dannys1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Sep 19, 2007
3,077
5,494
UK
My CTO 16-inch MBP arrived today and to be honest, overall it's probably one of the most underwhelming initial "feelings" i've had about an Apple product. I realise this totally goes against the huge tide overwhelmingly positive reviews and of course i'm not saying it's a bad machine and there's lots and lots that don't go into initial impressions but usual initial "impressed" feel is missing.

The keyboard is just...meh. It doesn't feel great. I'll admit I must be in the very small minority who absolutely loved the butterfly keyboard from the second I used the first one in 2016. I loved the satisfying clicky feeling, the solidness. I did have issues with that first 2016 keyboard, I then owned gen 2 and two gen 3's with no issues and it was a joy to type on. I was hoping at least for something that matches the Magic Keyboard on the iMac but it doesn't even feel that good to me, the travel feels too much, the keys feel to big and spongey it feels like a step backwards to the 2015 and prior machines. Obviously some people like and wanted this but for me it's not as enjoyable typing experience and it seems i've had to lose that experience for reliability instead. Though I think Youtubers and then the internet in general (many of whom had never even used the keyboard) made the term toxic enough that Apple were never going to keep it even if it was as reliable as any previous keyboard mechanism.

After that nothing else really jumps out at me immediately. The screen doesn't even seen any noticeably bigger or more useful - though the resolution by default is higher, so text is smaller. The escape key? Meh never bothered me, the old arrow keys are fine though i'd got used to either layout so no biggy.

I thought I might be "wowed" by the speakers but meh, they're not all that great, they sound as you'd expect a laptop to sound, average, not something you'd want to really listen to music on if you could help it. There's more bass than the 15-inch as long as you have the volume below 50%, after that it all disappears and sounds pretty awful even if it does go "louder.

Hopefully I find the 64gb of ram making everything snappier for me as I tend to multi-task with about 30 apps and about 120 safari and Firefox tabs open with the increased cooling too.
 

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2017
387
162
I am with you, but spend more time with the new keyboard.
I have been using both 15" and 16" for 2 weeks and might return the 16" because I like the butterfly.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Sep 19, 2007
3,077
5,494
UK
I am with you, but spend more time with the new keyboard.
I have been using both 15" and 16" for 2 weeks and might return the 16" because I like the butterfly.

Yeah I will, i’ll adapt definitely. It’s a shame the space bar in paticular feels so much looser and wobbly.

It’d be great to have an option for Gen 3 Butterfly or Magic Keyboard in the CTO builder, even if only 5% of people choice the former, everyone is happy!

One other initial reaction. Didn’t feel the bigger size but did notice the extra weight, again something I won’t notice in a few days (just like I’ve got used to the 11 Pro being heavier than the Xs)

There is something to be said about things feeling lighter, smaller, thinner though, it is nice/addictive but now to see if I notice the performance difference with this bigger chassis and increased ram.
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors 604
Mar 19, 2008
7,335
11,254
I thought I might be "wowed" by the speakers but meh, they're not all that great, they sound as you'd expect a laptop to sound, average, not something you'd want to really listen to music on if you could help it.

I totally agree with you there.

I was really surprised at how underwhelming they were after all these podcasts talking about how amazeballs they supposedly were.
 
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Dammit Cubs

macrumors 68020
Jul 31, 2007
2,011
587
I'm with you. I like the 2016-2018 keyboard solution better. I saw it in the Apple Store and I was trying it out and wasn't enough for me to change my current setup. But I will argue that overtime, i think your brain will adjust to the keyboard and think it's the new norm.

I use an HHKB most of the time on my laptop (I disable the internal keyboard) so this doesn't bother me as much.
 
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kp98077

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2010
1,731
739
LOL! you guys are impossible to please! not sure how anyone could like those flat, no put keys, oh did I say horribly unreliable? If you don't like = return it
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,667
7,545
I skipped over the unreliable and low-travel Butterfly keyboards, never owned a MacBook with one. If the 16" MacBook Pro keyboard is similar in feel to the Magic Keyboard 2 I use with my iMac, I'll be happy with it.
 
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Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2017
387
162
LOL! you guys are impossible to please! not sure how anyone could like those flat, no put keys, oh did I say horribly unreliable? If you don't like = return it
Yes, the butterfly ones are unreliable, but there are SOOO many people who prefer them. I am thinking about hedging against potential failure by keeping two 15" 2017 machines. Two computers are a great setup for productivity and I can get by with just one of them for a week.
 
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impulse462

macrumors 68000
Jun 3, 2009
1,959
2,571
I skipped over the unreliable and low-travel Butterfly keyboards, never owned a MacBook with one. If the 16" MacBook Pro keyboard is similar in feel to the Magic Keyboard 2 I use with my iMac, I'll be happy with it.
it feels better than the imac keyboard imo. if you like that keyboard though I think you'll like the 16" keyboard
 
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Flabasha

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2011
201
247
This is all actually great news for you. Get the last model, it'll be much cheaper now and have literally everything you want (except the 64GB RAM).

