MacBook Pro 15 2015 still worth it

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by masterab, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. masterab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2019
    #1
    Hello Community,

    I have returned my MacBook Pro 15 2018 back because it was not good enough for me, however do you think the 2015 15 MacBook Pro is currently worth buying and how long it will receive updates?

    Regards
     
  2. leman macrumors G3

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  3. masterab thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 1, 2019
    #3
    I could get one for 1500 €, otherwise new one for 2300 €, other Option is Dell XPS 15 for 1800 €, need to make right purchase.
     
  4. Hanson Eigilson macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2016
    #4
    I'm still on the 2015 15", and for me it's great.
    Buying a 3-4 years old laptop design seems like an unfortunate proposition to me, but there is no other practical options for me available from Apple, so i guess this is it.
    I have no doubt they will continue to support it for several years more, but in general it seems to me like Apple's effort in making great computers and fostering a healthy ecosystem is on a sharp decline in both software and hardware so I expect to be doing most of my work on PC's in the future.
     
  5. turbineseaplane macrumors 601

    turbineseaplane

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    Mar 19, 2008
    #5
    Absolutely! I have 2 of them now!
    They are totally capable and totally reliable.

    I personally don't focus so much on "newest"/"how old it is" when other factors are far more important.

    Is it reliable?
    Does it do the job, etc etc
     
  6. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #6
    All depends on the price. Full retail? No I don't think so. But a used unit in good condition, I'm sure there are some good bargains to be had. 1500 Euros - that still seems a touch high but it would depend on the condition and specs.
     
  7. internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #7
    I just have to ask this one question.

    If the 2018 model was not good enough for you, what makes the 2015 model better?

    There is nothing that the 2015 can do better than the 2018 model, unless it requires direct I/O ports that aren't USB-C.

    Anyway, if you like the 2015 better, then get the 2015 model. Find a nice looking unit for a good price and I don't think it would be a terrible purchase.
     
  8. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #8
    The 2015 is not part of the Kernal Panic, Keyboard, Audio circus. Your point is valid, more details would be helpful of course.
     
  9. turbineseaplane macrumors 601

    turbineseaplane

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    #9
    “Comfortable quiet and reliable typing”
     
  10. internetrando, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019

    internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #10
    Those are fair points, however, I think that the true number of people affected by those issues is much smaller when you step outside of the echo chamber that is present in online forums. Every model that I can recall has seemed to have some type of major issue that everyone was complaining about.

    I have not had any audio or keyboard issues as of yet. I do not use any external monitors either, so the kernel panics have not been an issue for me. I imagine that a large number of people are in the same boat as me.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 6, 2019 ---
    That's the experience that I have had on my 2018 MacBook Pro...
     
  11. turbineseaplane macrumors 601

    turbineseaplane

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    #11
    Think about what you’re really saying here though...
     
  12. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #12

    Yeah I’m not sure if it’s 3% or 30%. Whatever the number is, it’s too high or my tastes. I do agree though, it’s almost imossible to determine the real scope. It’s telling though that there are people who have replaced their units and have issues with the replacements. That’s a bad sign. It’s a shame, on paper the current generation looks killer.
     
  13. internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #13
    Apple is the only one who can figure out the statistics, and quite frankly, it is probably a really small percentage of users that have any issues. Most users just open up the computer, and as long as it turns on and they can log-in, they're happier than a dog in mud. I would be willing to bet that 90% or more of end-users would never recognize backlight bleed or complain about it, or other seemingly nitpicked impurities. I get it, you spend $4,000 or $5,000+ on a computer and you want it to be perfect, but some of it is really a little over the line of realistic expectations for a mass produced product...at least in my opinion.

    I am not trying to discount people who are having actual issues, but I really think a huge majority of these complaints are software bugs that should have been tested for and solved during development and beta testing of the OS. The current generation is friggin' awesome. I love mine and I plan on using it for the foreseeable future; five years or more. What could possibly change to make this computer underpowered in that time? Probably not much...

    The only statement that I am intending to make is that it does not affect me, so it does not bother me. I do not use external monitors, so for me, it's a non-issue. Who knows - I might not have any issues if I did use a monitor. Maybe I would. No telling.

    My best guess is that Apple will resolve a majority of these complaints through a software update. Bugs happen. When they test these computers and beta test the software, they cannot account for or test for every possible consumer use scenario. For all we know there is a third-party adapter / software that is causing the trip up. Who knows. That's on Apple to figure out and make right for the customers who are having the issues.
     
  14. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #14
    I suspect it’s a much larger quantity. Simply because so many people affected have had one or more replacements. If it was a very small number of users then a replacement would be a very likely fix. I also think that the nature of these issues (especially the audio for example) is such that many affected users would never notice anyway, so there may be people affected who do not know.

