MacBook Pro Relatively Uncomfortable to Use Compared to the iPhone, iPad, iMac...?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MICHAELSD, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. MICHAELSD, Nov 13, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016

    MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    In an effort to clear my desk to make myself more productive and to re-enjoy my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro now that I have realized the new model isn't worth the hassle of selling my perfect good 2012 model, I think I realize part of the reason I've mostly transitioned over to my iPhone even for professional needs is that the modern laptop design still hasn't been perfected ergonomically. Professionals don't even recommend using a laptop without a stand to bring the display eye level as well as a separate keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Perhaps it's not practical to design a MacBook Pro primarily around ergonomics, but there's simply no way to use a laptop unencumbered on its own without holding an awkward posture.

    On a desk/table? Your hands may be fine but you'll be staring down at the display, which isn't ideal for hours on end. Sitting on the coach? You'll be slouched over you laptop while it's on your lap, also not ideal. In bed? This is just so, so uncomfortable. Now that there are so many new form factors of devices that are being perfected (i.e. Apple took the first step to perfecting the iPad with the iPad Air, and will take another step with the bezel-less designs of the next iPad and iPhone) the MacBook Pro fits awkwardly in every scenario where it's used on its own, comfort-wise. Not to detract from it being a powerhouse of a machine, but it's just not the most suitable to use for long periods of time. In those three scenarios, the ideal devices respectively would be an iMac with an external keyboard and trackpad, an iPhone, and an iPad. Of course, a MacBook Pro with an external display, keyboard, and trackpad could replace the iMac in that scenario... but is it really worth it if it remains fixed to a desk 90%+ of the time?

    Though I would have previously said the MacBook Pro was the best Mac experience, the iMac does seem to have a lot going for it provided the pro consumer can be constantly-connected to power. The 21.5" model is portable enough to transport as needed, has a gorgeous display, and is one of the better values in the Mac lineup. If the iMac didn't forgo an update this year and wasn't mid-cycle it'd be a no-brainer for me to transition over.

    Disclaimer: My opinion may change if I grow more accustom to the MacBook Pro again, but I just don't find it -- or laptops in general, to provide the most comfortable experience because they're mostly ergonomically-awkward to use. MacBook Pro is amazing for professionals that can't solely use an iPad or iPhone while traveling. It's also one of the most comfortable laptops on the market.

    For reference: proper laptop posture

    Note how none of the recommended postures are reflective of how the average user actually uses a laptop.

    (I'm considering skipping this new MacBook Pro generation due limited performance increases and a tempting not-totally-signficant display upgrade not as tempting as 4K or OLED -- though the Touch Bar and Space Grey color seem like enjoyable additions... not enough of a complete package without a deal especially when my main motivation is the improved display that's only moderately better.)
     
  2. David58117 macrumors 65816

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    #2
    ...I've never really considered any of this. I've been using MacBooks for years, and never gave ergonomics a thought. I kind of just found what works and used it that way.
     
  3. Hyloba macrumors 6502

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    #3
    If you only work at home you can get by with an imac and ipad. If you need to work wherever you are, laptop is required. I use an external screen, keyboard and mouse at home, indeed for better posture.
     
  4. leman macrumors 604

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    #4
    I find the laptop to be infinitely more comfortable to use for serious work than a tablet or a phone. If you have a proper chair and desk, physiologically reasonable posture is not a problem. Never really saw the point of raised stands myself. I've been working with a laptop as my primary computer for at least 3 years now and I don't miss desktop setup at all.
     
  5. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #5
    I just realized that other laptop manufacturers are improving the ergonomics of laptops with detachable displays. If the MBP display detached, even if it was a wireless display (note to self: brilliant idea) it would fix all of this...
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    #6
    And how do you imagine that would work? The display then needs to have some sort of integrated stand, ideally long enough to be brought tup to your eyes. Also, how would the display be powered? By including a battery in the display assembly? We are still miles away from satisfactory engineering solutions sere. Laptop/tabled hybrids don't really count, too many compromises.
     
  7. dk808 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Personally i think a laptop is way more comfortable to use than a tablet. You bring up the point that you have to look down while using a laptop, but isnt that the same for a tablet? I doubt that anyone holds it at eye level for extended periods of time
     
  8. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #8
    Include a stand for mounting the display, utilize efficient wireless display technology, and a low-powered OLED display. Battery requirements wouldn't be huge.
     
