Help: MBP 13" or 15"?

bykaraanne

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Original poster
Mar 20, 2018
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I've been agonizing over this decision, and hope you guys who are so much more educated in all these can help me out.

I am a Wordpress/Squarespace designer and developer, and I primarily use only Illustrator CC + Spotify + Chrome in my day-to-day work. I just sold my late-2015 iMac 27" as I realized working at home was driving me a little nuts (I run my own business from home), and wanted to get a portable device.

I love the lightness of the 13" (and have not owned a 15" for quite some time) and the portability. I also much prefer the price point (getting the highest specs without upgrading) and think I can get a LG 4K screen in the future if needed.

But the lack of 16GB RAM (though I could upgrade, I know) and i7 worries me a little for future-proofing.

The 15" (highest specs without upgrading) would hit all the right tech specs, but it's much more money and bulkier to bring around. >.<

Help please? Am a noob at this, only know how to use the insides, and not the hardware. >.<

Thank you!

/edit: MANY apologies!!! I think I might've posted in the wrong forum (should this be in Buying Tips and Advice). My bad. Sorry!!
 

Glmnet1

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I get what you mean by going nuts working at home! I was feeling the same way recently but after trying and failing to enjoy working from coffee houses I decided to improve my home office and I really enjoy it now :)

How far do you have to carry it?

I don't use Illustrator but after some googling it seems that it can be quite ressource hungry. The popular opinion is to get as much RAM as you can and to get a good GPU. So I think the 15" is a better option because of the discrete GPU + default 16GB RAM. If you do get the 13" I think you should upgrade the RAM.

Those requirements probably depends on your projects and on your workflow so you could start by trying a 13" and if it's too slow then bring it back and get the 15".
 
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bykaraanne

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Original poster
Mar 20, 2018
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I get what you mean by going nuts working at home! I was feeling the same way recently but after trying and failing to enjoy working from coffee houses I decided to improve my home office and I really enjoy it now :)

How far do you have to carry it?

I don't use Illustrator but after some googling it seems that it can be quite ressource hungry. The popular opinion is to get as much RAM as you can and to get a good GPU. So I think the 15" is a better option because of the discrete GPU + default 16GB RAM. If you do get the 13" I think you should upgrade the RAM.

Those requirements probably depends on your projects and on your workflow so you could start by trying a 13" and if it's too slow then bring it back and get the 15".
I think even beyond the home office is helping at the moment! I've reconfigured my home office three times (spent on new furniture and everything), and at some point I had to give up and admit it just wasn't working. Funny, since I had been wishing for a home office since forever when we stayed at a studio, now I miss the studio apartment! #firstworldproblems

I think I would take it to the nearby Starbucks or coffee place, which ranges from a 5 minute walk to a 10 to 20-minute train ride.

I also worry about the new MBPs' keyboards, and touchbar (seems like another useless thing that might spoil over time). So I wonder if I should get the MBP without touchbar, and max that out with upgrades. Thoughts?

But I guess the MBP (w/o touchbar) has the same annoying keyboards as the ones with touchbar?

Thank you for your response though!! Really appreciate it. Living in Singapore, I don't think we can take it back, unfortunately.
 

Glmnet1

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I think even beyond the home office is helping at the moment! I've reconfigured my home office three times (spent on new furniture and everything), and at some point I had to give up and admit it just wasn't working. Funny, since I had been wishing for a home office since forever when we stayed at a studio, now I miss the studio apartment! #firstworldproblems

I think I would take it to the nearby Starbucks or coffee place, which ranges from a 5 minute walk to a 10 to 20-minute train ride.

I also worry about the new MBPs' keyboards, and touchbar (seems like another useless thing that might spoil over time). So I wonder if I should get the MBP without touchbar, and max that out with upgrades. Thoughts?

But I guess the MBP (w/o touchbar) has the same annoying keyboards as the ones with touchbar?

Thank you for your response though!! Really appreciate it. Living in Singapore, I don't think we can take it back, unfortunately.
The commute wouldn't be too bad, I would go for the 15" if I were you.

