Regent Street London - impressions, light testing

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by terencedriver, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. terencedriver, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015

    terencedriver macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    So the London Regent Street store had them in today for viewing only.

    I tried to use them and compare my experience with the MBA13 and the MBP13 asap.

    All the models on display are 1.1.
    The colours are all tastefully muted. I was afraid the gold would look guache by it was tastefully matte and pastel, not shiny neon or bling.

    They are light but given the hype they aren't as light as expected. You can easily handle them with one hand.

    They feel fragile compared to other models. I would not want to put it in a bag with hardback books.

    The screen is good as per expectations.

    The keyboard. I tried to like it. I really did. I thought.. It'll take some getting used to. I typed for about half an hour in total for about five mins at a time. The lack of feedback gives me pain .. RSI? You never knew when a key press was registered. I couldn't relax and type.. It was stressful. The MBP13 and Air I tried didn't have this at all. Really I can't see myself typing more than a few sentences with the rMB keys. The larger key size didn't seem to have an impact.

    GUI was terrible. You could feel it groaning to resize windows, swipe to new desktops. It wasn't fluid and that jarrs and adds stress. I tried these tests in different laptops in case one was left in a bad state by a previous user. No change.. All the GUIs struggled. Some users wont mind if they're used to a slower laptop but even my old corei3 windows7 has a snappier ui. Also tabbing between Mac apps was also not snappy. Also the notebooks size did make me feel all cramped and hunched over the device.. Even tried different heights for myself to mimic sitting at a cafe table.. No improvement.

    The resolution was set to native for all the four rMB and the MBP I tested.

    Using the setting dialogs felt smoother on the MBP not the rMB which felt asthmatic!

    I thought the ssds were supposed to be super fast. Yet some apps took noticeable seconds to load.

    Photos was ok but not snappy. It felt much smoother on a MbP13. As did the UI when I tried it a few minutes later. Only Safari seems fluid and I guess they tries hard to get this right as most people will live in web.

    Performance.. They don't let you install chrome as an admin pass is required. But I managed to install IPython from Anaconda. It ran sure... But it installed slower than the MBP. It has a heavy installer to be fair. Running a script to repeatedly do a matrix.multiplication confirmed the of course the MBP was faster. But the rMB did it.. So it is possible to code.

    Editting via photos was doable but you could feel the rMB struggling but it didn't actually fail. The MBP felt smooth and effortless.

    It got hot!!!! Noticeably. I'd worry if I didn't know it could look after itself and throttle.

    Didn't try sound but youtube via safari seemed equivalent between the MBP and rMB running a HD tube.

    Its not impossible to do stuff as others have confirmed.
    BUT the pleasant experience isn't there. The UI lags terribly which is Apple fault as 8yr old computers have snappier UIs. The keyboard is not for regular sustained use. So not essays or coding. Don't buy it if you'll constantly regret every lag jitter and delay.

    I may try the 1.2ghz and 1.3 if they help the UI.

    Its a social media, web and consumption device. Really not pleasant to create content. Is it really worth £1x00? I can see gen4/5 be stunning devices if the UI is fixed and the keyboard too.

    Personal opinion
    I think the underlying hardware is probably fine. Its faster than laptops 5years old. But. My opinion is that Yosemite is too slow and bloated especially the UI. A 5+ year old £300 laptop shouldn't feel snappier but it does. My android nexus 5 has way more pixels (1920x1080)to push than most laptops out there and is still more fluid with its GUI.

    If I remember more I'll update.

    I never expected this to be a MBP for sustained processing. What I personally didn't like was that for basic desktop operations and experience it felt worse than an 5+yr old £300 desktop. A valid challenge is this is pushing too many pixels than it should but that doesn't excuse the user user experience even if it does explain it.