  9. Marshall73 macrumors 65816

    Marshall73

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    #9
  10. Hyloba macrumors 6502

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    #10
    What use would an external tiny laptop display have? You would still need to look down on a tiny little screen, and it would be full of compromises.

    Keep the laptop as it is, and connect other displays to it, be it wireless or not.
     
  11. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    Technically it could also have a touchscreen if Apple ever gets the nerve to add touch to Mac OS, iOS to the display. An extremely thin, light wireless touchscreen display would be revolutionary.
     
  12. Zenithal, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016

    Zenithal Suspended

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    #12
    A flat keyboard isn't very good. It depends on how your wrists align with the base, though. In addition, flat keyboards like the old or new one are harsher on your fingertips which may lead to overall hand soreness if you type a lot. The same is true if you use a scissor key keyboard such as the magic keyboard, Logitech K800 and or similar keyboards. There's specialty keyboards you can use that work with Mac, IIRC, but the other choice is a mechanical keyboard with low actuation force needed to register a keystroke.

    Though I don't believe that to be true. I can't imagine how it would help people who suffer from RSI in the form of carpal tunnel.
     
  13. ascender macrumors 68020

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    #13
    If I'm working from home I typically have my laptop in clamshell mode connected to a big monitor, external keyboard etc which makes a big difference. But I don't have a problem using a laptop for extended periods of time on its own.

    I think you have the exact same problem with using an iPad though - if you're going to have it as your main machine and use it for a long time at a desk, I'd expect to add an external keyboard at the very least.

    I've no idea how a removable screen would help, unless you could hang it on the wall maybe?
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    Before I got my iMac, that's how I used my MBP when I wasn't traveling. I had it on my desk and had it connected to a monitor.
     
  15. leman macrumors 604

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    #15
    My intuition is that the new Apple's butterfly keyboard is actually better for you. You need less pressure, which is easier on your joints. You can basically just have your palms on the keyboard and type.
     
  16. Barnfather macrumors regular

    Barnfather

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    #16
    Slightly odd discussion topic here...

    Portable computers have been refined over the last 30yrs into the laptop form factor which has been enduring. Are they ergonomically optimal? No, of course not. But if you want this you need to get a desktop arrangement (either iMac or docked MBP) with external monitors, stands etc.

    It is clear that barring some massive change of direction, Apple will never build a touch-screen detachable under the MacBook name.

    The reason I say odd, is the comparison between the usage of a MacBook and an iPhone, especially in the context of extended usage. The iPhone would have many of the downsides of the MacBook under this setting (looking down, or at least variable viewing angles) with the added drawback of possible eye strain for extended use, especially with the standard phone size.

    So, if a static desktop workstation is not viable or desired, the laptop form factor is as good a solution as we are likely to see. At least until we have futuristic James-Bond style projected holographic floating screens that is :)
     
  17. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #17
    Though my hand might cramp after prolonged use, with the iPhone or iPad the viewing angle could be adjusted so that I'm not staring down like I am now while I type away with my MacBook on my lap.
     
  18. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #18
    So you want a tiny iMac with a wireless keyboard?
     
  19. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #19
    The difference would be the display would just be wireless and the keyboard base would contain all the hardware.

    My general consensus now is just that laptops aren't made to be optimally ergonomic.
     
  20. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    #20
    Ergonomically it'd be the same thing though. And they're not :)

    And you might try a stand, I use the Parcslope from Twelvesouth and it makes a big difference.
     
  21. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #21
    No, a notebook is designed to be a portable computer... If you wanted an optimally ergonomic experience whilst sitting at a desk, you need a monitor and keyboard. A PC isn't an optimal experience without a monitor and keyboard, it's the same thing except the laptop has the monitor attached should you want to use it. A notebook is not designed to be sat at a desk all day using it as is, it's designed to sit at a desk for a bit, then at the conference table, then take it on site, then on the couch at home. Without the need to lug around various external equipment.

    Trying to make a laptop with an external display etc. is just making what is usually called a desktop computer. There's no difference between getting a computer and a small display and lugging it around, or getting a laptop with an external display and lugging it around.
     
  22. ILUVAPPLE69 macrumors member

    ILUVAPPLE69

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    Sep 5, 2016
    #22
    I find laptops are a much more comfortable experience over tablets and phones while sitting in a recliner with the computer on your lap. The screen is almost eye level with everything else in the room. I also find laptops much more comfortable in other settings as well, mostly because I don't have my head down towards my table or lap. I have my head mostly eye level and can see and be more aware of things around me.
     

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