MBP 16 quality

ejin222

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 12, 2011
177
56
I want to make the plunge on the 16” but as soon as I come to this forum, I am bombarded with quality issues on the 16”.

Should I wait for a 2020 update and hope Apple addresses these issues, or are people just blowing it out of proportion because it’s a new product?

I’ve learned to take the bendgate issue on iPads with a grain of salt because my iPad Pro never came close to bending, but MBP’s are over double the price...
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,640
31,785
Boston
hould I wait for a 2020 update and hope Apple addresses these issues,
If you can wait then that will be better in the long run, as you'll get newer components, some of the issues may be addressed and you have more choices.

or are people just blowing it out of proportion because it’s a new product?
I wouldn't say people are blowing things out of proportion, but rather people come to a forum to discuss problems so you mostly see a one-sided view of things. The thousands of owners that don't have problems will remain quiet.

With that said, I do think the 16" MBP has some inherent issues:

1. Heat and fan noise when using an external monitor. Other than slowing down the CPU and making other changes will resolve this. There have been some videos out there that have good suggestions for mitigating the issue.

2. Screen quality/ghosting. This also seems like a real problem affecting people, and it seems that apple's choice of panels is of less quality then people come to expect for a 3,000 to 4,000 dollar laptop

3. Coil whine, this seems more like a lottery and it could occur in any model, its a topic that seems to be raised every model year.

4. Battery issues, I see a number of complaints on this, not sure if its software related.

5. Kernal Panics, not sure if its related to the T2, but there seems to be a segment of users dealing with this

6. Wifi performance - I'm largely ignorant of this, but some people seem unhappy about it.

7. Speaker popping issue Apple has promised an update to macOS to resolve this.

All in all, if it were me, I'd hit the pause button, but then I decided to vote on the quality issue with my wallet and buy a PC since when I was ready to replace my 2012 laptop the butterfly keyboard was the biggest headache.
 

Ifti

macrumors 68020
Dec 14, 2010
2,356
479
UK
I have a MBP16 and find it perfect in every way. Ive honestly had none of the issues described above (bar the external display issue as I do not use one). Completely happy with mine and intend to keep it for the next few years at least....
 

Mark_EL

macrumors newbie
Mar 20, 2019
17
8
Netherlands
I own a 16” too and do not recognize most of the complaints either, if any. Even the external display does not make my laptop heat up that much that it starts making fan noise, but then maby this is because I‘ve only used a 2560x1440 monitor and not a 4K/ 5K display (?).

I have had a kernal panic twice in the beginning, but both the times my MBP was connected to my dock (a Caldigit USB-C Pro Dock) and both times it froze when waking up the machine while connected to the dock. Other then that, it has been performing perfectly and I am really happy with it.
 

Paratriplel

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2011
96
6
I feel something similar and it might just be people are just more sensitive because others talk about it more or it could be that it’s actually more issues these days with Apple products or their QA as in technology is so advanced that the QA work has a hard time testing for issues etc.
it’s obviously that much easier checking if something that is 0.1 mm is correctly produced or placed than to check something that is 0.01 mm...

It doesn’t help that much in you’re or my decision with speculations but I hope that Apple will be nice about exchanging a computer that you feel is faulty. I mean the first one could be exchanged rather instantly I’d hope, the second one they of course could spend some more time troubleshooting. The last time I bought an Apple computer was in 2016 they weren’t that nice when I said the fans went crazy and it kind of overheated and restarted randomly when I had a OS X later than Sierra and when I bought it it came with Sierra but high Sierra was released (I never took temps but I believe they did) and they’ve looked at my MBP 2015 model over 20, probably 30, times and asked me to so the same damn resets every time (which never helped, but I was polite and said I’d give it a go and wait to see if it’s better... yeah the Swedish support are a bunch of lazy idiots!)
One said he wanted a technician to look at it but everyone I got back to them about it they laughed in my face because they didn’t think so. And then repeated the instructions to the resets.. if this is the case now I don’t want an Apple product ever again.. but I hope it’s better. It’s several years ago.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,372
4,880
I want to make the plunge on the 16” but as soon as I come to this forum, I am bombarded with quality issues on the 16”.
What quality issues are you taking about specifically? The only widespread quality "issue" (actually, a bug) I am aware of was the speaker popping when playing YouTube videos, which has been fixed long time ago.
 

tCC_

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2016
55
29
What quality issues are you taking about specifically? The only widespread quality "issue" (actually, a bug) I am aware of was the speaker popping when playing YouTube videos, which has been fixed long time ago.
Has not been fixed, but can be workaround
 

matram

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2011
331
134
Sweden
It is clearly superior to the previous generation, the best MBP I have owned.

