Are reliability concerns making you delay a MacBook purchase or consider an alternative?


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tsarna

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 3, 2011
3
13
I'm well overdue for a new laptop, but sheez, with the recent MacBook Pro keyboards and displays that both seem likely to fail and are ridiculously expensive to have repaired out of warrantee, I'm afraid to buy any recent model.

A comparable Dell XPS 15, say, with what seems like an even better 3-year service plan (on site service, better accidental damage coverage), is $1300 cheaper (that's upgrading the MBP higher than I would actually buy, but to make it the closest/fairest comparison. More realistically I'd end up spending "only" $750 more on the MBP to get one with significantly worse CPU and graphics specs than the Dell).

Nor is there anything that really excites me about the recent MBP hardware. The Dell would have more ports and a real escape key. (plus a touch screen vs a touch bar... neither of which I care about). Oh, and the port selection means less need for dongles, which is another price I didn't even factor in -- let alone the inconvenience.

The only reason I see to spend more on the mac is macOS. I'm already used to paying a heavy premium to use macOS, but when I factor in the awful reliability, the macOS tax is just getting ridiculous. $1300 more for what could well be only a 3 year lifespan? It's getting really hard to swallow. For that kind of premium I should be getting premium quality hardware. I'd even settle for "just average" reliability. But Apple doesn't seem to be able to manage even that these days. Plus Apple's software quality also seems to have declined.

My next phone will be an iPhone, and my next watch an Apple watch. No hesitaton. But, I don't know if I'll be buying any more laptops from Apple any time soon.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,988
30,532
Boston
I can only speak for myself and I've largely decided the issues facing MBPs are sufficient to avoid them. I've left the platform and purchased a Lenovo X1 Extreme. In comparing apples to apples, a similarly configured MBP would cost in excess of 4,300 but my laptop was 2,300 (there abouts). My point in raising this, is you're paying a premium for a particularly laptop, yet you are not getting that premium experience, whether we're talking about T2 issues (that seem to be largely resolved), keyboard failures, flexgate.

I chose to look at my computer usage dispassionately and for my needs going to a Thinkpad made all the sense in the world. I'm not saying you or anyone else should leave the mac ecosystem but rather weigh the positives and negatives of owning a MBP and make your own determination. There's no doubt, you'll see people post here saying that those issues affect a tiny subset of people. That may be true, that may not be, its up to you to choose what will work for you and how to spend your own money.
 

revmacian

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
1,010
820
USA
I purchased a refurbished 2017 MacBook Pro and I've never been this happy with a computer. This device does not have any problems and I saved about $300.00. This model has a 4 year warranty on the keyboard just in case I need it, but it works perfectly. Keep in mind that this 4 year warranty covers eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro models for 4 years after the first retail sale of the unit. See Apple's keyboard replacement program webpage.

We can't allow fear to rule over us. Should we stop driving our cars because there is a chance a drunk driver will hit us? Should we avoid bathing because we could fall in the shower?

Just because another person had a negative experience doesn't guarantee that we all will.

Just my $0.02
 
Last edited:

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,571
3,959
I have a three-fold reservation on purchasing a new MBP - firstly is the pricing, the base 15" machine has jumped from £1,599 in 2015 to £2,349 now which is an enormous difference. Generally for my use and the specs I want, I don't really want to be paying more than £2,000, though I will accept with the £ being a bit weaker now I might need to be a little flexible on this. The second part is value, for £2,349 you get a paltry 256GB SSD, a nice but by no means exceptional screen, the same processor (and a weaker GPU) than you'd get on windows machines (similarly specced overall) for at least £500 less. The third part is the myriad reliability issues the machines have. Not acceptable at any price really, but realistically at these prices make the machines a nonstarter for me. If I'm paying a premium I'm not accepting being entered into a QC lottery.
 

brianone

macrumors newbie
Nov 6, 2018
28
11
I have recently bought the mbp tb 13 2018 and am not concerned with the issues. Will cross my fingers and hope for the best. As a long time apple user, I have never had a lemon yet. Wish me luck.
 
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Thysanoptera

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2018
726
725
Pittsburgh, PA
We can't allow fear to rule over us. Should we stop driving our cars because there is a chance a drunk driver will hit us?
That's not about driving in general, but driving a particular make of a car that has documented history of wheels falling off at highways speeds, brake fluid leaking, locking steering wheel and fuel tank blowing spontaneously at 500 mile mark, while the producer takes preventive measures only after he can associate at least 100 deaths with each cause and the authorities start a criminal investigation. I'm pretty sure a car like that would not sell very well.
 

