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Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) Laptop Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Nov 01, 2021 at 01:58 pm
Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) Picture
7.9
School
6.3
Gaming
7.9
Multimedia
7.8
Workstation
7.7
Business
This laptop was replaced by the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021)
Size
16"
Operating System
macOS
CPU
Intel Core i9-9880H
GPU
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM
16 GB
Storage
1,000 GB

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) is a laptop available with Intel 9th Gen CPUs, and AMD Radeon Pro dedicated graphics. It has a full aluminum body that feels exceptionally well-built, and it's relatively thin despite having a dedicated GPU, which is great for portability. It has a 16-inch high-resolution screen with full sRGB and DCI P3 coverage, a superb touchpad, and excellent speakers that get very loud. Like its predecessor, the MacBook Pro 15 (2019), it has a Touch Bar that lets you access settings and program-specific functions. There's also a fingerprint sensor to make it easier to log in and make purchases. Our configuration can handle demanding tasks with no performance loss over time, but it gets hot and noisy under load.

We tested the Apple MacBook Pro 16 with an Intel Core i9-9880H and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of VRAM. The i7-9750H is the base CPU option and powerful enough to handle light to relatively heavy workloads. If you need better multi-threaded performance, we recommend going with the i9-9880H or the i9-9980HK because they have two additional cores. Likewise, the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB in our unit has adequate performance, but the GPUs with 8GB of memory will provide a smoother experience with fewer stutters or hangs, especially when working with high-resolution material or VRAM-intensive applications. For those who need as much graphical performance as possible, the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M with 8GB HBM2 memory is the top GPU option, providing a significant performance boost over the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB.

Our Verdict

7.9 School

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop is very good for students. It feels exceptionally well-built, and it's easy to carry around as it's fairly thin. The battery lasts all day as long as you don't perform any CPU or GPU-intensive tasks. Its high-resolution screen provides plenty of space for split-screen multitasking and displays sharp images and text. The keyboard is okay, but some people may find it tiring to type on for a long time. It can handle most student workloads, including demanding tasks like 3D graphic design and physics simulations.

Pros
  • Easy to carry around.
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Webcam video looks natural with minimal artifacts.
  • Large and responsive touchpad.
  • Battery lasts through a typical 8-hour day for light productivity.
Cons
  • Keyboard has very short travel and may be tiring to type on for some.
  • 720p webcam.
6.3 Gaming

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop is mediocre for gaming. All CPU options are well-suited for gaming, but the GPUs might struggle to maintain a playable frame rate in demanding AAA titles, which means you'll have to lower the resolution or the graphical settings. Also, the screen is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology. There's no loss in performance over time when under a full load, but it gets very hot, and the fans are loud.

Pros
  • Core i9 CPU can handle most single and multi-treaded workloads.
  • Has dedicated GPU for demanding workloads.
  • Fast SSD storage makes system feel snappy.
Cons
  • 60Hz refresh rate and no VRR.
  • Gets hot and loud under load.
  • No user-replaceable parts.
7.9 Multimedia

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop is very good for media consumption. It has excellent speakers that get very loud and a large, high-resolution screen that delivers a sharp image. It handles reflections well and gets more than bright enough to combat glare in well-lit settings. It's a fairly thin device that should fit into most bags, so it's easy to carry around. Battery life is great, enough to get you through a couple of movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, even though it has a good contrast ratio for an IPS panel, blacks still look grayish when viewed in the dark.

Pros
  • Easy to carry around.
  • High-resolution screen.
  • Excellent speakers that get very loud.
  • Exceptional out-of-the-box color accuracy.
  • Great battery life for video playback.
Cons
  • Blacks look grayish in the dark.
  • No touch input.
7.8 Workstation

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop is good as a workstation. Our unit has an Intel Core i9-9880H that can handle demanding tasks and a dedicated GPU that can make hardware-accelerated applications feel smoother, like photo and video editing programs. It also has a very fast storage drive that you can configure up to 8TB. The laptop gets very hot and loud under load, but there's no performance loss over time. Unfortunately, you'll likely need a dongle or dock to connect to an external monitor because it only has USB-C ports.

Pros
  • Core i9 CPU can handle most single and multi-treaded workloads.
  • Has dedicated GPU for demanding workloads.
  • High-resolution screen.
  • Fast SSD storage makes system feel snappy.
Cons
  • Gets hot and loud under load.
  • No user-replaceable parts.
  • Only USB-C ports.
7.7 Business

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop is good for business use. It feels well-built and is portable, and its battery lasts easily through a typical 8-hour day, which is great for those who travel a lot for work. However, you'll likely need to carry dongles because it only has USB-C ports. The keyboard is okay but can be tiring to type on over a long period. Serviceability is terrible because everything is soldered on, making it impossible to upgrade after purchase and hard to repair.

