Really impressed with 2016 M3 MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by bankshot, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. bankshot, Aug 8, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016

    bankshot macrumors 65816

    bankshot

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    Just thought I would share my experience and impressions of the baseline MacBook that I picked up last Friday.

    For a little background info, my primary machine is a mostly maxed out late 2015 iMac (4 GHz i7, 1 TB SSD, 24 GB memory, etc). I haven't had a Mac laptop since an original 2006 MacBook. As a technical person who disagrees with Apple's current obsession with thin, I kind of scoffed at the rMB when it was released last year, then paid it no more attention.

    I decided I wanted a laptop for my upcoming vacation next month, because I wanted to edit photos in "real" software while on the road. Based on what I thought I knew about the rMB (underpowered, not enough ports), I assumed the only choice would be an 11" MBA. However after a few weeks of research, I was surprised to find myself leaning more and more towards the rMB. What I liked:
    • Smaller and lighter, important for travel
    • Better screen (more in terms of color reproduction and viewing angle than PPI)
    • Ability to charge from any USB power source, critical for travel
    • Faster storage
    • No noisy fans
    I made a big spreadsheet comparing several configurations, features, and prices. Lots of agonizing tradeoffs, but it would come down to whether the rMB was acceptable for my intended applications compared to a MBA.

    I went to the store and played with a baseline rMB next to a baseline 11" MBA. Both seemed equally snappy in the UI, no stutters or beachballs. A test of exporting the ~1000 or so demo images from the Photos app was interesting: the rMB led most of the way, and only fell a few seconds behind toward the end (assume it started throttling due to heat). I was surprised and impressed. From what you hear elsewhere, you'd think the rMB would get demolished in such a test.

    I decided the demo M3 was good enough for my needs as a secondary machine, no need to bump up to M5 or M7. So I jumped in and got one on Friday.

    So far, the machine has met all expectations. I've loaded all my applications, including Aperture, which I will use for photo editing. It's been perfectly snappy throughout - not as fast as the iMac, but I don't expect that. As a secondary machine and travel machine, it is far more than adequate. I'm truly impressed with what Intel has achieved with these new mobile processors.

    I still need to test a few more intensive things (maybe light video editing, not sure if I'll do that on the road). I decided I would return it for a faster model if I found anything that was just too slow in the first 2 weeks. But so far, I see no reason to do that.

    As for the single port, I realized that even with previous laptops, the times where I would use more than one port at a time were few and far between. As a travel/secondary computer, those times would be even fewer. So really no issue. As a bonus, I was one of the winners of the MacRumors USB-C hub giveaway, so that worked out well!

    Oh, keyboard - that's hotly contested a subject, too. It still feels a little awkward to me, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It's not enough for me to hate the machine, that's for sure.

    Aside from the trip, I'm excited to have a real machine to use in different rooms of the house, rather than being chained to the iMac desk or getting by with my phone!

    Edited to add TLDR: 2016 M3 MacBook performance was on par with 2015 i5 MacBook Air, UI perfectly snappy without stuttering. Obviously not as fast as my top-end iMac, but not nearly as slow as complainers would have you think. Perfectly adequate as a secondary machine for me (and maybe a primary machine for many), and quite impressive given the 1.1 GHz base clock rate!

    Hope this experience helps anyone who may be struggling with a buying decision.
     
  2. Macgied macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
  3. viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #3
    Thank you for sharing! Glad to hear it's been performing well for you. Makes me confident that the rMB will handle what I throw at it when I get mine :D
     
  4. SCOLANATOR macrumors 6502a

    SCOLANATOR

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Think I'm going to go with the m3 now, been unsure between this and the m5 and I don't need the increased storage. Just wondered if the m3 would be enough, now it seems so.
     
  5. Hung_Solo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    #5
    I've had the m3 version for about 2 months now and have had hardly issues with it while it also handles all my daily tasks with ease.
     
  6. SCOLANATOR macrumors 6502a

    SCOLANATOR

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Perfect, one question, how does it handle HD/1440p/4K streams from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Twitch?
     
  7. CYKBC macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    #7
    4K YouTube it'll stutter.

    Got rid of the m3 and ordered the m7. Noticeably snappier. No going back for me.

    MacBook 2016 is an awesome machine coupled with the anker usbc battery pack.
     
  8. capkapak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #8
    As a side no issues for me with 4k on the m5.
     
  9. bankshot thread starter macrumors 65816

    bankshot

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #9
    Interesting. I just tried several 4K videos on Youtube, no stuttering whatsoever on the M3.

    Of course, since the physical resolution of the screen is 2304x1440, I seriously doubt 4K (2160p) will give you any better quality than 1440p, which Youtube should have for any 4K video. So if it were an issue, perhaps that would mitigate it. At any rate, I'd rather watch 4K on a screen that can fully display it, like my TV or iMac. :)

    I don't have Netflix, and while I do have Amazon Prime, apparently both require Silverlight which is banned from all of my machines (same as Flash). Bummer. I do recall reading here that Silverlight does cause problems with these machines, however.
     
  10. asoksevil macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #10
    I demoed the M3 one they had on store and didn't have problems playing YouTube's 4K videos... My M7 handles all of that flawlessly.
     