    My guess is that this is a larger issue rather than a smaller one.

    Seriously, I’m glad yours is working. I’m jealous. I’d be more jealous if you had the 13, but jealous all the same.
     
  15. internetrando, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019

    internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #15
    I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the number was around 10%, but if I were to guess it is 5% or less with current manufacturing capabilities and technology. If I were to guess, there is probably a 20% failure rate of some kind within the first five years of use, be it a fan or a motherboard, but that is just a part of the electronic lottery. What I do know is this:

    They wouldn't sell AppleCare+ if they didn't make money on it. They sell it for these computers at $379 for three years of coverage, and a single repair or component replacement costs considerably more than that. I believe most of the tier-based repair options are running around $700 or more per pop. I had a fan replacement on an older MacBook Pro of mine that would have cost $700 had it been out of pocket; that was years ago. If the failure rates, repair rates, and return rates were that high the company would pull AppleCare+ from the sales floor (or considerably jack the price up) and be running in the red. Hell, if it was that bad I would imagine that they would pull the entire product line until they solved the problem or found a solution for it just like Samsung did with the Note 7.

    If you look at it by the sheer numbers, even if you assume a 30% failure rate, that still means that 70% of your customers are just fine and happy. Odds are that most of the people with issues are going to be accepting the issues and carrying on with their day or find a replacement unit that works just fine, and Apple carries on. Those returns get a once-over (if anything) and are then resold at the same price (or a small $100-$200 discount) in Apple's refurb store. Their profit margins remain virtually untouched for the product line. With that being the case, what does their business benefit by bending to the will of the minority? Not much.

    That eventually gets us to where we are with Apple and their customer service today. I would agree that the issues affecting larger numbers of users, even if they are a minority, need to be fixed and addressed. The larger the percentage of people affected, the more likely I believe the problem lies in the software. I also think that a majority of the issues being reported are coming from the software and not the hardware, so they could be easily fixed with an update, but it requires someone to find the issue within millions of lines of code and additional testing to fix it for end-users.

    I fully admit that I am rife with my own personal guessing and assumptions, but in my opinion, some of it is either nitpicking or unrealistic expectations. For the ones who are having legitimate case use issues, the issues should be fixed. I have no qualms there.

    For what it is worth, I am sure that if I took the time to really comb over this computer, I could find some imperfection with it. However, I pulled it out of the box, gave it a once over, didn't see any scratches or damage, see no gnarly screen imperfections or screwed pixels, and it runs like a raped ape. I really have no complaints as of yet, and trust me, if I did, I would be the first one in line at the Apple Store wondering why I had an issue with my brand-new laptop that cost me a hair over $5,000 with AppleCare+ and taxes included.

    My guess is that the OP would have a much higher chance for component failure and related out-of-warranty repair costs by choosing a three+ year old laptop with an unknown history and no coverage. Given Apple's general reliability and longevity, I wouldn't put much worry into that train of thought, but it is entirely possible that OP purchases a second-hand laptop that catches on fire day two and has no coverage. That's just a risk that I would not be willing to take with a large sum of money; in excess of a thousand dollars.

    No reason to be jealous. Mine might be just as bad as yours, but I either use it in a different way or just don't see the issue. That little 13" with the quad-core tempted me, but it was too small for my preferences, and I wanted a dedicated GPU.
     
  16. jerryk macrumors 601

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #16
    Pretty much what I see on my 2018 15" MPB. We have several of them and they are great.
     
  17. turbineseaplane macrumors 601

    turbineseaplane

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    #17
    Good to hear
     
  18. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #18

    I don't have a 2018, I'm not ok with the risk :)

    In terms of probability, I'm not an expert, but let's say that the failure rate is 10%. I don't know what the industry standard is and I'd guess 10% is high for the industry, but let's use that. That means that having a single failure is a 1/10 shot. Having two consecutive failures is then 1/100 (1%). Having three consecutive failures if 1/1000. Or if it's a 5% failure rate, then that's 1/20, 1/200, 1/2000 respectively. Whereas the odds of having one failure and then having the second one be excluded from the "failure pool" (ie, a good unit) would be 90/100 or 90%. Does it seem like 90% of the folks with the 2018 Pro problems have had a replacement unit fix the issue? I'm not sure, but my gut feel is that it's not close to that.

    Neither the 1/100 shot of two consecutive failures, nor the 90/100 shot of having the replacement machine resolve the issue - neither of those pass the sniff test to me, for what that's worth (admittedly very little).

    If the failure rate was 30% as opposed to 10%, then the odds would be 3/10 of having a failure out of the store, and the the odds of the second unit having a failure would be 9% (vs 1%). 50% failure rate would be 25/100 (25%) of having a faulty machine replaced with another faulty machine.