It's nice when decisions like this are easy. I had the same feeling by returning a 2018 and going back to my 2015. Of course, now, two years later, I'm getting a 16-inch and can't wait.
 
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alphaod

Contributor
Feb 9, 2008
22,179
1,234
NYC
LOL! you guys are impossible to please! not sure how anyone could like those flat, no put keys, oh did I say horribly unreliable? If you don't like = return it

Unreliable is relative. My butterfly keyboard has never malfunctioned once yet I've had scissor keys fall off on old Macs many times.
 
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impulse462

macrumors 68000
Jun 3, 2009
1,959
2,571
Unreliable is relative. My butterfly keyboard has never malfunctioned once yet I've had scissor keys fall off on old Macs many times.
yeah... the butterfly keyboard is so reliable that apple ditched years and hundred millions of dollars in R&D testing and advertising to go back to a proven mechanism which no one complained about before
 
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MacBookGamer

macrumors regular
Nov 15, 2019
116
118
You might like the Butterfly keyboard better, but I’d rather have a reliable keyboard than play the keyboard lottery.
 
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maxsquared

macrumors 6502
Jun 27, 2009
353
174
London
I am totally with you, I thought I was the only one, my journey with MacBook back when PowerBook was a thing and that was one of the best keyboards, then 2009 MacBook Pro, then 2012 Retina, I thought it had the worst keyboard because it's somewhat mushy, I thought my 2016 keyboard was the best one, it has 'crunchiness' to it, amazing typing experience, I just got a 16 inch and it's kind of revert back to the 2012 version, but slightly better, I guess I will have to use an external keyboard, as I need the power of the new MacBook Pro...
 
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leman

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2008
13,592
9,247
I'll admit I must be in the very small minority who absolutely loved the butterfly keyboard from the second I used the first one in 2016. I loved the satisfying clicky feeling, the solidness.

You are not alone and I don't think that "butterfly lovers" are a minority. The butterfly keyboard was rather polarising, but I wouldn't be surprised if the number of people who "hate" it was actually lower than number of people who "love" it.

That said, after a few days of using the 16" keyboard, I am ready to admit that it is superior to the butterfly. It has almost the same solid feel but it is more satisfying to work with now that I got used to it. I actually feel less tension in my fingers.

There are few things I don't understand, like, that the 16" keyboard is supposed to be quiet... I mean, that thing is definitely louder than my 2018 butterfly keyboard, although it is a different kind of noise.

I was hoping at least for something that matches the Magic Keyboard on the iMac but it doesn't even feel that good to me

Personally, I really dislike the external magic keyboard. Too wobbly, too mushy, I constantly make typos. The 16" feels much better than that.
[automerge]1575627447[/automerge]
It’s a shame the space bar in paticular feels so much looser and wobbly.

Couldn't agree more, the space bar is very wobbly.
[automerge]1575627554[/automerge]
You might like the Butterfly keyboard better, but I’d rather have a reliable keyboard than play the keyboard lottery.

From what I've seen, it is likely that the 2019 butterfly version is just as reliable as any other keyboard. But the psychological damage has already been done and many people just deny the possibility that butterfly could ever work.
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,496
2,463
London
You are not alone and I don't think that "butterfly lovers" are a minority. The butterfly keyboard was rather polarising, but I wouldn't be surprised if the number of people who "hate" it was actually lower than number of people who "love" it.

That said, after a few days of using the 16" keyboard, I am ready to admit that it is superior to the butterfly. It has almost the same solid feel but it is more satisfying to work with now that I got used to it. I actually feel less tension in my fingers.

+1. I think butterfly keyboard is fine for occasional casual use, but if you need to type a lot, even if you mastered pressing softly (I am a former Cherry MX-Red user), it just fatigues your finger far more than any other keyboard.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Sep 19, 2007
3,077
5,494
UK
From what I've seen, it is likely that the 2019 butterfly version is just as reliable as any other keyboard. But the psychological damage has already been done and many people just deny the possibility that butterfly could ever work.

Exactly this. 100% nail on head.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,029
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Boston
I'll admit I must be in the very small minority who absolutely loved the butterfly keyboard
One size doesn't fit all, and if the new keyboard isn't to your liking, then return it. I'm not a fan of the butterfly keyboard but I understand there's people out there that love it.

Hopefully I find the 64gb of ram making everything snappier for me as I tend to multi-task with about 30 apps and about 120 safari and Firefox tabs open with the increased cooling too.
Doubtful, there are only a few use cases for 32GB of ram, never mind 64.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Sep 19, 2007
3,077
5,494
UK
For those saying "return it" you seem to be totally missing the point of my post. It wasn't to say "this machine is bad I can't handle this" it was a mere capture of my thoughts the few hours after I'd go it from the box and just that I felt a little deflated due to the normal gloss and excitement of a new Apple product.