Pros
  • Easy to carry around.
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Webcam video looks natural with minimal artifacts.
  • Core i9 CPU can handle most single and multi-treaded workloads.
  • Large and responsive touchpad.
  • Battery lasts through a typical 8-hour day for light productivity.
Cons
  • Keyboard has very short travel and may be tiring to type on for some.
  • No user-replaceable parts.
  • Only USB-C ports.
  • 720p webcam.
  • 7.9 School
  • 6.3 Gaming
  • 7.9 Multimedia
  • 7.8 Workstation
  • 7.7 Business
  1. Updated Nov 01, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 01, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Form Factor
Traditional (Clamshell)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 has a simple design with a premium build. It has thin bezels, a large touchpad, and upward-firing speakers on both sides of the keyboard. Like the previous Apple MacBook Pro 15 (2019), it has a Touch Bar instead of the typical function keys at the top row of the keyboard.

9.5
Design
Build Quality

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop feels exceptionally well-built. It has a full aluminum body that feels sturdy, with no flex in the screen or the keyboard deck. There's a heft to it, but it isn't too heavy and is well-balanced.

9.1
Design
Hinge
Range
134°
Stability
Good
One Finger Lift
Yes

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's hinge is outstanding. It feels durable and has a decent amount of resistance, but you can still open the laptop easily with one finger. It does wobble a bit when typing, but it's not bad.

7.7
Design
Portability
Thickness
0.6" (1.6 cm)
Width
14.1" (35.8 cm)
Depth
9.7" (24.7 cm)
Volume
86.2 in³ (1,411.9 cm³)
Weight
4.3 lbs (2.0 kg)
Charger Size
11.3 in³ (185.6 cm³)
Charger Weight
0.8 lbs (0.4 kg)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop's portability is good. It's on the larger side for laptops, but the laptop as a whole is thin, especially for a model with a dedicated GPU. The charger isn't too big and should fit into most laptop bags. If you want a more compact MacBook, check out the newer Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021).

2.8
Design
Serviceability
Ease Of Access
5.5
RAM Slots
0
Storage Slots
0
Replaceable Battery
No
Replaceable Wireless Adapter
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's serviceability is terrible. It's very hard to get into the laptop, as it requires a special P5 pentalobe screw bit to remove the screws and a prying tool like a guitar pick to pry it open. Also, the bottom pops out aggressively and may be dangerous as it's just a thin sheet of metal. There's no way to upgrade the components as everything is soldered on, so you need to get the configuration that best suits your needs when purchasing it. Opening the laptop or making changes to the hardware may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) laptop
  • 96W USB-C power adapter
  • Wall adapter
  • USB-C to USB-C cable (2 m)
  • User guide
  • Apple stickers

Display
Display
Screen Specs
Resolution
3072 x 1920
Aspect Ratio
16:10
Pixel Density
226 PPI
Panel Type
IPS
Touch Screen
No
Screen-To-Body Ratio
87%

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop has a large, high-resolution screen that displays sharp images and text. Its 16:10 aspect ratio provides more vertical space than a standard 16:9 display, which means you don't have to scroll as much.

5.9
Display
Refresh Rate
Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology, typical for a productivity-focused laptop. As you can tell from the amount of ghosting in the motion blur photo, the response time is slow, so it isn't ideal for viewing fast-moving content or gaming.

7.6
Display
Contrast
Native Contrast
1,496 : 1

The contrast ratio is good for an IPS panel. However, blacks still look grayish in the dark. The contrast ratio may vary between individual units.

8.7
Display
Brightness
Maximum Brightness
496 cd/m²
Minimum Brightness
5 cd/m²

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's screen brightness is excellent. It's more than enough to provide good visibility, even in bright, sunny rooms. It also gets very dim at the lowest brightness setting, providing a more comfortable viewing experience in the dark.

8.9
Display
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.69%
Indirect Reflections
0.17%
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.52%

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's reflection handling is excellent. However, you might still have problems viewing dark scenes if there's a bright light source shining on the screen.

8.3
Display
Black Uniformity
Uniformity (Std. Dev.)
0.777%

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's black uniformity is great, better than most IPS panels. However, the whole screen still looks grayish, which isn't ideal for dark rooms. Black uniformity can vary between units.

6.8
Display
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
25°
Color Washout From Right
27°
Color Shift From Left
40°
Color Shift From Right
44°
Brightness Loss From Left
29°
Brightness Loss From Right
28°
Black Level Raise From Left
60°
Black Level Raise From Right
60°
Gamma Shift From Left
33°
Gamma Shift From Right
35°

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop's horizontal viewing angles are okay. Colors fade fairly quickly when moving off-center. It's fine for sharing the screen with someone else as long as you don't mind a slightly inaccurate image.

6.6
Display
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
24°
Color Washout From Above
26°
Color Shift From Below
37°
Color Shift From Above
44°
Brightness Loss From Below
28°
Brightness Loss From Above
30°
Black Level Raise From Below
45°
Black Level Raise From Above
45°
Gamma Shift From Below
28°
Gamma Shift From Above
25°

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop's vertical viewing angles are okay. Again, colors look washed out when viewing from above or below, so you need to look at the screen almost straight on to get the most accurate image.

9.4
Display
Out-Of-The-Box Color Accuracy
Avg. White Balance dE
2.0274
Avg. Gamma
2.1628
Avg. Color dE
1.3813
Avg. Color Temperature
6,899.1 K

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's out-of-the-box color accuracy is outstanding. Most color inaccuracies aren't noticeable, and the white balance is only slightly off. The color temperature is on the cooler side of our 6500K target, resulting in a very slight bluish tint. The gamma isn't bad, but most scenes are too bright, and dark scenes are too dark. Color accuracy can vary between individual units.

