A week with the 15" Touch Bar MacBook Pro - The Good/Bad.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dannys1, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. dannys1, Dec 3, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016

    dannys1 macrumors 68020

    dannys1

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Thought i'd post my thoughts after a week with the system. Overall I really like it, but it's not without it's niggles - so my observations so far.

    (Spec 15" Touch Bar, 2.9ghz i7, 16gb ram, 1TB SSD, Radeon 460)

    The Good.

    • Silence. It's so nice to have a silent MacBook Pro. My 2015 MacBook Pro ran the fans on full blast even when doing 10% CPU stuff (which Spotify seemed to like to do whilst sitting idle). I had the fans changed on it and did multiple PRAM resets and nothing changed, it was definitely unusual even for a 2015 MacBook Pro and it drove me mad. Every MacBook system seems to have it's quirks and my 2015 was fan noise.
    • The Keyboard. This keyboard is fantastic. It's comfortable, satisfying. A touch noisy maybe but the click is just so nice - every key press feels satisfying. The best typing i've every done. It's similar to the Magic Keyboard on my iMac but tightened up (as that has scissor action still) but not too much different, this just beats it as my favourite keyboard ever. I hope the retina MacBook has room for this style butterfly next year if possible.
    • Speakers. I didn't think i'd be too bothered about built in speakers, but it's surprising how often I use them and to be honest these sound great. There's a depth and a quality to them that is very silky. They've surprised me in the way they've recreated sounds a number of times. A really nice upgrade.
    • Touch ID - it's fantastic! I can finally use a decent password on my Mac. I've added the github project so you can use it in terminal for Sudo too. Now I only need to type a long password once when initially logging in - which is why I never bothered with one in the past...when you do a lot of terminal and admin work, typing in that lengthy password can be a chore.
    • Ports. Yeah sorry, they're brilliant. No dongles here. I upgraded all my cables to USB-C and yes I mean upgraded, now I can plug them in either way - good riddance type A! There is a USB-C cable for every connection on Amazon, A, B, micro, mini, printer, super speed-b. I bought the ones I needed and binned a lot of my type A cables save those I need for the iMac and a couple of decent spares. The irony is all the nonsense about dongles and hubs is that there are two scenarios now where I use LESS cables or hubs. When I DJ'ed I needed three USB ports, my 2015 MBP only had two, so I needed a portable 4 port USB hub that I plugged into. Now I have enough ports to go direct into the MacBook, no dongles/hubs needed. At work I used to plug the gigabit ethernet in by way of a Thunderbolt 2 adapter and the power on Magsafe. Now I've set it up with the Power Delivery and ethernet under the desk and when I arrive at work I plug one single USB-C cable into my MacBook Pro to provide both. Less cables!
    • Power. Admittedly, losing Magsafe was a downer to me, I've even hacked two magsafe cables for my SubPack that sits on my studio chair so that when I spin round or get up the cables break free instead of being damaged as they were. I though Apple would make a USB-C one but they didn't. However, now i've got to say I prefer in a few ways. I work A LOT on the sofa or my knees, the Magsafe fell out numerous times a day, often i'd not notice or I couldn't be bothered to plug it back in it had fallen out so much and i'd generated 10x more battery cycles than needed. I no longer have to worry about Apple's proprietary fraying cable, I can use any USB-C cable to charge. It cane be plugged in on either side so no more bending cable problems. It can be charged from any USB-C charger (albeit more slowly until 100w chargers become more commonplace) and I can use external battery packs now. All in all it's a good trade off for just being a bit more careful when walking around. I have mind backed a Kickstarter project for a USB-C style Magsafe (of which there will be many I think) I may or may not use it but a least I'll then have a flexible choice rather than being force to use it places where it's annoying (eg my knee)
    • Touch Bar - It comes under both, there is good and bad. First the good, it feels GORGEOUS. I can't describe how nice it is to slide your finger across. Pixelmator makes great use of it - I like the brightness and volume sliders too - and I like having it there...