    So again, totally possible my math is wrong (I'm not a probability nerd and I'm wading in to a bottle of wine), but the repeat failures to me is a red flag that the rate is higher. Those instances where people had a problem and then the replacement also had a problem.

    I'm sure there is someone who knows far more about probability than me who can address this better.

    I haven't kept up very closely and I could be totally wrong. Maybe I should pick one up and try it for myself!

    Totally agree with your AppleCare comments. I didn't opt for it on my 2015 but on a 2018 I would. I'm actually a little surprised that it hasn't been hiked, considering how picky some folks are.
     
  19. Hanson Eigilson macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2016
    #19
    AppleCare is not a moneymaker for them on it's own, it's a promotional tool designed to make you swallow the repair prices 5x cost and more, like internetradio's fan replacement, it's a 30 minute repair and a 5usd fan, they charge you 700 for it, and it's a promotional tool designed to believe you that yeah, everything is fine, meanwhile the actual cost of replacements are made up by drastically increased prices.
    If AppleCare was offered by an independant insurer it would be a lot more interesting to look at.
     
  20. internetrando, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019

    internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #20
    Your probability is a little bit off, and the results depend on how you want to extrapolate the data.

    You were correct for the 10% failure rate. There is a 1/10th chance of something happening once, a 1/100th chance of it happening twice, 1/1000th for a third time in a row; purely by chance.

    If it is a 5% failure rate, it goes from 1/20th the first time, to 1/400th the second time, and finally 1/8000th the third time.

    That is a large reason behind why companies want their failure rates to be as low as possible. A 5% decrease in failures provides an exponential decrease in the probability of multiple failures. For example, that 5% decrease in failures led to a four time lower chance of a single replacement having problems, and an eight time lower probability of a customer suffering a failure on a second replacement or exchanged product. This is assuming that you are running on controlled variables and everything is based purely on chance.

    As you can imagine, there are limitations to this. The largest comes from the fact that the variables are uncontrolled. For example, let's say that Apple produces a run of 10,000 MacBook Pros with faulty speakers in a row. Then those 10,000 MacBook Pros all get sent to one store. Joe Blow comes in and buys a MacBook Pro and finds the speaker issue. He takes it in and exchanges it for another laptop. Well, come to find out, that one sucks too. Joe Blow tries it a third time with the same result. Regardless of probability, if the entire batch is contaminated, until Joe Blow finds a different set of stock to pull from with no faults, or the store runs out of faulty stock and is replaced with new stock, he's going to continue to get the **** end of the stick. Theoretically speaking, Joe Blow could go through 9,999 replacement laptops before getting one that worked correctly. This is often why you will see repair programs only covering a specific set of serial numbers, as Apple is able to backtrack those repairs and complaints to narrow them down to a specific set of production criteria. This is also why I think that a lot of people swapping computers wind up with the same issue that they were trying to escape to begin with. In the big scheme of things, while the probability of failures happening on multiple devices is small, the reality of production and distribution channels skews that probability drastically if there is a batch of faulty equipment sent out.

    On a much larger scale, what happens is we wind up with Chicken Little level cries of "The Sky is Falling" as users flood the forum to find solutions or complain about their issues whenever a big batch of faulty equipment goes out; exceedingly rare if I were to guess. 95%+ get a laptop that works well and only a small percentage of them wind up on the forums.

    You also have to account for the end-user as well. Some end-users find fault in everything and will obsess over every possible imperfection and keep swapping computers until they find one that has no imperfections in any possible way. I have heard stories of people swapping laptops because they had a key that they thought was "clicker" than the one next to it. Just asinine stupidity and something that probably deserves medical intervention to treat. This type of behavior comprises a majority of the replacements, swaps, and moaning that I see on the forums between the MacBook Pro and the iPhone. Some issues, like the screen flickering that others have reported, are caused by a very specific set of circumstances that are a result of a larger hardware failure or (much more likely) a software bug / failure that swapping units won't do anything to solve. That is largely dependent upon how individuals use their computers. For example, the screen flickering is largely associated with external monitor use. Mine might exhibit that same behavior that everyone else is complaining about, but I don't use my computer in that way (nor would I likely ever). Since I never experience the issue or have to deal with it, my experience is different than someone else, even though my computer could very well cause the exact same issue.

    Anyway, the best advice I can give you is to do what serves you the best. Apple takes care of the customers in a much better way than many other retailers do. If you buy one and need to return it, it's not too big of a deal. I would highly recommend trying one out if you have the desire, need, or money burning a hole in your pocket. I have no regrets and mine seems to be working absolutely perfectly in every regard. As you mentioned, I would highly recommend purchasing AppleCare+ for the computer if you plan on keeping it or using for more than one year. Once that time is up, pray that the reliability holds up. The repair options are so God damn expensive these days that it is truly almost better to just buy a new computer with a warranty than it is to repair the old one and hope for the best.

