My MacBook 2016 Review

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Mollan, May 14, 2016.

  1. Mollan, May 14, 2016
    Last edited: May 14, 2016

    Mollan macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #1
    Hi all,

    I bought the m3 2016 rMB a couple of weeks ago and I was debated during these weeks on whether to return it or not to wait for the new 13 MBPr in June.

    The rMB is now used as a secondary machine to replace my Mid-2014 MBPr i7 15" in travels.

    My main usage are basically scientific, so Excel, Word, Graphpad Prism, Papers (Reference Manager/PDF), R Studio, Keynote, LaTeX, Pixelmator/Affinity Designer, Windows 10 with Origin Pro-Excel with Parallels.

    All these tasks were perfectly handled by the rMB, and I am very surprised by the performances. It only behave pretty bad with illogical tasks (open 300 PDF, open all the apps with a click, open 10 Prism analysis files), but these are conditions that nobody will ever use.

    In everyday usage, with my tasks, I cannot see big differences between the rMB and the MBPr15. Tasks are performed really fast and the only noticeable difference is in the opening time of some apps, i.e. around 5.5 seconds to launch Power Point 2016 for rMB vs 4 for the MBPr, or 5.5 seconds to launch Pages vs 2.5 for MBPr. If apps are already open in background, the differences are really negligible.

    The computational power for mathematical fittings is enough, with linear models, mono or bi-exponential models that are generated quite fast (too many variables here, didn't do precise tests), with also a quite low cpu usage. Very satisfied.

    I did a test on a 4K video in Youtube, in Windows 10 with MS Edge Browser and nothing was working. I tried the same on my MBPr 15, and the performances were the same...a 4K video on youtube is not handled well by both virtual machines (MBPr:2 processors, 2048 mb RAM and 512 MB shared hardware with 3D acceleration, rMB:2 processors (?), 2048 Mb RAM, 512 Mb shared hardware, no 3D acceleration.).
    The same video, run natively on Safari, was perfect. Again, I couldn't see the missing part in waiting for a new MBPr 13.

    Battery life: I expected a little bit more here: from 5 to 6 hours in real life usage. 9-10 hours only in super-low light conditions (in a dark room) and only with web browsing, so situation that nobody experience in real life. With MS Office, the battery does not last 5 hours, but it is a software problem since also on the MBPr Word halves the battery life. However, I read that it can be charged from USB batteries and (maybe?) USB ports that are on planes. Did somebody test this?

    Some tests with Pixelmator or Affinity Designer were satisfying. The problem is just the tiny screen, but it has the power to handle 1200 DPI, A4 size images perfectly, and this is what I need for scientific figures.


    TL;DR: I am not returning the rMB m3, since it revealed to be a quite awesome machine for all the tasks I need. A 13 MBPr would have been an awesome machine, but still less powerful than the MPBr15 and not as portable as the rMB.

    PRO: ultraportable, good performances,
    CON: Price, I wouldn't have bought this if it wasn't for the edu discount and some discount at work (final price was about 990€). I believe that who bought the rMB, somehow will have contributed in keeping the redesigned MBPr prices down. Battery life could have been better.


    Here a comparison for the size:

    MBPr 15 Mid 2014, rMB m3 2016, iPad Air, BMW M5 E34.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/36889/MBPrMB.JPG

    Hope this post might help somebody in the same situation I was into :)
     
  2. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #2
    Congrats on the machine(s) and thanks for writing a great review. BMW M428i F36
     
  3. SchodMC macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    Thank you for that review. It's a kind of review that shows the usability of that book in real day usage. Most of the others are very synthetik (who care about a hand break job that takes 1 minute more when using hand break once a year?). The rMB (especially the base model) has a very bad reputation because of the power of it shown on paper. But as your experience had shown, it's better than a lot of people are thinking. Hardware specs are only one half of a story...

    And by the way: congratulations and enjoy your book.
     
  4. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #4
    Yeah, price was a bitter pill for me. I knew this was the machine I wanted so I took the plunge and couldn't be happier.
     
  5. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #5
    Nice write-up of your personal findings :)

    You may find under bootcamp a better experience in some of your software etc and better handling of screen res, fonts and text clarity to suit your needs
     
  6. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #6
    Thanks for the replies :)

    I agree that the numbers from benchmarks are not representative of real life conditions.

    I am actually not considering BootCamp since I work with OSX and Windows software at the same time, Parallels /Virtual Box are really the only way to go.

    Now the worse part I believe it will be the search for one adaptor that contains all the ports I need less than once a month (USB-A, VGA, HDMI, usb-c)
     
  7. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #7
    Suck it up, it's ~$100 for the originals and they will outlast your rMB :)
     
  8. SchodMC macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #8
    You can buy the Apple adapter (or one of the alternatives like the Anker, Choetech, HooToo, ...) and an additional HDMI to VGA adapter. Should work.
     
  9. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    eBay the Apple adapter-- HDMI, USB-C w/passthru, and USB-A. Should be able to get one for about $50 shipped
     
  10. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #10
    Yeah I was attracted by the HooToo, with HDMI and a couple of other ports integrated. Still I need also the HDMI -> VGA because I could't find an adaptor with display port...and all the things I have now (Ethernet, VGA, DVI) connects to the display port. Meh

    Thanks also for the eBay suggestion, I actually never use it but probably I should do it more... :)
     
  11. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #11

    http://r.ebay.com/9gwkVU

    $45 shipped. I actually just bought one for myself-- been waiting to find one for $45 for a while.