    Bad.

    • Touch Bar Graphics - I thought it was supposed to be retina? It looks pretty low res to my (poor) eyes.
    • Not many useful Touch Bar applications yet. I think the touch bar is fantastic but it needs time to mature. Some of the features are not useful - however, bang up some macros, batch tasks, applescripts, automator stuff you can do with one press of a dynamic button and we'll be in business. I thought screenshots would be useful as I take a lot, but for some reason whatever setting you apply on the Touch Bar over-rides the shortcut keys...very odd!
    • Black Keyboard - this applies to every MacBook ever not just this one, but I hate the wear you get on the black keyboards. Its' been one week and my space already has irreversible wear on it. Within a month it'll be all shiny. The white ones don't show this as badly, but you'd have thought they'd have found a harder wearing material at this stage which doesn't just melt away with simple finger taps.
    • Monitor evenness - In some angles my monitor seems to show a distinct yellowing in the bottom 1/4. It's not extreme but I notice it on white backgrounds and even worse when F.lux kicks in and exaggerates it. It's not big enough for me to send back, it's probably considered normal because if you tilt the monitor back a bit it goes away. But my iMac doesn't have it and my last MacBook wasn't noticeable (I have however sent back a 9.7" iPad Pro because one side appeared yellow and got a replacement that looked exactly the same)
    • Safari password issue - again probably not a result of the MBP perse but it only happens on this system and not my other Sierra running Macs and didn't happen on the last MacBook. It's obviously a software issue mind, but a spinning beachball when clicking on any saved password fields (whilst it searches for the password I assume is annoying - full story here

    The indifferent.

    • Skylake. Honestly - it's about time people stopped worrying about what the latest Intel generation chip is called and creating threads waiting for that in the next MacBook. This thing performs just the same as the top level Broadwell from the 2015 MacBook. I doubt you'd be able to tell when working if you had a Broadwell, Haswell, Skylake, Kabylake or whatever Intel will name it next. They've been stagnant for a long time, trying to improve everything around it. So really - I wouldn't worry or care, start creating threads base on the newest SSD technology or RAM capacity instead!
    • (Update) Moved battery life to here - hadn't really used it not plugged in until this weekend overall i'd have to say i'm pretty impressed. Have seen the thread about poor battery life and at first was concerned with mine when I unplugged it - but it's never a good idea to test battery life when you first setup any macOS computer as you've got spotlight and nsrurlsessiond going mental, then you've now got Photos doing the new facial and object recognition which i've noticed on the iMac uses a lot of CPU for a while. I've never got close to what the Apple recommendations have been in terms of battery life for my usage, certainly not 10 hours and i've owned multiple MacBook Pros and MacBooks. I will say that I had VMWare Fusion running Windows 10 and a lot of other stuff open yesterday and whilst I was leaving it to sleep quite often (eg not working full stop as I was switching to other systems) it happily sat there with a good 40% battery life at the end of the day. I've seen the estimates for my usual workflow as around 8 hours when I pull the power cord which is probably what i'd expect - my 2015 MacBook Pro was easily down to 3 hours maximum.

    Finally - I haven't experienced any three finger drag issues, and thankfully no dGPU issues yet. My friend has seen some minor glitching though and some sluggish performance. I did see terrible performance in Safari and it turned out to be due to Adblock Plus! I disabled it and everything ran fine again, very ood.
     
  2. Falcon80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
  3. AlexRez macrumors newbie

    AlexRez

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    #3
    Great review!

    And I also think, that the ports are awesome in the new MacBook. Like you, I changed all my cables to USB-C.

    I'm very interested in the sudo authentification with Touch ID. Could you post that GitHub Repo link ?
     
