Need a new 15" MBP - with or without Touch Bar?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 11, 2008
I have a mid-2012 15" MBP Retina that is sadly on the fritz, so it's time to get a replacement. The options on the Apple site are the new Touch Bar model, and an older (2015?) version which looks pretty much like my current one. I'll be going for the lowest-price model in either case, with an upgrade to a 512 GB SSD. The Touch Bar model is an extra $400.

I'd really appreciate any advice on which option to choose. It seems that the big sticking points are
  • Ports: the Touch Bar model would involve dongle hell, but I don't know for how long. And if I stick with the older model, with USB and HDMI, will I find myself needing new dongles within this laptop's lifetime as USB-C or Thunderbolt become more ubiquitous? I can't tell whether it's worth living in dongle hell for however long in order to be future-proof.
  • The Touch Bar: worth springing for, or just a nice but not-so-useful gimmick?
  • Price: is the Touch Bar model worth an extra $400, or more including various dongles and equipment upgrades?
I'm a research scientist so my main uses are the usual things (web browsing, movie watching, mail), as well as PDF reading and Mathematica. I'll usually have two hard drives plugged in (one for external storage and one for backup), and often HDMI for output to my TV.


macrumors 68030
Jul 20, 2001
I agree with the above poster. I tried the new model for a month and hated it. I upgrade every cycle or every other cycle typically, but I can't pull the trigger here. I prefer the old keyboard and trackpad, and the TB flat out annoys me. I liked the extra speed and graphics, but not enough for all those tradeoffs. I think you'll be very happy with the 2015 other than feeling you paid way too much for old tech.
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James Craner

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2002
Bristol, UK
I had a 2012 Retina MBP, probably the best laptop I have ever used. Upgraded to the 2016 MBP at the beginning of the year. Touch ID is great, but i don’t particularly like the touch bar, I don’t really use it and it is too easy to accidentally ‘press’ one of the touch bar keys. Microsoft in its infinite wisdom placed a send button on the touch bar in Outlook, on the far left. The number of half finished emails I have sent by lightly brushing my fingers on the touch bar you would not believe.

I would not worry about the USB-C as over time it will become the new standard.
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