The battery life is good, but not great. Although Apple claims it has up to 10 hours of battery power, I typically find that it lasts about 7 hours or so with typical Internet usage before the battery begins to run low.
One of my least favorite features of the newer MacBook Pros is that they include only Thunderbolt ports that are compatible with USB-C. The problem is that most people typically have multiple devices that use different types of connectors, including USB-A, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, DisplayPort, and HDMI. The only way to connect those devices to the new MacBook Pros is by using an adaptor such as the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Macs that I reviewed previously here. So, if you’ll be purchasing a new MacBook Pro anytime soon, you’re going to have to also invest in a multiport adaptor.
Other notable features include the backlit keyboard, which is quiet and responsive. The touchpad on this MacBook is larger than the ones on my two prior MacBook Airs, measuring 3 inches by a little over 4 inches, which is a nice bonus.
And last, but not least, there’s the Touch Bar, which is located right at the top of the keyboard. As the name implies, it’s a touch-sensitive bar that allows you to control your MacBook’s systems and the different programs that run on your laptop. So, you’re able to control the volume and display brightness and are also able to activate Siri. For some people that Siri button might be useful, but I found that I inadvertently kept touching the Siri button, so I removed it from the Touch Bar.
The Touch Bar also works with various apps, including your web browser, Pages, Calendar, Facetime, and more. Whenever you open a compatible program, controls for the program appear on the Touch Bar, allowing you to interact with and control the program.
The Touch Bar has a lot of “wow” value, but isn’t something I would consider to be a must-have feature. I don’t use it that often, and typically find myself using the volume and brightness settings the most. But depending on your habits and the programs you use, you may find that you use it more often than I do.
The Touch Bar is an optional feature, and if you want it included on your MacBook, you’re going to pay $300 more for it. The increased price is somewhat significant given that the 13-inch MacBook Pro already has a fairly high entry point at $1,299 for the least expensive model. So, make sure it’s a feature that you truly will take advantage of prior to spending the extra money.
All in all, I’d recommend the 13-inch MacBook with the specs my laptop has, especially if you’ve already bought into the Apple ecosystem. It’s a powerful, compact laptop, and you always have the option to pay more for lots of bells and whistles, if that’s where your interests lie.