As usual for every new model there are people that seem to be working very hard to find faults. It can be difficult to sort out what is real in all this.

For me, the popping is mostly gone and does not affect my use case anyhow.

The drivers for the GPU have some issues. 10.15.3 was an improvement, but more work is needed.

Otherwise I have experienced no issues.

Typically for a new generation there is a period of SW fixes. If you want the most stable SW maybe wait a couple of more releases. I doubt there will be a HW upgrade in the short term. Apple will probably focus on the 13”.
 

MacMaze

macrumors newbie
Dec 11, 2019
24
36
I have a MBP 16 for a month now and coming from the 2012 model I think it's a nice machine. The only issue I see is the screen. Although color rendition is very good, the smearing/ghosting is pretty bad. I know a lot of people don't care or don't see this, but believe me, coming from a 2012 MBP with a Samsung panel it's a big difference. So, if you don't mind the blurriness that occurs when scrolling through websites and all, go ahead and buy, apart from this issue it's a great system.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
2,781
752
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the MBP 16 to anybody, I think its a brilliant laptop.

You do need to remember when you look at forums like these that often people come here because they have a problem.

That can cause an effect where people then start to look to see if they have problems with their laptop matching those they've read about. In some cases that's absolutely a great thing, but sometimes it can lead to people noticing tolerances they weren't even aware of and effectively creating an issue for them.

From the list below, we don't have #1, #2 (not noticed but could probably find it), #3, #4 (battery life is excellent), #5, #6, #7 (fixed).

So there's a sample size of 1 for you.

1. Heat and fan noise when using an external monitor. Other than slowing down the CPU and making other changes will resolve this. There have been some videos out there that have good suggestions for mitigating the issue.

2. Screen quality/ghosting. This also seems like a real problem affecting people, and it seems that apple's choice of panels is of less quality then people come to expect for a 3,000 to 4,000 dollar laptop

3. Coil whine, this seems more like a lottery and it could occur in any model, its a topic that seems to be raised every model year.

4. Battery issues, I see a number of complaints on this, not sure if its software related.

5. Kernal Panics, not sure if its related to the T2, but there seems to be a segment of users dealing with this

6. Wifi performance - I'm largely ignorant of this, but some people seem unhappy about it.

7. Speaker popping issue Apple has promised an update to macOS to resolve this.
 

Nacho98

Suspended
Jul 11, 2019
729
647
16" owner here from November, no issues whatsoever with my unit. Nicest fit and finish of any MBP I've had, too. Beautiful, even, bright screen, and I'm a screen whore.

You can certainly wait, but it's foolish to think that potential issues A/B/C are magically going to be rooted out without introducing new issues X/Y/Z. Remember when people complained about LCD phones having yellow screens and terrible uniformity? And OLED was going to be the great savior to solve it all? Well, how'd that work out? The screens are still uneven and they are even more piss yellow than any LCD Apple ever released. The point is, there are potential issues/problems with every. single. release. of. every. single. product.

So if people think Apple's going to add new screen technology like mini LED, keep the cost the same, *and* root out some other issue or issues, it's just not going to happen. There will always be trade offs.

There aren't any serious issues or design flaws with the 16" like there was with the butterfly keyboard, so may as well just buy now. If it has issues, return it until you're happy.
 
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chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,611
1,623
Isla Nublar
Honestly these forums as of late are just echo chambers of one person having a random issue and everyone piling on. I wouldn’t give them much thought

The 16 inch is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. I absolutely love it and don’t regret my purchase at all.
 
