Macbook Keyboards - MacBook, old MBP, Retina MBP (thoughts & asking for advice)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gladoscc, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. gladoscc macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2011
    I'm considering purchasing a Macbook Pro and using it as my main laptop to do web development and other tasks. I type a lot and a good quality & feeling keyboard is critical to me.

    I tried out the Macbook, 13in Macbook Pro, and 13in Macbook Pro Retina and here are my personal feelings:

    Butterfly keyboard feels unique. The very very minimal travel distance feels awkward to me, but my typing accuracy seems to have improved (I seem to hit keys more precisely).

    The lack of feedback and travel distance makes you feels like you're touch typing on a touchscreen. But it's not that bad, because (i) you're touch typing and (ii) you can still feel the outlines of the keys, improving your accuracy.

    Would I want to spend hours working / typing on the Macbook keyboard? Absolutely not. But do I hate the butterfly keyboard? Not anymore. It's okay, maybe too many compromises made, but it's okay.

    Old Macbook Pro (Non-retina)

    I primarily use PC laptops running Linux and I was blown away by how good this laptop keyboard felt like. It almost feels like a mechanical keyboard, and typing feels brilliant. The travel distance is superb and gives incredible tactile feedback. Downside? Having just tried out the Butterfly keyboard, the fact that hitting the edges of the keys felt different was apparent.

    Still, it's a great keyboard. However, the old MBP is quite thick and heavy! I am not bothered by the lack of retina display or whatnot (I will be using Linux 97-100% of the time), but this MBP is HEAVIER than my PC laptop.. (which has a Haswell i7, 16GB RAM and dedicated graphics).

    2015 Macbook Pro Retina

    I thought the MBP with Retina would be perfect for me, but unfortunately the keyboard is a step down. There's less travel distance, and it feels more Butterfly-y than Macbook Pro level.

    Is it still a good keyboard? Yeah, but this is a "above mid-range keyboard" now, instead of "best laptop keyboard I've ever tried". It was disappointing, but I can work with it. Thinness + lightness, and keyboard quality are the 2 things I value the most.

    I've seen reviews say "same great keyboard"... That's absolutely not true! The difference is VERY apparent when you try them together, instead of relying on memory of what you think the old keyboard felt like. An apple store employee confirmed there's less travel distance, to accommodate the thickness.. and you can visually see keys stick out less!

    Oh yeah, force touch is very cool.


    So, I'm thinking of getting the Retina MBP despite the slightly worse keyboard. However, the price tag of the old MBP is appealing.

    What are you thoughts on Apple's keyboards, specifically old MBP vs Retina MBP? If you were in my position (heavy typing, coding), would you get the Retina one or non-retina?
  2. bookwormsy macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2010
    I went from a 13" MBP to a 15" rMBP. I preferred the MBP's keyboard, but I got used to the rMBP keyboard quickly. I'd go for the retina because the display. For coding, you'll want a higher resolution screen. Plus the regular MBP is about to be discontinued soon (probably), since it's from 2012. If you want a 15", I'd wait a few months for the next revision to come out.
  3. Ray 2013 macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2013
    The same to me. Everything in my new 15" rMBP is great except the keyboard. It's softer and less responsive than my old MBP's keyboard. Hope that I can be familiar with this.

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