MacBook Pro 2017 13" Kaby Lake Review

by Carver Harrison last modified 2018-06-30T19:32:36-07:00

During WWDC 2017, Apple had announced upgrades to their MacBook Pro models, including a spec-bump to Kaby Lake CPUs. About a week after that, I decided to purchase a MacBook Pro 2017 to use as my main laptop. My previous laptop was a cheap Lenovo laptop. It had a glitchy touchpad and a horrible keyboard. The bottom was being held together with ductape. I wanted something slim with a good battery life this time. I also wanted a laptop that "just works." I am hoping this machine lasts a few years, especially with this premium price. The MacBook Pro 2017 checks several of these for me.


Let's start out with the hardware of this machine. This is the thinnest laptop that I have ever used. However, that thinness comes at a cost. There are only USB-C ports, and my machine has 2 as it is the model without the Touch Bar. However, the USB-C ports are capable of providing up to 40GB/s per port because of Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 can be used for many purposes. It keeps the 3.5mm headphone jack, luckily. Another device by Apple does not have a headphone jack anymore. The Trackpad of this machine is HUGE! I hardly ever run out of room when dragging a file anymore. Palm rejection is very good, so this trackpad never interferes with typing. The keyboard has the second-generation Butterfly mechanism. I have one issue with this keyboard, is that my model has some defective keys. They make a clicking sound and they seem to stick when the laptop is running hot. Many others have had this issue, and I solved this on my machine by using a SIM tool to pop off the keys. The worst offender was the "K" key. When I popped it off, the paint that dimmed the LED was cracked as well. I peeled off the paint and used a sharpie to replace it. I replaced the key, and the key never clicked again. Onto the battery life, this thing has a great battery life from what I have noticed, even though I don't use the battery much. The SSD is very fast, as it is PCI-Express based; I have the 256GB model. One of my favorite features of this laptop definitely has to be the speakers, however. These speakers are very loud and clear at the same time. They have lots of bass as well. It's hard to describe it in a blog post. The screen is also very nice, as it is a Retina pannel with a resolution of 2560x1600. It uses the P3 color gamut. Finally, moving onto the CPU, GPU, and RAM, this machine has a Core i5-7360U with 8GB of RAM and Intel Iris Plus 640 Graphics. The 15-inch models come with dedicated Radeon GPUs however, Intel core i7 CPUs, and 16GB of ram. There are upgraded 13-inch models that support 16GB of ram as well as a core i7 CPU.

Software & Performance

This machine came with macOS Sierra, the latest version of macOS. macOS High Sierra is coming this fall. It came with the free Apple apps such as iMovie, Garage Band, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. In terms of performance, this machine is very fast for day-to-day uses such as web-browsing, chatting, light-gaming, listening to music, editing photos with PixelMator, and watching videos. I rarely get any slowdowns. In terms of gaming, the integrated can actually play games such as Grand Theft Auto V. I used Bootcamp to Install windows 10 on my MacBook Pro to see how GTA V runs. It actually runs smoothly, giving me 40FPS at 720p resolution. Not bad for integrated. I have not tested any video editing on this.


Is this machine worth the $1500 (without taxes) price tag? The answer depends on your preference. If you want to get away from Windows, or you are an experienced Max user, and you don't want to mess with Linux, then the MacBook Pro may be worth it to you. If you love, the Dell XPS 13 is a much better choice. You could run solely Windows 10 on this if you chose too, however. For me, I think this machine was worth it.

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