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ejin222

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 12, 2011
177
56
Thank you all for your replies! I placed an order today thanks to these comments.
 

Ifti

macrumors 68020
Dec 14, 2010
2,356
479
UK
The issue is when a user posts a problem on the forum, it causes others to check and look for that 'problem' on their own machine. ie, one person says they notice ghosting. This causes other people, who probably had not even noticed the issue during their own personalised usage, to also start running tests to replicate the issue, then complain that they also have the 'problem' with their machine. It then snowballs from there.

I tend to take all such comments with a pinch of salt. I mean, its nice to know what a larger user base is coming up with, but I don't then go looking to replicate the same on my machine. I haven't once checked for ghosting. I didn't check for any coil whine etc either. I simply use the machine day to day the way I intend to use it. If one of the 'problems' become apparent I can then research into it to see how others are dealing with it. Otherwise, if I don't come across anything in my own usage, I'm not bothered and I'm not going to go looking for it.

EDIT: should have read the comments above. Everything Ive just written has been said already! lol
 

bluesteel

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2007
369
5
Earth
I haven't had any issues with my 16". I would say most people don't. If you need a computer now, buy one.

If you don't need a new computer right now, it might be worth waiting if the 2020-21 MBPs get 10nm processors (maybe more power and less heat?) and some new display technology (a better refresh rate and deeper blacks). Thats an "if" of course.
 

sennomulo

macrumors member
Jul 18, 2018
69
89
I have zero issues with my 16" MBP. None. I'd heartily recommend it to anybody considering a new laptop if they have the cash. It's far and away my favorite laptop of all time. All the components are top-notch: the speakers, the touch pad, the keyboard, the screen, the chassis... I can't think of any PC laptop that has a package like this, that has ever had a package like this. It's as close to perfect as I could reasonably expect.

Now, I'm sure there are some people with some legitimate issues and limitations with the device, and they will naturally congregate in forums like this one to discuss those issues more often than people like me will come to just heap praise on the device. Maybe one of those issues is a dealbreaker for you, and you can wait and hope that the next iteration will solve it. But at the same time, maybe some feature of the next iteration will introduce some new problem. Nobody can say for sure what's coming next, we only know what we have now.

For me, this was the iteration that solved my biggest issue, the Butterfly keyboard, which is why I decided it was time to upgrade, and I'm glad I did.
 

anaudiopro

Suspended
Mar 7, 2017
1,261
1,543
I could post video of the speaker “popping” issue, but I don’t want to burst people’s illusion of their “perfect” MBP. Once you hear it you can’t un-hear it.
 
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simonmet

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2012
2,207
2,992
Sydney
I have a MBP 16 for a month now and coming from the 2012 model I think it's a nice machine. The only issue I see is the screen. Although color rendition is very good, the smearing/ghosting is pretty bad. I know a lot of people don't care or don't see this, but believe me, coming from a 2012 MBP with a Samsung panel it's a big difference. So, if you don't mind the blurriness that occurs when scrolling through websites and all, go ahead and buy, apart from this issue it's a great system.
I agree this is the most significant and serious issue in these machines; and it’s one of the few that can’t be mitigated or fixed with driver or software updates (and is very noticeable to me). It doesn’t bother some people, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. I’m going to check the store models today to see how they fair, but I’m pretty sure they’re the same as mine. It’s particularly noticeable when flicking Launch Pad pages. The screen is otherwise ok with good viewing angles and extremely uniform backlighting (on mine), so for photography or general productivity apps it’s pretty good.

The other hardware issue is coil wine, but that is far less noticeable than the ghosting issue on my unit, and has been an issue on Macs and other brands of laptops and desktops for a long time, so it’s not peculiar to the 16”. I think all computers have it to some degree, but I wish Apple would put more effort into (helping to) minimise it.

The other issues are either rare or can be managed with system tweaking or driver and software updates. I’ve not experienced any kernel panics. Most of the people that did appear to have had defective hardware that they got replaced.

