A brief Macbook review vs. no-tb Pro.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Ph.D., Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #1
    Hello,

    For what it's worth:

    My base non-touchbar MacBook Pro's display died (the first time I skipped AppleCare, naturally), and despite the temptations of the new Air I bought a base 2017 MacBook as a replacement. I rarely had the fans on the Pro come on unless I was doing some obviously-heavy computing, but the Air has elicited concerns about the display quality and some reports of more frequent and higher fan speeds (and I especially hate fan noise).

    The good:
    • The size and shape and weight are all significant improvements in terms of portability and comfort, and of course that's its biggest advantage for those on the go. It's perfect for travel.
    • The display size is a fair compromise, the brightness is good, and it's sharp and colorful.
    • The silence is golden, and the main reason I chose it over the Air.
    • I have come to accept and even like the second-generation butterfly keys.
    • I prefer the smaller and lighter 30W charger even if it's slower than the larger ones.
    • It never gets more than slightly warm under normal use (browsing, etc.).
    • It's nice that it starts with 256GB of storage.
    The not so good:
    • The sound quality is acceptable but a distinct step down from the Pro.
    • One has to get used to where to grab it while opened in order to avoid touching the keys.
    • The single port is a limitation, but only on rare occasions.
    • The battery life is decent but not quite up to the ntb Pro's.
    • It's relatively slow. Usually it feels just fine - speedy, even - but at odd times, and a little too frequently, there are quite significant delays and beach-balls under even very light loads. Even the storage feels slower, though perhaps this is partly due to the processor. This is my biggest complaint, as it's slow enough to cause some minor irritation at times.
    Summary:

    The Pro was better in all ways except for the form-factor (and the fact that it died in little over one year), but I like the MacBook. I do wish the MacBook had been updated this year, and I wish it was a little faster, but I prefer a fan-less design and it will do very well as a travel companion. (I have a 2017 iMac and a Linux box for heavier-duty use.)
     
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #2
    How much would it have cost to repair the nTB Pro?
     
  3. Ph.D. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #3
    Needing a new display and/or logic board, my guess is around $800 or more, making a repair expensive enough to consider a replacement instead.

    One advantage of the Air over the MacBook or Pro models is that it might (might) be less expensive to repair. Most Apple products are nearly disposable by design.
     
  4. Dominus Mortem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    #4
    I just went through a couple months agonizing over which of those two to buy for out-of-house use. First a bit of backstory. I had a 2015 Macbook for a week back in 2015 but took it back and bought a 15" instead (I know, dramatically different). I used that 15" everywhere until a week ago when I upgraded to a 2018 15" and sold the older 15". But I decided I'd keep it solely home as it was getting to the point where I'd decide before leaving home if I really needed a computer where I was going, and sometimes wishing later I had brought it. So, I really still needed a smaller form-factor computer that I'll grab no matter what and take with me. I ruled out the new Air, but I'll leave the reasons for that for another time for the sake of brevity.

    So which one to get, 13" pro or 12" MB? I really wanted the 12" MB but a few things were bugging me.

    1. It didn't fit well in my lap. I guess my legs spread a bit too wide.
    2. Even though the retina screen is nice, the pro screen is brighter, and brighter is better for one's eyes.
    3. Typing on it fatigued my wrists. The key travel is super shallow even on the 2017s. I would have probably adjusted though.
    4. The speakers are tinny sounding (this is super picky and minor since I use headphones for music anyway).
    5. My 2015's battery would drain fast if I kept the screen at 100%. I was worried that may not have changed a whole lot in 2017.
    6. Why doesn't anyone every mention how floppy the screen hinges are on it? If you pick it up too fast the screen lid yanks fully back to the stops. I don't like that. They should be stiffer.

    It has good points too.

    1. Nothing weighs less than the MB. It's like holding a bag of air.
    2. It's thin, it fits anywhere, yet it's totally usable.
    3. It's something you can grab anytime and take anywhere without a thought about it.
    4. Out of the context of comparison to the MB, the screen really is very nice.
    5. It's actually pretty snappy. Plenty fast for what I do (writing and research).

    Yet I went with the pro 13" because the screen is brighter and has better colors and that extra 1.3" of screen actually makes a big difference for a writer/researcher who needs to have part of Safari showing while writing in Word. It's a pound heavier but I don't care. I don't carry my laptop very far at any given time. If I were a student walking across campus, or a businessman taking it on trains, traveling, and to meetings then maybe that extra pound would matter; but really, it just doesn't matter. The tuna sandwich in your typical lunch bag weighs a pound. It's only that much difference. People say they can tell the difference lugging them all day. I believe them, but honestly, it's a tuna sandwich of difference, how much worse could it possibly be? The smallest laptops used to weight in at 8lbs not so long ago and people managed to make due.

    I adore both computers even though I chose one over the other. I think I make it sound like a no-brainer (to me) but it wasn't. If the screens were the same quality my decision may have went the other way.
     
  5. CrazyForCashews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    #5
    Yeah I remember this when I had a 12" MacBook. It's normal. I think it's because keeping the screen loose like that allows you to open the lid with one hand while the MacBook is closed without the bottom half being pulled with it.

    I really like the 12" MacBook but it has too many compromises. Sure it's lightweight and small size are its standouts, but they're the only ones. There's nothing else that sets itself apart.

    It's got potential but it's just not there. The new Air is a better buy. Once the MacBook gets an improved keyboard, second USB-C port, touch-ID sensor, or even an A series Apple chip, then it'll be worthwhile.
     
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #6
    For me the Air is fairly disappointing. It weighs 2.75 lbs but is only slightly faster than the MacBook and has a dimmer screen. Other manufacturers manage to get the 15W processors in similar form factors and weight, even with the now almost-obligatory-for-Windows-10 touch screens while getting similar or better battery life. It would be one thing if it were under 2.5lbs, but as it stands it is only .25 lbs lighter than the MacBook Pro that has a better processor and screen.
     
  7. CrazyForCashews macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    #7
    Yeah the new Air doesn't seem all that great but it is a better value than the 2017 MacBook. If there were a 2018 MacBook it might've been a different story but as it stands now the Air is overall better.
     
  8. Yr Blues macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #8
    Is it just me or do the MBP screens die a lot?
     
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #9
    I’m not so sure. At 256GB storage the price is identical. Sure you trade a little performance and a port but you get much better portability and a brighter screen.
     

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8 December 14, 2018