New MacBook Pro 2016 vs. MacBook Pro Retina 2015: Should You Upgrade?

The long wait is over. After 18 months of anticipation, Apple has finally released the new MacBook Pro 2016. So, is it worth the wait? If you’re an Apple fanboy, you’ll love what the new MacBook Pro has to offer from the revolutionary interface to the brightest and most colorful Retina display so far.

The newly released MacBook Pro 2016 is a thing of beauty, and it’s not surprising that Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer as hailed as the “thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro the ever.” From the outside, it looks like a terrific machine, but the question remains, how does it compare to its predecessor the MacBook Pro Retina 2015? Is it any better and most importantly, is it worth the hype and the cost?

Are there sufficient reasons for you to upgrade from the current MacBook Pro or earlier models for that matter to the MacBook Pro 2016?

We pit the new MacBook Pro 2016 against the MacBook Pro Retina 2015 to help you make an informed buying decision. Here’s a checklist of what you ought to know.

The new MacBook Pro — Design, Performance and Features — Apple



The MacBook Pro Retina 2015 features a design that was unveiled four years ago and with all honesty; it still looks fantastic and immaculate. The 2015 model weighs a mere 3.48 lbs and has a thickness of 18mm. It is, however, not as thin as the 2016 version which is only 14.9 mm thick, weighs 3.02 lbs. What does that tell you? Both models are unquestionably portable, but the MacBook Pro 2016 is smaller hence more portable.


The traditional ports on the MacBook Retina 2015 such Thunderbolt 2 connections, USB 3 ports, and HDMI ports have been replaced with the new USB Type-C that can double as Thunderbolt, USB, and HDMI ports. Also, MagSafe connector and SDXC card slot have been removed from the New MacBook Pro 2016, which is sad.


The most notable difference between the new Macbook Pro 2016 and the Macbook Pro Retina 2015 is the keyboard.

Even though the MacBook Pro 2016 butterfly keyboard is somewhat a divisive topic, with some user having a preference for the traditional scissor design, most reviews say the 2nd version generation butterfly offers a better typing experience in comparison to the 1st generation butterfly keyboard.

The 2nd generation keyboard, according to reviews “feels more natural” and individual keys are “easier to press down.” Unlike the old keyboard, the new version is innovatively designed and offers “more stability, control, and uniformity.”

One addition that makes the MacBook Pro 2016 entirely different from 2015 version is the OLED Touch Bar which substitutes the function keys. It is designed to display context sensitive actions based the user’s activities on-screen. Also, the Touch Bar enables users to log into their machine using a fingerprint carried from the iPhone.

The new MacBook Pro featuring Touch Bar – So much to touch – Apple

The MacBook Pro 2016, however, retains the Force Touch trackpad, which is also present in the 2015 models. Nonetheless, the trackpad on the MacBook Pro 2016 is relatively large.


Both the 2015 and 2016 MacBook Pros both feature Retina display. However, compared to its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro 2016 offers a better image experience, with the resolution of 2560×1600 with a pixel density of 227 per inch.

According to Apple, the 13-inch model has up to 6 times more contrast and brightest as well as up to 2 times more colors than the 15-inch model.



The new MacBook Pro features Intel’s 6th generation Skylake processor with the option of choosing between the i7 dual core or Intel Core i5 chip configuration. The 2015 MacBook version runs on an Intel Core i5 processor and a quad-core i7 chip. By comparison, the new model promises a better performance even though it is worth noting that the 2015 MacBook has an incredible performance as well.


The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2016 comes with the powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics capable of providing up to 23% more performance in comparison to the earlier version. The 13-inch model, on the other hand, features the Intel Iris Graphics which are 20% faster than the previous model.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Both models are available in either 8 or 16 GB RAM variations. However, you can configure storage up to 2 TB with the new MacBook Pro.


The keyboard is tucked between two speakers that are clearer and louder and relatively more “bass” and rounded. That is is because Apple uses a new technology that leans toward placing speakers on either side of the keyboard instead of having them on display.

If you’re the type who likes to listen to music as you work, you’ll like experience the MacBook Pro 2016 speakers have to offer.

Battery Life

The 13-inch MacBook Pro gives out a longer battery life in comparison to the 15-inch version. It is powered by a 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, which gives up to 10 hours of browsing or 12 hours of non-stop video playback. The 15-inch model comes with a 99.5-watt hour lithium polymer battery that can power the machine for up to 9 hours of surfing internet and video playback.


When it comes to software, the two models are more or less the same. Both versions operate on the MacOS Sierra platform. The Operating System brings to the fore a broad range of upgrades compared to the X EI Captain in earlier MacBook Pro models. The MacOS Sierra, however, offers superior iCloud integration including the Desktop iCloud synchronization and the Universal Clipboard as well as the Siri Integration.


As you would expect, the 2016 MacBook Pro will be expensive than the 2015 model. At the time of penning down this article, the 2015 MacBook Pro was retailing at $1,299 while the 2016 model was selling at $1799. The 15 inch variant of the new version is slightly expensive retailing at $ 2,349.

Bottom Line

Judging by the above comparison, the New MacBook Pro 2016 is the better machine compared to the Retina 2015. By the look of things, it is correct to say that Apple spent enough amount of time to upgrade the 2015 model.

Apart from the expected superior performance, the new MacBook Pro is compact, hence easier to carry around and has a sleeker design than the 2015 version. The Touch Bar is also a superb addition that tech freaks will love.


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