The ghosting was not quite enough for me to return the laptop, because it’s an otherwise excellent and enjoyable machine; and I don’t have anything else to go back to. I don’t want any of the other models yet either because they still carry the hopeless Butterfly keyboard. It doesn’t affect use in most productivity apps, but is noticeable in gaming somewhat (more in vector-style games), which is disappointing given the decent (for its size) graphics card.
 
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Glenny2lappies

macrumors 6502
Sep 29, 2006
466
112
Brighton, UK
If you can wait then that will be better in the long run, as you'll get newer components, some of the issues may be addressed and you have more choices.


I wouldn't say people are blowing things out of proportion, but rather people come to a forum to discuss problems so you mostly see a one-sided view of things. The thousands of owners that don't have problems will remain quiet.

With that said, I do think the 16" MBP has some inherent issues:

1. Heat and fan noise when using an external monitor. Other than slowing down the CPU and making other changes will resolve this. There have been some videos out there that have good suggestions for mitigating the issue.

2. Screen quality/ghosting. This also seems like a real problem affecting people, and it seems that apple's choice of panels is of less quality then people come to expect for a 3,000 to 4,000 dollar laptop

3. Coil whine, this seems more like a lottery and it could occur in any model, its a topic that seems to be raised every model year.

4. Battery issues, I see a number of complaints on this, not sure if its software related.

5. Kernal Panics, not sure if its related to the T2, but there seems to be a segment of users dealing with this

6. Wifi performance - I'm largely ignorant of this, but some people seem unhappy about it.

7. Speaker popping issue Apple has promised an update to macOS to resolve this.

All in all, if it were me, I'd hit the pause button, but then I decided to vote on the quality issue with my wallet and buy a PC since when I was ready to replace my 2012 laptop the butterfly keyboard was the biggest headache.
My experience with my 16" isn't good from a 'buggy' perspective. It's a great machine in so many ways but really let down by a few hygiene factors - or bugs:
  • Seems to crash like a windows machine; *all* my previous Macs would go weeks without a reboot and would rarely crash. Seems to need weekly rebooting - what one expects with Win-DOS, not MacOS.
  • Keyboard & mouse intermittent problems; again from wake; seems that the trackpad and keyboard are still sleeping. Have to use the (rather overhyped IMHO) function bar thing to lock the screen and wake again
  • The most irritating and frustrating issue is where external monitors intermittently wake to blank; have to workaround by turning on and off screen mirroring -- this is *really* annoying as it happens several times per day
  • Screen flickering. Really annoying; getting better with 10.15.3 but still noticably flickers; like night shift randomly kicks in and out, maybe it's related to ambient lighting levels
  • Extra contrast intermittently on the MBP panel when waking and connected to an external Cinema display
  • Frequent problems where external hard drives - for Time Machine - won't eject. Have tried for 10 minutes and end up resorting to unplugging it and risking corruption just so I can use it as a portable.
  • The Radion "high side" doesn't fully switch off with some software, consuming about 5W, i.e. reducing the battery to about 4 to 5 hours. Tracked this down to VMWare Fusion, but I'm not letting MacOS off the hook. This means that I need to fully quit VMWare if I'm doing portable stuff.
  • And the case is really scratch-tastic. Probably Space Grey shows scratches more than the old silver colour, but I'm convinced the anodising's not up to scratch (pardon the pun). All laptops tend to be carried around an office with your notebook, iPad, phone, etc. resting on top. This resulted in a scratch which really annoys. For 15 years I've used Apple and this has never happened before. So have to budget for a dBrand skin to protect it.
I put it down to sub-standard screen drivers and that OS too far, Catalina.

On the whole it works really well. It's fast, the 64Gb of RAM is fantastic, along with loads of SSD space. Love the keyboard too. Actually I don't: the keyboard's about as good as my previous 2015 MBP; it's only the 2016 to 2019 series that had that utterly useless keyboard.

And praise be for the incredible sound quality. It's amazing in a conference call just how clear the sound is. I used to have the popping problem, but that hasn't happened for months. But I'm not a video watcher.

So, as I said, these are hygiene factors: they really annoy, just like having sticky fingers. I expect more from Apple after spending $6000 on a laptop. Oh, and the avaricious bastards not including a mains cable in the box.
 
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