MacBook Pro [Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015] : User Review
by Sophia Thornhill
At the end of 2015, I was in dire need of a new laptop. My MacBook Air was slowly deteriorating in terms of speed and efficiency, making my case for buying another Apple product very weak; pushing me to switch over to Microsoft or even Dell. The age-old question dawned upon me – Mac or Windows? I was taking an art course at the time and I needed a reasonably large screen to do work on, as well as a very high definition. Basing my purchase off of these two criteria the MacBook Pro was exactly what I needed. After having read about the fantastic retina display, great graphics, and seeing/feeling it in real life, I was sold. Until today the laptop is working like brand new, and even though the laptop sat at a pricey $1,399 at the time I don’t have a single regret spending that much.
BATTERY LIFE & CHARGING
Despite how much I love this laptop, the battery life on it has fallen considerably over the course of these 15 months. I use my laptop for almost the whole day, starting from about 9am until around 12am depending on when I sleep. From 100% at 9am, it will go down to about 30% by 1pm and die around 4pm if I don’t recharge it. This makes it a bit inconvenient if 1. I don’t have my charger on me, or 2. There is no power outlet where I am. Personally, I don’t find this a huge problem on a day to day basis but on flights (the ones that I take), there aren’t any power outlets available making a 9-hour flight rather boring if I can’t watch movies or TV shows. If you take flights/airlines that offer a charging outlet, or if you only take short flights – great! You will have a few hours of charger-free laptop and the availability to charge if you need to.
The laptop charges relatively fast, when I started writing this article it was at 3% and it’s been around 20 minutes and it’s at 20% – a little less than 1% per minute. As the percentage rises, the longer it takes for it to increase but the laptop can really string out its remaining power! It has survived on 1% for about 20 minutes before, much longer than any laptop I’ve previously owned.
PERFORMANCE & DESIGN
The design of the laptop is my favorite part. It’s very minimalistic with no external parts exposed, it’s sleek and relatively thin when closed. That was another factor that I considered when buying a laptop, I really enjoyed the look and feel of the simple exterior. The only downside is that this particular version, the 15 inch, is relatively heavy (2.04kg) and becomes quite a nuisance to carry around constantly if you work with it in more than one place. I find it only a minor inconvenience because it is just so useful and I don’t mind lugging it around for a few hours if I can sit down and work on it for the next few. Perhaps the 13-inch would’ve been a better investment as it is significantly lighter, but I really needed a large-screen laptop so I had to trade-off on the weight.
Unlike my MacBook Air that I previously had, this MacBook doesn’t overheat on its underside – even when I put it on fabric surface (i.e. a bed or a sofa) to watch a movie. It’s fantastic because I can put it on my lap without worrying if my legs will burn. It’s also generally a very quiet laptop unless you’re running many different programs on it simultaneously. The only occasions it has been loud is when I’ve had many programs open whilst using iMovie. I would recommend using ‘heavy’ programs, such as iMovie, when all other applications/programs are closed.
As for the actual display – it is perfection. With its Intel Iris Pro Graphics, everything is so smooth and well blended it almost feels surreal. The difference between this display and many other laptops on the market is huge. I was not only used to seeing individual pixels but working with a slow-functioning operating system on my previous laptop. The operating system for Apple (currently macOS Sierra) are optimized and have consequently to be updated from time to time, but I have never experienced lag or any problems with the operating system for this Mac – it has run smoothly since day one.
STRENGTH & DURABILITY
The only accidental encounter my laptop has faced has been a vertical drop on its side from my hands. I honestly thought it had shattered, but the fall did leave dents on two of the corners. I was pretty upset by the whole thing but the laptop still functioned perfectly, so the dents were purely an aesthetic downfall. Any problems I’ve had with it I’ve been able to solve at home using apple.com FAQ’s, other tech forums or even going to the shop I bought it from and asking what to do whenever I’ve had an issue.
[Below: dent 1 and 2]
One other favorite thing of mine about this laptop is that most settings are customizable, whether it’s changing colors, display scales, fonts, downloading programs – everything is easy, and foolproof.
The laptop comes with a built-in firewall so, despite the cost of it, you don’t have any additional costs for installing McAfee or Norton Anti-virus and having to update them as well.
The great thing about the underside of this laptop is that if there is ever any liquid on the surface upon which you place it on – you can easily wipe it off. This was such an important factor to me when considering my options because accidents are inevitable, but better to plan in advance. This laptop has all of its important components all locked in and no internal parts are exposed, making it very easy to clean anything off.
This version of the Pro has 2 USB ports on either side which I find to be very useful when editing videos; I use one port for a mouse and the other for a hard drive. It also contains a headphone jack, HDMI port, 2 lightning ports, and an SD card port. It has an adequate range of ports making it very manageable to connect third party devices.
This isn’t a fault of the laptop but of the Mac OS; whilst many programs have been optimized and built for Mac OS, there are a lot of programs out there that haven’t and become a hassle when you need to use them. Luckily there is a program called Bootcamp that allows a Mac user to operate Windows simultaneously, however, this makes the laptop run very slowly. There is the alternate option of being able to use solely Windows on the laptop, but I love the sleek appearance of the Mac OS. It really depends on what you’re used to and your preferences.
Overall, I am totally in love with this laptop. I would definitely recommend it to anyone – whether you are a scientist, architect, writer, artist, student… everything is very easy to find, manipulate, and use. It made my art projects much easier to organize, and it’s by far the most user-friendly laptop I’ve seen out there (from personal experience).
OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
[www.apple.com to read about more specifications or buy the laptop.]