9.5
Display
Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.99%
sRGB uv
99.99%
Adobe RGB xy
88.38%
Adobe RGB uv
93.57%
DCI P3 xy
99.88%
DCI P3 uv
99.82%
Rec. 2020 xy
73.42%
Rec. 2020 uv
76.37%

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop has an exceptional color gamut. It has full sRGB and DCI P3 coverage, the color spaces used in most web and HDR content, respectively. Its Adobe RGB coverage is outstanding; it just has some trouble displaying very bright greens and blues. Its coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 is good, but again, it can't display very bright greens and blues.

10
Display
Flicker
Flicker-Free
Yes
Flicker Frequency
No Flicker
Flicker Active Below
0%

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's backlight is entirely flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain.

Interface
6.9
Interface
Keyboard
Typing Quality
6.5
Numpad
No
Backlighting
Adjustable
Operating Force
62 gf
Actuation Force
44 gf
Pre-Travel
0.82 mm
Total Travel
1.1 mm

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 has a backlit keyboard with scissor switches instead of the butterfly switches used on the MacBook Pro 15 (2019). The keycaps feel high-quality and stable, but the key travel is very short, so it's easy to bottom out, making it somewhat tiring to type on for extended periods. Key spacing is okay, and the layout is similar to most Apple MacBook keyboards. It isn't loud and shouldn't bother people around you in a quiet environment. There's still a Touch Bar at the top row, but unlike the Pro 15, there's now a physical Escape button.

9.7
Interface
Touchpad
Tracking Quality
9.5
Size
24.8 in² (160.0 cm²)
Material
Glass
Dedicated Buttons
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's touchpad is superb. It's big enough to use gestures comfortably, and the glass surface feels very smooth. Unlike most touchpads, it uses haptic feedback to simulate the clicks, which means you can click anywhere on the touchpad, making it much easier to drag windows or files around. It supports Force Touch, meaning it can sense the amount of pressure applied. A harder press performs a different function or brings up a second contextual menu in some applications.

8.9
Interface
Speakers
Max Volume
82 dB SPL
Standard Error @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
5.9 dB
Slope @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
2.2
Bass Extension (Low-Frequency Ext.)
155 Hz
Treble Extension (High-Frequency Ext.)
20 kHz
Dynamic Range Compression @ Max Vol.
2.1 dB

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's speakers are excellent. They get very loud with minimal compression at max volume. They're treble-heavy due to the lack of bass, but this is typical for most laptop speakers.

8.2
Interface
Webcam & Microphone
Video Quality
8.5
Resolution
720p
Position
Top Center
Privacy Cover
No
Face Unlock
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's webcam captures a fairly clean image with minimal artifacts and natural-looking colors, but it's still limited to 720p, which might be disappointing for some. The microphone sounds clear, although there's some static here and there.

Connectivity
6.5
Connectivity
Ports
USB-A Ports
0
USB-C Ports
4
Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt 3
USB-C Charging
Yes
USB-C Display Out
Yes
HDMI
No
DisplayPort
No
3.5mm Jack
Combo mic/headphone
Card Reader
No
Ethernet
No
Proprietary Port
No
Security Lock
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's port selection is okay. All four USB-C inputs support charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gbps), and USB 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps). There should be enough ports for most people, but you'll need a dongle or dock for peripherals that still have a USB-A connector or for memory cards. If you need a MacBook with more ports, check out the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021).

Connectivity
Wireless Communication
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth
5.0

Unfortunately, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop doesn't support Wi-Fi 6. If you need Wi-Fi 6, it's only available on the M1 Macs or newer, like the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, Late 2020).

Configuration
Configuration
CPU
Brand
Intel
Model
Core i9-9880H
Core Count
8
Thread Count
16

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's CPU is configurable. There are three options: the Intel Core i7-9750H, the i9-9880H, and the i9-9980HK. Compared to the i9-9880H in our unit, the i7-9750H doesn't perform as well in multi-threaded applications because it has two fewer cores. However, the i7-9750H is powerful enough for light productivity tasks, like word formatting or checking emails. It can even handle demanding tasks if you don't have too many things running at once. The higher-end i9-9980HK has the same number of cores and threads as the i9-9880H, but it's a bit faster because it has slightly higher clock speeds. We recommend those running heavily multi-threaded applications to go with the i9 CPUs as they'll provide the smoothest experience.

All three options are high-end mobile CPUs, but they're already two generations old at the time of writing because they were introduced in 2019. Also, Apple has since released a new MacBook Pro 16 (2021) with their in-house M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs.

Configuration
GPU
Brand
AMD
Model
Radeon Pro 5500M
Dedicated/Integrated
Dedicated
VRAM Size
4 GB

We tested the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of VRAM, but there are three other options to choose from. We expect the lower-end AMD Radeon Pro 5300M to perform a little worse than the 5500M 4GB in our model because it has fewer compute units. Upgrading to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB gives you more VRAM, which provides a smoother experience when working in memory-intensive applications or with high-resolution material. If you want the best GPU performance available on this laptop, we recommend going with the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M with 8GB HBM2 memory because it has the most compute units and higher memory bandwidth.