    Update 2
    I forgot to say the only people who seemed really happy with the device, cooing over it like a baby, were those commenting on its appearance not its technicals. Apple is increasingly a fashion brand, in line with the new had if retail I guess (personal opinion)

    Update 3
    Yes the keys show finger gear easily and it's noticeable. In fact a chao in an apple T-shirt was busy cleaning them with a cloth between people playing with them.
  2. 3bs macrumors 603


    May 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
  3. junkw macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
  4. terencedriver thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
  5. s54 macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2012
    It seems the OP went in there with an already negative mindset. Of course he's not going to like it. Sounds like a very negative anti-fanboy review.
  6. koshper macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2007
    Why are people still comparing the speed of this to a much higher spec'd pro laptop?!?

    It's not in the pro line and nobody has said to expect high end performance on it. It's an ultra portable machine for basic use and all benchmarks of the machine point to it being comparable to an entry level machine from at least 3 years ago and that's before factoring in the much higher screen resolution.

    I accept everybody has an opinion but why criticise a small low powered machine for being small and low powered!!? Apple make bigger more powerful options so anybody criticising the rMB for that is clearly stood at the wrong table!

    Rant over.

    That is unless anybody chips in with "it's the same price as the MBP though".
  7. terencedriver thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    Not at all. I have the money ready to spend. I'd love and really wanted a very portable laptop but with a decent screen. This was supposed to be it. My hopes were high but dashed.

    I wanted to like it.I didn't want to wait for gen 3 for an decent rMB. If I was lazy and hated it beforehand why would I go to the trouble that I did? It would have been easier to say bad things without the tests and time I spent. Is someone paying you to counter negative conclusions?
  8. koshper macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2007
    Couldn't agree more. Parts of the review in isolation are helpful such as heat of the machine and UI lag but complaining it's slower than a much higher spec'd pro model is crazy and don't even get me started on screen size and weight!!!!
  9. Alekto macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2012
    Fair do's. The OP didn't dig the macbook. I wonder if the faster model would have swayed him?
  10. terencedriver thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015

    If you read carefully I didnt criticise that it wasn't MBP for processing.I criticised its inability to give a fluid decent user experience with just the basic desktop operations.
  11. 3bs macrumors 603


    May 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    OP just dismiss these people as fanboys just like they're dismissing you of being anti-fanboy or whatever.

    You went in and tried it and that's how you felt. Nothing wrong with it. I hope I don't feel the same way as you when my arrives but I will definitely be looking out for some of the things you mentioned.
  12. jazz1 macrumors 65816


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mid-West USA
    "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you like the play?;)"

    I truly wish the Macbook 12" 2015 was as powerful as a Macbook Pro. But, I knew going in that it wasn't going to be on par with the higher level MacBooks. All I can say is that I've found it quite liberating taking it to meetings instead of my iPad Air2.

    Best bet for potential buyers is to go to the store like the OP and test out the product before purchase.
  13. junkw macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    Did you check the cpu/IO with iStat or something else? Maybe they were indexing or something while you were testing, that would explain why it was hot.

    But if all three rMB GUI were slow, sure it is not a coincidence. Do you remember the resolution? 1440?
  14. terencedriver thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    I used the system monitor tool and the command line "top" command. The CPU wasn't maxed out but the GUI was slow. Io wasn't high. So bad code??
    I set the resolution to native for all for rMBs I tested and the same for the MBP
  15. rahulr macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    North Carolina
    I really think to each his/her own. I've been using my RMB for the past three days, and I'm very happy. I was using my wife's 2015 rMBP as a main machine for the past thirty days and a surface pro 3.

    This machine does everything I want/need and am happy. It's speedy, responsive, and has not stuttered what so ever at my task list. Which consists of heavy Office 2016, mail, calendar, budgeting apps, and Safari.

    My only disappointment is the battery life. But that's my own issue because with my rMBP I could go the whole day and barely reach a 20% left on my battery. My rMB will use up 100% of its battery in the same day with the same usage. I think I'll just turn off the battery monitor and have some piece of mind.
  16. SSD-GUY, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015

    SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    I can add to this. I'm typing this from the Regent St. store. I've been here for about an hour give or take and I seriously do not like this keyboard.

