This is one of 5 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:

1. How you can choose the best Macbook
2. How to choose the best Macbook Air 11
3. How to choose the best Macbook Air 13
4. How to choose the best Macbook Pro 13
5. How to choose the best Macbook Pro 15 (this article)

Who is the Apple Macbook Pro 15 ideal for?

Someone who wants one of the best laptop available on the market. Someone who wants the most powerful Apple laptop available. Anyone who wants a laptop that’s solid, powerful, with an excellent battery life, outstanding display, powerful speakers, great backlit keyboard and excellent trackpad.

What is the Apple Macbook Pro 15 good for?

  • Web browsing
  • Office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
  • Emails
  • Listening to music
  • Watching TV/movies from local files or streaming.
  • Audio/photo/video editing.
  • Connecting multiple external 4K/5K monitors.
  • Pretty much anything that you can think of.

Why do you want the Apple Macbook Pro 15: Pros

  • Best CPU performance: The only Macbook with high frequency Intel Core i7 Quad-core CPUs.
  • Dedicated video card in all models, boosting performance in apps with GPU acceleration.
  • 2880 x 1800 display, maximum brightness of 500 nits, excellent color accuracy and viewing angles.
  • 16GB of high-performance DDR3 2133MHz RAM memory.
  • High-performance PCIe SSD storage makes your computer feel more responsive, boot and resume fast.
  • It’s an Apple PC: mac OS, Siri, iCloud, many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  • Excellent backlit keyboard with minimal light bleeding, great for typing
  • Excellent and very large force Touch trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  • Quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  • Long battery life: Up to 10 hours of web browsing
  • Solid and great looking aluminum unibody chassis
  • Solid screen hinge
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi
  • 4x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports: Integrates data transfer, charging, and video output in a single connector, delivering up to 40 Gbps of throughput.
    Allows you to plug two 5K monitors, charge your Macbook from any port, reversible, compatible with existing devices using an adapter.
  • The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Pro and a guide to copy your data.

Why you might not want the Apple Macbook Pro 15: Cons

  • Most expensive Macbook: Starting at $2249.99; the Macbook Pro 13.3″ and the Macbook (12″) are more affordable.
  • You cannot add RAM, you are limited to a maximum of 16GB.
  • Not as light and as thin as the Macbook and Macbook Air: 4 lbs and 0.6″ thick. Still lightweight for a 15.4″ laptop that offers that much performance and is made out of metal.
  • No card reader, no USB Type-C, no HDMI: All of these require adapters.
  • No LAN port. You can a USB adapter for 10/100 speed, or a Thunderbolt adapter for Gigabit speed.
  • No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  • No Numpad

How to Choose your Apple 15.4″ Macbook Pro

What you need to know:

Late 2016 Apple Macbook Pro 15.4″ models:

Differences between the new late 2016 models and the older mid 2015 models

  1. The late 2016 models are definitely more portable than the mid 2015 models, as they are roughly half a pound lighter (4lbs vs 4.46lbs), 17% thinner (.6″ vs .7″), less wide by .3″ and less long by .2″.
  2. You get a much larger trackpad on the late 2016 models, as well as the new 2nd-gen butterfly mechanism keyboard, similar to the ones on the Macbook 12″.
  3. Performance wise, they are equipped with 6th generation of Intel CPUs instead of the 4th generation, so at the same frequencies they are 10% faster, but you also get higher frequencies, so CPU performance is significantly higher on the new late 2016 Macbooks.
  4. You get roughly 33% higher performance memory, with DDR3 2133MHz, compared to DDR3 1600MHz on the mid 2015 models.
  5. All late 2016 models come with new dedicated graphic cards, all of which are faster than the dedicated graphic card found in some mid 2015 models and definitely faster than integrated graphics on other mid 2015 models.
  6. Much brigther screen: The late 2016 screen can reach a much higher level of brightness, 500 nits, compared to 300 nits on the mid 2015 model.
  7. The new screen also get increased contrast ratio, delivering deeper blacks and brighter whites, as well as the P3 color gamut for more vivid colors!
  8. Despite the higher performance and brighter screen, you still get up to 10 hours of battery life, which is impressive from such an high performance laptop.
  9. Replacing the function keys in the top row of the keyboard, the Touch Bar places controls right at your fingertips and adapts to different apps to provide useful functions without having to navigate complex menus or memorize keyboard shortcuts.
  10. The power button has been upgraded to a TouchID sensor, allowing you to login with your fingerprint as well as make purchases with Touch ID using Apple Pay.
  11. Speakers: Twice the dynamic range and up to 58% more volume, with two and a half times louder bass.
  12. Ports: 4x ThunderBolt 3/USB Type-C ports on the late 2016 models, on the mid 2015 models you get a SDCX card reader, a HDMI output, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two ThunderBolt 2 ports and the MagSafe power connector.

