MacBook Pro 16-inch Review

About the 16-Inch MacBook Pro

This $2,399-and-up laptop, built around a 16-inch, 3072x1920 display, isn’t that much thicker than its siblings at .64 inch. However, at 4.3 pounds, it is notably heavier. Inside, you have a choice of 9th-generation Intel i7 or i9 processors and AMD Radeon Pro graphics processors, from 16 to 64 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and 512 GB to 8 terabytes (TB) of solid-state drive (SSD) storage.

By using Intel chips instead of Apple’s own M1 chip, the Pro retains the ability to boot up Windows as well as macOS and to run Windows inside emulation apps like Parallels Desktop. But it loses out on the speed and battery-life gains newer MacBooks enjoy by using Apple's own processors.

Like other MacBooks, the 16-inch Pro doesn't include a touchscreen. It does feature the Touch Bar, a rectangular touchscreen above the backlit keyboard in place of the function keys that display controls and information about various apps. A Touch ID fingerprint reader sits to its right, while a 720p webcam is located above the display.

The MacBook Pro offers four USB-C ports, one of which will be occupied by the charger after you exhaust a battery life that Apple estimates at 11 hours of Web browsing. It supports Wi-Fi 5 (not the current Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5.0 rather than 6.0. There’s no memory-card slot, and you will need to get an adapter to connect USB-A peripherals.

MacBook Pro 16-inch

The 16-Inch MacBook Pro is Apple’s most expensive laptop, offering the biggest screen and the most storage. It’s also Apple’s oldest laptop, dating to 2019 and featuring 9th-generation Intel processors that are two series behind Intel’s latest, instead of the M1 Apple Silicon chips in the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook. But those Intel chips also make this the only Mac laptop that can boot into Windows and Apple’s macOS; if you need that option, a big screen, or more than two USB ports built in, the 16-inch Pro is your only laptop option from Apple.

MacBook Pro 16-inch

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16-Inch MacBook Pro Review

Reviewers lauded the MacBook Pro 16-inch – tied for 5th place in our Best Laptops of 2021 list – when it was introduced in late 2019. They complimented the big, bright screen with the laptop’s powerful processor, high-end graphics, extensive storage options, great sound quality, Touch Bar, and battery life. However, reviewers were less keen on the steep costs of buying more memory and storage than the 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD in the base configuration, on top of an already steep base price.

Apple’s move to design and use its own Apple Silicon processors leaves older, Intel-based Macs like the 16-inch Pro facing an uncertain future. For now, it retains the advantage of full compatibility with both existing Mac apps and Microsoft Windows apps, which it can run in its own window using emulation apps like Parallels Desktop, or it can boot up as a second operating system.

Is the 16-Inch MacBook Pro Right for Me?

Best for consumers who:

✓ Want the largest screen available on a MacBook

✓ Want to run both macOS and Windows on the same machine

✓ Are looking for the most storage and memory possible

Not Recommended for consumers who:

- Are on a tight budget

- Are looking for maximum battery life

- Want a thin-and-light laptop

The $2,399+ price alone will rule out the 16-inch MacBook Pro for many shoppers. But even those who do value having a larger screen and more expansion ports need to weigh these features against having to use an older processor. For many, it would make more sense to get the new MacBook Air M1 or 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon chips.

While the MacBook Pro 16-inch's Intel processor currently lets it boot up into either Windows or macOS and run Windows inside the Mac desktop, macOS will eventually drop Intel support. Although no one knows why, Apple waited three and a half years to drop support for its old PowerPC processors after the January 2006 debut of the first Intel-based Mac.

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The MacBook Pro 16-inch stands both atop and apart from a Mac laptop lineup. It’s far more expensive than the new $999-and-up MacBook Air and $1,299-and-up MacBook Pro 13-inch, but it runs on Intel processors instead of the M1 Apple Silicon chip in those two cheaper models. Thus, choosing between this laptop and its siblings means comparing the utility of a bigger screen and more expansion options with the slower speeds and shorter battery life of an older processor.

Apple also sells desktop Macs, most of which still feature Intel processors. Expect the all-in-one iMac, $1,099 and up, to join the $699-and-up Mac mini in transitioning to Apple Silicon soon, while the much pricier iMac Pro and Mac Pro will probably take longer.