  4. dannys1, Dec 3, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016

    dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Sure, here you go! https://github.com/mattrajca/sudo-touchid

    It's a bit of a fiddle to get setup, but nice once done. No longer do I have to use the password "1" on my Macbook because i'm too impatient to constantly type anything longer haha.
     
  5. JohnnyGo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    #5
    Great feedback. Thanks!

    You are not the first but very few people are being smart about the USBC port transition. If one does it right (like you did), the new ports workout much better than the old ones (one cable hookup to monitors, either side charging/connections, etc).
     
  6. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Thanks - it really boggles when people say "I like my old MacBook Pro because it comes with ports" what a ridiculous thing to say - mine now comes with 4x USB ports (3.1 gen 2 as well), and 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports - thats far more and far faster than anything i've had at my disposal previously.

    All those the cables needed are out there on the market now so every single legacy USB device is compatible because, guess what, they're just USB ports too! There's no such thing really as "USB-C devices" just those that come with USB-C cables. Sure you have to buy some new cables, but if someone had given me the choice for a smaller connector that can be plugged in, in either direction, i'd have spent the £7 a cable years ago.

    The only thing missing really are devices which make use of the speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3, but they will come in time. THAT is where USB-C isn't mature enough yet, not in the situation of needing cables for your old devices.

    Also we still need some short cables, USB-C to micro-b in 2 inch etc, they're all half a meter or more at the moment.

    Quite looking forward to Anker making a 5amp compatible 3 meter USB-C Powerline+ kevlar space grey power cable though
     
  7. b_scott macrumors 6502a

    b_scott

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #7
    Those with battery life issues - Mine would only last 3-4 hours. Then I removed the beta, and left that program. Made a 10.12.1 boot USB, resinstalled Sierra, and now I'm getting 10-12 hours (Chrome, web).
     
  8. dannys1 thread starter macrumors 68020

    dannys1

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Interesting!

    I shouldn't have put battery life in bad really - in fact I think i'll edit and move it. I really have no evidence that it's good or bad yet as i've had it plugged in a lot more than my old MacBook Pro. In fact iStat says I have a cycle count of 3.
     
  9. julienkessels macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2016
    #9
    wait what ?
     
  10. b_scott macrumors 6502a

    b_scott

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #10
    It sounds unbelievable, but it worked for me. My machine was at 54% after 6 hours before I went to bed last night. PLEASE NOTE: I wasn't doing anything heavy, just web browsing. This is at 50% brightness and low keyboard lighting.

    Also note I migrated my system. There are those that think the migration is buggy. I think it may have caused my Radeon to run 100% of the time, dropping battery life. My mac was super hot before and now it's pretty cool. Was running at 20w constantly and now it's about 6-7w doing the same thing
     
  11. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #11
    Take my like, good sir. I like that while other people are whining to no end about the absence of the older ports, you are helping to bring forth the vision of an all-USB-C computing utopia and turn it into a reality in your own way.
     
  12. electrix64 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #12
    Great review! I'm also really enjoying my new tbMBP.
    I do have one question though, if you put your ear right next to the keyboard in a quiet room, can you hear any form of a light electrical buzzing noise coming from under the keyboard? I've been hearing it and although it's not audible from normal distance and isn't pervasive, I just wanted to see if other people have the same problem.
     
  13. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a

    WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    #13
    How on earth is that a 'problem'?
     
  14. electrix64 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #14
    Maybe problem is the best word to use (but I wouldn't use the word 'feature' either). I just wanted to know if that was normal with these new tbMBP's
     
  15. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a

    WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    #15
    If I put my ear to my MBP I can hear the light whirring of fans and the usual barely audible hum of electronics like you would with most machines.
     
  16. Mbp15buyer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2016
    #16
    Head over to finder and click on applications. Set the icon sizes to large (leftmost option) start scrolling really fast with your trackpad. Do you notice and frameskips/UI lag?

    Go to activity monitor and click on memory, and start hyperscrolling. Any of the same issues?
     

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