Ah yeah, keyboards... A lot of people here report that they had to pay for expensive repairs because of their unreliability. I wouldn't get one of the 2016/2017 without AC. After AC I would hope that Apple had time to address this publicly and found a long term solution. Or if you can, wait for the 2018 and hope that they release them with more reliable keyboards.

I don't think the touchbar is going away. We might see a more powerful model without it at the next refresh but I wouldn't count on it either. For now, if you want decent specs and don't want to buy an expensive 2015 laptop, you're kind of stuck with it.

Yeah, the 13" without tb has the same keyboard. The 15" without touchbar is actually the 2015 MBP so it comes with the old keyboard. But it also comes with outdated hardware and for that reason I wouldn't buy it. It's also a bit heavier if that's important to you.
 

bykaraanne

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Original poster
Mar 20, 2018
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The commute wouldn't be too bad, I would go for the 15" if I were you.

Ah yeah, keyboards... A lot of people here report that they had to pay for expensive repairs because of their unreliability. I wouldn't get one of the 2016/2017 without AC. After AC I would hope that Apple had time to address this publicly and found a long term solution. Or if you can, wait for the 2018 and hope that they release them with more reliable keyboards.

I don't think the touchbar is going away. We might see a more powerful model without it at the next refresh but I wouldn't count on it either. For now, if you want decent specs and don't want to buy an expensive 2015 laptop, you're kind of stuck with it.

Yeah, the 13" without tb has the same keyboard. The 15" without touchbar is actually the 2015 MBP so it comes with the old keyboard. But it also comes with outdated hardware and for that reason I wouldn't buy it. It's also a bit heavier if that's important to you.
Ahh, bummer. I don’t think the old 15” is available in Singapore anymore, though. All my MBPs and iMacs have survived years without AC... sucks that this batch has to. I’m gonna try and see if I can wait for the 2018 launch. I have an older (2015) 13” MBP that I haven’t used for designing (husband ‘stole’ it).

Thank you!
[doublepost=1521563099][/doublepost]I wonder if a keyboard protector would help avoid the dust problem with the annoying new keyboards?
 

jerryk

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Can you wait until June or so. WWDC will happen then and may bring quad core 13" units.

My biggest issue with the 13" is the lack of screen real estate. As a developer I want to see as much code as possible.
 
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Glmnet1

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Ahh, bummer. I don’t think the old 15” is available in Singapore anymore, though. All my MBPs and iMacs have survived years without AC... sucks that this batch has to. I’m gonna try and see if I can wait for the 2018 launch. I have an older (2015) 13” MBP that I haven’t used for designing (husband ‘stole’ it).

Thank you!
[doublepost=1521563099][/doublepost]I wonder if a keyboard protector would help avoid the dust problem with the annoying new keyboards?
Good plan! That way you can also see if you can work with lesser specs or not.

Keyboard protector might work.
 
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bykaraanne

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Can you wait until June or so. WWDC will happen then and may bring quad core 13" units.

My biggest issue with the 13" is the lack of screen real estate. As a developer I want to see as much code as possible.
I’m not THAT heavy a coder since I use base themes.. but honestly I can’t do anything without a computer (though I really would try stealing back that 13”). The keyboard is really worrying me though, and I don’t want to pay a good $2-3 grand for a keyboard that will fail in a year ahhhhh. Just nuts. I always resell my old MBPs and iMacs in pristine condition even after 3-4 years.

But I hear ya on the 15” real estate. The specs really beat the 13” too. Just paying a lot more for the same keyboard makes me nervous.

Trying to calculate if I can wait 3 months or so.

Thank you!
 

jerryk

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I’m not THAT heavy a coder since I use base themes.. but honestly I can’t do anything without a computer (though I really would try stealing back that 13”). The keyboard is really worrying me though, and I don’t want to pay a good $2-3 grand for a keyboard that will fail in a year ahhhhh. Just nuts. I always resell my old MBPs and iMacs in pristine condition even after 3-4 years.

But I hear ya on the 15” real estate. The specs really beat the 13” too. Just paying a lot more for the same keyboard makes me nervous.

Trying to calculate if I can wait 3 months or so.

