017: Change of release date for CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 from Q1/2017 to 05/2017