Apple seems to let you pair the i7-9750H and the i9-9980HK with the AMD Radeon Pro 5300M, but not the i9-9880H, so the i9-9880H starts with the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of VRAM. The Intel Core processors have integrated UHD Graphics 630; the system automatically switches between the integrated and dedicated graphics depending on the workload.

Configuration
RAM
Capacity
16 GB
Modules
2 (Soldered)
Type
DDR4
Speed
2,667 MHz

You can configure the Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop with 16, 32, or 64GB of DDR4 memory. 16GB should be enough for most office tasks, but creative professionals might opt for more. Unfortunately, the RAM is soldered on, so you can't upgrade it after purchase.

Configuration
Storage
Advertised Capacity
1,000 GB
Usable Capacity
983 GB
Drive 1
Apple SSD AP1024N
Drive 1 Type SSD
Drive 2
No 2nd Drive
Drive 2 Type No 2nd Drive

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop starts with 512GB SSD as the base configuration, except for the i9-9880H model, which starts with 1TB. You can get up to 8TB of storage on all models.

Performance
8.5
Performance
Geekbench 5 (Synthetics)
CPU Single-Thread
1,164 points
CPU Multi-Thread
6,795 points
GPU Compute
28,987 points

The Intel Core i9-9880H in our Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop has an excellent score in the Geekbench 5 benchmarks. It has no problem performing simple tasks, and it can also handle heavy workloads quickly, like video encoding. The i7-9750H is similar to the i9-9880H in single-threaded workloads, but it falls behind in applications that can benefit from a higher core count. We expect the i9-9980HK to perform better than the i9-9880H, but not by much.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB's compute score is okay. It falls towards the lower-end of dedicated GPUs, but it's much better than integrated graphics and a decent step up from the base Radeon Pro 5300M option. The Radeon Pro 5600M is significantly faster and provides the best experience.

8.9
Performance
Cinebench R23 (CPU Rendering)
Single-Thread
1,191 points
Multi-Thread
8,792 points

Our Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's Cinebench R23 score is excellent. All three CPU options are relatively similar in single-threaded performance, but multi-threaded performance is better on the i9 CPUs, with the i9-9980HK being the fastest.

7.8
Performance
Blender (3D Rendering)
CPU Render Time
4.4 min
GPU Render Time
N/A
GPU Render Time (Optix)
N/A

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's Blender score is good. Although we can't run the GPU benchmark on macOS, we expect all GPU options to perform better than the CPU in 3D rendering. The choice of the GPU depends on your workload and how fast you want to complete the rendering task. The GPU rendering time on Windows through Boot Camp is 3.2 min.

6.9
Performance
Basemark GPU (Game Scene)
Overall Score
37,312

The AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB in our unit performs okay in the Basemark GPU test. It's powerful enough to handle games from the App store and can likely maintain playable frame rates in more demanding modern titles. However, you'll have to turn down some graphics settings or play on Windows through Boot Camp to get good frame rates. The 8GB version of the Radeon Pro 5500M performs similarly to the 4GB model in our review unit, as having more VRAM only matters if you play at a higher resolution or graphical settings with more textures. While the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M can maintain much higher frame rates, for most games, you'll still have to play on Windows through Boot Camp to get the best experience. If you want a native Windows laptop with better GPU performance, check out the Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020).

9.5
Performance
Storage Drive Performance
Sequential Write Speed
1,886.2 MB/s
Sequential Read Speed
2,820.4 MB/s
Random Write Speed
97.1 MB/s
Random Read Speed
68.2 MB/s

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop has exceptional storage drive performance, resulting in great system responsiveness and fast file transfers. The speed of the SSD may vary depending on the size, as larger SSDs tend to perform better.

7.2
Performance
Battery
Capacity
100 Wh
Battery Life (Web Browsing)
9.6 hrs
Battery Life (Video Playback)
6.5 hrs
Battery Life (Gaming)
1.0 hrs
Charge Time
2.5 hrs

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop has a massive battery. You can easily get through a typical 8-hour workday on a full charge if you're only doing light productivity, but it'll be slightly shorter if you play a lot of videos. Unfortunately, performing any tasks that engage the dedicated GPU is going to drain the battery quickly. The 100Wh battery is the maximum capacity allowed on most flights without special approval. Battery life varies greatly depending on your usage.

1.1
Performance
Borderlands 3
Avg. FPS
7 fps
1% Low
1 fps
0.1% Low
1 fps
1% Low Delta
534 ms
0.1% Low Delta
946 ms
Avg. FPS On Very Low
30 fps

Our Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop with an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB can't sustain playable frame rates in Borderlands 3 on the 'High' settings in 1080p. It's barely playable even at the lowest graphics settings. That said, it does perform much better when running the game on Windows through Boot Camp; you can see the results here. This game is mostly GPU-limited, so getting a more powerful GPU will result in a much better experience.

5.3
Performance
Civilization VI
Avg. FPS
43 fps
1% Low
23 fps
0.1% Low
22 fps
1% Low Delta
20 ms
0.1% Low Delta
22 ms
Avg. FPS On Minimum
80 fps
Avg. Turn Time
10.77 s

Civilization VI doesn't run very well on the 'High' settings at 1080p. There are a lot of micro-stutters, but it's still playable because Civilization VI is a real-time strategy game that doesn't require fast reaction time. The game runs better on Windows through Boot Camp, as running the game on macOS affects the turn time as well.

