Apple’s redesigned MacBook Pro has been surrounded by controversy since it was first announced a few weeks ago.
Even though Apple says the new MacBook Pro is its best-selling version of the computer to date, it has received loads of blowback from the professional community. Those are the power users that need high-end computers for video editing, coding apps, or photo editing.
The most common complaints are the lack of ports and power compared to rival computers. For example, you can only get up to 16GB of RAM, while many are asking for 32GB of RAM. The MacBook Pro also only has one type of port called Thunderbolt 3, which makes it tough for those who need SD card slots or HDMI ports to connect their external monitors.
So while I already tested the MacBook Pro from a generalist’s perspective, I thought it’d be worth it to have one of our own in-house professionals give the computer a spin. Justin Gmoser, one of our video producers here at Business Insider, has been testing the 15-inch model of the MacBook Pro for a little over a week. I had him detail some of his thoughts from a video editor’s perspective.
Here’s what he told me.
There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. These are used to charge the computer and connect accessories using the new USB-C standard that will eventually replace the “regular” USB you’re used to.
Justin said Thunderbolt 3 was a big issue for him, since he often uses a USB thumbdrive to transfer video to his Mac. But with Thunderbolt, he has to use an adaptor. This was a major problem for Justin.
“In the video production industry, we are still plugging in USB hard drives and swapping sticks of footage all the time,” he told me. He was also dismayed at the lack of SD card reader, which is essential for a lot of video and photo professionals when they want to transfer their shots to a MacBook.
After hearing a lot of negative feedback, Apple decided to slash the prices of USB-C accessories through the end of 2016 to help ease the transition. It’s a nice move, but a lot of professionals would rather have a computer that just works with the accessories they already have.
Justin said importing video and overall performance was fast and fluid, which is essential for his work. No problems there. He also enjoyed the updated speakers.
“The sound is richer than the older MacBooks, with deeper lows and less of that tinny sound that’s typical with older laptops,” he told me. “This is good for those times you want to edit without headphones or show coworkers or clients some playback.”
Justin also enjoyed using the Touch Bar for volume adjustments, which he said gave him better overall control because you now have the option to use a slider instead of tapping a button.
Editing video with Final Cut Pro
Out of the dozens of video producers we have at Business Insider, Justin is one of two that use Final Cut Pro instead of Adobe Premiere. So, luckily for him, Final Cut has been updated to work with the MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar.
Overall, Justin liked how the Touch Bar keys changed as he moused over certain options in Final Cut Pro. For example, it made it easier to adjust and format text he adds to his videos. But since he’s developed a lot of muscle memory over the years for shortcuts, he wishes the app let him customise which keys would show up in the Touch Bar.
Final Cut also lets you scrub through a video timeline on the Touch Bar, which Justin thought was a cool feature. But he said it’s not faster than using the traditional trackpad or keyboard. He said it’d be better if the Touch Bar just showed you an overview of where things are in your timeline, making it easier to jump around.
Overall, the MacBook Pro was plenty fast and powerful for Justin’s work. But when it comes to the Touch Bar, he doesn’t think it’s totally necessary for most people.
“I don’t think it will be a determining factor for people to buy it,” he told me. “It can be helpful at times, but I think a keyboard and mouse will always be faster.”
Still, he sees potential with the Touch Bar for video editors, especially if Apple allows them to customise the buttons in Final Cut Pro. In fact, he’d like to see the Touch Bar incorporated into desktop keyboards for Mac as the it gains more capabilities.
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