The_Joker13

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2016
76
129
Florida
That's not about driving in general, but driving a particular make of a car that has documented history of wheels falling off at highways speeds, brake fluid leaking, locking steering wheel and fuel tank blowing spontaneously at 500 mile mark, while the producer takes preventive measures only after he can associate at least 100 deaths with each cause and the authorities start a criminal investigation. I'm pretty sure a car like that would not sell very well.
Lol, yeah that was a terrible analogy.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,273
4,221
Highlands Ranch, CO
That's not about driving in general, but driving a particular make of a car that has documented history of wheels falling off at highways speeds, brake fluid leaking, locking steering wheel and fuel tank blowing spontaneously at 500 mile mark, while the producer takes preventive measures only after he can associate at least 100 deaths with each cause and the authorities start a criminal investigation. I'm pretty sure a car like that would not sell very well.
Not to mention, rather than replacing the failed part with an improved one, you just replace it with the exact same part that has failed before and somehow convince the driver it will perform better next time.

Yeah, sorry that your brakes failed. But we replaced them with the same pads. It will be fine :)
 

The_Joker13

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2016
76
129
Florida
I’ve decided to go with windows for my computing needs but stick with iOS for my mobile devices for now. My Ipad 12.9 first gen has been nothing but perfect for mobile computing needs. That being said, I’ve come to realize how few Apple exlusive apps I use. For work I use all office 365, which I will say the iOS apps are quite good on the go on the ipad. I just don’t see the value in anything apple specific except maybe safari, but that may just be familiarity. I bought a refurbished surface book 2 and so far I really like it. My ipads days may be numbered as the surface book as a tablet is quite serviceable. I also enjoy gaming and the surface book is more than capable. JMO.
 

Bodie CI5

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2014
171
68
I was hours away from listing my Surface Book 2 on eBay last week and using the proceeds to buy a 2018 MBP 13”. I already have a 2017 MBP nTB which I store away in a cupboard every so often because I’m fearful of dust in the keyboard scenario. By purchasing a 2018 MBP I was looking forward to making a new beginning on the platform, but then the same fears started creeping back in - T2 chip issues, keyboard and dust issues etc.

As I’m already fearful of my current MBP failing (I’ve already copped one SSD failure on it), plus the monetary cost of a new MBP purchase, I ultimately decided that my SB2 is more than adequate for my needs and will wait it out until an SB3 hopefully surfaces late this year. I have some concerns with its performance but at the end of the day, my SB2 does what I want it to do, so it’s the perfect tool for me.

It’s only recently that I had come over to the Apple platform, and so for me it’s no biggie that I remain in the MS arena.

I guess that this is a longer way of saying that yes, reliability concerns have influenced my decision. The horror thread of the T2 chip have especially influenced my decision to stay with my SB2.
 

Ploki

macrumors 68040
Jan 21, 2008
3,957
1,244
I had a 15" i9 mess of a mess and i went with 13" (+mini) anyway and it's been a pretty smooth ride.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
I nearly succumbed to the reliability talk. Then I remembered I am on a forum and that it is an echo chamber that is not at all representative of the outside world. So, I checked out the other echo chambers. On the Dell XPS reddit, there is a thread that recommends the MacBook over the XPS if you want build quality. They also complain about a crappy keyboard on the XPS 15 and questionable quality control. The Lenovo reddit complains about the X1E running too hot to use on your lap and they recommend repasting the CPU and undervolting. They also complain of misaligned keys on the keyboard, low battery life, and loud fan noise. I did not check out other brands like Microsoft, HP, or Razer because all of them have pretty poor track records for reliability, and I had no real interest in anything they offered. I am certain their forums and subreddits contain exactly the same things as the Lenovo, Dell, and Apple versions.

The point is, stop putting so much stock into forum posts. The T2 thread someone referenced earlier is a great example. The monthly polls have received 85ish responses for January and a little over 100 from December. That is a meaningless poll when you consider that there is non-response bias (very few responses) and those that are responding want to respond meaning you are more likely to get people responding that have an ax to grind. Even with that, the percentages of those with kernel panics is only around 25%. Echo chamber.

The Gen 3 Keyboard thread is another example with the same half dozen to dozen users going round and round for pages and pages with few actual reports of bad keyboards.

Not saying that these issues do not exist, they most certainly do. You should be aware of them. Also be aware that all of them affect a small percentage of users and every laptop manufacturer has them and the "world is on fire" user forums to go with them.
 

revmacian

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
1,010
820
USA
That's not about driving in general, but driving a particular make of a car that has documented history of wheels falling off at highways speeds, brake fluid leaking, locking steering wheel and fuel tank blowing spontaneously at 500 mile mark, while the producer takes preventive measures only after he can associate at least 100 deaths with each cause and the authorities start a criminal investigation. I'm pretty sure a car like that would not sell very well.
Sorry, not falling for your "doomsday" analogy. I'll worry if and when my MBP goes belly up. Until then, I'll enjoy my device. Thanks.
 
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Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
Just get a 2015 MacBook Pro and wait until Apple gets their **** together.

