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Hands-On With the New July 2019 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Apple earlier this month introduced a surprise update to its MacBook Pro line, overhauling the entry-level 13-inch machine to bring it in line with more expensive models that were updated back in May.

We went hands-on with the new MacBook Pro to take a look at the new features, including a Touch Bar, an updated processor, a new keyboard, and more.

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Prior to the update, the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro hadn't been refreshed since 2017, so it was the last remaining MacBook Pro still using older keyboard technology that retained a row of function keys.

The new model replaces that row of function keys with a Touch Bar, bringing it in line with the rest of the MacBook Pro models. Other than that, physically, the new MacBook Pro looks much like the older model.

There is, however, an updated third-generation butterfly keyboard identical to the updated third-generation keyboard used in the May MacBook Pro refresh and the new 2019 MacBook Air.

This keyboard is made from updated materials with a new membrane that Apple says will cut down on failure rates that impact other earlier butterfly keyboards. MacBook Pro users should see fewer repeating and stuck keys, but the problem isn't entirely solved so these machines are already covered under Apple's keyboard repair program.

Internally, the new MacBook Pro is equipped with a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and it continues to offer two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side of the machine rather than the four found in the more expensive MacBook Pro models.

At first glance, the 1.4GHz processor looks like it might be slower than the earlier models that were available, but in practice, it's speedier because of the newer technology and the fact that it's using a four-core chip rather than a two-core chip.

Our tests found that it's faster than the earlier equivalent MacBook Pro models and quicker than some of the older 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar. It's not even too far off some of the current 15-inch MacBook Pros. The video in this article, which is 4K and about five minutes in length, took approximately 4 minutes to export.

The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro promises 10 hour battery life, which seemed accurate in our testing. That number is, of course, going to drop for processor intensive tasks like video editing.

Price wise, the new MacBook Pro is the most affordable notebook in the MacBook Pro line, with pricing starting at $1,299. What do you think of the new entry-level MacBook Pro models? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

4 weeks ago
Everyone wants to talk about the keyboard, but I’m far more bothered by 128 gb on a $1300 laptop in 2019.
Rating: 47 Votes
4 weeks ago

What makes you hate the keyboard so much?

You're kidding right?

Apple makes nothing but **** keyboards now. Once they ditch the crap butterfly design they might have a computer worth buying.
Rating: 38 Votes
4 weeks ago
Same junk keyboard. But faster.


(That’s a hands-on review. What Macrumors wrote was a re-hash of the product spec, revealing nothing new.)
Rating: 25 Votes
4 weeks ago
I'm not buying another MacBook Pro until they get rid of these damned butterfly keyboards and go back to scissors keyboards. I need a keyboard that is comfortable to type on (the butterfly keyboards are like typing on a piece of concrete) and reliable. It's not good enough that they've implemented a new keyboard repair program. I use my current 2015 MBP for my business and I can't afford to be down for a couple of days just because of a completely avoidable keyboard problem. This is 2019. We shouldn't have to fret over keyboards. Get a clue Apple!
Rating: 18 Votes
4 weeks ago
A nice laptop upgrade, but that keyboard..... can’t be trusted at the moment...
Rating: 17 Votes
4 weeks ago
The keyboard has a 4 year warranty on it, which is longer than I’d keep any laptop, so I don’t see why people are still fussing over it. If it has a problem in a few years, Apple replaces the entire top case including the battery, so it’s a win.
Rating: 16 Votes
4 weeks ago

The keyboard has a 4 year warranty on it, which is longer than I’d keep any laptop, so I don’t see why people are still fussing over it. If it has a problem in a few years, Apple replaces the entire top case including the battery, so it’s a win.


Because then you’re without your work machine for days.

I’ve had my 2016 keyboard repaired multiple times, leaving me without my machine I use to make a living, in one case for over a week. The keyboard is broken again, but I’d rather have a broken key than go through that again (at least until it gets worse).

I don’t call that a “win.”
Rating: 14 Votes
4 weeks ago

You're kidding right?

Apple makes nothing but **** keyboards now. Once they ditch the crap butterfly design they might have a computer worth buying.

In my circle of professional writers, the butterfly keyboard is praised for its speed and accuracy. Personally, I love it. I can type 100 WPM without breaking a sweat. But in the beginning, I really hated it; it took a while to get used to it. Now, I wouldn't type on anything else...except maybe a ThinkPad.
Rating: 14 Votes
4 weeks ago
Restart the factory line for the 2015, throw in the latest processor, swap out one of the 2 USB ports for a USB-C and thats a proven winner. Leave the SD card reader, magsafe, keyboard, headphones jacks, etc etc its not even hard Tim.
Rating: 11 Votes
4 weeks ago
Ok, everyone does the same tests boring synthetic tests, and that's all?

C'mon guys, grow some imagination...

Where is some pro audio test? (with or without Logic)

Where is some light gaming test?

Where is some heat test after that?
Rating: 10 Votes

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