Base 13" vs 13" w/ Touchbar. Worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Patron_Saint, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Patron_Saint Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    I'm considering a 13" MBP. I'm torn though - both the base model with function keys and upgraded model with Touchbar are appealing.

    Is the Touchbar model worth the premium over the base 13"?

    Is the Touchbar particularly useful for work in Xcode and Photoshop? Those are my two main needs at the moment.
  2. UnluckyXIII macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2014
    The spec of the TB model puts it enough ahead of the non-TB model to justify the additional expense. I'd say go for it
  3. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    Is there more to it than just the processor bump?
  4. JohnnyGo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2009
    Double the amount of USB C ports
    Faster RAM
    Touch iD
    And the infamous Touch Bar
  5. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    Is the faster ram noticeable in use, or not so much?
  6. nmeed macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2014
    Unless I am missing something, it would seem that you're sacrificing a significant amount of battery life if you go with the Touchbar model. You may be gaining what was listed above, but you are losing a lot of battery life.
  7. keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    In addition to the above you also get:
    - Faster GPU (Iris 550 vs 540)
    - Two fans
    - 10% smaller battery
    - Soldered on SSD
  8. seabee3 macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2012
    I actually have already owned both and I can tell you that I am glad I am sticking with the TB model! Yes, it is a bit faster, but there are a couple of things that I have noticed already:
    - it runs smoother when working on big photos/even videos
    - love the extra two ports, especially for plugging in from either side
    and of course, the Touch Bar. Remember, third-party software manufactures are still working on it but just having used it so far, I cannot believe how used to it I am already.
    For example, in the browser - I saved my most commonly visited sites and dashboards in the favorites and now I can open a new tab and open that particular page just touching the TB instead of hot keys (not a big deal, but really easy!). I love the ability to scrub through video and do it visually on the bar.
    As for battery life, I have started getting some good life out of the TB today now that it has finished indexing. I was on it for 4 hours and it was only at 60% with an estimated 5.3 hours left on it.
    I think the TB is going to turn out to be something special so I am glad I went with it - in addition to all the other performance bumps as well!
  9. davidcmc macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2009
    People are saying that, unless you really need the Touch Bar for image/video/audio works, the non-TB has better bang for the buck.

    Remember that everything the Touch Bar does, you can do on the MBP screen. The bar also represents a continuous change of your field of view, in other words, continuous distraction.

    I don't think the idea behind the Touch Bar really matches the concept of a keyboard. People learn to type without having to look at the keyboard for a reason.

    But, as I said, the Touch Bar seems to give artists a good interface to speed up the job. Even though, everything that's being shown on the Touch Bar could be shown on the screen. Anyway, I can see some occasions where the user swipes a finger on the Touch Bar and uses the other hand to operate the mouse, which means 2 operations at the same time.

    But that's it. How'd this bar be useful for the average user that surfs the web, creates documents, spreadsheets and presentations, hears musics, play some light games (that require you to keep looking at the screen), watches videos, codes etc.?
    Sure, the developer may put some features to make the app/game work with the Touch Bar, but those would only be gimmicks. I really can't see anything relative to the mentioned uses that a Touch Bar could significantly improve.

    So, as many people are saying, the performance increase between the non-TB and the TB models is negligible (CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD). Unless you're an artist or really need 2 more USB-C ports, the non-TB model makes your pocket be thankful (more money for USB-C dongles? :p).
  10. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    If you're not getting the touch bar model, I'd get the 2015. Way better bang for buck.
  11. Ataricade Suspended

    Nov 6, 2016
    Go touchbar. Its really great. You are gonna see the hate fade as more peeps start using these
  12. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    What makes it great for you? Have you found any particular uses for it that you really like?
  13. Ataricade Suspended

    Nov 6, 2016
    First I love how customizable it is. You really can set it up the way you want it. I love the dynamic switching. Its always showing you something relevant. I like that if I'm listening to music and switch away from say iTunes a button appears that when clicked will show the player controls and scrubber no matter what app I'm in I think thats cool. Very cool phone controls come up when a call comes in. The screen shot controls, something I use a lot are great and can be done right from the touchbar. I keep finding cool stuff. :)

    Dont forget touch ID. Oh and for now you can scrub thru youtube commercials using the touchbar lol. They will prob remove that tho haha
  14. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    If the touchbar is what you are unsure about, buy one with it and take it back if you don't like it.
  15. skids929 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 24, 2011
    I vote touchbar. It's pretty slick as you set it up to your liking and start working with it. It's not a game changer but it's something you will miss as it matures and develops. The additional (PCI based) ports, and the faster ram, and higher wattage processor are all going to add to the performance and longevity of the machine over time. TB all day long.
  16. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    I'm in the same position, but the non tb is snappy enough, and I like that the ssd could potentially be upgradable.
  17. Kafou33 macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2016
    I don't know the real advantage but the TB also as 3 wifi antenna instead of 2.
  18. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I like the touch bar - I really do. It's just cool and I'm using it. The battery life sucks though. It's horrible. I get 3 less hours than the no TB version. If battery life was the same, hands down I would keep the TB version. If you don't mind 6 hours of battery, get the TB
  19. JohnnyGo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2009
    Have you tried the SMC reset ?
  20. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    Yeah. It's a placebo. It makes the battery projections appear better, but doesn't do anything. I did it a few days ago and the results are the same.
  21. skids929 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 24, 2011

    It's not, I promise I am consistently getting 9 hours. Did you kill Siri and shut off keyboard backlight? Which processor do you have? I thought you go the non TB version?
  22. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    I ended up grabbing the non-TB base today....for $1200. At that price there was no decision to make. $600 cheaper for 95% of the performance and better battery life.

    Really liking it so far - definitely impressive.
  23. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    10% battery capacity + the inefficiency of the faster hardware & touchbar, which might equate to about 20% battery life difference overall... so if a touchbar model reaches 6 hours, the cheaper will likely last ~7.5 hours

    makes me think... do I *really* want to buy in 2016/2017? the base non-touchbar model is decent, but it's stripped down and the price is hiked up

    my bet is it will take at least a couple more years before Apple figures out what they want out of their laptop lineup, they are probably looking at touchscreen possibilities & wondering what they should do with their current line-ups (since they've delcared they don't want to do touchscreen, but that leaves the path forward very hazy)... the Macbook is the only laptop in the Apple line-up that has an obvious purpose and an understandable price attached to it
  24. Garage Battle macrumors regular

    Garage Battle

    Aug 31, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Yeah for anyone claiming the NTB isnt comparable to the TB models due to ram speed, processor performance, GPU performance - id love you to find a benchmark that backs that up. Are TB models faster - yes - are they still comparable - yes.

    Ill take a 38% savings (based on NTB base sales currently at $1299 vs $1799 TB), along with 40% more battery life over a TB model.

    IMHO if you do video or audio editing - sure, TB all day for the touchbar functionality. Beyond that its going to be up to each use case.

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