Loved the rMB but Returned It - Here's Why...

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by newellj, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. newellj, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015

    newellj macrumors 601

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    #1
    With some regret I returned my rMB over the weekend. I thought I'd summarize why...and why I didn't. The rMB was a 512gb 1.2gHz.

    First, it was not because it wasn't powerful enough. I used it a lot with the programs I use regularly - MS Office, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe PSE and Safari, among others - and the rMB definitely holds its own. In relatively extreme tasks I saw some slowdown, but nothing that was either unexpected or too significant to be an issue.

    Second, it was not because of UI lag. I used it a lot side by side with my rMBP and there was no meaningful difference in regular use. I don't game, so I can't comment on that.

    On the plus side, I really liked how small, light and portable the rMB is. I also found it noticeably more back-of-seat friendly in cramped seating (my use is commuter trains but the same would apply to airplane seats). My comparison is to the 13.3" rMBP, and the size difference is just enough to make a difference.

    The two reasons I ultimately returned it were that the keyboard didn't agree with me and, after some practical thinking, I realized that there were going to be issues managing using two laptops concurrently.

    The keyboard - I expected to like it or at least to be neutral and get used to it. In the end, to my surprise, it turned out to be a lot harder to type accurately on the new keyboard than my rMBP or my Apple BT keyboard. This is totally YMMV territory.

    The other thing that pushed me over the line when i was thinking about returning it was managing two laptops (in addition to my Mini). Not so much keeping files current, but license management issues. Most of the programs I use a lot are limited to two installations, and keeping track of what is activated on which laptop presented possibilities like taking one of them on a trip having forgotten to deactivate/sign out on the other one, which could be a real problem. The alternative would be to move to subscriptions with Microsoft and Adobe, but I'm not ready to do that yet.

    A third consideration was that I often need to have two spreadsheets or documents open side by side. While that was possible with the rMB, the extra 1.3" (diagonal) of the rMBP made it just a little easier to read the text/numbers.

    The experience with the rMB did change my thinking about what I want from a laptop, however.

    I absolutely love the new trackpad, enough to be willing to pay something to get that. Because it turned out that I really disliked the keyboard, getting a laptop with the new trackpad but the old keyboard (assuming Apple may migrate the new keyboard to other Mac laptops soon) seemed like a good idea. And using a laptop with a 512gb SSD after living with 256gb was very freeing (in HDD days, my laptops had 1 or 2 TB of fixed storage).

    So, result is that I returned the rMB and am selling my rMBP and have purchased a new 2015 rMBP with new trackpad, the old keyboard and a 512gb SSD.

    TLDR: the rMB is a fantastic ultracompact, but didn't turn out to match my needs as well as I thought it would. I sincerely hope everyone will enjoy theirs. :apple:
     
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    #2
    Well it sounds like you made the right decision. No harm there. I get my 1.3/512 today. Enjoy your new rMBP.
     
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #3
    Fair enough. I think that Apple will keep the current keyboard in the rMBP for quite a while. The butterfly design was borne out of necessity in order to make it thinner, while the Pro will be thicker for quite some time. The 13" rMBP is a great notebook. It's what I used before the rMB. The new MacBook is a niche machine for now. I'm sure it will get some tweaks before it becomes mainstream.
     
  4. vanimal macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 12, 2014
    #4
    IN be for you get crucified for not liking it, as well as the keyboard. Just kidding :p. Its ok anyone should be allowed to not like something as much.

    I love the idea of the new MBR, but ultimately at the moment its still too small for me. My hands, NFL QB type hands swallow the machine, i can't type on it. I tried, 3 times in the Apple store. I REALLY hope Apple puts out a 14" version with more surface area. Out of my MBPR and MBA 13" i feel the most comfortable on the 13" MBA because of the larger footprint. And if anyone tells me I'm typing wrong or i should rest my wrists. Come back and talk to me when your hands measure over 9"+ long from start of your palm to the tip of your fingers :D But hey i can still type 75-80 WPM on the MBA ;)

    I also love the design again, for me just a TAD too small. A 14" version with the same sexy design would grab my attention :eek:. Thats really my only complaint other than i think the $1299 is a TAD steep, but hey its new tech i get that. Would have been nice to see maybe $1099 to separate it from the MBPR. But again the prices will eventually adjust just like the MBA did.