8.8
Performance
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Avg. FPS
110 fps
1% Low
N/A
0.1% Low
N/A
1% Low Delta
N/A
0.1% Low Delta
N/A
Avg. FPS On Low
143 fps

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop achieves high frame rates in CS:GO, but it stutters a lot, making the game freeze for a few seconds at a time. We can't record the 1% and 0.1% lows because the program we use isn't compatible with macOS. CS:GO is an older title that every CPU and GPU configuration of the MacBook Pro can handle easily, but you have to run the game on Windows through Boot Camp to get the best experience.

6.0
Performance
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
Avg. FPS
49 fps
1% Low
31 fps
0.1% Low
16 fps
1% Low Delta
12 ms
0.1% Low Delta
44 ms
Avg. FPS On Lowest
71 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a fairly demanding title and doesn't run particularly well on the 'High' settings in 1080p. It can't quite reach 60fps, and frequent frame drops cause noticeable stutters. Unfortunately, it doesn't run significantly better on Windows through Boot Camp. As this is a GPU-limited title, the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M will provide a much better experience and get you to a more stable 60fps with minimal tweaks in the settings.

6.4
Performance
Thermals And Noise
Keyboard Temp While Idle
29 °C (85 °F)
Keyboard Temp Under Load
50 °C (123 °F)
Fan Noise While Idle
25.0 dBA
Fan Noise Under Load
50.0 dBA
Power & Fan Control App
No

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop's thermal and noise performance is mediocre. When idle, the keyboard temperature is fairly cool, and there's almost no fan noise. However, the area around the letter 'i' gets very hot under load, and the fans get very loud, producing both a medium and high-pitched whining sound. If you prefer a laptop that makes less noise, check out the fanless Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, Late 2020).

10
Performance
Performance Over Time
CPU Temp (Cinebench)
96 °C
CPU Perf. Loss (Cinebench)
0% loss
GPU Temp (Heaven)
75 °C
GPU Perf. Loss (Heaven)
0% loss

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop's performance over time is superb. The CPU gets very hot at full load, but there's no measurable loss in performance over time. The GPU's temperature is quite good, and there's no performance loss over time either. We expect all configurations to perform similarly.

Additional Features And Software
Additional Features And Software
Software
Operating System
macOS
Additional Software
None

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop doesn't include any special software other than what normally comes with macOS. If you prefer a Windows workstation, check out the Dell Precision 5560 (2021).

Additional Features And Software
Extra Features
RGB Illumination
No
Touch Pen
No
Secondary Display
Yes
Biometrics
Fingerprint Sensor

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 laptop has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, making it easier and faster to log in. There's also a Touch Bar instead of the typical function keys, which you can use to adjust some settings, like brightness and volume, and access app-specific functions, like in Final Cut.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the MacBook Pro 16 (2019) with an Intel Core i9-9880H, an AMD Radeon 5500M dedicated GPU with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. The CPU, GPU, memory, and storage are configurable; you can see the available options in the table below. Apple's website lets you upgrade from the i7-9750H to the i9-9980HK while still keeping the AMD Radeon Pro 5300M and 512GB storage options, but not the i9-9880H. This means that the i9-9880H option starts with an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of VRAM and 1TB of storage.

CPU
  • Intel Core i7-9750H (6 cores/12 threads, 2.6GHz to 4.5GHz)
  • Intel Core i9-9880H (8 cores/16 threads, 2.3GHz to 4.8GHz)
  • Intel Core i9-9980HK (8 cores/16 threads, 2.4GHz to 5.0GHz)
GPU
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB (except i9-9880H model)
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5600M 8GB (HBM2 memory) 
Memory
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • 64GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage
  • 512GB SSD (except i9-9880H model)
  • 1TB SSD
  • 2TB SSD
  • 4TB SSD
  • 8TB SSD
Color
  • Silver
  • Space Gray 

Our display and performance results are only valid for the configuration that we tested. If you come across a different configuration option not listed above, or you have a similar MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop that doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update it. Some tests, like black uniformity and color accuracy, may vary between individual units.

You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Laptops

Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020)

The Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are both productivity-focused laptops with many similarities. The most notable difference is that the MacBook Pro 16 uses an x86 Intel 9th Gen CPU with AMD Radeon Pro graphics, while the MacBook Air uses Apple's ARM-based M1 SoC, though it can still run x86 programs through Rosetta 2. The MacBook Pro is a better choice for creative professionals because its discrete GPU performs much better for graphically demanding tasks than the M1's integrated graphics. Also, it doesn't suffer any performance loss over time, whereas the MacBook Air throttles because it's a fanless device. As for the CPU performance, the MacBook Air's M1 chip is better in most instances, and it's significantly more power-efficient, resulting in much longer battery life.

Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021) is much better than its predecessor, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019). The 2021 model features Apple's ARM-based M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs, which are significantly more powerful than the Intel 9th Gen Core CPUs on the 2019 model. The M1's integrated graphics perform better than the dedicated GPUs available on the older model. The M1 MacBook Pro's display is much better as it has a Mini LED backlight that provides local dimming and gets a lot brighter in HDR. The M1 MacBook Pro's keyboard feels better to type on, its webcam's video quality is better, and its wider port selection includes a full-size HDMI port and SD card reader. Last but not least, the M1 MacBook has significantly longer battery life, lasting five hours more than the 2019 model for light productivity.

Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021)

The Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) is much better than the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019). The MacBook Pro 14 has a much better Mini LED display with ProMotion support, its keyboard feels more comfortable to type on for extended periods, and its webcam captures a more detailed image for video calls. The MacBook Pro 14 also has a wider port selection that includes a full-size HDMI and USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support. The MacBook Pro 14's M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs perform much better than the MacBook Pro 16's Intel CPU and AMD Radeon GPU, and they're more power-efficient, which leads to longer battery life.

Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (2021)

The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Lenovo is an ultraportable Windows laptop designed for light productivity tasks, while the Apple is more of a mobile workstation with a dedicated GPU to handle demanding workloads like video editing. The Apple has a brighter and sharper display, a significantly better haptic touchpad, and a better webcam for video calls. However, the Lenovo laptop's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, its battery lasts much longer, and it's more portable. The Lenovo laptop's Intel 11th Gen processor can handle some heavy workloads, but it throttles under load, while the Apple can maintain its full performance at all times.

Acer Nitro 5 15 (2020)

The Acer Nitro 5 15 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Nitro 5 is a budget gaming laptop that runs Windows, while the MacBook Pro 16 is a productivity-focused laptop that runs macOS. Aside from gaming performance, the MacBook Pro provides a much better user experience overall because it has a larger, brighter, and more color-accurate display, better-sounding speakers, as well as a better keyboard and touchpad. As for the performance, the Nitro 5 is available with a newer generation of CPUs and GPUs that perform better for most uses. The Nitro 5 has longer battery life, but the difference is minimal in most instances.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a budget Windows gaming laptop, while the MacBook Pro is a premium macOS mobile workstation. The MacBook Pro is better in most aspects; however, the IdeaPad Gaming 3 has newer and more powerful CPU and GPU options, and its keyboard feels more comfortable to type on for extended periods.

HP Victus 16 (2021)

The HP Victus 16 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The HP is a budget gaming laptop that runs Windows, while the Apple laptop is a more premium productivity-focused laptop that runs macOS. The HP is available with more powerful CPUs and GPUs, so you can use it as a workstation too. However, the Apple laptop provides a much better user experience because it has a sharper, brighter, and more colorful display, a much better haptic touchpad, and a higher-quality webcam for video calls. The Apple laptop's build feels sturdier, its battery lasts longer, and its slimmer and compact design makes it more portable.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The IdeaPad is a budget ultraportable Windows laptop with a power-efficient processor. The MacBook Pro 16 is a macOS mobile workstation with a much more powerful H-series CPU and dedicated graphics. The MacBook Pro 16 is better in nearly every way, but it isn't as portable as the IdeaPad 3, and it gets hotter and louder under load.

ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED K513 (2021)

The ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED K513 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The ASUS is an ultraportable Windows laptop designed for general productivity tasks like text formatting and web browsing, while the Apple is a mobile workstation with a much more powerful dedicated GPU designed for demanding tasks like video editing. The Apple provides a better overall user experience as it has a significantly better touchpad, better-sounding speakers, and a better webcam. It also performs better in multi-threaded workloads and has longer battery life. The Apple laptop's display is sharper and brighter, but the ASUS can produce deeper blacks because it uses an OLED panel.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021)

The Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Lenovo is a mid-range Windows gaming laptop, while the Apple laptop is a macOS mobile workstation. The Apple laptop provides a better user experience as it has a sharper and brighter display, a larger and more responsive haptic touchpad, better-sounding speakers, and a better webcam. It also has longer battery life and a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. However, the Lenovo laptop's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, and its AMD CPU and NVIDIA GPU are faster and can handle more demanding workloads.

Dell Precision 5560 (2021)

The Dell Precision 5560 (2021) is better than the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019). The Precision 5560 performs better as it's a newer device with more powerful Intel 11th Gen CPUs and NVIDIA dedicated GPUs. It also has a more comfortable keyboard, and its memory and storage drive are user-replaceable, which you can't do on the MacBook Pro 16. However, the MacBook Pro 16 has a sturdier build and a much better webcam.

Framework Laptop (2021)

The Framework Laptop (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Framework Laptop is a thin and light Windows laptop, while the MacBook Pro 16 is a mobile workstation that runs on macOS and has a much more powerful dedicated GPU. The MacBook Pro has a larger, sharper, and more colorful display and a larger and more responsive touchpad. However, the Framework Laptop's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, and its battery lasts much longer. The Framework Laptop is easier to carry around due to its smaller size and thinner profile, and it's more serviceable as it provides easy access to the internals, and most parts are user-replaceable.

Dell XPS 13 (2021)

The Dell XPS 13 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The XPS 13 is a Windows ultraportable laptop designed for light productivity tasks, while the MacBook Pro is a bulkier macOS mobile workstation for more demanding production workloads, like video editing. Both laptops have a sharp, high-quality display, though the MacBook Pro's has a wider color gamut with full DCI P3 coverage, making it more suitable for viewing and producing HDR content. The XPS 13's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, but the MacBook Pro has a much larger haptic touchpad that lets you click anywhere, making it easier to perform actions like dragging and dropping. 

Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020)

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The MacBook Pro is a productivity laptop for creative professionals and runs macOS, while the m15 R3 is more of a gaming laptop and runs Windows. That said, the m15 R3 might be a better choice for some content creators because it's available in various configurations, with top-end CPU and GPU options that perform better than the MacBook Pro's Intel 9th Gen CPUs and AMD Radeon Pro Graphics. You can play games on the MacBook Pro, but you need to play on Windows through Boot Camp to get the best experience.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) is a creative workstation running macOS, whereas the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15 (2021) is an entry-level gaming laptop running Windows. The Apple is better for most uses as it provides a far superior user experience: its display is sharper, brighter, and more color accurate, and its touchpad, speakers, webcam, and microphone are much higher quality overall. It lasts significantly longer on battery power for web browsing and video playback workloads, it feels significantly better built, and it's much more portable. On the other hand, the HP is better as a workstation, as it's available with AMD Ryzen H-series CPUs and dedicated NVIDIA GPUs, which perform better in 3D rendering and computational workloads. You can also upgrade the HP's two RAM modules and add a 2.5 inch storage drive, and its port selection is more flexible.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Lenovo is a Windows gaming laptop, while the Apple laptop is a macOS mobile workstation. The Lenovo has CPU and GPU options that perform just as well as the Apple laptop in demanding production workloads, but the Apple laptop provides a better user experience overall. The Apple has a sharper, brighter, and more colorful display, a larger and more responsive touchpad, and a much better webcam for video calls. The Apple also has longer battery life and a sturdier build. On the other hand, the Lenovo laptop's keyboard feels more comfortable to type on, and it doesn't get as hot or loud under load.

Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021)

The Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 2019 are very different. The MacBook Pro is a 16 inch macOS laptop with a powerful H-series processor and AMD Radeon dedicated graphics. The Surface Go 3 is a 10.5 inch Windows tablet with a built-in kickstand and detachable keyboard. The MacBook Pro is better in nearly every aspect, but the Surface Go 3 may be a better choice if you only need a compact device to perform simple tasks on the go.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021)

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are both very different laptops. The MacBook is a mobile workstation aimed towards content creators with heavy workloads, whereas the Surface is a tablet meant for productivity use. The Surface's screen looks sharper, it supports a faster 120Hz refresh rate, and its slightly taller 3:2 aspect ratio means you have to scroll less when reading articles or formatting text. Additionally, it's easier to bring around since it's much smaller and lighter, its keyboard feels significantly better to use, and its 1080p webcam is better for video conferences. On the other hand, the MacBook's display has a wider color gamut with full DCI P3 coverage, its touchpad and speakers are far better, it has more Thunderbolt ports, and its battery lasts much longer. Also, its selection of higher-end Intel 9th Gen CPUs outperforms the more power-efficient Intel 11th Gen CPUs on the Surface, and you can get the MacBook with dedicated mobile workstation GPUs.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021)

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The IdeaPad 5 is an ultraportable Windows laptop designed for light productivity tasks, while the MacBook Pro is a macOS mobile workstation designed for more demanding workloads like video editing. The MacBook is a more premium laptop with a sturdier build, a sharper and brighter display, and better-sounding speakers. Its haptic touchpad is larger and easier to use, and its webcam captures a much cleaner image for video calls. On the other hand, the IdeaPad has a keyboard that feels more comfortable to type on, and it doesn't get as hot or loud as the MacBook under load.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 (2019)

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 (2019) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are productivity-focused laptops, but the Surface Laptop 3 is an ultraportable that runs Windows, while the MacBook Pro is more of a mobile workstation that runs macOS. The MacBook Pro 16 is available with more powerful CPUs and GPUs, making it a better choice for demanding workloads like photo and video editing. It also has longer battery life and a better screen with full DCI P3 coverage, whereas the Surface Laptop 3 is limited to sRGB. The MacBook Pro 16 has a much better touchpad because it's larger, and its haptic feedback makes it a lot easier to click anywhere. However, its keyboard isn't as comfortable to type on for extended periods as the Surface Laptop 3's.

Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2021)

The Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different laptops. The Lenovo is a 2-in-1 convertible designed for light productivity tasks, while the Apple is a more powerful clamshell laptop designed for demanding tasks like video editing. The Apple has a larger display with better color accuracy out of the box, a bigger touchpad with better tracking, and a webcam with better video quality. However, the Lenovo has a more comfortable keyboard, a wider port selection that includes two USB-Cs with Thunderbolt 4 support, and it doesn't get as hot or loud under load. Performance-wise, the Apple laptop can handle more demanding tasks, and unlike the Lenovo laptop, it doesn't throttle at all.

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 (2021)

The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are both 16 inch mobile workstations; however, the ThinkPad runs Windows, while the MacBook Pro 16 runs macOS. The MacBook Pro 16 has a sturdier build, a much better haptic touchpad, a significantly better webcam, and longer battery life. However, the ThinkPad has more ports, its keyboard feels more comfortable to type on for extended periods, and its memory and storage are user-upgradeable. The ThinkPad is also a newer model with more powerful CPU and GPU options providing better performance. 