    Most others on eBay are refurbished or are open box, this one is brand new
     
  12. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #12
    Buy a USB-A to USB-C adapter and you'll be able to charge from USB ports on planes or USB batteries. However, the charging time will be about 1/3 as fast as the native charger. Also, make sure that the cable is USB 3.1 compliant (a few less reputable cables were drawing too much power and burning out the "host" USB-A ports). Specifically, it should have a 56 ohm resistor. Amazon claims it no longer sells non-compliant cables, and Monoprice also claims its cables are compliant.
     
  13. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #13
    Wow! Even if it is not the best in class (the HooToo has more ports and it looks better), it is a good offer. Thanks :)

    1/3 as fast means almost 9 hours to recharge :O That's a whole flight! I hope that the battery won't suffer from this low power input. I'll buy a good adaptor anyway :)
     
  14. Mac32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #14
    The Macbook is all in all a very nice laptop, but it really annoys me how Apple didn't include optical output on such an expensive machine, esp. considering how few ports it has. That's Apple being stingy and greedy IMO.
     
  15. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    I probably would've opted for a more feature packed 3rd party alternative as well, however the general consensus on the forum seems to be stick with the Apple option. It's guaranteed to work since it was designed for the rMB

    Many others have written already about having issues utilizing all the functionality on third party alternatives. (HDMI not working, USB not powering accessories, etc.). To me, that makes the Apple adapter the best option. Especially when you consider a Genius would likely replace your adapter free if your rMB was still under warranty.
     
  16. ghanwani macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #16
    Interesting. Takes about 45 seconds to launch PowerPoint on my 2010 MBP!
     
  17. Precursor macrumors 6502

    Precursor

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Location:
    Istanbul
    #17
    I just got curious and tested on my RMB, took 2.5 seconds to launch each of Excel, Word and Powerpoint (Office 365)
     
  18. Mollan thread starter macrumors member

    Mollan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands/Italy
    #18
    You are definitely right. Since no adaptor include mini displayport, It does make sense to get the Apple one. I think I've never used both USB in my MBPr at the same time...
     
  19. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #19
    What I was surprised with is how hot these adapters can get, I would err on the side of Apple for reliability for the sake of a few $'s vs aggravation as when some peripherals do not work your left wondering what part is causing the problem
     
  20. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #20
    Exactly.

    Buy both the VGA and HDMI adapters from Apple and move on to bigger priorities. They are very thin and very light, not really a bother, I carry both all the time in my messenger bag, it's negligible.

    BJ
     
  21. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #21
    Thanks for the excellent review, glad it worked out well for you!

    I have a 15" rMBP (i7/16GB) which is my everyday machine, but it is a bit annoying to travel with because of its size, so I am considering picking up a 12" rMB to use when on-the-go and just keep the rMBP at the desk, it's just hard to justify the need for 2 laptops o_O... Even on my 15", the only ports I use are the charger, the headphone port, and occasionally the USB to charge my iPhone.
     
  22. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #22
    Agreed. I can at least understand the other side of the argument when others disagree about whether the rMB is too expensive, don't like the keyboard, or think it's underpowered for their needs. Those arguments make sense for those people, though I personally disagree with them.

    The port thing really is overblown though. I mean seriously, the adapter is really small. You already save a ton of real estate by using a USB-C charger vs. a Magsafe charger, so I really don't think it's an issue to carry around 1 more small adapter. Personally I only am going to use the adapter for HDMI, which is a rare use-case anyways since I have Airplay. Most of the time I can just get by carrying around a USB-C to A cord, which is even smaller than the said adapter.
    --- Post Merged, May 16, 2016 ---
    This is how I currently utilize my setup. I use my MBP as a desktop at work (I have an external keyboard, stand, mouse, USB hub, etc). When I'm at home or traveling, I use the rMB. Perfect combo IMO. I definitely still use my MBP at home from time to time when doing something that requires a bigger screen but most of my use at home is casual so the rMB is perfect.

    I really do prefer using a MBP as a desktop versus an iMac. With a stand where your MBP is acting as a second monitor it's the perfect combo. If only Apple just made a new Thunderbolt 3 display....
     
  23. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #23
    I use the 15" a lot at home, that makes sense, I never bothered to get a keyboard and mouse since I've found the trackpad and keyboard to be great, but maybe I'll give it a try. I originally got the MBP as a portable device because I have an iMac already, but I found that the MBP just blows it away in every day performance (I think it's mostly because of the SSD, things just load so much faster), so the iMac, while it works perfectly, is no longer used much and the MBP is my main machine...
     
  24. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Yeah no need to get a keyboard/mouse if you don't have an external monitor you're using. Maybe a mouse if you prefer to use it alongside the trackpad but many don't even use mice anymore. Just a suggestion since you said you'd be using it primarily on your desk.

    I also agree that using a computer without an SSD is cringe-worthy now a days. I've been spoiled for too long to go back to a HDD. I think you'll be satisfied with the rMB as it really is portable. As in a whole different category of portable compared to the 15'' MBP. The 15", while it has a great design, is at the end of the day a heavy laptop. The rMB form factor when closed resembles an iPad. Big difference in your lap and in your bag.
     
  25. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #25
    Thanks for the advice!
     

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