    I'm a Uni student so I type a lot of essays. I actually typed a 2 page of essay of blabble and my hands weren't comfortable. I wouldn't say it was painful but it wasn't enjoyable either. After half an hour of straight typing I briefly turned around to face the 13" rMBP and the keyboard was so much nicer. However, the screen on this thing is amazing! The colours pop out and I can see that it was a bit sharper than my 11" Air, but not a massive difference. Like I said before, the colours do really shine on this thing though and are quite a bit better than my 11" Air.

    In my opinion, the closest thing in terms of keyboard the rMB comes to is the Type 2 cover that you can get with the Surface 2/Pro 2 (I own one) - The keys are bigger but the Type 2 cover actually felt better, even though the Keyboard isn't brilliant. I didn't realise how much I preferred Key Travel until I typed on the new rMB.

    There is some lag on this machine though - other people saying safari wasn't snappy are on to something. Every now and then, safari would hang, beach ball etc, and I was only running 3/4 tabs, one of which was YouTube. The machine was a 1.1 and wasn't indexing or anything.

    The weight on this thing is mad. Even though it's about 200G lighter than my 11 Air, it felt so much lighter. It's like the rMB's weight is evenly proportioned across the whole laptop. In terms of colours, I went in with the mindset to buy the SG, however I actually preferred the Silver.

    I hope the rMBP's don't get this keyboard. If they can make the 13 rMBP lighter and slightly thinner with the same chiclet keyboard I'll be happy, but at the moment, this keyboard turned me away from the rMB.

    Also - I'm not an anti fan boy - For all intents and purposes I was set on buying one if I liked it, alas, the keyboard is too much of a compromise in my opinion. Hopefully we see a redesigned rMBP 13 which is lighter.

    Anyhow - I hope this helps.
  17. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    It would be interesting to see if battery life improves over the next few days. Every time I set up a new machine it takes a day or two to finish set-up "housekeeping" that tends to use a lot more battery power than once it's in a steady state.
  18. rahulr macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    North Carolina
    For those that are talking about the keyboard, I'm assuming you were typing on the rMB while it was affixed to the display "desk". This is a pretty badly ergonomically designed setting. I type a few hundred emails a day, plus 50-70 pages in MS Word a day and have found this keyboard in my typical desk setting which is closer to being ergonomic pretty great. I also have a standing desk and when properly placed this thing flies.

    All in all, I actually prefer this keyboard to anything else I've used. I can type faster and more accurately.

    But, again, to each his/her own. In terms of battery life comment I made earlier, I was basically saying that the rMP uses 100% of its life which is exactly the amount I use. But the difference is I'm always accustomed to having a ton in reserve which it could be argued was unnecessary since I wasn't using it anyway.

    Either way, I've turned off my battery percentage and I'll just be happy the way it is.
  19. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    I don't understand the comments about not being able to feel the typing. You don't feel the click? The rMB keyboard is way clickier than the rMBP 13". As for heat, the only time mine has gotten warm (not hot) is doing lots of image editing in Lightroom.
  20. paulopadopa macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    So I spent about an hour playing with the MB today. At first I was a little concerned about some slowdown when navigating around finder. However when I compared it to a retina MBP it looks like it's a common issue. I hope they do something about this in the OS update this year.

    My previous machine was a MBA so I haven't spent much time with a retina MacBook Pro before. I was aware of these issues but didn't have an experience.

    I liked the keyboard. It was harder to touch type but I prefer the feel on this keyboard.

    The screens fantastic.

    I tried to stress the machine but opening a bunch of apps. YouTube 4k while running I movie and iTunes etc. went really well. Responsive but every now and again it would slow down. I hope this is just a bug as it shows up on the MBP also.