    I would also recommend purchasing one that requires a custom configuration and build. That ensures that your laptop is amongst the latest build and, in my opinion, has a lower chance of having early run issues that others might have while the stores are clearing out their stock of first run examples.
     
  21. cfdlab macrumors regular

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    Feb 26, 2008
    #21
    I have a 2013 and a 2018. Still haven't completely switched, it doesn't feel exciting anymore to upgrade, what with loss of so much functionality and my 2013 still seems fine. Every previous upgrade brought real improvements, the current one brings more problems. Why did I buy ? It is bought from my grant money and after 5 years, my 2013 has higher chance of dying, so I need continuity if that happens.
     
  22. internetrando, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019

    internetrando macrumors 6502

    internetrando

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    #22
    While AppleCare+ is in some ways a promotional tool, if it wasn't profitable, they wouldn't sell it.

    Apple places the customer into an impossible situation. They control the product, repairs, and a large majority of the hardware going into the device. No surprise here, their costs are low. Let's be real, the fan replacement that they would have billed me $700 out-of-warranty probably cost them $10-$15 with parts and time for the tech included. Throw in overnight shipping both ways, maybe a total of $100, tops. They can do two of those repairs and still come out in the green with a $179 profit on your little AppleCare+ purchase, and you feel like a savvy and smart consumer because you just saved yourself $1,400 in repairs. Apple hedges their bet on you not needing it more than two or three times while you hedge yours on needing it even just once. Apple knows that they build high quality products, and based on probability, if you buy the AppleCare+, Apple has an exponentially better chance to make money on you then you would save by avoiding AppleCare+. The smart customer recognizes that it's foolish to risk a prohibitively expensive repair if they are going to use the laptop for more than a year, so they just pony up and eat the cost.

    In layman's terms, Apple thinks that they can make more on you from AppleCare+ than they can from uncovered repairs; because they're relatively rare. That's a large portion of why they punish customers with $700 fan replacements - you have to scalp the suckers who don't pay the toll at the gate to make up for the losses on the backend.

    It's double or nothing for Apple and they know it. It's a no-brainer for an intelligent customer to purchase it, and Apple doesn't care because they're going to make money either way. The real question is if the risk is worth it for you and your money. It wasn't for me.
     
  23. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #23
    That’s a terrible price, considering you can get a 2018 13” refurb (similar performance, improved everything g else) for approx the same.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 6, 2019 ---
    And yes, estimating probabilities of failure is a non-trivial task... for example, we all know about increased keyboard failure risks, yet at the same time the little quantitative data we have suggests that still below 5-7% of laptops are affected from it. These figures can’t explain why people are getting repeated failures. My guess would be that user behavior/environment also plays a decisive role...

    Industry average failure rate for premium laptops in the first year seems to be somewhere around 10%, with Apple having very low rates in every survey I’ve seen.
     
  24. AnonMac50 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 24, 2010
    #24
    I would like to ask, which kind of 2015 model are you thinking of? The one with only Intel graphics or the one with AMD graphics as well? I feel the Intel only models are not that good; their graphics chips seem to stutter and lag a lot on even when opening a stack or changing spaces. They won't be capable of anything heavy duty either. I have a 2013 15" with Nvidia and a friend of mine has a 2014 15" with Nvidia (the CPUs and Intel graphics on those is similar if not identical to the 2015 15" models), and you can definitely see a noticeable increase in performance when you switch between graphics chips (much smoother and a lot less lag).

    In terms of support, my guess would be new operating system support would most likely at least be until 2023-2025 (at least judging by Apple's 5-7 recent trends. Apple also usually supports the last 2 operating systems (plus the current one), so you should most likely would have another two years of support. There may also be a chance of using unsupported operating systems if you are into that.

    As a computer, I think the 2015 models (with AMD graphics) are very good, and can be comparable in performance to newer Macs (2016 or 2017 MacBook Pros, for example). Having used the newer keyboards a lot, I still prefer the old style ones (but that is a personal opinion, so it depends on you). From my experience, the 2013 15" and 2015 13" I have/had have been very stable, even more stable than my iMac Pro has been.

    I think they are good computers worth buying, but not at the price they were at when they were released, as in don't pay 2015 prices for 2013-2015 specifications in 2019. If you can find a cheap one, I think it may be good value.

    Hope this answer helps!
     
  25. turbineseaplane macrumors 601

    turbineseaplane

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    Mar 19, 2008
    #25
    Are you sure that isn’t being caused by something else?

    My 15” 2015 is intel only and does not stutter or lag or anything, ever.
    Trust me. I would NOT tolerate that.

    Perhaps my NVMe 2TB being so fast is helping?
    No clue. But mine never does anything like you’re describing, again, I would not be using it if it did.
     

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