Thank you!
Understand about the keyboard. Even if you wait I would think seriously about AppleCare to ensure you have repair coverage.
 
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Falhófnir

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The touch bar 15" models are eminently more portable than even the previous generation (2012-2015) I was skeptical going by the initial specs, but having handled the machines, yes it does indeed make quite the difference. To the point I'd say the 13" pros are verging on redundancy (but that's another discussion). I'm afraid as for the price, that's just how it is... personally I could do my work quite happily on even a nTB machine (and certainly a TB 13") but I don't like the restrictive size of 13" computers and would rather shell out for the 15" any day.
 
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csurfr

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I’ll make your decision a bit easier.

If you’re using illustrator CC 2017 / 2018 and expect (or like myself need) to use the RGB Color mode, then skip the 13”, at least for now. There are issues with about 6 video cards and that colorspace, I’ll provide a link for you.

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/illustrator-and-mac-os-high-sierra.html

Supposedly Apple has been working on a fix since High Sierra and Illustrator CC2017. Nothing yet though.
 

bykaraanne

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Mar 20, 2018
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The touch bar 15" models are eminently more portable than even the previous generation (2012-2015) I was skeptical going by the initial specs, but having handled the machines, yes it does indeed make quite the difference. To the point I'd say the 13" pros are verging on redundancy (but that's another discussion). I'm afraid as for the price, that's just how it is... personally I could do my work quite happily on even a nTB machine (and certainly a TB 13") but I don't like the restrictive size of 13" computers and would rather shell out for the 15" any day.
I’ll make your decision a bit easier.

If you’re using illustrator CC 2017 / 2018 and expect (or like myself need) to use the RGB Color mode, then skip the 13”, at least for now. There are issues with about 6 video cards and that colorspace, I’ll provide a link for you.

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/kb/illustrator-and-mac-os-high-sierra.html

Supposedly Apple has been working on a fix since High Sierra and Illustrator CC2017. Nothing yet though.
That’s great info guys! Seems like the 15” 2.9GHz is the way to go, then.

Are you guys worried about the keyboard? I always don’t buy AC (I’m on my 5th Apple computer and 5th device) is that nuts? I always still have it in pristine condition and sell it at a great price after 3-4 years of use. I’m worried even with AC, the 2016/17 models will have the keyboard fail and thus render it useless beyond 3-4 years, when I feel Apple computers were meant to have a second life even after that.

There’s a 2015 15” on Refurbished Apple Singapore now and I’m really tempted, though I’m sure it’s heavy and still 3 years old and still expensive I suppose for a 3yo.

Thanks again!!!!
 
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csurfr

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That’s great info guys! Seems like the 15” 2.9GHz is the way to go, then.

Are you guys worried about the keyboard? I always don’t buy AC (I’m on my 5th Apple computer and 5th device) is that nuts? I always still have it in pristine condition and sell it at a great price after 3-4 years of use. I’m worried even with AC, the 2016/17 models will have the keyboard fail and thus render it useless beyond 3-4 years, when I feel Apple computers were meant to have a second life even after that.

There’s a 2015 15” on Refurbished Apple Singapore now and I’m really tempted, though I’m sure it’s heavy and still 3 years old and still expensive I suppose for a 3yo.

Thanks again!!!!
I just picked up a 2017 2.9 15” myself. I had the base model 15” from 2017 from June until just recently and didn’t have any issues. My business partner has a 2017 as well and hasn’t experienced any problems.

It seems to be a crapshoot on the keyboards. Either people have issues which largely present from day one, or they don’t. Without any concrete numbers it’s impossible to say with any certainty which way it leans.

Depending on how long you keep your machine (we replace every year or two max), then having AppleCare will cover you for the duration of your ownership. If you fall in the same camp, then I say grab the 2017. If you don’t, then maybe waiting or finding a different solution would be your best bet.
 

Falhófnir

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That’s great info guys! Seems like the 15” 2.9GHz is the way to go, then.

Are you guys worried about the keyboard? I always don’t buy AC (I’m on my 5th Apple computer and 5th device) is that nuts? I always still have it in pristine condition and sell it at a great price after 3-4 years of use. I’m worried even with AC, the 2016/17 models will have the keyboard fail and thus render it useless beyond 3-4 years, when I feel Apple computers were meant to have a second life even after that.

