Going nuts trying to decide on 15" model

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nph, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. nph, Apr 24, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017

    nph macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005
    I have looked at both 2015 and 2016 models and I know I want the bigger screen of the 15" since I am coming from an Airport Air -13. Have been trying both in different stores and here is my take. Appreciate any insight.

    in AppleStore i put both at 70% brightness and 50% volume and played songs from iTunes. Made sure no other applications were running except Activity Monitor and after a few minutes both machines increased the remaining battery time until both stabilized, -16 on 7h and 30 minutes while the -15 showed 8h and 39 minutes.
    I have read several tests that seems to indicate the new -16 has better battery life for CPU intensive tasks. However I find most of the time that you want long battery life when reading emails, listening to songs playing videos etc. If you plan to do final cut pro editing I think most people make sure they are close to a power outlet for that.
    The -15 was the base model still sold in Applestore with no dGPU. The -16 was the base model as well with Radeon 450.

    What I like about the - 16:
    - lightness and smaller size
    - new architecture (hopefully means longer life expectancy support wise from Apple)
    - Better screen but note there that once I dialed down the screen intensity the -15 looked just as nice if not more bright then the -16.
    - Touchbar, I actually like it
    - From what i have rad it stays cooler and much quieter since fan runs less and this is something I really like!

    Negatives of the -16:
    - The keyboard. the one I tried in the Applestore had a semi functioning Command key left of the space bar.
    - keyboard again, sound wise it is quite loud and I have read so many reports about high pitch keys etc. Although to be fair the space bar on the -15 was as loud or even louder than any key on the -16 and the keyboard on the -16 feels nice to write on but not quite as good as the "classic" one.

    Positives of the -15:
    - Keyboard, the same excellent one that I have used for many years on my 2013 Air.
    - Ports, mostly I am happy wth SD card slot!
    - Battery life seems better than the -16?!! (for none CPU intensive tasks at least)
    - CPU/Speed etc, starting up a few apps like Garage band I noticed no difference in speed.
    - Sound and screen almost as good as the -16.

    Negatives of the -15:
    - old architecture, will this have more than a year of less useful life before it doesn't get supported by Apple any longer?
    - weight and size, it does make a difference...
    - No dGPU so limited ability to play games and penalty when using Final Cut Pro.

    I keep going back and forth and hadn't it been for the keyboard I would have ordered the -16 long time ago.
    But maybe it grows on you like I have read some comments etc.
    There is always the waiting game to play but I doubt they will change much except upgrading CPU and GPU a little bit. Pretty sure keyboard will stay the same etc. Cant really wait either since my son will need to take over my existing MBA and i want to replace with something a bit more powerful.

    Oh, I almost forgot but here is what I plan to use it for:
    - Virtual machine running Windows (7 and soon 10)
    - Office package for Mac
    - edit videos, some 4k ones. ( not long clips but maybe 5 minute ones that I will merge)
    - some games, Civ 4 and 6 and some WoW.
    - Photo editing.
    - Some programming as well.
    - I type a lot(!) so keyboard will be used for sure.
    - Skype, many hours a day on audio conferences! (this is where multitasking comes in :) )
    - Seriously multitasking is something I do a lot so running a VM, using Office, editing a picture while having a bunch of other apps open as well etc.

    Most of the activities will actually be better on a 15" than the 13" MBA I have today so I definitely want a 15 inch MBP, only question is go for an older model or take chance on the new one???

    Before anyone suggest a Windows machine, don't! :) I have been using Macs for 25 years and my first was the original Plus and my first real job was creating invoicing programs on Macs so skipping OS X is not an option. I have tried tons of other brands in my roles at different jobs and nothing comes close to a Mac.