Apple doesn’t position its iPad tablets – in particular, the bigger-screen iPad Pro line – as competition for its laptops. But if you’re not too attached to desktop apps, you might find that an iPad works for your portable computing needs at a much lower price than the MacBook Pro.

How Much Does the MacBook Pro 16-inch Cost?

The MacBook Pro 16-inch starts at $2,399 but can cost more than twice as much if you max out every option. Going from the base Intel i7 processor to an i9 adds $300, doubling the memory from 16 GB to 32 GB costs $400, and graphics upgrades go from $100 to $800. Extra storage gets particularly expensive: Getting a 1 TB solid-state drive instead of the standard 512 GB runs $200 extra while going all the way to 8 TB will tack on $2,400.

How to Buy a 16-Inch MacBook Pro

You can buy a 16-inch MacBook Pro and other MacBooks on Apple’s website or through one of its many retail stores, or you can purchase a MacBook through one of the numerous third-party resellers. These retailers can offer slight discounts from Apple’s pricing, so make sure you see what deals they’re running. To buy a MacBook Pro:

1. Estimate your storage and memory needs. You are most likely to wish you’d bought more storage later on; although you can plug in an external hard drive, that’s not very convenient on a laptop that you carry around.

2. Compare prices at Apple and third-party vendors. Other retailers may beat Apple’s pricing by a small margin. If you have an Apple Card, however, you get 3% cash back on Apple purchases.

3. Buy the laptop.

16-Inch MacBook Pro (2019) FAQ

What Is the 16-Inch MacBook Pro Warranty?

Apple’s standard warranty lasts for one year. You can buy additional coverage by paying for AppleCare+, which runs $379 for three years and covers two incidents of accidental damage a year; you’ll still have to pay a $99 deductible for screen repairs and $299 for other types of fixes. You can get AppleCare+ when you purchase the laptop or no more than 60 days later.

How Do I Contact Apple’s Customer Service?

Apple offers customer support via a toll-free, 24/7 telephone line as well as email and webchat. Twitter help is also available from the @applesupport account. In addition, the company provides something most of its competitors don’t: in-person support from the Genius Bar in its retail stores.

Can a 16-Inch MacBook Pro be upgraded?

No. Apple doesn’t design its laptops for user serviceability in general. The MacBook Pro 16-inch makes it even more difficult for customers or even repair technicians to perform their own upgrades because its processor, memory modules, and SSD all come soldered to the motherboard.

16-Inch MacBook Pro vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the 16-inch MacBook Pro or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon?

Both Apple and Lenovo’s flagship laptops can put a comparable dent in your wallet. But the X1 Carbon 8th Gen’s smaller size and lighter weight will leave less of a dent in your shoulder. Plus, with the X1 Carbon, you won't have to carry around adapters to connect older devices and cables to the USB-C ports. The X1 Carbon also has an available touch interface. Apple’s macOS is generally lower maintenance than Microsoft’s Windows, plus you can run Windows on the MacBook Pro if you want to. And the 16-inch MacBook Pro includes the Touch Bar, which many users find convenient.

Which Is Better: the 16-inch MacBook Pro or the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14?

Each of these laptops places a premium on graphics-processing power, but where the 16-inch MacBook Pro assumes that users will put that in the service of image- and video-editing apps, the use case for the Zephyrus is video games. Going with the Asus leaves you with a smaller screen but more expansion possibilities, including the ability to plug in standard USB and HDMI cables without an adapter. The Asus also costs a lot less, especially when you factor in that laptop starting with a 1 TB solid-state drive. But the Asus can’t run the macOS, while the MacBook Pro can run both Apple’s operating system and Microsoft’s Windows.

Which Is Better: the 16-inch MacBook Pro or the Dell XPS 15 9500?

Owners of either of these computers have to carry around adapters for USB-A devices, as both include only USB-C ports to connect peripherals. The Dell only has three ports versus four on the Mac, but it offers an SD Card reader and includes cable adapters in the box. The Dell costs much less than the MacBook and includes a current Intel processor, Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking, and an optional touchscreen. The Mac’s Touch Bar is a poor replacement for Windows 10’s comprehensive touch support. However, the Mac can run Windows 10 in addition to Apple’s macOS, and that flexibility alone may justify its higher price for some.


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