There’s a 2015 15” on Refurbished Apple Singapore now and I’m really tempted, though I’m sure it’s heavy and still 3 years old and still expensive I suppose for a 3yo.

Thanks again!!!!
The keyboard is potentially an issue, personally I am trying to avoid this generation until there is a conclusive fix to it, but then:
a) I do a lot of typing, so it really is a mission critical element for me.
b) I have the luxury of being able to wait.

There is also the factor that, while not definitively fixed, the 2017s seem somewhat less prone to failure than the 2016s were. No Apple Care is a bit of a risk though, just down to the fact that it is a pricey top case replacement out of warranty. I'll have to defer to your own judgement on that as I guess it's in the balance depending on each individual's financial circumstances. Yes it is disappointing as I would also expect a mac to last a good 3-4 years as a primary with another 3-5 thereafter as a backup, hand me down, or secondary machine.

The 2015 15" is becoming an ever harder sale for people who benefit from more power, it's approximately as graphically capable as a 13" Touch Bar machine (if it's the model with only Iris Pro GPU) and more computationally powerful, but it lacks some of the refinements of more recent intel chips which can be a factor in workflows such as yours. How much of a saving are we talking, and is it the model with the dedicated GPU?
 
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jerryk

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It seems to be a crapshoot on the keyboards. Either people have issues which largely present from day one, or they don’t. Without any concrete numbers it’s impossible to say with any certainty which way it leans.
That is not what I have gleaned from the threads. While there are people that have issues immediately after purchase, people report issues cropping up over time, even a year after purchase. I think this is why some people think it is related to heating cycles.
 
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csurfr

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That is not what I have gleaned from the threads. While there are people that have issues immediately after purchase, people report issues cropping up over time, even a year after purchase. I think this is why some people think it is related to heating cycles.
And no matter if Apple finds a fix or whatever else, we’ll never know the true cause.

It would be nice if Apple were a bit more transparent, but I guess I can see their side of not wanting to admit a mistake.

Either way, I don’t see them moving back to the old design, and would guess that if a new MacBook Air is announced it will also include the new keyboard.
 
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jerryk

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And no matter if Apple finds a fix or whatever else, we’ll never know the true cause.

It would be nice if Apple were a bit more transparent, but I guess I can see their side of not wanting to admit a mistake.

Either way, I don’t see them moving back to the old design, and would guess that if a new MacBook Air is announced it will also include the new keyboard.
Agree. I think they are committed to the new keyboard given cases sizes, etc. Hopefully they can make changes to improve reliability and this issue will fade away. I usually replaced my systems every 2 years or so, so I am hoping that is the 2018 model has the problem completely solved.
 
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bykaraanne

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Mar 20, 2018
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I just picked up a 2017 2.9 15” myself. I had the base model 15” from 2017 from June until just recently and didn’t have any issues. My business partner has a 2017 as well and hasn’t experienced any problems.

It seems to be a crapshoot on the keyboards. Either people have issues which largely present from day one, or they don’t. Without any concrete numbers it’s impossible to say with any certainty which way it leans.

Depending on how long you keep your machine (we replace every year or two max), then having AppleCare will cover you for the duration of your ownership. If you fall in the same camp, then I say grab the 2017. If you don’t, then maybe waiting or finding a different solution would be your best bet.
The keyboard is potentially an issue, personally I am trying to avoid this generation until there is a conclusive fix to it, but then:
a) I do a lot of typing, so it really is a mission critical element for me.
b) I have the luxury of being able to wait.

There is also the factor that, while not definitively fixed, the 2017s seem somewhat less prone to failure than the 2016s were. No Apple Care is a bit of a risk though, just down to the fact that it is a pricey top case replacement out of warranty. I'll have to defer to your own judgement on that as I guess it's in the balance depending on each individual's financial circumstances. Yes it is disappointing as I would also expect a mac to last a good 3-4 years as a primary with another 3-5 thereafter as a backup, hand me down, or secondary machine.

