Home Digital Art Review Apple 15-inch MacBook Professional 2019 overview – Assessment

Apple 15-inch MacBook Professional 2019 overview – Assessment

Apple 15-inch MacBook Professional 2019 overview – Assessment

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Replace Nov 13 2019: This laptop computer has been changed by the 16-inch MacBook Pro – although you’ll be able to nonetheless purchase the 15-inch mannequin from many retailers.

Right here we overview Apple’s newest highly effective, glossy laptop computer for designers and artists utilizing Photoshop, Cinema 4D and extra.

The brand new MacBook Professional is all about efficiency. From the surface, it’s near-identical to the earlier mannequin (and the one earlier than that) – not that that’s a foul factor aesthetically, however functionally there are the identical deserves and flaws as earlier than.

For the 15-inch MacBook Professional, the efficiency enhance comes from Intel’s Ninth-generation Core i7 and i9 chips – the i9 being a designation launched for the earlier era for essentially the most highly effective chips.

The Core i7 and i9 chips used within the 15-inch MacBook Professional have six or eight cores, whereas the earlier era topped out at six cores. This makes them able to as much as 40% increased efficiency in really multi-threaded apps – which incorporates a lot of the professional-level artistic instruments utilized by Digital Arts readers, particularly when rendering movement and animation initiatives. While you’re not utilizing all of the cores, Intel’s Turbo Enhance know-how means that you can push the clock pace increased – from 2.4GHz to 5GHz within the case of our i9-based overview unit.

So whether or not you’re rendering utilizing all of the cores in Cinema 4D, creating intricate vector graphics within the nonetheless largely single-threaded Illustrator or piling on the layers in Photoshop, you’ll see large efficiency positive factors.

Certainly one of these is the brand new MacBook Professional, one is the earlier era. Are you able to inform which is which?

Apple is the primary firm to launch a laptop computer with Intel’s Ninth-gen Core i9 chips – beating Dell, HP and Lenovo. It will not be lengthy earlier than these opponents launch rivals, but it surely’s good to see Apple on the head of the pack once more. 

The newest MacBook Professional helps the identical most quantity of RAM  as much as 32GB of RAM – and there is the identical max 4TB NVMe SSD storage. The graphics choices are the Radeon Professional 560X with 4GB of GDDR5, or Radeon Professional Vega 16 or Radeon Professional Vega 20 (each which have 4GB of HBM2 higher-bandwidth reminiscence) – the final era MacBook Professional 15 did not provide Vega graphics from the beginning, however gained them as choices in a minor refresh final autumn.


Our review unit has that Radeon Vega 20 chip, a 2.4GHz Core i9 chip, 32GB of RAM and a 4TB drive. This may set you again a wince-inducing £6,074/£6,549 –  although that is roughly the identical because the highest-spec earlier mannequin – although in the event you drop the storage all the way down to a extra reasonably priced 1TB, it is available in at £3,914/$4,149.

We’ll need to see how this compares to PC rivals, although primarily based on what we noticed from the earlier era, they will be significantly cheaper.


We examined the MacBook Professional 2019 in opposition to the highest-spec mid-2018, plus our earlier greatest laptop computer for designers and artists, the Dell XPS 15. To see the way it measures up in opposition to desktops, we additionally examined it in opposition to Apple’s personal lately upgraded iMac and Mac mini.

  • The 2018 MacBook Professional had an Intel Core i9 2.9GHz 8-core chip, 32GB RAM, a 2TB NVMe, AMD Radeon Professional 560X graphics with 4GB RAM, and a 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 decision display.
  • The 2018 Dell XPS 15 had an Intel Core i9 2.9GHz 8-core chip, 32GB RAM, a 1TB NVMe, Nvidia GeForce GTX1050Ti graphics with4GB RAM, and a 15.6-inch, 3,840 x 2,160, touchscreen.
  • The 2019 iMac had an Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6GHz 8-core Ninth-gen, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD. AMD Radeon Professional Vega 48 graphics with 8GB HBM, and a 27-inch, 5,120 x 2,880 display.
  • The 2019 Mac Mini had an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz, 6-core Eighth-gen chip, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and Intel UHD Graphics 630 – related to a 27-inch, 5,120 x 2,880 display.

Photoshop benchmark

Puget’s Photoshop test is a good indicator of efficiency on the whole artistic purposes. Right here the MacBook Professional confirmed it may well actually ship in opposition to the competitors – however even in Photoshop, if uncooked efficiency issues, a desktop continues to be your greatest wager.

Processor benchmark

Cinebench R20 – primarily based on the most recent model of Cinema 4D – is the brand new gold-standard benchmark for testing how highly effective a processor. Absolutely multi-threaded, you’ll be able to see the advantages of the brand new MacBook Professional’s 8-core chip – however once more how the most recent desktop Core processors are virtually 30 p.c quicker than their cell equivalents.

Actual-time graphics benchmark

Cinebench now not has a real-time graphics benchmark, so we have created our personal utilizing the complete model of Cinema 4D and the ProRender rendering engine. This offers you an concept not solely of real-time 3D graphics efficiency however of any activity that makes use of the graphics chip reminiscent of results processing and encoding in Premiere, Closing Minimize, Resolve or After Results.

Right here you’ll be able to see how a lot having a graphics chip issues – the Mac mini would not have one – but additionally that the MacBook Professional is essentially the most highly effective laptop computer round.

