Features

5 things you need to know about the new MacBook Pro

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Apple’s got a new MacBook Pro.

That in and of itself isn’t really big news. Almost every year their iconic notebook computer gets a speed boost, minor cosmetic changes, and a nip and tuck here and there.

But this year, Apple is making BIG, newsworthy changes.

There’s plenty to rave about, but before you scream, “take my money”, here’s what’s new, what’s changed, and how these changes will affect you.

The Apple logo glows no more

From now till I upgrade, I’m going to use my now obsolete MacBook Pro facing a mirror; that way I can occasionally glance at the glowing Apple on the back of my machine. I recognize that all these years, I’ve hardly ever looked at it, and it has no effect whatsoever on productivity, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one who’ll be sad to see the glowing Apple go.

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The new MacBook Pros that ship in two weeks will have a shiny black Apple logo on their lids instead of the iconic illuminated one.

There are more significant design changes too. These new MacBook Pros are not just thinner and lighter, but smaller as well. The screen sizes stay the same – 13 and 15 inches – but take up 20% less space.

They’re still formed from a single slab of aluminum, but now come in two colors: the original silver and space gray.

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Despite the reduction in size, these new portable Macs are still as powerful as ever, with the latest Intel processors and graphics improvements. Apple says the new MacBook Pros have a Retina display that is 67% brighter, speakers that are 52% louder, and a trackpad that is twice the size of the original.

You’ll either love or hate the new keyboard

To get everything thinner, sacrifices must be made. One way Apple saves space is with a new keyboard, similar to the one found on the impossibly thin MacBook. This second-generation “butterfly switch” keyboard isn’t going to be as clickety as that on the older MacBook Pro – which arguably has the best keyboard experience on a laptop in the world.

macbook-pro-keyboardExpect this new keyboard to be a bit polarizing. You’ll either love it or hate it. But like all things Apple, we’ll get used to it, maybe even love it.

There’s a new game-changing touch bar

Nope, the Mac is still not getting a touchscreen. Instead, depending on how you see it, Apple gives you the next best thing, or something even better.

The Touch Bar is a multi-touch OLED glass strip on top of the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It works just like any touchscreen; you can tap and slide your fingers on the color display just as you would on your smartphone.

The Touch Bar works with open apps, providing you with a set of tools and new ways to do things. For example: If you’re chatting with friends, you can use the Touch Bar to find the perfect emoji. If you’re editing a photo, you can use the Touch Bar to preview and swipe through filters. And if you’re watching a video, the playback controls on the Touch Bar let you play, pause, and scrub through the video.

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You will only be able to make the most out of the Touch Bar when your favorite apps support the new feature. But apps like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Microsoft Office have already been updated to work with it.

To make room for it, Apple is taking away the top-most row of your keyboard where the function keys, escape, and power buttons used to be. Those buttons are still available as touch buttons.

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Just like on the iPhone, you can now log in to your MacBook Pro using your fingerprint. Located on the right-most edge of the Touch Bar, Touch ID on the new Mac laptops lets you power on and sign into your device with a quick tap. You can also use your fingerprint to authenticate website logins or online payments.

The headphone jack survived the cut, but other ports weren’t as lucky

No other tech company is a fan of killing off ports more than Apple.

Not too long ago, they decided to take away the headphone jack from iPhones, and we were almost certain the MacBook Pro would lose it too.

Thankfully, the new MacBook Pros got to keep their headphone jack.

Apple MacBook Pro ports

There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack

Sadly though, everything else has been removed. There are no standard-sized USB ports, no SD card reader, and not even the MagSafe adapter that saves your laptop from falls when someone trips on your power brick.

Instead, users get four Thunderbolt 3 ports. They’re USB Type-C-shaped and support USB, HDMI, VGA, and even power, meaning you can charge using any of the four ports.

Some day in the not-too-distant future, you won’t even miss any of these ports, but in the interim, the transition will be painful and expensive. For now, you’ll need new flash drives, new cables, and new adapters to get your other accessories to work with your new Mac.

The new features cost more $$$ than usual

Normally when Apple refreshes its MacBook Pro line, Apple retains the previous year’s pricing – if not dropping them altogether. This year’s 13-inch and 15-inch base models are $500 and $400 more expensive compared to previous models, respectively.

While there are many possible build combinations. Apple is selling 3 main models – a 13-inch MacBook Pro without the new Touch Bar which starts at $1499; a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $1799; and a 15-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $2399.

Apart from all the new improvements, the new base models now have twice the amount of storage space (256GB solid state drives up from 128GB from a year ago), so that could also be a reason behind the price increase.

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Hands-On

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Hands-on: Best phone of 2018?