    The colour of the silver actually looked nicer than I thought it would. I'm still getting the SG though. The logo on the back is nicer than in the pictures. It's a proper bit of metal not a sticker like in the iPhone 5.

    On screen size I thought it was fantastic and a big improvement over the 11" air. The aspect ratio is better. I tried it with scaling off too and either works great from my limited experience.

    I think I'm getting one. Going to sleep on it though and maybe go back another time.

    I have to say it was very popular in the store. There were many people asking why they couldn't buy it. If you did buy this version and decided to sell before v2 I don't think you'd be trying very hard to get a good price. Demographic wise. The people asking were from a tech background it looked like and some office workers. Both male and female.
  21. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    I don't understand how people are getting these things as hot as they say. I've twice run mine for 35 minutes with the CPU at 91-94*C and measured palm rest temps of 86*F, bottom temps of 92-97*F and only on the speaker grill (which might have been venting hot air, so that may not be an actual surface temp) did I get a temp over human body temp, 100*F.
  22. koshper macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2007
    So the following quotes don't appear unreasonable/biased towards a preformed negative opinion.

    -The screen is good as per expectations.
    Anandtech described it as 'among the best we’ve ever seen' and many others have said it's the best MacBook display ever yet this 'unbiased' review says just 4 words about one of the biggest parts of this machine and even then it's described as 'good'

    -It felt much smoother on a MbP13.

    -Also the notebooks size did make me feel all cramped and hunched over the device.
    It's a 12" and so I'm unsure how this would improve by the 4th revision if the screen size remains at 12.

    -The MBP felt smooth and effortless.

    Picking up on this doesn't make me a fanboy. It makes me observant.

    I've just got back from checking it out in the Plymouth, UK Apple store and whilst I'm not ready to join the back of the ridiculously poorly managed queue (why launch with no stock!!!!!), I can't fault its suitability as an ultrabook for handling basic tasks so who knows.

    Lag and Heat
    I multi tasked with multiple web pages open whilst running a 4k clip on YouTube and the photos app and despite some saying it got 'hot' this 1.1 unit was only mildly warm towards the bottom rear centre. Nothing at all concerning. Tabbing between functions was very smooth with only (very) minor lag present when displaying all windows at once (expose?) which based on the MacBook Pro forum is down to Yosemite. It was so minor though that I don't think the average user would even notice, only us forum users looking for it. When I first did this the machine had been adjusted to 'more space' which didn't appear to worsen the lag as I then tested after on default.

    Stunning. Amazing detail and viewing angles. The switch to 16:10 versus the 11 air is definitely welcome IMO since I found the 11 just too small but despite only .4 inches this appeared much more usable. On announcement I was disappointed they hadn't gone the way of Dell's latest XPS and really trimmed down the frame but in person the design just looked great and the gold contrasting trim around the edge looked stunning. I immediately noticed when closing the screen that the hinge felt lighter than the air and pro. Not an issue unless it moves the display when lifting the laptop but I didn't try this so just an observation for now.

    Nice and big. Typical Apple smooth glass feel which I love. No issues moving around with it although I'm not a big fan of the reduced travel. Again, I'm sure I'll adjust to it and the benefit of being able to click anywhere with the same feel is welcome. I tend to use the 'tap' function more so definitely not a major issue.

    I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't a massive fan. I'm sure it won't be an issue when you get used to it but much like the reduced travel of the new trackpad I wanted more movement. I'm sure I'll get used to it and the design of it paired with how slim it allows the machine to be I think is a necessity. It did feel as expected tho as I remember typing on the last ultra slim Sony Z series and the super low key travel was evident there too. No missed keys on my typing test tho so I'm sure this is as good as it gets for low profile keyboards.

    Weight and rigidity
    Really nice. Distribution felt better than the airs or pros probably due to the placement of batteries and thinner display. Certainly a massive plus for its intended purpose and you genuinely do feel like you're handling an iPad. Picking up from the corner with the display open gave me no concerns as the build felt very rigid and premium.