The 2015 15" is becoming an ever harder sale for people who benefit from more power, it's approximately as graphically capable as a 13" Touch Bar machine (if it's the model with only Iris Pro GPU) and more computationally powerful, but it lacks some of the refinements of more recent intel chips which can be a factor in workflows such as yours. How much of a saving are we talking, and is it the model with the dedicated GPU?
That is not what I have gleaned from the threads. While there are people that have issues immediately after purchase, people report issues cropping up over time, even a year after purchase. I think this is why some people think it is related to heating cycles.
And no matter if Apple finds a fix or whatever else, we’ll never know the true cause.

It would be nice if Apple were a bit more transparent, but I guess I can see their side of not wanting to admit a mistake.

Either way, I don’t see them moving back to the old design, and would guess that if a new MacBook Air is announced it will also include the new keyboard.
Agree. I think they are committed to the new keyboard given cases sizes, etc. Hopefully they can make changes to improve reliability and this issue will fade away. I usually replaced my systems every 2 years or so, so I am hoping that is the 2018 model has the problem completely solved.
Thanks for all the responses. Really appreciate it.

Do you guys think realistically that they will make a huge change to the 2018 keyboards, that it might be worth it for me to wait it out?

Or should I just get it and hope for the best, buy AppleCare and "discard" it after 2-3 years? Though I would feel it's so expensive for a 2 year machine.

Thank you!
 

Naimfan

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Thanks for all the responses. Really appreciate it.

Do you guys think realistically that they will make a huge change to the 2018 keyboards, that it might be worth it for me to wait it out?

Or should I just get it and hope for the best, buy AppleCare and "discard" it after 2-3 years? Though I would feel it's so expensive for a 2 year machine.

Thank you!
Buy a 2015. It's better to not have to worry about the damn keyboard. And the too-big trackpad. And the frippery called the touchbar. And the smaller battery. And the greater expense for a second power adapter. And on and on.
 
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negativzero

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You're in Singapore? Just buy the maxed out 15" 2017 with AppleCare and claim the laptop under PIC grant, if you have your own company and are self-employed. Problem solved!

Read the T&Cs first though :)
 
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bykaraanne

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You're in Singapore? Just buy the maxed out 15" 2017 with AppleCare and claim the laptop under PIC grant, if you have your own company and are self-employed. Problem solved!

Read the T&Cs first though :)
PIC now super hard to claim I heard. :/ I’ll go read up on it again.

Thanks!

Buy a 2015. It's better to not have to worry about the damn keyboard. And the too-big trackpad. And the frippery called the touchbar. And the smaller battery. And the greater expense for a second power adapter. And on and on.
Sigh, you think so? The only issue for me with the new ones is the keyboard.
 

impulse462

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PIC now super hard to claim I heard. :/ I’ll go read up on it again.

Thanks!



Sigh, you think so? The only issue for me with the new ones is the keyboard.
buying a 3 year old computer would just be a monumentally dumb decision. if you can wait, see what they release in june
 
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bykaraanne

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buying a 3 year old computer would just be a monumentally dumb decision. if you can wait, see what they release in june
It’s a little hard to wait. But I’m gonna try.

Do you guys think it looks like they’re going to fix the keyboard in June’s launch?
 

negativzero

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PIC now super hard to claim I heard. :/ I’ll go read up on it again.

Thanks!



Sigh, you think so? The only issue for me with the new ones is the keyboard.
No, it’s really easy, you just need a good legit company with employees. I successfully submitted a claim for my MacBook, an iPhone X and some operations equipment for my company. Within a week, I’ve gotten my rebate back, it’s that simple.
 

bykaraanne

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No, it’s really easy, you just need a good legit company with employees. I successfully submitted a claim for my MacBook, an iPhone X and some operations equipment for my company. Within a week, I’ve gotten my rebate back, it’s that simple.
Ah, that’s the thing, I don’t have employees - not ones based in SG anyway. I’m a fully online business.

I think I previously tried to claim in 2015. But I’m going to try anyway this year, if it works it works, if it doesn’t, it’s fine too.

Think it seems like it’s wiser to wait, so I will and hope that it launches ASAP!
 
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