“What you’ve got in the new MacBook Pros is a lineup of very nice-looking (if not game-changing) laptops that combine a refreshed design with a healthy dose of updated technology,” Andrew Cunningham reports for Ars Technica. “Today, we’ll be examining the $1,499 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the version with the row of function keys in place of the ballyhooed Touch Bar. We’ll be examining the other 13- and 15-inch model thoroughly when we can get them, of course, but the $1,499 version still tells us a lot about the design, the keyboard, the new Thunderbolt 3 ports, and about Apple’s design priorities and the Pro’s target audience.”

“If the Retina MacBook was what you’d get if an iPad and a MacBook Air were put into the Large Hadron Collider and smashed into each other, the new MacBook Pro is what you’d get if you took the Retina MacBook and the first Retina MacBook Pro and did the same thing,” Cunningham reports. “The Pro’s construction is still rock solid despite being thinner and lighter, and there’s still not a trace of creaking or flexing anywhere in its aluminum unibody design.”

“At 3.02 pounds, the new Pro is around half a pound lighter than last year’s and roughly the same weight as the 13-inch MacBook Air. I’m jumping from the 13-inch Air to the 13-inch Pro since I can’t quite live with the 12-inch MacBook’s performance or its individual port, so if you’re making that jump the laptop is going to feel exactly the same in your bag. The weight savings is noticeable but not life-changing if you’re coming from an earlier Retina model, but remember that it’s a full 1.5 pounds lighter than a pre-Retina, 13-inch unibody Pro—if you’re coming from one of those older machines, it makes a huge difference,” Cunningham reports. “This would be a great laptop if it was positioned at the $1,300 starting price of the old MacBook Pros, though the 12-inch MacBook might need to move downmarket a bit to make room for it. At its current price, the $1,499 Pro feels like a laptop with a new design that just happens to be missing a bunch of the features that make the new design worthwhile.”

Tons more, includingn benchmarks, in the full review – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: If we chose the MacBook Pro for our road Macs, the mechanical function key model would not be our choice. If you’re going to go for a MacBook Pro, get a Touch Bar unit. That’s the future, not mechanical function keys. We’re not sure who that non-Touch Bar model is for besides Apple, so they can say, “Hey, new MacBook Pros start at $1499” when they really don’t. Prices for real MacBook Pros currently start at $1799.