  2. darksithpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2016
    Well if you're a programmer and an editor then get the one with the better keyboard, your hands will thank you later. The one without dedicated GPU will most likely have better battery life. That's just how it goes when you put in a high end AMD, or nVidia performance chip. They love to suck up battery juice. As long as you got 16 gigs of ram and and a decent hard drive all those things should work fine, with the exception of World of Warcraft. Running WOW on Intel HD will probably be a very poor experience and you will probably have to lower it down to minimal settings. Civ probably wouldn't be as demanding, so that would prob be ok.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    My recommendation is the 2016, simply because of better mobility, better screen and better keyboard (yes, the keyboard is better and is easier to type on since the keys are larger and more stable). I know that the keyboard appears weird at first, but give it a chance and its likely that it will grow on you after a weak or so. Don't forget that you have a free return period, so you have the chance to try the computer out in action before committing!
  4. csurfr macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    +1 for the 2016. I read gripe after gripe on this forum about the keyboard and the noise. After a week with the 15" my typing was near silent. Seriously. You just have to get used to it. I type code all day, and I can't say enough about this keyboard. Really. I wish Apple would make this same style for the desktop.

    Touch bar is handy, you just need to find the apps that support it. Once you do, you might wonder how you lived without it.. But, it's still personal preference. I like it.

    As for the integrated gpu using less battery than the dedicated one: by default on battery power, the new MacBook Pro uses the intel, and the AMD is only used when needed. There is a setting in sys prefs to turn that off should you be so inclined. When on battery power I believe (read: not positive) that it uses the AMD full time.

    Overall, go with the '16 if you have the cash. More future proof with USB-C and TB3. The screen is great even in direct sunlight, and the keyboard, well, you know my thoughts on that. Are there occasional hiccups? Sure, but with each new release of Sierra they are getting ironed out. I haven't had too many issues with 10.12.4. And it will only get better as time goes on.
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You want to game and you edit 4k video the 2016 with the upgraded graphics cards is a much better choice for those activities ots that simple. Don't worry about battery estimates they are nonsense, all reports show the 2016 15 inch gets at least as good battery life as the 2015 in most scenarios.
  6. tow1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2017
    I bought the 2015 and used it for 2 weeks, then I finally sold it and bought the 2016 (2.9, 460, 1TB) and its sooooo much better. I like everything: keyboard (I fixed myself a few keys though), the speakers, screen, design, battery life, I like the touchbar (with BetterTouch Tool you can configure it and it becomes more useful..).
    At the beginning I was worried because of all the "bad" reviews, but after a few weeks of use, I can say that I definitely love it!! Its good for everything: I can edit videos, I can play recent games with good resolution (battlefield 1, hitman 2016), its also very comfortable to type on (I am a programer)
    Also usb-c is really good (I bought dongles from Meenova which are nice)
    its good to know that your laptop won't be outdated in 3-4 years unlike the 2015 :D

    ps: sorry for my English
  7. nph thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005
  8. sallenthornton macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2014

    Thank you for your comments. You are the first person that I have seen that has upgraded from the 2015 and have no regrets. I was torn between the 2015 and the 2016 and ultimately decided to go with the 2016 touch bar. I figured if I didn't like it, that I could always return it and buy a refurbished 2015.
  9. iShater, Apr 25, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017

    iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    So i was in a similar boat in trying to decide whether to bite and get a 2015 15" or hold out until I could afford the 16 (yes, price difference is huge and is a big part of my decision making).

    I use a 2015 15" top of the line at work, and for me when debugging code the function keys being real is a huge need. I also plug and unplug via magsafe all day long + the bazillion things i connect all day long.

    I finally went and got a 2015 15" used from ebay for my next personal laptop. There are a couple for sale here on the forums that are a steal.

    Keyboard? I dunno, but I couldn't stand the new design (tested it a few times at Best Buy and other stores), but it could just be getting used to a new one.

    In terms of size, although I am one of those who bitch about going thinner and lighter vs. more battery/RAM/power, it is a nice form if you travel a lot.

    Edit: What I am doing right now with the 2015 (2.8Ghz, 16GB RAM) at work: Skype, Chrome (for testing), Firefox (tons of tabs for JIRA and other tools), Safari playing youtube music videos, VirtualBox running Windows 7, MS Word, Excel for referencing numbers, MySQL and a Tomcat web app running, and other open apps including VPN, Terminal, Eclipse, SQLJ Workbench, MySQL Workbench, and a few more. Not a single hiccup.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Don't overthink things.

    I, too liked the older keyboard of the 2015 and the full complement of legacy ports.

    The keyboard is one of the components that you will interact will almost all the time.

    Might become "the base" of your decision.

    I bought the 2015 model, does ok for me.

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