All late 2016 models have this in common:

  • Dimensions: Height: 0.6″/ 1.5cm, Width: 13.8″/35.1cm, Depth: 9.5″/24.1cm
  • Weight: 4.00 lbs (1.81kg)
  • RAM (Memory): 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
  • Screen: 2880 x 1800 15.4″ Retina display, max 500 nits, IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles, with support for the P3 color gamut, which allows for more vibrant colors. This ensures true-to-life pictures with realistically vivid details, which are essential for graphic design, color grading, and editing.
  • Storage: High performance PCI-Express based SSDs (Solid State Drive) storage. This offers you a better computer experience because it responds to your inputs much more quickly. Programs launch far more quickly, the Operating System starts in seconds and resumes from sleep instantaneously. No noise, no vibration, higher reliability and higher resistance to shocks. See the SSD FAQ for more details on SSDs.
  • Ports: 4x ThunderBolt 3 (USB Type-C), 3.5mm combo audio jack
  • Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • OS: macOS Sierra, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 4 differences between all the Late 2016 models:

1. Choose between three levels of CPU performance:

From the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i7-6700HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.6-3.5GHz
– Intel Core i7-6820HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.6GHz
– Intel Core i7-6920HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.8GHz

Higher base and Turbo frequencies (GHz) mean higher performance.

2. Choose between three levels of graphic card performance

All models come with a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro graphic card.

There are three options available to you:
1. Radeon Pro 450 2GB: 10 compute units, peak performance of 1 Teraflop
2. Radeon Pro 455 2GB: 12 compute units, peak performance of 1.3 Teraflop
3. Radeon Pro 460 4GB: 16 compute units, peak performance of 1.86 Teraflop

All three GPUs offer the same memory bandwidth of 80GB/s, though the top of the range Radeon Pro 460 offer twice the memory, at 4GB compared to 2GB for the 450 and 455.

If you only use your MacBook Pro to run basic programs, such as Office and/or image editing, the basic video card is fine.

On the other hand, if you do a lot of video editing, render 3D or play video games, the higher-end Radeon Pro 455 or preferably the 4GB Radeon Pro 460 will give you better performance.

With higher resolution footage (4K vs 1080p), you definitely want the 4GB Radeon Pro 460.

Also, if you plan on keeping your Macbook for many years, the 4GB Radeon Pro 460 is definitely more futureproof.

3. Four storage capacities:
256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage?

Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer to figure it out.

4. Choose the color

The Apple Macbook Pro 15 late 2016 is available either in Silver or Space Grey.

The 7 Apple Macbook Pro 15 Late 2016 CPU/GPU configurations:

From the least powerful to the most powerful model:

1. Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6-3.5GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 450 2GB:macbook_pro_late_2016_article

Base-level CPU with the base-level graphic card option

256GB storage: $2,249.00 at B&H
512GB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H
1TB storage: $2,999.00 at B&H
2TB storage: $3,799.00 at B&H

2. Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6-3.5GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 460 4GB:macbook_pro_late_2016_article

Base-level CPU with the highest-end 4GB graphic card option

– 256GB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H
– 512GB
storage: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 1TB
storage: $3,199.00 at B&H
– 2TB
 storage: $3,999.00 at B&H

3. Intel Core i7-6820HQ 2.7-3.6GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 455 2GB:macbook_pro_late_2016_article

Mid-level CPU with mid-level graphic card

– 512GB storage: $2,649.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $3,199.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $3,999.00 at B&H

4. Intel Core i7-6820HQ 2.7-3.6GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 460 4GB

Mid-level CPU with the highest-end 4GB graphic cardmacbook_pro_late_2016_article

– 512GB storage: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $4,099.00 at B&H

5. Intel Core i7-6920HQ 2.9-3.8GHz with AMD Radeon 450 Pro 2GB

Fastest CPU with base-level graphic cardmacbook_pro_late_2016_article

– 256GB storage: $2,699.00 at B&H
– 512GB storage: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $4,099.00 at B&H

6. Intel Core i7-6920HQ 2.9-3.8GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 455 2GB

Fastest CPU with mid-level graphic cardmacbook_pro_late_2016_article

– 512GB storage: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $4,199.00 at B&H

7. Intel Core i7-6920HQ 2.9-3.8GHz with AMD Radeon Pro 460 4GB

Fastest CPU with fastest 4GB graphic cardmacbook_pro_late_2016_article

– 256GB storage: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 512GB storage: $3,099.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $3,499.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $4,299.00 at B&H

Mid 2015 Apple Macbook Pro 15.4″ models:

If you aren’t a fan of the new design with only Thunderbolt / USB Type-C ports or if you wish to spend less money, the mid 2015 models are an alternative.