The 2015 is still quite a capable machine and superior in many ways to the new MacBooks.

It’s a damn shame how much Apple has changed.
I would only recommend this if you can get a really good deal on one. At this point I would not pay more than maybe 60-70% of the cost of a new 15" for a 2015 with a dGPU (~$1500). Apple currently wants $1700 for a refurb with and Iris Pro for graphics. That is too high for what is nearly 4-year old hardware.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,988
30,532
Boston
Should we stop driving our cars because there is a chance a drunk driver will hit us?
I think a better analogy is the Chevy Corvair, the design of the car produced poor handling, bad steering and accidents. Its not about a bad incident happening, we all can have a bad incident in a car or a computer. The problem with the MBP as I see it, is like the Chevy Covair, the design of the Mac is bad and causing issues.
 

Bodie CI5

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2014
171
68
The point is, stop putting so much stock into forum posts. The T2 thread someone referenced earlier is a great example. The monthly polls have received 85ish responses for January and a little over 100 from December. That is a meaningless poll when you consider that there is non-response bias (very few responses) and those that are responding want to respond meaning you are more likely to get people responding that have an ax to grind. Even with that, the percentages of those with kernel panics is only around 25%. Echo chamber.
[...]
Not saying that these issues do not exist, they most certainly do. You should be aware of them. Also be aware that all of them affect a small percentage of users and every laptop manufacturer has them and the "world is on fire" user forums to go with them.
Hi Cashmonee,

Not sure if you were referencing my post in relation to the T2 thread (I have no issue if you did! :)), but that only formed part of my fear. I had experienced a severe SSD collapse last year which I had documented in a thread. No solution was found - a replacement MBP was given me, however, and I am grateful for it. Therefore, the fear/decision wasn’t only based on what I have read in one thread or in many threads, for that matter, but on a product failure (which is still being sold) which I experienced, last year.

Indeed, were I to take it further (I’m only mentioning it for the sake of the argument), this 2017 IPP also has a more than faint, but less than bright, white spot. I can live with it, even though it does distract. What I’m saying is it’s not just the forums, but it can also come down to prior/current experience.
 
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Mendota

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2019
321
636
Omaha
I purchased a refurbished 2017 MacBook Pro and I've never been this happy with a computer. This device does not have any problems and I saved about $300.00. This model has a 4 year warranty on the keyboard just in case I need it, but it works perfectly.

We can't allow fear to rule over us. Should we stop driving our cars because there is a chance a drunk driver will hit us? Should we avoid bathing because we could fall in the shower?

Just because another person had a negative experience doesn't guarantee that we all will.

Just my $0.02
Would you be willing to drive a car that was reported to have a 10% chance that the engine would catch fire? And there are guard rails for showers. There is risk and there is risk. At least in part for me is the attitude of Apple's so called service. Their tendency to try and blame the customer for issues. The blatant lying about know problems ("We never heard of that!") about issues that are known and being reported all over the space. The fact that it often takes a class action lawsuit before they will take care of issues and do the right thing. I enjoy using MacOS from time to time just for something different and to keep pace, but I would be beside myself if I paid $2000, $3000, etc for less than the best.
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For real? Have you actually used Windows 10? It's a mess. Much of what you read about the 'problems' with MBP's isn't as common as you'd think.
Windows 10 is not a "mess". It is a perfectly capable and reliable operating system. It is fast, powerful, and flexible. No issues, no hassles, no problems. It is the number one platform for gaming, and 3D, cad, etc.
 

revmacian

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
1,010
820
USA
Would you be willing to drive a car that was reported to have a 10% chance that the engine would catch fire? And there are guard rails for showers. There is risk and there is risk. At least in part for me is the attitude of Apple's so called service. Their tendency to try and blame the customer for issues. The blatant lying about know problems ("We never heard of that!") about issues that are known and being reported all over the space. The fact that it often takes a class action lawsuit before they will take care of issues and do the right thing. I enjoy using MacOS from time to time just for something different and to keep pace, but I would be beside myself if I paid $2000, $3000, etc for less than the best.
I'll worry when and if my device goes belly up. I will not allow worry to rule my life.
[doublepost=1549151960][/doublepost]
I think a better analogy is the Chevy Corvair, the design of the car produced poor handling, bad steering and accidents. Its not about a bad incident happening, we all can have a bad incident in a car or a computer. The problem with the MBP as I see it, is like the Chevy Covair, the design of the Mac is bad and causing issues.
I firmly believe sufficient research and fitting an item to real needs (looking cool is not a need) will suffice. I did almost 3 months of research prior to buying my MBP, and research has never let me down.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,848
10,851
In the middle of several books.
I'm well overdue for a new laptop, but sheez, with the recent MacBook Pro keyboards and displays that both seem likely to fail and are ridiculously expensive to have repaired out of warrantee, I'm afraid to buy any recent model.

