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It’s thinner, lighter, and smaller all around, but the new MacBook Pro makes a big impression. The trackpad on the 15-inch version is downright ridiculous—twice as large as the trackpad on the previous generation—but I didn’t look down and say, “Holy cow, that is a seriously huge trackpad,” until I’d been using it for a couple of minutes.

Because it’s really all about that gorgeous Touch Bar.

Apple doesn’t do touchscreen Macs, but the Touch Bar adds a strip of ultra-handy iOS-style contextual controls right where you need them, and the rest of the MacBook Pro got great updates too. After my limited hands-on time, I think it’s got the right mix of power, portability, and ports to satisfy users of previous MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Let’s dive right into my first impressions—we’ll follow up with a full review later.

Touch Bar

The Touch Bar, which replaces the row of Fn keys on top of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, enables new functionality like Touch ID to unlock the Mac and make Apple Pay purchases in Safari without needing to authenticate with an iPhone or Apple Watch. It’s made of smooth glass, so it feels great under your fingers, just like the trackpad itself.

Susie Ochs

The Touch Bar changes based on what you’re doing, including predictive controls in some apps. 

The Touch Bar supports multi-touch, in case you need to tap or slide on more than one control at once. This would come in handy in some apps, like djay Pro, but since the bar isn’t really tall enough for common multi-finger gestures like pinch-to-zoom, I was content to poke at it one finger at a time.

I love how you can customize the Touch Bar’s default controls. Just pick View > Customize Touch Bar from the Finder menu, and you get a full suite of buttons you can drag right down to the Touch Bar. The options are similar to what you see when customizing the toolbar in your Finder windows.

But the coolest part of the Touch Bar is how quickly it changes as you switch apps. I used it for scrolling through a full-screen album in Photos, as well as for scrubbing through the timeline in Final Cut Pro. Both were fast and responsive.