Prior to Apple releasing the new all USB-C/Thunderbolt (dongle life) MacBook Pro last year, I was rocking a 2009 15" MacBook Pro. It didn't have a retina screen, and it shipped with 4GB of RAM and a 320GB mechanical hard drive. I loved that computer. In fact, I still do. It is still in use by the 10-year old boy and he enjoys playing Minecraft on it and watching YouTube videos. Fortunately, I had upgraded it to 8GB of RAM and swapped in an OWC SSD drive, giving it new life. But 7.5 years was far too long in between upgrades.
I had almost purchased a MacBook Pro in early 2015 but was hoping for some Intel SkyLake Core i7 love in the Mac lineup and Apple finally delivered late last year. They also unveiled the TouchBar. I jumped on the opportunity to buy the latest and (as advertised) greatest. While the controversy was high, especially with Apple supposedly price-gouging, I was all in.
Spending just shy of $4,000 with AppleCare (*gasp*) I am hoping to squeeze another 4-5 years out of this machine as my primary computer. I was totally sold on all the fast-forward thinking with this computer. The ubiquitous configuration of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports on this computer definitely comes with its fair share of pros and cons, but I won't get into too many specifics here. All I'll say is #donglelife has not really been an issue for me. I bought a couple of necessary dongles and like the flexibility and the fact that I can charge the laptop on any available port. The 15" is fortunate enough to have 4 ports. I'm sure the 13" and the non-Pro MacBook with only 1 port definitely faces more day-to-day struggles.
The TouchBar has been fine. There's nothing very special about it, and it has worked as expected. I don't use many of its features except for some emojis and autocorrect functionality as found in iOS. TouchID though is definitely nice for logging in and authorizing software to be installed. The keyboard is a mixed bag. I'd be lying if I said I preferred the new low-travel butterfly style keyboard. There are countless horror stories of how a single piece of dust requires repair, but again - I've been fortunate enough to not experience this yet (*knocks on wood*).
Performance has been stellar. The screen is outstanding. Speakers are great, especially for a laptop. I have my laptop connected to LG's 5K UltraFine Display via a single Thunderbolt 3 port which not only handles all audio and video (including HD camera) via the single cable, it the monitor also charges the laptop all through the single cable. It's pretty impressive. I would've much rather preferred an Apple-made display, but you take what you can get.
I sometimes wonder if I should've just bought a 13" version instead. It'd be a bit more portable and the performance would've sufficed. However, I didn't really want to experience any shortcomings. I upgraded to the highest available processor, the highest video card, and bumped up to 1TB of SSD storage. Spending almost another $800 on 2TB was out of the question, but maxed out otherwise. It wasn't a fun day on the wallet, but I'm very satisfied with this computer.
If it lasts the 4-5 years I'm hoping for, it'll be well worth it. A year later, I still love it. I still love its performance, capabilities, and being somewhat "future proof." It'd be nice if Apple had waited a full year to bump up the specs a bit, but the performance delta wasn't anything too upsetting. I'm just hoping my keyboard holds up. Until then, it's a rock-solid performer, looks phenomenal, and provides you with a first-class experience.