Huawei outdoes itself again

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In an industry where incremental updates are the new norm, Huawei manages to wow us again — barely a year after the release of the P20 Pro. The Chinese company is back with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro which might just be the best among the best this year.

In this video, we go over the phones’ new designs, updated cameras, and new memory card format. We also go through the differences between the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

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Features

Huawei Mate 20 vs Mate 20 Pro: What are the differences?

Price isn’t the only factor

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Huawei has once again launched two flagships phones at the same time; one comes with a Pro moniker, while the other does not. Like before, there are some significant differences between the Mate 20 pair to take note of.

While we wait to get our hands on the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS and Mate 20 X, here are the two phones we already know everything about.

Display

One obvious difference is in their displays. While the Mate 20 Pro goes for a notched 6.39-inch 1440p curved HDR OLED display — certainly a mouthful — the regular Mate 20 has a 6.53-inch 1080p RGBW HDR LCD with a much smaller notch.

The Pro model justifies the larger notch by housing a more complex camera system for secured facial recognition, but if that doesn’t matter to you, the regular variant’s Dew Drop notch may be more appealing — and definitely less intrusive.

In addition, the Mate 20 Pro’s OLED tech allows it to curve the edges and equip an in-display fingerprint scanner. It’s essentially the more modern-looking design of the pair.

Performance

Since both models have Huawei’s Kirin 980 chipset installed, pure performance is virtually identical. The Pro and non-Pro also share the same memory and storage configuration of 6GB and 128GB, respectively, although the plain Mate 20 has a more affordable 4GB memory variant available, too.

Another minor difference: The 4200mAh capacity of the Mate 20 Pro, along with the more energy-efficient OLED, provides it with potentially longer battery life than what the Mate 20’s 4000mAh capacity and LCD panel offer.

A more significant advantage for the Mate 20 Pro is its inclusion of a 40W SuperCharge adapter in the package — noticeably better than the 22.5W output of the Mate 20’s. Plus, the Pro version can charge other phones wirelessly using wireless reverse charging tech.

Cameras

Perhaps, you’ll care most about the difference in camera quality and performance. While it’s too early to make photo and video comparisons, an initial look at specs shows that the Mate 20 Pro may have an edge.

There are three modules in place for the Pro: One is a 40-megapixel main camera, another has 20 megapixels and an ultra-wide lens, and the final unit offers 8 megapixels with 3x optical zoom

As for the Mate 20, its main camera has only 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide shooter settles for 16 megapixels, and the 8-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to only 2x optical zoom.

Despite the larger notch of the Mate 20 Pro, they share the same 24-megapixel selfie camera.

Pricing and colors

This part largely depends on where you reside, but in an ideal setting, all five colors — Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, Twilight, Pink Gold, and Black — should be available for both models.

Pricing is another matter, and it again depends per region. In Europe, the Mate 20’s 4GB+128GB configuration retails for EUR 799 and its 6GB+128GB model goes for EUR 849. The Mate 20 Pro’s sole 6GB+128GB variant costs EUR 1,049, making it more expensive by EUR 250 and EUR 200, respectively.

In Singapore, the Mate 20’s 6GB+128GB setup retails for SG$ 998, while the Mate 20 Pro is at SG$ 1,348 — a difference of SG$ 350.

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Features

Huawei Mate 20 series first to have Nano Memory Card

Could this become a trend?

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Aside from introducing a host of flagship features to the freshly minted Mate 20 series, Huawei also introduced a new memory card standard, simply named Nano Memory Card.

It’s available on both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, and it effectively replaces the microSD slot we’ve become so accustomed to. The question is: What’s so special about it?

The simplest answer is that it has the same size as the nano-SIM card inside any smartphone today. Because of the identical dimensions, the secondary card slot doesn’t have to be designed differently, like what has been done for microSD cards.

In the case of the Mate 20 series, the removable card tray has back-to-back slots: one for the nano-SIM, and the other for either another nano-SIM or separate Nano Memory Card.

As of writing, Huawei will be offering 128GB and 256GB NM Cards, with speeds of up to 90MB/s. They’re hoping it’ll become the new standard, and are producing adapters for additional compatibility.

It’s certainly a more efficient way of adding physical storage to a handset, and allows manufactures like Huawei to use the saved space for other features, like a large battery.

Looking ahead, it seems only logical for other smartphone brands to follow suit, but that would mean consumers would have to buy into a whole new standard and let go of their microSD cards.

The same thing happened with the introduction of the USB-C port, wherein users had to replace their micro-USB cables for the newer, more intuitive system. It’s been a gradual process, but definitely rewarding.

It’ll take a while before we find out if this will become a trend, but for now, we should appreciate Huawei’s courage in taking the first, big step.

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