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?
1. Do you want one of the most powerful and most reliable laptops available on the market?
2. Do you want the most powerful Apple Macbook laptop currently available?
3. Do you want a laptop that’s excellent all around?
That’s the Apple Macbook Pro 15 for you.
It’s a laptop that’s solid, reliable, powerful components, with an excellent battery life, an outstanding 15.4″ display, surprisingly powerful and accurate speakers, a great backlit keyboard and a top of its class trackpad.
What can the Apple Macbook Pro 15 do for you?
- Web browsing
- Office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
- 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 choose the Apple Macbook Pro 15?
- Best CPU performance: The only Macbook with high frequency Intel Core i7, 7th gen Kaby Lake, Quad-core CPUs.
- Intel Kaby Lake CPUs features technology that can enhance video performance, specifically 4K video. Intel integrated into the processor support for encoding and decoding 10-bit 4K HEVC and 4K VP9 video. Not only will this help performance for 4K video, it can help save on battery life. 4K HEVC codec will be supported in macOS High Sierra.
- Dedicated video card in all models, boosting performance in apps with GPU acceleration.
- Secure: Touch ID reader: Unlocking the computer with your fingerprint.
- 2880 x 1800 display, maximum brightness of 500 nits, excellent color accuracy and viewing angles.
- 16GB of high-performance DDR3 2133MHz RAM memory. Don’t be fooled by the lower frequency, performance wise it matches higher frequency DDR4.
- 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
- The trackpad is outstanding, features a has a large surface area, with great multi-touch support
- Quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
- Speakers can go surprisingly loud and actually offers a decent dynamic range, considering their size.
- Touch bar
- Touch ID sensor
- 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/USB Type-C ports: Integrates data transfer, charging, and video output in a single reversible 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.
- 90 Days of Free Telephone Support from Apple
- Although Apple makes some odd choices sometimes, their customer service is excellent in the vast majority of cases.
Why you might not want the Apple Macbook Pro 15: Cons
- Most expensive Macbook: the Macbook Pro 13, the Macbook (12″, smallest) and Macbook Air are more affordable.
- You cannot add RAM, you are limited to a maximum of 16GB. Some workloads need more than that.
- Not as light and as thin as the lighter but less powerful Macbook Pro 13, Macbook and Macbook Air. Weighting in at 4 lbs and measuring 0.6″ thick, it’s still wonderfully lightweight for a laptop with a 15.4″ display that offers that much performance and is made out of metal.
- No card reader
- Adapters required for: USB Type-A ports, HDMI or LAN RJ-45. Consider a dock.
- No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
- No Numpad
- 1 year warranty is surprisingly short for such a premium product.
- Getting used to macOS if you’ve never used it before.
How to Choose your Apple Macbook Pro 15
What you need to know:
What’s better on the Mid 2017 models compared to the Late 2016 models?
Faster CPU, improved integrated graphics, much faster storage
– Upgraded CPU: You get the higher performance, 7th generation Intel Core CPU architecture, Kaby Lake.
Expect 10 to 20% more performance compared to the older models, depending on the specific CPU.
– Upgraded Graphics: While the 2016 model included either an AMD Radeon Pro 450, 455 or 460 dedicated GPU, the 2017 model comes with the newer AMD Radeon Pro 555 or 560 GPU. While the 555 and 560 are pretty much a rebrand of the 455 and 460, at least the base models gets higher-end graphic performance.
You also get the Intel HD Graphics 630, integrated in the CPU. The MacBook Pro is able to switch in between integrated and dedicated graphics, depending on what type of task is executed, to maximize battery life and performance based on your current usage. Also new is hardware support for 10-bit 4K HEVC and 4K VP9 video, resulting in higher performance for 4K video and power savings with macOS High Sierra.
The 4 differences between all the Mid 2017 models:
1. Choose between three levels of CPU performance:
From the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i7-7700HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-3.8GHz
– Intel Core i7-7820HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.9GHz
– Intel Core i7-7920HQ: Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-4.1GHz
Higher base and Turbo frequencies (GHz) mean higher performance.
2. Choose between two levels of graphic card performance
All models come with a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro graphic card.
There are two options available to you:
1. Radeon Pro 555 2GB: 768 SPs, 12 compute units, peak performance of 1.3 Teraflop
2. Radeon Pro 560 4GB: 1024 SPs, 16 compute units, peak performance of 1.9 Teraflop
All two GPUs offer the same memory bandwidth of 81GB/s, though the top of the range Radeon Pro 560 offer twice the memory, at 4GB compared to 2GB for the Radeon Pro 555.
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 4GB Radeon Pro 560 will give you better performance.
With higher resolution footage (4K vs 1080p), you definitely want the 4GB Radeon Pro 560.
Also, if you plan on keeping your Macbook for many years, the 4GB Radeon Pro 560 is definitely more future-proof.
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.
Leave a comment at the end of this article if you have any questions.
4. Choose the color
The Apple Macbook Pro 15 is available either in Silver or Space Grey.
Apple Macbook Pro 15 Mid 2017
5 available CPU/GPU configurations:
From the least powerful to the most powerful model:
Prices as of March 26th 2018. Click on a link to see the current price.
Base-level CPU with the base-level graphic card option
Base-level CPU with the best 4GB graphic card option
3. Intel Core i7-7820HQ 2.9-3.9GHz / AMD Radeon Pro 560 4GB
4. Intel Core i7-7920HQ 3.1-4.1GHz / AMD Radeon 555 Pro 2GB
5. Intel Core i7-7920HQ 3.1-4.1GHz / AMD Radeon Pro 560 4GB
Apple Macbook Pro 15 Late 2016
– 1TB storage: $2,499.00 at B&H
With CPU performance similar to the Mid 2017 entry-level Macbook Pro 15 and better graphic performance, along with 1TB of storage at a low price, this is a great deal if you want 1TB of storage at a low price.
Mid 2015 Apple Macbook Pro 15.4″ models:
Not a fan of the new models with USB Type-C ports only, or looking for a more affordable option? Then the Mid 2015 Macbook Pro is worth looking into.
I recommend three options, which are all identical, except for the CPU, with three levels of performance, from slowest to fastest:
– Intel Core i7-4770HQ 2.2-3.4GHz: $1799.00 at B&H
– Intel Core i7-4870HQ 2.5-3.7GHz: $1949.00 at B&H
– Intel Core i7-4980HQ 2.8-4.0GHz: $2099.00 at B&H
Differences between the Late 2016 models and the Mid 2015 models:
- 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″.
- 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″.
- 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.
- You get roughly 33% higher performance memory, with DDR3 2133MHz, compared to DDR3 1600MHz on the mid 2015 models.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Speakers: Twice the dynamic range and up to 58% more volume, with two and a half times louder bass.
- 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.
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.