2015 vs 2016 vs 2017 Macbook Pro - Need buying advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DaGrandMastah, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. DaGrandMastah, Oct 23, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017

    DaGrandMastah macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2011
    Hi all – was looking for some buying advice.

    My 2011 imac is on life support and I’ve decided to go ahead and buy a Macbook Pro during Black Friday. I’m not a computer programmer or graphics designer but I do like spending time on my computer and, after 4 years of saying “I want one”, I’m finally making the plunge and treating myself to a Macbook Pro.

    I definitely want a 15” pro strictly for the screen size. I’d also prefer to upgrade to a 512 SSD. Everything else can be standard offering.

    I could opt for a 2015 Macbook Pro (approx. $2k), a 2016 Macbook Pro ($2099) from B&H Photo or the 2017 Macbook Pro ($2500).

    Any thoughts on what the best route is? I’ve heard about issues with the keyboard. Ideally I’d like to future proof as much as possible but the differences, particularly between the 2016 and 2017 are minimal at best.

    UPDATE - After much deliberation, I've opted instead to go with a 21.5" Retina iMac and a new 10.5 iPad pro. There is a TON of excellent information in this thread for anyone who is interested.

    I based my decision more on need - I use my imac for leisure not work and don't really need the portability since I use my ipad (original air) for that (although it's getting long in the tooth now with all the OS updates). For the price of the macbook I wanted, I can get a new imac and the ipad pro (plus sell my old ipad) so decided to go that route instead.

    Anyone just joining, please keep the discussion going.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I’ve heard about issues with the keyboard."

    There definitely have been issues with the "new" keyboards.

    You should make it a point to try BOTH the older-design (2015) and newer-design (2015-16) keyboards BEFORE you finalize your decision. Preferably, try them side-by-side if possible. Does one or the other appeal to you?

    Also -- will you need all the "legacy ports"?
    Or, is USB-c enough (considering it will be "dongle city")?
  3. The Mercurian macrumors 68000

    Mar 17, 2012
    Unless you are super keen to have a touch bar and touch ID the 2015 sounds best.
  4. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Do you really want to buy a 2 year old computer? Even if it's brand new.
  5. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    If you’re buying a new laptop makes more sense to buy brand new personally.

    You’re still paying huge money so why not buy for the latest tech that will last you even longer?
  6. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    If you get one of the 2016/2017 designs, ensure you get AppleCare+

    When those puppies get out of warranty, the repair bills could be atrocious otherwise.
  7. DaGrandMastah thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2011
    This is essentially the problem. I have a hard time justifying 2k for a 2 year old computer when I could get the latest model for 500 more.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 23, 2017 ---
    That was another factor but I've recently begun moving my music and things to the cloud so I really only need one external hard drive for everything. I'll likely set up one of those 4 port hubs.

    To be honest, imac is probably a better bet for me but the idea of moving the computer around the house appeals to me signfiicantly.
  8. TokMok3 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2015
  9. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    I’d simplify it down to between the 2015 or 2017, the 2016 were worse off with the keyboard issues (2017s are slightly tweaked and better though not completely free of the problem) and also weren’t all that much more powerful than the 2015. Some pros and cons I can think of:

    + great screen
    + normal, problem free keyboard
    + good port selection
    + still more powerful than most other Apple laptops anyway!

    Neutral: thin and light for what it packs in, but still not as svelte as the 2017

    - no Thunderbolt 3 or usb c at all
    - 4th gen processor
    - expensive

    + even better screen (P3 gamut for supported content)
    + 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports
    + 7th gen processor
    + the most powerful laptop Apple currently has to offer
    + sleeker, lighter design

    - 8th gen processors incoming imminently
    - potential keyboard problems
    - no legacy ports
    - eye wateringly expensive
  10. TokMok3 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2015
    I bought a MacBook Pro 15 (mid)2015 from eBay with high-end specs in 10/10 condition for $1300, I'm planning to upgrade the SSD from 250GB to Samsung EVO Pro 520GB M.2 NVMe Drive which will give reads at 2800mb/s and write at 2200mb/s. The SSD costs $300, for $1600 I got a fast MacBook Pro. Plus I will keep the Apple stock SDD drive, but If I decide to sell it, I could reduce the cost of the of Samsung EVO Pro 520GB M.2 NVMe. But if money is not the problem then buy a 2017 MacBook Pro.
  11. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Absolutely get the 2017 if you want something future proof. People have been crowing about the keyboard and USB-C but neither are really legitimate complaints especially when looking at two year old hardware versus up-to-date hardware.

    The ole "I tried the keyboard in the Apple Store" argument is, frankly, BS. It's not enough time to get used to a keyboard or to properly judge how good a keyboard is. I use a 2015 for work and own a 2016. They keyboard on the 2016 is far superior. Have there been hardware problems with the keyboard? Sure. But that is what it is. The only thing that really matters is usability - and the new keyboard and the new machine are just better.

    Do not, under any circumstances except financial (and even then I suggest not) buy the 2015 MacBook Pro.
  12. The Mercurian macrumors 68000

    Mar 17, 2012
    But this is not the full story.

    The real question is do you want a newer computer with marginal performance improvements and documented reliability issues, versus an older design machine with almost the same performance and well established long term reliability ?
  13. teohyc macrumors regular


    May 24, 2007
    I bought a 2015 refurbished quad 2.5Ghz with 1TB SSD recently.