  11. SCOLANATOR macrumors 6502a

    SCOLANATOR

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Good, think I'll stick with going for a Space Grey m3 and save myself some money (just bought a GTX 1080 last month so can't go too wild). I likely won't watch videos in higher quality than 1440p anyway but I was just curious. Also Netflix works on Safari using HTML5 DRM protocols which is far more efficient than crappy Silverlight. I've banned Flash and Silverlight from all my systems too.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 9, 2016 ---
    Also does anyone know of a good extension for Safari to set Youtube videos to play in HD by default? I use Youtube High Definition plugin on Safari on my main Windows rig but that same great little extension doesn't seem to be available for Safari.
     
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #12
    "Youtube Options" or "Youtube5" - The latter has a wider array of options.
     
  13. Hung_Solo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    #13
    Haven't noticed any issues with 4k streams with Netflix or YouTube, and I have my m3 plugged into my LG 27UD88 4K monitor.
     
  14. Quddy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Location:
    Singapore
    #14
    I'm super happy with mine as well (m3, Gold). I use it with Windows 10 mainy at the moment and it works perfectly. Loving the portability, battery life is insanely good for something this size (getting around 8-12 hours depending on usage) and the display is wonderful (16:10 is so refreshing and much more productive, very sharp and the colours are great, anti-glare coating is one of the best for a glossy display)

    Keyboard layout is a bit awkward at the moment, keep hitting fn instead of control, but getting used to it. Typing is otherwise fine.

    The only issue I have is that browsing (Firefox) sometimes lags when using a multi adapter with external display (1080p HDMI), wireless keyboard and mouse. Not sure why as it works fine when using the laptop display but when i plug into the dock it starts fast and then sometimes bogs down, not all the time though. I suspect it's the USB-C as that carries some processing overhead and all that data going through there may have a negative effect. Not sure if m7 would have helped. Unfortunately it wasn't something I could test in store.

    Overall, very happy. Even the colour choice!
     
  15. macintoshmac macrumors 68000

    macintoshmac

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
  16. Quddy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Location:
    Singapore
    #16
    Sure. The Macbook running W10 in particular?
     
  17. SCOLANATOR macrumors 6502a

    SCOLANATOR

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    Just went into the Apple Store and made sure to test out the rMB, for some reason they only had a Broadwell 1.1GHz version on display. I tried out 4K and 1440p60 YouTube videos and they ran flawlessly, also gave Twitch a try out and it also ran great. So considering that I'll be going for a Skylake rMB I'm more than happy now to go for the m3 version seeing as it will only be better than an already perfect Broadwell variant. Those are really the most demanding tasks I'll be asking of the laptop so I'm really excited to order mine now.
     
  18. Hung_Solo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    #18
    If it perfectly suits your usage/needs then that's all it matters. I was watching 4k videos all night last night on my m3. Congrats on the purchase.
     
  19. unagimiyagi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #19
    It can't play 4k :< But only quad core macbook pro i7 can I believe.
     
  20. SCOLANATOR macrumors 6502a

    SCOLANATOR

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    I tried out 4K video in the Apple Store and it ran it fine - that was on a less powerful Broadwell version too.
     
  21. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #21
    Wish this could interface with the Thunderbolt Display, I'd buy one to replace my MBP in a heartbeat. Haven't really seen a USB-C display on par with the TBD on connectivity/design yet. As it is, waiting with fingers and toes crossed for a TB3 MacBook Pro later this year...
     
  22. macintoshmac macrumors 68000

    macintoshmac

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    #22
    No, I was actually looking for photos from real people in real lighting conditions, not glitzy apple lighting or lighting specifically for reviews on the review sites... Not W10 at all. I was looking to guage the gold color on normal light is all. :)
     
  23. Quddy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Location:
    Singapore
    #23
    Sure, will do in the next couple of days when I return home and get my camera. Only have my phone camera on me at the moment and it's rubbish.

    What I will say now is that the level of "goldness" changes quite a bit depending on the lighting and surroundings. Most of the time it's not too punchy gold but quite pale and subtle which is why I like it. Initially I was a bit self conscious and thought I may stand out a bit too much, but now that I have had it for around a month I can honestly it looks great and don't give it much thought. Silver seems to be the most popular colour for Macbooks where I am and the Gold is quite refreshing.

    On holiday right now and I must say the Macbook has been brilliant. At the airport, in hotel room, in cafes, the portability has been perfect and the m3 has performed as well as I have needed it to. The battery life especially has been great. At the end of every day I have had at least 40% remaining. I can confidently leave the charger at the hotel and not worry about having to find a power socket. Wifi connection has been flawless. Most of the time I needed to use the hotspot function on my phone so the Macbook has been charging that as well. (All with W10 at 125% scaling)

    Opening the lid with one finger without lifting the whole notebook is a pleasant and suprisingly useful design point. I didn't think I would appreciate it that much!

    I am very happy with this purchase. I was a little worried about it being underpowered but it's more than enough for my usage, I think the 8GB min ram helps a lot, and I'm not missing the touch functionality at all (was thinking about getting a 2-in-1 tablet). Overall I think it's a perfectly designed little machine for it's intended market.
     
  24. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    #24
    The Youtube player says "4K" on my 2012 13" rMBP too. But what is it really playing? I can't really tell the difference between the 1080P and the 4K stream even 1.5 feet away from the screen.
     
  25. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Aarhus, Denmark
    #25
    - Then it's really playing 4K.
     

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