The differences between the mid 2015 models and the late 2016 models are written higher up in the article.

All mid 2015 models have this in common:

Dimensions: Height: 0.7″/ 1.8cm, Width: 14.1″/35.8cm, Depth: 9.7″/24.6cm
Weight: 4.46 lbs (2.02kg)
RAM (Memory): 16GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Screen: 2880 x 1800 15.4″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles.
Storage: High performance PCI-Express based SSDs (Solid State Drive) storage. This offers you a better computer experience because it responds to your inputs much more quickly. Programs launch far more quickly, the Operating System starts in seconds and resumes from sleep instantaneously. No noise, no vibration, higher reliability and higher resistance to shocks. See the SSD FAQ for more details on SSDs.
Ports: 2x USB3.0 (A), 2x ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port), 1x HDMI, SDXC card reader, 3.5mm combo jack
Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery: Up to 10 hours
OS: Mac OS X Yosemite or El Capitan: free upgrade to macOS Sierra, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 3 differences between all the Mid 2015 models:

1. Choose between three levels of CPU performance:

From the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i7-4770HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-3.4GHz
– Intel Core i7-4870HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz
– Intel Core i7-4980HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-4.0GHz

The difference is in the base and Turbo clock frequencies (speed). Higher frequencies (GHz) mean higher performance.

2. Three storage capacities:
256GB, 512GB or 1TB (1024GB)

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB or 1TB (1024GB) of storage?

Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer to figure it out.

3. Choose between an integrated or a dedicated video card

You have the choice between the integrated Intel Iris Pro 5200 or the dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2GB.

Do I need the dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M370X video card?

It depends on what you intend to do with your Macbook Pro.

If you only use your MacBook Pro to run basic programs, such as Office and/or image editing, the integrated video card is fine.

On the other hand, if you do some video editing, 3D rendering, heavy image editing or play video games, the dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M370X is the wiser option.

The Apple 15.4″ Macbook Pro Mid 2015 models:
The 7 recommended configurations

1. Intel Core i7-4770HQ 2.2-3.4GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 256GB storage
$1749.99 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4770HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.2-3.4GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 256GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

A good choice if you want a Macbook Pro 15 at the lowest price possible.

2. Intel Core i7-4870HQ 2.5-3.7GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 256GB storage
$1959.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4870HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 256GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

Faster CPU than the base model.

3. Intel Core i7-4980HQ 2.8-4.0GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 256GB storage
$2299.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4980HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-4.0GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 256GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

A good choice if you want the highest performance CPU available on the mid-2015 Macbook Pro 15 at the lowest price possible.

4. Intel Core i7-4980HQ 2.8-4.0GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 512GB storage
$2449.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4980HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-4.0GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the storage capacity.

5. Intel Core i7-4870HQ 2.5-3.7GHz, AMD Radeon R9 370X 2GB, 512GB storage
$2499.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4870HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz
– AMD Radeon R9 M370X Graphics (2GB GDDR5)
– 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

This is the least expensive mid-2015 Macbook Pro 15 with the AMD Radeon R9 370X 2GB dedicated video card.

Compared to the model above, you do get a slightly slower CPU.

6. Intel Core i7-4870HQ 2.5-3.7GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 1TB storage
$2699.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4870HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.7GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 1TB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

This is the least expensive model with 1TB of storage. You get the second fastest CPU and an integrated video card.

7. Intel Core i7-4980HQ 2.8-4.0GHz, Intel Iris Pro 5200, 1TB storage
$2899.00 at B&H

– Intel Core i7-4980HQ Crystalwell, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-4.0GHz
– Intel Iris Pro 5200
– 1TB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

Same as above, but with a faster CPU.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how you can choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 15 for your needs.

Do you have any feedback or any questions? Are you unsure which model is the best one for you?

Please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.