Coming from the midrange 2014 15″ MacBook Pro, I’m pleased with the 2018 model (even if my wallet isn’t). Here’s why.
I purchased the mid-grade 2018 15” Macbook Pro with the 2.6GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 560X GPU. I am only writing about improvements I have noticed in real world use. I did a fresh install on both the new and old laptops and did side by side testing.
Keyboard: I have purposefully avoided upgrading my 2014 Macbook Pro due to concerns with the keyboard, which I tested and disliked immediately. However, I needed to upgrade for work, so I bit the bullet. The keyboard is actually fantastic and much improved upon the previous iterations. There’s just enough travel and feedback to type quickly. I like it.
Processor: This is a major upgrade from my 2014 quad core i7 (2.5). Everything is noticeably faster, especially when rendering, and I can now run processor-intensive work in the background without any lag. It also runs significantly cooler than the 2014. The 560X also cut my rendering times in half when exporting images from Illustrator. Overall, Adobe CC apps now run without any hiccups.
Storage: I have noticed very significant real world performance improvements from the new SSD. In fact, this might be the biggest improvement the laptop has brought overall. Decompressing large GB+ files takes half the time, and installing applications is noticeably faster. Applications also launch faster—Adobe CC applications open almost instantly instead of taking a number of seconds to do so.
Wireless: The wireless speeds are somewhat faster in real world testing. I’m getting an official tx rate above 1,000Mbps (versus around 800 previously), which translated into about a 5-7% faster transfer speed when downloading files from my NAS.
Screen: The screen is noticeably brighter and much more vivid. A significant upgrade.
The Downsides: The trackpad’s palm rejection isn’t good enough to allow for its enormous size, which I have found is overkill. This is far and away the biggest problem with the laptop, as it causes typing errors constantly. It might get better as I get used to it, but it seems like a major design flaw. The Touch Bar might be useful, but I’m going to have to train myself to use it and losing physical function keys is rough on touch typists such as myself. Lastly, the cost. Macbook Pros are getting more expensive, and I had to stay at 512GB for budgetary reasons.
Conclusion: The 4 year gap between upgrades brought serious performance improvements, but the increasing cost is becoming prohibitive in some regards, even for slower upgraders such as myself. Nevertheless, the if you were thinking of upgrading from a 4-5 year old laptop, now is a good time to do so.