Macbook 12” 2015/2016 in 2019?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by areskins, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. areskins macrumors member


    Dec 3, 2016
    Hi, I’ve never had a macbook before but Im very interested in these macbooks. Im a med student and we usually just use pdf readers, ppt and word. Is the macbook 2015 still usable to this day? Will it slow down any time soon? Is the 2016 baseline model substantially better than the 2015? When will macOS update/support end?

  2. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I would not recommend the 2015. Sub-par keyboard and slow. 2016 has same keyboard. I would recommend an education priced 2017 or else refurbished 2017. Core m3 if 256 GB SSD is sufficient.

    Or else take a chance on timing and just wait for a 2019 model.
  3. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    I went from a 2015 (m5) to a 2017 (m3) Macbook. Performance difference is negligible. So as long as you‘d go for at least the middle configuration (m5), the 2015 rMB is still very usable even in 2019. I wouldn’t even classify the 2017 keyboard as significantly better. It’s louder, but not that much more precise.

    Keep in mind that the 2015 MacBooks saw battery capacity issues for some people. Apart from this - if you find one with a good price, the 2015 is still a viable option imho.
  4. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    m5 would be better but 2015 m3 is slow. Keyboard is a huge difference IMO.

    Also, the 2015 has no hardware HEVC support if that matters to you.
  5. lowkey macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2002
    As an owner of a base model 1.1GHz 2015 MacBook I’d say I have never noticed that it’s slow. For general daily tasks of email, internet, word and XL it excels!
    I even use it with Indesign and Photoshop on occassions.

    For most general tasks it can operate in short bursts of turbo boost. It’s only if you’re encoding or running GarageBand or another app that needs CPU power constantly where it throttles down.

    The keyboard is perfectly fine. It fact I FAR prefer it over my 2013 MacBook Pro keyboard, which feels overly soft and mushy in comparison.

    A 2015 model can be picked up for a touch over 1/3rd the cost of the current model.
  6. EugW, Feb 10, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019

    EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I noticed the 2015 m3 to be slow even back in 2015. Definitely usable but laggy at times - not something I wanted to spend money on for a new machine, esp. with that disappointing keyboard.

    The 2017 m3 is noticeably faster than the 2015 m3, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since in benchmarks it is roughly 25-50% faster.

    I pretty much agree with this Ars article.

    its underpowered processor made it feel like a three- or four-year-old MacBook Air rather than a brand-new computer. To these, it added a super-shallow keyboard that you could get accustomed to but never really enjoy.

    Two years later, hardware improvements and the passage of time have made me more enthusiastic about the MacBook's virtues and less bothered by its trade-offs. I still wish Apple would drop the price a couple hundred dollars and put the MacBook Air out of its misery, but even at $1,299 the MacBook has become a respectable mainstream laptop.


    Apple's low-travel butterfly switch keyboard has been upgraded with the new second-generation switches first introduced in the MacBook Pros last year. The keys still have the same amount of physical travel as before—Apple keeps both the keyboard and the trackpad shallow to get the MacBook to its desired level of thickness without shrinking the battery too much—but the perceived travel is noticeably improved.

    I won't say that the difference is night and day, and neither will I say that everyone who hated the old keyboard will automatically love the new one. But I'll say that going back to the first-gen version after using the second-gen version feels like trying to type on a pizza box with a keyboard drawn on it. For those who hated the 2015 MacBook's keyboard, this one may be able to get you into "tolerable" territory. For those of you who could tolerate the first-gen keyboard, the second-gen version is almost comfortable.


    for the Y-series Core m3 and Core i5/i7 chips that the thin, fanless MacBook uses, those clock-speed increases are much more significant. In 2016, the base MacBook came with a 900MHz Core m3-6Y30 CPU with a 2.2GHz Turbo Boost speed. The 2017 version's Core m3-7Y32 can boost all the way up to 3.0GHz, a huge change with a noticeable effect on performance.


    The MacBook isn't the best fit for people with truly CPU-intensive workloads. But for everyday usage, things feel nice and responsive in a way that wasn't always true of the original Retina MacBook.
  7. TommyBoy5 macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2010
    I have a 2015 1.2Ghz Macbook ordered on Day One. I've been through 2 or three keyboard replacements, one motherboard replacement, a third battery replacement, a top case replacement, bottom case replacement and probably a couple other items that I can't recall over the past four years. Everything but the third battery replacement was done under Apple Care at no charge and I believe they still have the keyboard replacement program in place which is a good thing as my spacebar is sticking again.

    Speed? Nah, it's fine. I've never noticed it to be slow but I use it purely as an email/browser machine. It's the portability that's important to me as I'm on airplanes every other week.

    I have 1800 cycles on this computer and use it for hours a day. My personal advice is to sell anything you have and just get the new machine. Not because of speed but because of reliability. Apple offers me $451 for my MacBook as a trade-in. I don't think I'd buy one even if it was only $500.

    If you're a med student and will be carrying this with you everywhere and using it every day it's going to break on you. At a minimum your battery is going to go and that will cost you another $200. Now you're in for $700 and you still have a ticking time bomb.

    That's just because of my personal experiences, however. Others may have a four year old machine without any issues.
  8. MrKennedy macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2011
    I have the baseline 2015 model and it continues to serve me well. My uses aren't too taxing on the hardware (email, word, safari, photos, multi tabbed chrome for work), though you can feel it slowdown/stutter from time to time.

