2016 MacBook Pro – Ports of Course


As I contemplated which version of the new MacBook Pro to purchase, the ports were a big complaint that I heard from those online looking for something miraculous from the device.  So, I went back to look at some of the stats from previous models to help me decide how much of an impact this had on my situation and the need more a newer machine.

apple-multiport-adapter  thunderbolt-adapters

As I read the reviews and listened to the event, I was not very happy that I would need to purchase an additional dongle to run my HDMI monitors and have additional adapters for most of the USB devices I own.  Then, I looked at my 2011 MacBook Pro, and realized there was a dongle there too. That machine had a Thunderbolt port, not an HDMI or a VGA port.  So, I either needed to use a Display Port/Thunderbolt to HDMI cable or one of the adapters that Apple sold.  Could I have purchased a Thunderbolt monitor, sure.  However, those were not the ones on sale when I needed a new monitor.  When I travel, I have to use the Display Port to VGA adapter to connect with older projectors and monitors. Guess what…another dongle from an older machine.


The 2011 MacBook Pro has a SD card reader and the 2016 MacBook Pro does not.  However, I did notice that I started using microSD cards more since they were more adaptable to other devices.  The additional phones and Android devices we own all take the microSD cards, not the full-size SD cards.  During one of the many trips to our local electronic store, I purchased a microSD card with multiple adapters, one of which was where the microSD fit into a USB-A adapter.  It was the same price as the others and works quite well.  In order to get this device to work, I purchased two USB-C to USB 3.0 adapters on Amazon for $7.99.  Or, just use the USB port on the same adapter as the HDMI out adapter. Yes, another adapter, but really not too bad from a price perspective.

One of the things I like about the new, Touch Bar MacBook is there are four ports.  My 2011 MacBook had 2 USB ports that were very close together.  The only way I was able to successfully connect more than one USB device is…you guessed it…a dongle.  I had to either use an extender or a USB hub if I wanted to connect a USB flashdrive and a USB microphone.  For the new MacBooks, you lose the additional Thunderbolt ports, but the USB-C ports can be used with another adapter if you used the two additional ports.  With these four ports, I get to choose how to use them, including on what side the device charges.

Speaking of charging, while it is different from the MagSafe Power Adapter, I really do like the flexibility of being able to choose the location of the charger.  Sometimes, the power source is not on the left side of the device.  And, yes, there is no extension cable included.  However, most of the extension cables I used where when I traveled.  Since Apple did not change the socket, if you have an older extension cable, you can still use it.

Now, I know that those with more recent MacBooks (2013-2015), you had an HDMI port.  So, this may be a bit of a challenge in accepting the backward nature of where the ports went.  However, you would still need a dongle to connect to those older VGA projectors.  For those that wish the SD card reader had not vanished, this one is a little tougher change if you use it frequently.  And, while it is probably no consolation, I have found that new adapters do better at reading a variety of cards rather than just one type.

Overall, it looks like an adoption of four consistent ports seem to not be as annoying or expensive as first thought. If you are on the fence, take a good look into your usage of the ports you have now.  If the challenge is buying a dongle/adapter, look to the dongles/adapters you have now.  Stop into your local Apple Store or Best Buy to see if the layout works for you.  In fact, it may turn out to be a better choice for some needs and provide for greater flexibility rather than limitations.

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