Apple releases its new 15-inch MacBook Pro last year
The Consumer Electronics Show takes place every January under the bright lights of Las Vegas and it’s one of the biggest technology events on the year's busy calendar.
With over two million square feet of gadget-packed halls it's a tech journalists dream and nightmare all rolled into one.
Reporting from this epic event is a huge amount of fun but it comes with some modern day challenges.
Gone are the days of wandering the halls gathering stories ready to be published in print the following day.
News needs to be posted as it happens, pictures cropped instantly and videos filmed and edited in minutes.
To keep the world abreast of what’s going on during this four day show you need a powerful and ultra portable laptop by your side.
Express.co.uk was lucky enough to head across the Atlantic for CES 2017 and for this year’s trip we decided to pack Apple’s latest 15-inch MacBook Pro in our bag.
So how did this flagship computer perform? Here’s our verdict.
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Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
NOT GREAT WHEN GOING LONG-HAUL
Before we even got our hands on the latest and greatest gadgets we had to suffer an 11-hour flight from London to Las Vegas.
The MacBook Pro we chose to pack in our rucksack includes a glorious 15-inch Retina display which truly is a joy to use.
However, if you’re not lucky enough to be travelling in the posh seats, it’s not the easiest of laptops to use from the confinements of economy.
Even with Apple shaving a decent amount of metal off this new, smaller, computer this is still a big a laptop.
This makes trying to use it on the tray table a real challenge especially when the person in front has decided they want some shut-eye.
So, be warned, if you're travelling long-haul you might find yourself tucking the MacBook Pro back in your bag and reaching for a more manageable iPad instead.
The MacBook Pro 15-inch is actually pretty portable
Although it might not be the best machine for a long-haul flight this new laptop is actually incredibly portable.
Once we’d hit the endless halls of CES, carrying the MacBook in our rucksack wasn't as big a problem as we’d originally expected.
We wanted a large laptop to help us plough through the endless announcements that are rapidly revealed from the world’s biggest technology show, but we had a feeling we’d pay for this luxury with a bag that felt like it was full of bricks.
Luckily, when you’re carrying this new MacBook it really doesn’t feel that big.
That’s because Apple has managed to shave a lot of weight from its new design and that’s made it far easier to handle.
In fact, the 2016 MacBook Pro 15-inch only weighs 1.8kg which isn’t much heavier than its smaller 13-inch predecessor.
Clearly, the new Pro isn’t as portable as Apple’s insanely thin MacBook, but it’s surprising just how easy we found lugging this mega machine around Las Vegas.
THE ALL-NEW TOUCH BAR
Some people have loved Apple’s new Touch Bar whilst others have not been left so impressed – with it even being branded a “gimmick”.
Express.co.uk is actually a fan of this ever-changing screen that runs across the top of the keyboard.
In applications such as pages, the bar is incredibly useful and with Photoshop now supporting this new technology cropping and editing images is even faster.
There's plenty of other uses for the Touch Bar including video editing functions and it's a nice addition to this powerful machine.
We're not totally convinced the Touch Bar is indispensable but if you buy the 15-inch Pro it comes as standard and you'll certainly get plenty of use out of it.
This is one area where we are still left a little bemused.
Our MacBook Pro still suffers from widely indifferent battery life and it means you never quite trust what is going to happen when you’re out on the road.
At best we got over six hours out of one charge but at worst it can be under four – not great when you’re in a convention centre and struggling to find a power socket.
Apple is addressing these odd battery readings and an update should solve the problems some users, including us, have faced.
Apple has completely redesigned the keyboard on the MacBook and it's taken us a bit of time to get used to.
The new keyboard features the second-generation butterfly mechanism, which is four times more stable than traditional laptops.
There’s definitely less wobble when you punch the keys and it is nice to type on, but this new design has a slightly hollow sound and bashing out copy can seem surprisingly noisy.
During our time with the new MacBook Pro we’ve grown to like this new keyboard but don’t expect to love it straight out of the box.
During the week at CES our ever-growing list of jobs were swallowed up by the MacBook Pro.
Editing videos and images was a breeze, with the 2.6GHz, i7 processor appearing unfased by everything we decided to throw at it.
If you want more power, the 15-inch model can be configured with a faster 2.9GHz quad-core processor with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.8GHz.
Like all of Apple’s new machines the MacBook Pro can’t be upgraded out of the box so you need to make sure you get the power you want before hitting the buy button.
The CES show takes place every January in Las Vegas
A few years ago every press release or picture bundle would be handed to us on a trusty USB stick.
But these days most news, images and video are simply emailed or sent via a Dropbox/WeTransfer link.
During this year’s CES we really didn’t miss the fact that the MacBook Pro only features USB-C ports.
Images taken on our iPhone were beamed to the Mac via Apple's AirDrop and the ability to charge the Pro from either side, via USB-C, is a huge bonus.
Of course, there are still some issues with only featuring USB-C and professional photographers and film makers are going to find the lack of an in-built card reader hugely frustrating.
Our bag now has to be packed with a set unique dongles (there’s even a special £19 cable you’ll need to charge your iPhone from the MacBook) and, if you happen to forget one, your day's work may not be as productive as you’d perhaps hoped.
The MacBook Pro only features USB-C which some users may find frustrating
Apple has always led the field with its screen technology and the new MacBook takes this to a whole new level.
The updated Retina display is now over 60 per cent brighter than anything the tech firm has created before and it looks simply stunning.
Text appears pin-sharp and the extra brightness certainly helps when you’re trying to use the MacBook in the under the bright lights of an exhibition hall.
Having a 15-inch display is also a huge help when you have so many different tasks to get through and this would be our screen choice for any power users.
This bigger version of the MacBook Pro also includes slightly larger speakers which offer an excellent audio experience.
The speakers, which sit on either side of the keyboard, have been totally redesigned to provide as much as twice the dynamic range and up to 58 per cent more volume.
They're certainly good and are probably the best we’ve heard on any laptop.
Apple's MacBook now includes the new Touch Bar
Apple's MacBook Pro 2016 is, without doubt, a brilliant laptop.
This machine helped power us through a demanding week at CES and, other than some bizarre battery issues and the lack ports, it's hard to find fault with Apple's latest laptop.
Even with its mega screen, Apple has worked its magic and made this laptop incredibly portable.
And that 15-inch display is joy to use making this larger computer our choice for anyone who needs a laptop for professional tasks – as long as you can stomach the £2,200 price tag that is.
Reporting from a show such as CES is always a challenge but having a laptop as good as the 2016 MacBook Pro in your bag makes life a whole lot easier.