A dependable keyboard?

Away from the brand new chips, there are few extra new options. The primary new characteristic is an improved keyboard mechanism, which follows from a redesign within the earlier era following person complaints about mud getting inside and stopping keys from working.

I can’t touch upon any change in its reliability, however the keyboard in all fairness nice to sort on – higher than some however not so good as that discovered on the Dell’s 15-inch XPS or Precision fashions.

What’s not new however nifty

When you’re upgrading from older than the earlier era – or a PC laptop computer – there are just a few extra options you will discover that are actually.

The obvious of those – in the event you flip it on – is the True Tone show. Borrowed from Apple’s iPads and iPhones, this modifications the color temperature of your show to match your surroundings.

For many designers, this feels like a transparent and direct path to messing with the colors in your work that you just’ve thought of so rigorously. And also you’d be proper – however there are just a few circumstances the place you’d flip it on.

With extra of us working away from our studios, we usually tend to discover ourselves in environments with distinct color casts to the lighting – and right here True Tone may be very helpful, maybe for roughly selecting colors that we’ll refine after we get again to our desks.

On the launch of the earlier MacBook Professional, photographer Daniel Beltra mentioned that True Tone proved invaluable when choosing just a few photographs to progress with from tons of taken on a location shoot, whereas sitting inside a purple tent. This can be a state of affairs few of us are prone to discover ourselves in – however in a extra minor manner, True Tone is efficient at taking the sting off the yellows lights of the espresso store I’m in proper now.

This isn’t a coffeeshop, however our personal photostudio. 

True Tone is an inner course of, somewhat than one thing inherent within the MBP’s display itself. It’s an excellent display – but it surely has a decrease decision than the really wonderful 4K shows supplied as choices by Dell’s XPS and Precision ranges, HP’s ZBook Studio or Razer’s rainbow-coloured Blade. These provide 60% extra pixels than the MBP’s display.

The display can be much less able to replicating the Adobe RGB color area used internally however its Artistic Cloud purposes than its rivals, managing 91% – whereas others such because the Dell XPS 15 or Precision 5540 can ship the complete 100%. Apple has as an alternative chosen to focus the MBP’s output on matching the DCI P3 color area for digital cinema – which I’m positive makes for a terrific film watching expertise however is much less helpful for these with an Adobe workflow.

We check all screens utilizing a DataColor Spyder5 sensor and software.

Lastly, there’s no touchscreen possibility. Apple has mentioned that it doesn’t suppose touchscreens are a good suggestion for laptops, being uncomfortable to make use of as a result of pressure of elevating your arm lots to stroke the display – and leaving smeary fingerprints in your show. Nevertheless, this doesn’t appear to use to the iPad Professional and keyboard combo that it additionally sells.

In concept, Apple’s right – in the event you needed to maintain up your arm to the touch the display for prolonged intervals, you’d find yourself in ache. However that’s not the way you a touchscreen laptop computer – you employ the touchscreen for broad gestures and choice, and the trackpad for extra exact management. As somebody who’s used to utilizing a Dell Precision laptop computer, the usefulness of a touchscreen over a trackpad in tight areas is instantly obvious within the cramped seating of the Thameslink practice I’m on proper now.

Contact Bar

As a substitute of a touchscreen, on the MacBook Professional you may have the Contact Bar. The True Tone impact has additionally been utilized to the Contact Bar, which is a pleasant contact however value no extra phrases than that.

The primary drawback with the Contact Bar is that builders appear to have stopped including help for it. You should utilize it with Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch and Premiere Professional – plus Apple’s personal Closing Minimize and Movement after all – however these apps gained help for it in 2017. There’s not a single main artistic app that’s gained help for it in 2018 – so it’s nonetheless lacking in InDesign, After Results, Cinema 4D and extra.

I’d speculate that when Apple didn’t launch a Contact Bar-enabled keyboard for the iMac or iMac Professional, Adobe and others determined that growing Contact Bar help for a single – albeit very fashionable – laptop computer wasn’t definitely worth the effort.

The one a part of the Contact Bar that has proved very helpful is the fingerprint sensor, which makes unlocking the MacBook Professional a lot quicker than typing your password. There’s no fast log-in by face-detection as discovered on Home windows 10’s Home windows Hey or the iPhone XS although.

Design challenges

As earlier than, there’s a lot to love in regards to the MacBook Professional’s industrial design – and far to get aggravated about. It seems beautiful and glossy, and continues to be the laptop computer to purchase if you need one which screams “I’m a designer/artist/artistic director”.

Nevertheless, the dearth of port choices nonetheless frustrates. There’s an upside to the 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports (plus headphones – Apple hasn’t ditched that but fortunately) – you’ll be able to plug the facility lead in to both aspect. However I’ve already left my Satechi USB-C adapter at my desk once I wanted it within the assembly I’m in sufficient instances to be actually irritating, whether or not I’m simply in one in every of our personal assembly rooms on the different finish of the Digital Arts workplaces or on the opposite aspect of London.

Worse, as with the iPhone’s lacking headphone port, we’ve began to see different producers start to repeat Apple (sure, I’m you Dell). Cease it now. Everybody.

Pet port peeves apart, the MacBook Professional is essentially the most highly effective laptop computer at the moment accessible. It will not be lengthy till challengers seem to take it on, however for now that is king.

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