    Still one sexy machine, and looking forward to them making two screen sizes and spec V2.:cool:
     
  5. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #5
    I thought about just letting it go silently, and almost did. I think there's a place for constructive discussion, which I hope this thread will reflect. :) The regulars in this subforum are a very good crowd and I think this will be taken in the spirit intended. There is no one-size-fits-all machine in anyone's line, and that applies to Apple as well. In particular, I think they need to have a shake-out in the next year or so.

    The 15" rMBP really needs an update, assuming Intel will cooperate. The rMB is a fabulous machine that like all Gen 1 products could benefit from some additional market feedback and design re-thinks. It could also benefit from some work that I assume it will get to replace the venerable (in all senses of that word) Air. (Bring the cost down, ideally introduce a 14" display version).

    It's always interesting to see what Apple has up its sleeve, or in the inter-office envelope. ;)

    ----------

    You're probably right, but Best Buy has a great sale going on the rMBP right now... ;)

    By the way, I would agree with you on "niche," with the understanding that that's not a pejorative term (or doesn't have to be - and isn't intended that way here). It is a superbly light and thin computer with surprising capabilities that has to make a few compromises with the basic laws of physics. Apple will probably figure out a way to improve some of those compromises over the next few years.
     
  6. noobinator macrumors 601

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    Jun 19, 2009
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    Not a bad decision. The keyboard is subjective. I happen to love it and type faster on it.

    I sold my Air to fund over half of this purchase but I'd never have kept to notebooks. I just don't have a use for them.

    Hope to see you back on this side for V2. :D
     
  7. PDFierro macrumors 68040

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    Sep 8, 2009
    #7
    No way, man. I think everyone on here totally gets it, and those who don't are just being jerks. The reasons you listed for returning your rMB make perfect sense for you as an individual. I don't see myself having any problems with the rMB, and I'm super excited to get it today. And even any problems that I do encounter, I'll probably put up with because of how much I value portability.

    From my time at the Apple store using the machine, I loved everything about it. Even the keyboard. But owning the machine is a vastly different experience from using it at the store. But I see myself being very happy with the rMB.
     
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #8
    I wonder if in 2 years the MacBook supplants the iPad for many people. We still hear rumors about an iPad Pro, but for the past week, I've been carrying the MacBook in a padded side pocket in my messenger bag next to my work notebook. It's noticeably bigger than my iPad Air, but not much bigger than the rumored iPad Pro would be. It's ridiculously portable and a lot more useful. Now that the iPhone Plus is an option, the iPad is getting squeezed a bit.
     
  9. Banquo's Ghost macrumors newbie

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Location:
    Devon, UK
    #9
    Very useful feedback, thank you. The keyboard is critical for me too, and though I like it from using a demo, only having the machine for a little while will finalise my decision.

    I completely understand your view on two laptops. I did that for a while and never again! If I stick with the rMB (assuming we get them in the UK before I die of old age!) it will replace my 11" Air.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
     
  10. vanimal macrumors 6502a

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    #10

    Well the advantage the iPad Pro would have is it would be a touch screen and be able to utilize the iOS app store. The iOS app store is FAR FAR more vast for people who play games or use apps compared to the Mac app store. I personally don't play any games on my iPhone 6 plus or would i on a tablet, i have gaming consoles for that. But some others enjoy that. So there is that. Who knows, the iPad Pro just might turn out to be a 12" version with bumped processor and specs lol.
     
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #11
    The keyboard definitely takes some getting used to, but I've adapted. It's definitely a YMMV situation.
     
  12. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #12
    That is a very interesting question and the decisions are going to be individual, I think. What would really be interesting to watch would be introduction of the rumored 12.9" iPad Pro. That would mean that the biggest iPad had a screen bigger than the smaller Mac. :eek: That would really highlight how people use tablets vs. laptops - or maybe it would just generate a lot of confusion? :D

    For me, THE GREAT DIVIDE here is OS X vs. iOS. To me, they really don't overlap much, but it depends on what people are doing with them.
     
  13. nj-mac-user macrumors 6502

    nj-mac-user

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    #13
    Not so sure this will be the case. I believe the next exterior remodeling of the rMBP will be soon and will be slimmer, and will use the rMB keyboard to help slim it up. In 5 years time when all Apple desktops/laptops use the new keyboard design, it will be the norm to everyone and most won't have an issue with it.
     
  14. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #14
    Just another comment or two.

    First, although I looked askance at the Core M when we first started reading about it last year, in practice I think it's amazing and surprisingly capable. Watching the Intel Power Gadget is really interesting. The Core M really sprints up and down as needed. There is a huge potential here for the future.