    I bought that because most of my external devices are still using USB Type A ports.
    The 2015 is still a very powerful computer even if it's still using a 4th gen processor.
    It can edit and export 1080P videos without problems.
    4K 30FPS videos can be edited without dropped frames.
    Exporting 4K will cause the system (user interface animation) to slow down and become choppy.

    The alternative would be to spend more money for a higher end Macbook Pro which is certainly nice but unnecessary.
    If I am someone who pushes the Mac to its limits everyday, I will definitely get the latest.
    By pushing to the limits, I mean editing and exporting 4K videos all the time.
  14. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    Some of us would argue that reliability matters at least as much usability…
    Especially for a keyboard

    If you're having keyboard problems you can't get much use out of it especially when it requires replacing the entire top half of the computer by Apple to fix it.
  15. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Do you know what percentage of Macs from 2015 - 2017 have needed repaired or what the most prevalent issues were?

    And ultimately, things have problems, 2015 Macs are no exception, and it's under warranty so who cares. You don't not buy a superior computer on the off chance that you're one of a small percentage of users that experience a 'problem'.
  16. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    Nope - But I do know a vast swath of people personally that have been long time Mac users, and in that sample set the 2016/2017 laptops have been a nightmare with keyboard issues vs essentially "none" in the previous ones going back as far as the Intel switch.

    For me, that's relevant data. It's people I know and trust (including myself) who've gone from "no problems ever with keyboards" to lots of issues.

    Do you see how that would be troubling to some of us?

    And under warranty is not helpful due to the extensive time/effort needed for the fix. You don't take it in and get it fixed and walk out - they send them away! Everyone I know needs their laptop for work. It's a big distraction to lose it for repairs.

    Also - folks - keep in mind how new these laptops are. This is insane to have any level of issues so consistently for such new products.

    It's so frustrating to me that some people dismiss those of us who have very negative views based upon first hand experience with the new laptops vs older ones. We aren't making this up! I take no pleasure in the situation and find typing on the new laptops just fine. The reliability is the deal breaker for me, not the keyboard design.
  17. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    And I'm summarily dismissing what you're writing here because it's anecdotal. I have a 2016 and know other people who have one and haven't had issues. And yet, here you are insisting somebody purchase an inferior computer because you and your friends had 'keyboard problems'. Even if this issue affected 10% of all users (and let's be clear, you don't have any stats) you're still looking at a 90% probability of having a perfectly fine laptop with the worst case scenario being you have to temporarily buy a "loaner" while your laptop gets serviced versus buying an outdated machine. With the alternative being "I'm so scared I might have a keyboard problem let me buy this inferior hardware".

    It's nothing but emotional. It's not a logical decision whatsoever.
  18. DaGrandMastah thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2011
    It's funny that people have mentioned testing out the keyboard first - I didn't really notice anything I disliked from either the 2017 or the 2015 in teh apple store. Either one is going to take getting used to considering I'm coming from an imac....particularly the placement of the trackpad.

    Thank you for all the great advice here. As of now I'm probably going to get a 2017 - is it worth upgrading the hard drive from 256 to 512? Neither size is enough for my media needs so I'll be working with a 4 tb portable drive when I want to take around my non cloud data.
  19. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    I'd just rock the 256. I mean, 512 is fine if you're not concerned about the price. Combined with all these cloud storage options I'd just save the money. You can get 200gb on iCloud for $3/month. Do the math for the upgrade.
  20. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008

    Let's just agree to disagree.

    We don't know each other and so it's difficult communicating this way and I'm taking your tone a bit aggressively on my end (my fault) so I think I should just step away.

    Ultimately I would simply encourage anyone purchasing these new laptops to at the minimum get AppleCare+ so you're covered for as long as possible, irrespective of the hassle of getting any repair done.

  21. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Apologies if my tone is coming off as aggressive - I am being a little aggressive because in my view, suggesting somebody purchase a two+ year old computer without any actual justification is poor advice and these are expensive purchases. When you advocate that somebody buy an inferior machine because your friends had some problems you're doing another person a disservice and it's not fair to the person asking for advice.
  22. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    I appreciate your apology and let's just close with some grace and polite behavior towards each other.

    Sharing stories about experiences is what the forum is all about…

    In no way am I trying to mislead anyone or do them a disservice.

    Honestly speaking I believe that sharing stories like this that are out of the norm based upon our decades of experience can be very helpful data points.

    Nothing I say should sway anyone anymore than anything you say so I'm glad we're both sharing our differing viewpoints. This is when the forum is at its best.

    Again I thank you for your opinions and I respectfully disagree with you in this particular situation.

    Cheers once more.
  23. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    Overall perhaps the 2015 machine is inferior in terms of power, but it does have its advantages, and the older tech is reflected in the price... I'd probably agree if they were going to cost equal amounts, that it was worth getting the 2017 without a second thought - but a $500 difference isn't insignificant even when talking about $2k to start with... because of that I'd argue the 2015 is still relevant and worth considering to anyone who doesn't absolutely need the most power possible.
  24. Macintoshrumors macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2016
  25. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Which isn't a good way of looking at things. In two years this two+ year old computer will be 4+ years old, while a 2017 will be 2 years old. That's a lot to keep up with. Mac's age well, but not that well.

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118 October 23, 2017