There's a lot more to a machine than just it's keyboard and i'll be enjoying the increased performance and longer battery life more importantly.

The keyboard I will adapt to, but after typing on the latest Magic Keyboard on the iMac for a few years now I still maintain this is much closer to the old MacBook Pro keyboard than it is to that. It definitely wouldn't hurt for Apple to have a CTO option for which keyboard you want to order, then everyone is happy and no one can complain or have to forgo their choice for someone else. When it comes to keyboard preference and feel no one is right or wrong, it's just a preference.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,029
35,595
Boston
For those saying "return it" you seem to be totally missing the point of my post. It wasn't to say "this machine is bad I can't handle this" it was a mere capture of my thoughts the few hours after I'd go it from the box and just that I felt a little deflated due to the normal gloss and excitement of a new Apple product.
You paid a lot of money for this laptop and you open up the thread by stating that you don't like the keyboard, the screen doesn't feel larger, the speakers don't wow you.

The entire theme of this thread is your stating how underwhelmed you are, if that is the case, why settle for a machine that cost you 3 to 4,000 dollars? I'm not being down on you, but if I put myself in your shoes, and I find that I don't like the keyboard, all of the other benefits/improvements don't wow me, then I'd return it.

Its your money, and your decision but I think the advice to return a machine that doesn't fully meet your expectations is sound ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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MrGunnyPT

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2017
1,088
643
Some people I know got used to the 16" after a week, for me I love both but do enjoy the butterfly keyboard more.

However this one doesn't break when I'm traveling...
 
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RedTheReader

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2019
204
402
This is all actually great news for you. Get the last model, it'll be much cheaper now and have literally everything you want (except the 64GB RAM).

It's nice when decisions like this are easy. I had the same feeling by returning a 2018 and going back to my 2015. Of course, now, two years later, I'm getting a 16-inch and can't wait.
It’s not actually much cheaper at all. If you want to get a new or refurbished model and value graphics performance, you’ll need to go with the Vega 20 to even approach the Navi graphics in the base $2400 16” model. Since Vega existed on top of Polaris for the 2019 15”, you often see them going for MORE than the base 16”. The used market is better, but not by much.

Point being, the idea that the old machines are some garbage relics now that can be had for chump change (or even a reasonably lowered price) is complete nonsense.
 
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x-evil-x

macrumors 603
Jul 13, 2008
5,266
2,930
You might like the Butterfly keyboard better, but I’d rather have a reliable keyboard than play the keyboard lottery.
The 2019’s that came out this year seem to be problem free. Mine is. havent heard much at all about issues
[automerge]1575649822[/automerge]
My CTO 16-inch MBP arrived today and to be honest, overall it's probably one of the most underwhelming initial "feelings" i've had about an Apple product. I realise this totally goes against the huge tide overwhelmingly positive reviews and of course i'm not saying it's a bad machine and there's lots and lots that don't go into initial impressions but usual initial "impressed" feel is missing.

The keyboard is just...meh. It doesn't feel great. I'll admit I must be in the very small minority who absolutely loved the butterfly keyboard from the second I used the first one in 2016. I loved the satisfying clicky feeling, the solidness. I did have issues with that first 2016 keyboard, I then owned gen 2 and two gen 3's with no issues and it was a joy to type on. I was hoping at least for something that matches the Magic Keyboard on the iMac but it doesn't even feel that good to me, the travel feels too much, the keys feel to big and spongey it feels like a step backwards to the 2015 and prior machines. Obviously some people like and wanted this but for me it's not as enjoyable typing experience and it seems i've had to lose that experience for reliability instead. Though I think Youtubers and then the internet in general (many of whom had never even used the keyboard) made the term toxic enough that Apple were never going to keep it even if it was as reliable as any previous keyboard mechanism.

After that nothing else really jumps out at me immediately. The screen doesn't even seen any noticeably bigger or more useful - though the resolution by default is higher, so text is smaller. The escape key? Meh never bothered me, the old arrow keys are fine though i'd got used to either layout so no biggy.

I thought I might be "wowed" by the speakers but meh, they're not all that great, they sound as you'd expect a laptop to sound, average, not something you'd want to really listen to music on if you could help it. There's more bass than the 15-inch as long as you have the volume below 50%, after that it all disappears and sounds pretty awful even if it does go "louder.

Hopefully I find the 64gb of ram making everything snappier for me as I tend to multi-task with about 30 apps and about 120 safari and Firefox tabs open with the increased cooling too.
I’ll trade you my 2 month old 2019 top of the line 3600$ for yours if you want. 32 gig to 64 you won’t notice any difference really with what you said. I use mine plugged into a monitor so I never touch it.
deal? :D
 
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