    Second, temps. This is a good place to link back to a thread I posted last week comparing times and temps for some large file operations. I've read a few posts about a "hot" rMB and bluntly I don't believe it. I had the Core M pegged twice for 35 minutes each, running at 91-94 degrees Celsius. The palm rests were only in the mid-80s Fahrenheit, the bottom ranged from 92-97 degrees Fahrenheit, and the only place that got over body temp was the speaker grill. It got to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which I suspect is due to hot air venting out of the speaker grill (can't prove that, though). Apple has done an incredible job engineering the rMB within the design constraints that Apple laid down.
     
  15. TommyBoy5 macrumors member

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #15
    The keyboard is the ONLY thing I don't like about my brand new Space Gray 1.2/512Gb.

    It has nothing to do with the key size or the travel of the keys. It has everything to do with the lack of space around the keyboard.'

    I have medium sized hands and am coming from a 2008 MBP that was a BEAST. I was so used to typing on that thing for the past 7 years that it is very difficult to transition to this new Macbook. I find my left hand often misses keys and I have constant errors and mistakes. It's as if it sits one row to the right so "s" is often typed instead of "a" if that makes any sense. I guess I was used to the space around the MBP keyboard and I would rest my hand there.

    That being said, it's not a deal breaker. I just noticed that I haven't made one mistake in this post yet so I'm slowly acclimating to it. If you're coming from a MBA or a 13" MBP this might not be an issue for you whatsoever.

    Also, if you haven't been using the same machine every day for 7 years straight this may not be an issue for you.

    I've had this MB for a week now and am slowly improving my typing skills on it. It took only one day to get used to the trackpad. On my ancient MPB the trackpad didn't depress at all - you needed to hit the button to select. I don't even think about that any more with this new machine.

    One other thing - Candy Crush seems to lag a bit here and there and it didn't on my MBP. Not that I play it or anything. ;)
     
  16. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #16
    Right, like when the unibody MBP downgraded the keyboard to the one that was used on the early MacBook Airs. Nobody remembers that.
     
  17. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #17
    I'm glad I stuck with my 13" late 2013 rMBP. The smaller screen and lack of ports is mainly what put me off the rMB, although managing multiple Macs simultaneously is not a problem for me. Maybe I'll get generation 2 of the rMB, as long as I keep my rMBP ;)
     
  18. tecnho macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2015
    #18

    What about a butterfly mechanism that allows more key travel for future Macbook Pros? Seems like that could possibly combine the best of both worlds? (feedback and balance).
     
  19. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #19
    Edited the original post to mention a third factor that was a close call for me and probably doesn't reflect the needs of too many other users. I often need to have two spreadsheets or documents open side by side. While that was possible with the rMB, the extra 1.3" (diagonal) of the rMBP made it just a little easier to read the text/numbers.

    As I've posted before, I've owned the 11" MBA (twice) and I will say that the additional half inch or so of vertical screen space on the 12" 16:10 rMB screen is a big plus for the rMB compared to the 11" MBA.
     
  20. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #20
    I was a huge fan of the 11.6" MBA. I switched to the 13" rMBP and missed the portability but loved the screen. I've found the 12" rMB to be a good mix of what I like from both the MBA and MBP.
     
  21. magbarn, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015

    magbarn macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Like you, I've tried to keep a MBA 11 twice and I've also sold/returned both of them. The lack of vertical space was a deal breaker. I've messed around with my wife's rMB enough to know it's not for me and probably never be due to the lack of travel on the keyboard. Hopefully it doesn't transfer to the upcoming rMBP 15 re-design.

    The lack of cpu power was very noticeable editing 36 MP RAW photos from my D800 on LR5. Probably not as noticeable working with iPhone/lower mp images.
     
  22. newellj thread starter macrumors 601

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    #22
    Yes on the 11" MBA...and I hate to beat a dead horse, but the color accuracy and viewing angles are terrible, too. If you're only reading emails or web pages, it's possibly forgivable, but if you're doing color-critical work it's a big problem. Speaking of which - I had no problems with 20mp raw files from a Sony. On the other hand, your D800 files are nearly twice the size. :eek:
     
  23. magbarn macrumors 68000

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    #23
    BTW, if the rMB was closer to being price competitive with the iPad (say in the $500-$700 range - which we know Apple would never sell it for that cheap), it would replace my iPad Air 2 as I could justify it as a 3rd laptop when I really want lightweight. As much as I don't like the keyboard, I absolutely detest the clamshell 3rd party keyboards I've tried on the Air 2. The SP3 Microsoft keyboard is also just as craptastic with a worse trackpad to boot.
     
