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Just Arrived: Apple MacBook Pro 16 with Core i9 & Radeon Pro 5500M

The new Apple MacBook Pro 16 has finally arrived in our editorial office. With a slightly bigger chassis, new (old) keyboard and improved speakers, it wants to be the best multimedia laptop on the market. We review the SKU for $2699 with a Core i9 CPU, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU, and 16 GB RAM.

There have been plenty of speculations about the Apple MacBook Pro 16. Now it is finally available for order (we reported) and we just got our unit. However, it is not a special press sample from Apple, instead we just bought the MacBook Pro 16 in Apple's online store just like any other customer would. We selected the SKU for $2699, which is shipped with an Intel Core i9 processor (9880H, 8 cores), a discrete AMD Radeon Pro 5500M (4 GB), 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB PCIe-SSD storage. We want to share our initial impressions before the final review will be published at a later point.

Case

The new MacBook Pro 16 replaces the old 15-inch model, but still follows the same design language with the milled aluminum chassis. Contrary to the current trend with bigger screens in existing cases or creating slimmer devices, however, the MacBook Pro 16 is actually a bit bigger in all directions. According to Apple, the thicker chassis is for better cooling and the bigger battery, but the company probably required some additional room for the so called Magic Keyboard as well.

Still, the difference is only noticeable in a direct comparison. We took some comparison pictures, so you can see the difference for yourself and get a feeling for the new chassis and its dimensions.

Magic Keyboard

After multiple years with the ultra low-profile Butterfly keys and the corresponding bad press, Apple now makes a u-turn and returns to conventional scissor switches. This should be great news for many potential users, especially in terms of longevity and durability. The typing experience was not great for every user, either. The typing experience with the longer key travel (1.2 mm) is almost identical to the old keyboard (before Butterfly). It seems Apple really listened to feedback and criticism from customers, because the Esc key was removed from the Touch Bar and is now always accessible as a solid key. The horizontal arrow keys are now half-sized, so it is easier to feel where the keys are.

MBP 16 still with Intel CPU & AMD GPU

The big question is obviously whether Apple really improved the cooling capabilities, so users of the new MBP 16 can make better use of the performance potential (especially CPU). The CPUs were already available for the previous MacBook Pro 15, but the limitation for the CPU cooling was about 60 Watts under sustained workloads, so the optional Core i9-HK processor did not make that much sense. This is still the case for the MBP 16, the default Core i9 is most likely the best option.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.9 GHz, Vega 20)
Intel Core i9-8950HK
192 Points ∼100% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (macOS 10.15.1)
184 Points ∼96%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼96% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
181 Points ∼94% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
181 Points ∼94% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H
177 Points ∼92% -4%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (macOS 10.15.1)
1435 (1401min - 1435max) Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
1362 (1268.87min - 1362.31max) Points ∼95% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
1327 Points ∼92% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
1317 Points ∼92% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS Software Update)
1064 Points ∼74% -26%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS Software Update 2)
1057 Points ∼74% -26%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS Catalina 10.15.5)
971 Points ∼68% -32%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS)
953 Points ∼66% -34%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H
1057 Points ∼74% -26%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.9 GHz, Vega 20)
Intel Core i9-8950HK (macOS)
1051 Points ∼73% -27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i7 555X
  (macOS)
1047 Points ∼73% -27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i7 555X
  (Win10)
1029 Points ∼72% -28%
Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
481 Points ∼100% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
465 Points ∼97% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
453 Points ∼94%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
442 Points ∼92% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS 10.14.5)
441 Points ∼92% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS 10.15.1)
422 Points ∼88% -7%
CPU (Multi Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
3422 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
3057 Points ∼89% -11%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
3197 Points ∼93% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
3012 Points ∼88% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS 10.14.5)
2522 Points ∼74% -26%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (macOS 10.15.1)
2302 Points ∼67% -33%
Geekbench 5
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
7267 Points ∼100% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
7161 Points ∼99%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (mac OS 15.1.0)
6841 Points ∼94% -4%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
7100 Points ∼98% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (Mac OS 10.15.1)
4860 Points ∼67% -32%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (mac OS 15.1.0)
1239 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H (Win 10)
1186 Points ∼96% -4%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
1171 Points ∼95% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
1139 Points ∼92% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H (Mac OS 10.15.1)
1006 Points ∼81% -19%
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Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M Intel Core i9-9880H; macOS 10.15.1: Ø1407 (1386-1435)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M Intel Core i9-9880H; Win 10: Ø1296 (1268.87-1362.31)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20 Intel Core i9-9980HK: Ø1308 (1257.47-1327.02)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16 Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1238 (1170.34-1317.35)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X) Intel Core i7-8850H: Ø1031 (1009-1058)

Apple still uses Pro GPUs from AMD, but this time we get completely new chips with the designation Radeon Pro 5300M and 5500M. They are the successors to the Vega 16 and Vega 20, respectively. The performance advantage over these models should be moderate, but the new GPUs should be much more efficient thanks to the switch from a 14 nm to a 7 nm manufacturing process.

Geekbench 5 - Metal Score
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
24619 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
23937 Points ∼97% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16
21009 Points ∼85% -15%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X
18427 Points ∼75% -25%
Unigine Valley 1.0 - 1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
45.6 (22min - 82max) fps ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
34.9 fps ∼77% -23%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.9 GHz, Vega 20)
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
34 fps ∼75% -25%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.9 GHz, Vega 20)
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
25.7 fps ∼56% -44%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16
30.3 fps ∼66% -34%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X
21.4 (12.5min - 34max) fps ∼47% -53%

Display

The new 16-inch screen delivers good results. We can confirm the advertised 500 nits in the center of the screen and the color accuracy (compared to the P3 color gamut) is good.

448
cd/m²
475
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
480
cd/m²
519
cd/m²
485
cd/m²
464
cd/m²
490
cd/m²
463
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
APPA044
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 519 cd/m² Average: 477.4 cd/m² Minimum: 5.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 519 cd/m²
Contrast: 1331:1 (Black: 0.39 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.28 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.8, calibrated: 0.86
ΔE Greyscale 0.9 | 0.64-98 Ø6
100% sRGB (Calman 2D) 78% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2145

First Impressions: Apple listens to the customers

In review: Apple MacBook Pro 16
In review: Apple MacBook Pro 16

You really get the feeling that Apple listened to the feedback from customers when they created the new MacBook Pro 16. The case of the new model is bigger and heavier for the first time, and the manufacturer finally got rid of the Butterfly keyboard after four years of bad press. We expected this at some point, but a bigger and thicker case really surprised us. However, there is still no sign of USB-A or an SD card reader. 

It looks like the performance utilization has really been improved and both the speaker system as well as the microphones are much better. The new (old) keyboard also remove one major point of criticism for the previous models.

After our first day of testing, we cannot notice any issues with macOS. Temperatures stay below 40 °C even under load and the fans are quiet as usual.  

Our full review will probably be published in about a week. Do you have any suggestions or special requests for our review? Just leave a comment below.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 11 > Just Arrived: Apple MacBook Pro 16 with Core i9 & Radeon Pro 5500M
Andreas Osthoff, Klaus Hinum, 2019-11-23 (Update: 2019-11-25)
Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Notebooks
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.