A comparable Dell XPS 15, say, with what seems like an even better 3-year service plan (on site service, better accidental damage coverage), is $1300 cheaper (that's upgrading the MBP higher than I would actually buy, but to make it the closest/fairest comparison. More realistically I'd end up spending "only" $750 more on the MBP to get one with significantly worse CPU and graphics specs than the Dell).

Nor is there anything that really excites me about the recent MBP hardware. The Dell would have more ports and a real escape key. (plus a touch screen vs a touch bar... neither of which I care about). Oh, and the port selection means less need for dongles, which is another price I didn't even factor in -- let alone the inconvenience.

The only reason I see to spend more on the mac is macOS. I'm already used to paying a heavy premium to use macOS, but when I factor in the awful reliability, the macOS tax is just getting ridiculous. $1300 more for what could well be only a 3 year lifespan? It's getting really hard to swallow. For that kind of premium I should be getting premium quality hardware. I'd even settle for "just average" reliability. But Apple doesn't seem to be able to manage even that these days. Plus Apple's software quality also seems to have declined.

My next phone will be an iPhone, and my next watch an Apple watch. No hesitaton. But, I don't know if I'll be buying any more laptops from Apple any time soon.
Try one of the new Apple laptops. If you don't like it after 10 days or so, return it and try something else. If a Windows laptop will make you happy, use that.

No need to live in the land of fear and what ifs, especially when you can and should make an educated hands on decision.

You can always find others that share irrational fear. That should not be used as a guide for your own action.
 
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Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
Hi Cashmonee,

Not sure if you were referencing my post in relation to the T2 thread (I have no issue if you did! :)), but that only formed part of my fear. I had experienced a severe SSD collapse last year which I had documented in a thread. No solution was found - a replacement MBP was given me, however, and I am grateful for it. Therefore, the fear/decision wasn’t only based on what I have read in one thread or in many threads, for that matter, but on a product failure (which is still being sold) which I experienced, last year.

Indeed, were I to take it further (I’m only mentioning it for the sake of the argument), this 2017 IPP also has a more than faint, but less than bright, white spot. I can live with it, even though it does distract. What I’m saying is it’s not just the forums, but it can also come down to prior/current experience.
I was, and I was not necessarily directing anything at you personally. I was trying to show that many people have fear due to reading threads like that, when if you look closely they almost always have a few users with issues and then several others just using it as a platform to complain.

And the problems you experienced would certainly turn me off and definitely should be fixed. I would take that iPad to Apple and complain if I were you. The problems are definitely there. The forums amplify them.

Would you be willing to drive a car that was reported to have a 10% chance that the engine would catch fire? And there are guard rails for showers. There is risk and there is risk. At least in part for me is the attitude of Apple's so called service. Their tendency to try and blame the customer for issues. The blatant lying about know problems ("We never heard of that!") about issues that are known and being reported all over the space. The fact that it often takes a class action lawsuit before they will take care of issues and do the right thing. I enjoy using MacOS from time to time just for something different and to keep pace, but I would be beside myself if I paid $2000, $3000, etc for less than the best.
A car starting on fire becomes a life and death situation. I do not think the MacBook Pro problems come anywhere close to being a parallel. A low single digit chance of a bad keyboard versus a 10% chance of your car igniting is not really the same thing.

As for Apple not acknowledging problems, that angers me as well. If there are issues that are widespread, they need to acknowledge them. Having said that, every company does the same thing. It just so happens Apple is a lightning rod and catches more lawsuits than most due to their standing and customer base. I am sure the repair programs are as much a calculation of lawsuit defense versus repair cost as they are an admission of a widespread problem.
[doublepost=1549152218][/doublepost]
Try one of the new Apple laptops. If you don't like it after 10 days or so, return it and try something else. If a Windows laptop will make you happy, use that.

No need to live in the land of fear and what ifs, especially when you can and should make an educated hands on decision.

You can always find others that share irrational fear. That should not be used as a guide for your own action.
Perfect statement. If anyone is an Elite or Elite Plus member, get your computer there are you will have 30 or 45 days respectively to test it out!
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,988
30,532
Boston
I'll worry when and if my device goes belly up. I will not allow worry to rule my life.
[doublepost=1549151960][/doublepost]
I firmly believe sufficient research and fitting an item to real needs (looking cool is not a need) will suffice. I did almost 3 months of research prior to buying my MBP, and research has never let me down.
Agreed, but I take the notion where there's smoke there's fire and apple needing to institute a repair program on the keyboard means something is inherently wrong with the keyboard. Will it affect everyone? No, I don't believe it, am I willing to take a chance especially given the price tag? No, I'm not. Others are and I respect theirs (and your) opinion but that doesn't negate that the 2018 MBP has an over abundance of reported issues.