  24. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #24
    Way to throw a wrench in my decision making process! You were one of the few forum members who helped me (almost) decide to get one! :p


    ----------

    If you want the truth. I am beginning to lean against it too. One of the biggest issues for me is synching two systems and licensing. I have some software that I can only run on one system at a time, but that in itself isn't a huge deal.

    The synching seems like a headache. Yes, yes, I can use Dropbox/OneDrive for my basic office files, but even the little things like iTunes could be a headache. I keep my 70+ albums organized in special way using custom sort numbers (1-70+). Every time I got a new song a new video I'd have to download it to both (if it's iTunes) or sync it another way if it was from a third party. Then I'd have to do the custom sort twice and maintain that. All my photos would be on my LR library on my MBP and I'd have to constantly export JPEGS i wanted to keep them in both Photos apps on both systems and I don't want to use iCloud library. I just like to keep things simple.

    I may just use that money for its original intent: buy a new 128GB iPad and a 1440p monitor. In undergrad, I used my iPad + keyboard in school. That won't work as a grad student doing research and working with new undergrads as a TA. Also, I work with a LOT of PDFs and spreadsheets and the larger screen is nice. I don't like my iPad 3 that much because it's so slow, but it's wonderful for reading PDFs, which I'll do a lot of. And would be superior to even the rMB for that. I still wanted a usable iOS device for games and certain apps and I toyed with the idea of an iPhone 6 Plus, but even that seemed like a compromise: too big of a phone/not enough of a tablet. So I'd still want a cheap iPad and ridding myself of the need for an iPad was one of the main justifications of the rMB. Plus, I still think the iPad is superior for car use (not driving), couch use, and in-public use. I am now toying with the idea of the more compact iPad Mini. I could take that and my 15" rMBP to school with my on my 12 hour days (undergraduate class teaching at 9am, office hours mid day, graduate class from 6-9:15pm). There are also other factors: when working with undergrad students, the 15" will be easier to instruct from (when they're in my office looking at my screen) than using the 12" MacBook and the 15" MacBook can be upscaled to give phenomenal desktop real-estate when heaving multitasking while on campus.

    One thing I'm giving up is that I wanted a mobile writer station. The rMB would have been perfect for writing in the car, at the mall, or other miscellaneous locations, but I think I could by with just jotting down quick ideas on my iPad for when I'm home with my full system; and I could working on learning to touch type better on the iPad. I won't buy a keyboard case for the iPad Air 3, it kind of defeats the point and makes a clunky experience.

    Also, I've been experimenting this past week by taking my 15" MBP with me place and using it in the car. While it certainly isn't the most elegant experience and is a little clunky, it was certainly doable and I found myself thinking a few time "I wouldn't want a smaller screen than this." I've never owned a laptop smaller than 15" so I'm not sure how I'd like that. If I had a 13" MBP this whole decisions would be much easier, but I don't, and I'm not selling my 15" for a 13" so...

    Summary:The 15" is more portable than I anticipated. Ideally, if I had infinite funds or a rich uncle, I'd have a 15" MBP, a 12" MB, and iPad, and my iPhone 6, but I don't. I have money I've saved for years and graduate/birthday money (they'r within a month of each other) that I'll use. The rMB seems like an unnecessary inconvenience to keep in sync. It was already a bit tough to justify and I think my rMBP is a good mobile desktop and my iPad a more versatile mobile device. The rMB was kind of squeezed in there.

    I'm going back to the Apple store thursday to make my final decision.

    Sorry newellj, that came out longer than I meant it too. I didn't mean to dump all that in your thread, but that was kind of my thought-stream and writing it out helps me make a decision.

    _____________

    Oh yeah. I disagree about the keyboard! I love the new shallow keys, but they aren't a necessity.
     
  25. c.s. macrumors regular

    c.s.

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    Nov 11, 2007
    #25
    This. 15" is such a great screen size, as far as ergonomics and usability. There's a definite use case for the 12" rMB, but I personally feel the 15" rMBP is more versatile if you want the simplicity of owning 1 machine. You have to "weigh" the value of carrying a lighter notebook from point A to point B against the value of having the most comfortable, powerful workstation with you when you get to point B.
     

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