HP ENVY x360 13 (2020)

The HP ENVY x360 13 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The ENVY x360 is a 2-in-1 laptop that runs Windows, whereas the MacBook Pro can only be used in a traditional clamshell mode and runs macOS. The MacBook Pro has a larger display with a wider color gamut and better color accuracy out of the box; however, the HP is available with a screen that gets much brighter to combat glare. The ENVY x360's keyboard provides a better typing experience, but its touchpad isn't as good as the MacBook Pro's as it's significantly smaller and harder to use. The MacBook Pro also has better speakers and a better webcam. CPU performance varies depending on the configuration, but if you need graphical horsepower, only the MacBook Pro is available with a discrete GPU.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020)

The ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different laptops. The VivoBook Flip is a 2-in-1 convertible with a low-power CPU designed for simple tasks, while the MacBook Pro 16 is a traditional clamshell laptop with a much more powerful CPU and dedicated GPU for demanding workloads like photo and video editing. The MacBook Pro provides a better user experience and performs better for the most part, but its battery doesn't last as long, and it gets hotter and louder under load.

LG gram 17 (2021)

The LG gram 17 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The LG is an ultraportable Windows laptop designed for light workloads like text formatting, spreadsheets, and video playback, while the Apple is a macOS mobile workstation with a dedicated GPU designed for demanding tasks like video editing. The Apple laptop's display is smaller, but it's sharper, brighter, and more color-accurate out of the box. The Apple also has a larger haptic touchpad that's easier to use because you can click anywhere, and its speakers sound better and louder. However, the LG has a more comfortable keyboard, and its wider port selection includes two USB-As and an HDMI port, whereas the Apple only has USB-C ports. The LG has much longer battery life, and it doesn't get as hot or loud under load.

Google Pixelbook Go (2019)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) and the Google Pixelbook Go (2019) are very different laptops. The MacBook Pro is available with high-power Intel H-series CPUs and discrete AMD Radeon Pro GPUs, so it can handle significantly more demanding tasks than the Pixelbook Go, which is only available with low-power Intel Y-series processors and integrated graphics. The MacBook Pro runs macOS and supports x86 applications like DaVinci Resolve, whereas the Pixelbook Go runs Chrome OS and supports web apps, Android apps, and Linux apps. If you only perform simple tasks like web browsing and video playback, the Pixelbook Go is a better choice because it's more portable and has much longer battery life.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) is a premium-feeling laptop that runs macOS, whereas the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) is a 360-degree 2-in-1 with a touchscreen. The MacBook is particularly better for workstation and business use, with a better-performing CPU and GPU and a significantly better and brighter display. Also, it has a much better touchpad, speakers, webcam, and microphone. You can use the Lenovo in tablet mode, and it has a much longer battery life, a significantly better keyboard, and a more flexible selection of ports. There are variants of the Lenovo with a better CPU and an entry-level dedicated GPU, but we expect the battery life to be much worse.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (2020)

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different laptops. The Inspiron 15 is a budget 15.6 inch Windows laptop designed for simple tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. The MacBook Pro is a premium 16 inch macOS laptop designed for professionals who need a lot of processing power for tasks like video editing or 3D rendering. The MacBook is better for the most part because it offers a better user experience with a sharper, brighter, and more color-accurate display, as well as a much better touchpad and webcam. It also has better build quality and longer battery life.

Acer Swift 3 14 (2020)

The Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Swift 3 is a thin and light Windows laptop designed for lighter productivity tasks like text formatting, web browsing, and spreadsheets. In contrast, the MacBook Pro is macOS mobile workstation with a more powerful CPU and dedicated graphics. That said, the Swift 3's Intel 11th Gen processor can handle some heavy workloads and even beats the Intel i9-9980H in the MacBook Pro in single-thread performance. The MacBook Pro has a brighter and sharper display, as well as a much better touchpad and webcam. However, the Acer has longer battery life, more ports, and is a more portable device.

HP Stream 11 (2021)

The HP Stream 11 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different. The Stream 11 is a budget Windows laptop designed for simple tasks like web browsing and media playback, while the MacBook Pro 16 is a high-end macOS laptop that can handle significantly more demanding workloads like video editing and 3D modeling. The MacBook Pro 16 performs better in all aspects, although the Stream 11 is more portable if you're only looking for a device to access the internet while on the go.

HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021)

The HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021) and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) are very different laptops. The HP is a budget 2-in-1 laptop that runs Windows, while the Apple is a premium clamshell laptop that runs macOS. The Apple is better than the HP in every way, but it's also significantly more expensive. That said, if you only need a compact device to browse the web or watch content on the go, the HP is smaller and more portable.

Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020)

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2019) is a premium-feeling laptop running macOS, whereas the Acer Aspire 5 15 (2020) is a Windows device available in a wide variety of Intel and AMD CPUs. The MacBook is a significantly better laptop overall, with significantly superior construction, a far better display, and a better touchpad, speakers, webcam, and microphone. Also, it gets better battery life, has a faster SSD, and can be equipped with superior dedicated GPUs. The Acer has more serviceable parts, it has a much better-feeling keyboard, and it has far better thermal and noise handling.

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