    The 1st gen keyboard works just fine, and I think I prefer it to the 2nd gen keyboard I've got on my work issued MBP.

    If you can find a decent deal on it I think you'll be fine. But if the price difference between each year of release isn't too steep, I'd grab a newer one.
  9. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    That’s pretty much how I felt about the 2015 m3. I can’t say the stutters and slowdowns are 100% gone with the 2017 m3, but they’re significantly less frequent or noticeable.
  10. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    My biggest concern with the 2017 m3 is that the CPU seems to lack some feature that allowed the 2015 m5 to operate significantly faster on an encrypted SSD than the 2017 m3. The very good price for a ~25 cycle machine mostly alleviates my buyer's remorse, but still ...

    Besides: Was there a colour change between generations? I remember that I once saw the gold & spacegrey colours in a department store and very much disliked the colour tone of either one: both with a plastic-like appearance, in garish gold and blackish grey. My current 2017 spacegrey looks much better, though - not even close to what I'd seen in that department store.
  11. bambooshots macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2013
    Get at least a 2016. 2017 is better.

    I open a lot of PDFs and it can take a bit longer than I would really want.

    I have a 2016 m5 and am pining for a 2017 i5.
  12. infernoguy macrumors regular


    Jun 24, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    I just made the switch from a 2015 rMBP 15 to a 2015 rMB base model. Why? It's a long story but let's just say that portability outweighs power for the things that I use a MacBook for.

    For a "Underpowered" Core M processor I haven't noticed much difference in use case coming from a i7 quad core. It has its share of hiccups but overall a pretty good machine. If you can get one for a cheap price, I say go for it.
  13. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    It's a sad reflection of these forums that you would have this impression and feel the need to ask.

    For your stated usage, it's a fine laptop.

    It's obviously no powerhouse, but for general purpose tasks, it performs well. I'm quite sensitive to computer performance, and so I know what others are referring to, but their perspective is generally not in line with the other 92% of computer users out in the "real world". OTOH, if you're someone who notices 1/10th second performance differences, and benchmarking UI animations, then its probably not the laptop for you.

    Its best feature is its size and weight along with an excellent screen - physically it's closer to an iPad than a more traditional 13" laptop for me. If those aren't very important, then consider a MacBook Air.

    I've compared 2015 keyboard to the 2017 keyboard side by side. In my "testing", the 2017 keyboard is a slightly noticeable improvement in feel and sound, but most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference without such a side by side comparison or without extensive prior experience. One of the first things I did when I got mine, was try one of those online typing tests - I was faster on the MB keyboard than any previous test I'd done. It takes a few days to get used, and the keys are slightly more "clacky" sounding, but again, it's a non-issue for 90% of users.

    All current Mac laptops have a similar keyboard design, and they are more "fragile" than previous keyboards, but it's been blown hysterically out of proportion. It wouldn't stop me from buying one or recommending one. Just don't eat over the keyboard (and I'd give the same advice for ANY computer ).

    If a few hundred bucks isn't a big deal, I'd definitely recommend a new(er) one, but if the price is right and you have very limited budget, a 2015 MB (any CPU) should serve you well.

    Best of luck!
  14. preppy macrumors member


    Nov 8, 2010
    I just got a base 2015 macbook for $400. "Upgraded" from a 2012 macbook air. I'm not a power user and do just fine with the basics (web, email, word processing, presentations, movies, youtube). There's some processing lag here and there but nothing more than a skip or pause.

    No horrible issues with the keyboard or battery life. Sometimes my A key doesn't register and the delete key is horribly stiff but still all usable. My only gripe is the hinge on screen is loose and wobble/has play of about an inch or so. I only notice when I'm laying with it in bed. On the table or desk it's fine...but for $400, I am enjoying the portability and screen improvement.
  15. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I have a base 2016 12” MacBook for home use, and it’s a fine little laptop. The keyboard isn’t my favorite, but it’s not horrible, and I switch between it and Apple’s older style keyboards just fine. Performance is great, and the face that it’s fanless is just wonderful! If you can get yourself a solid deal on one, go ahead and enjoy. It’s a great little laptop. And for what it’s worth, I haven’t had to have a single repair done in it so far :)
  16. Apples n' Stone macrumors 65816

    Apples n' Stone

    Apr 13, 2015
    Maidstone, U.K
    Been browsing these forums on the MacBook, I find it interesting how many problems far newer versions than my launch day 2015 M5. It’s been used most weeks as my word processor with light coding since, and although it does like to stutter on the more demanding tasks I am yet to experience any mechanical issues. I mean, the actual 3 pin UK port was defective at purchase which was a scare around those battery times but since then, not a thing! Any other users able to shed light on if they’ve upgraded compared to the performance from the original 1.2?
  17. SmackBookPro macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2018
    I recommend you get a 2017 as it's going to be fully supported for longer, and it's already been out for two years. Seems like two years into the cycle they fixed a lot of the things that were going wrong and costing Apple money and users hassle into what, sadly now, is the final version of the MacBook as we know it. The end of the line stuff is generally the best built and the earlier stuff more likely to have been produced with some teething problems.
  18. spiderpumpkin macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2014
    Find a 2017 MacBook with 16GB RAM and a 512GB drive.

Share This Page

18 February 9, 2019