    Colour options
    No silver on display unfortunately but they did have the gold and space grey. I went in hoping i'd love the gold and not sure about the grey and that's what happened. The gold looked great. Not at all 'pimp' like and the contrasting black keyboard and display meant I loved the combination. Comparing my gold 6 it looked pretty identical but the black just finished it off really well which is funny since I really hoped they'd match the white and gold from the 6 but can see why they didn't now. The space grey didn't do it for me I'm sorry to say. It was nice but just made me think of dark grey industrial plastic like drain pipes (sorry, just my personal taste) and so I'd love to see the silver before finalising my decision. FWIW my wife hated the gold so this is completely down to personal taste.

    I'm not 100% yet. Hope to pop back in tomorrow to spend more time with it and I'm keen to see what MS do with the surface pro 4 before deciding but definitely an impressive machine. I really do think Apple haven't over or under promised here. It really is as described. If the 13 Air had just updated to an IPS display I would really find it tough to go for the rMB but as they didn't, I think it's gotta be this or the latest surface for me, although I think the attached rigid keyboard is going to swing it.
  23. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    It's a question of expectations

    I had a long play with a base rMB at my local Apple store this week, and unlike the OP, was generally very impressed with performance. I normally use a 2.3GHz quad-core rMBP 15 and a quad-core Xeon desktop workstation, so am well used to the response of higher-spec machines. I didn't find the rMB unduly sluggish or frustrating to use.

    I did the usual tests of opening up lots of apps, including some heavyweights such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro etc. and scrubbing videos, playing multi-track audio and playing Flash movies in browser tabs (all concurrently). It seemed to hold up surprisingly well, remarkably so in fact!

    It was a little slower than I am used to when opening apps - a bit of think, then a few bouncing beach-balls, but quite acceptable IMO.

    I played Flash movies for several minutes that caused CPU on all cores/threads to ramp up, and only noticed the base of the machine getting slightly warm - nowhere near my current and previous rMBPs' temperatures.

    I think the question is "what do you expect?". I was looking for something that almost as good as current Windows i5 ultrabooks, or the MBA, but more portable, and better suited to productivity than an iPad.

    I think the rMB clearly delivers on this expectation.

    I wouldn't choose the rMB as my only computer, because I have some tasks that need more power, but as a mobile machine for general productivity tasks (Office suites, browsing, communications [Skype / Facetime / Mail / Chats etc], lightweight video / audio editing, and some s/w development, it's a great choice.

    Build quality and form factor is excellent in my opinion.

    It is, however, expensive for its absolute performance. You're paying for the form factor, and the first-generation design. This is fine if this is what you value, and many people do.

    In some areas, such as graphical performance and battery life, it is acceptable, but not great.

    If I needed an ultra-portable Mac OS X laptop now, this is what I would buy. I am tempted, but don't really need this at the moment. If I had to carry my rMBP 15 for 2 hours a day, move around the office / client sites with it often, or travel by train / plane frequently, something of this size would definitely be a consideration. As it is (mostly office based, and drive to work), I don't need it, and would wait for a 2nd or 3rd generation before buying it as a luxury accessory.
  24. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    Sorry, but I have to disagree. Don't forget the demos on display are run down all day by hundreds of people and the internet isn't the best of connection. To say the rMB "...inability to give a fluid decent user experience with just the basic desktop operations" is 100% incorrect.

    I have been using my base rMB for over a week - everyday. I have experienced zero lag when doing the following all day:

    - Firefox open with 3-5 tabs running. One tab is streaming radio.
    - Microsoft Word and Outlook open.
    - Twitter app open with constant refresh.
    - Adobe Photoshop open performing editing on images.
    - Adobe Bridge open performing editing on .raw files.

    All this and I do not experience any issues - none. So, I think you need to rethink your "review" because there is no way your experience can be that off from mine. I've owned three MBAs in the last five years and this laptop runs just as smooth as all of them...only with a much better screen.


    You hunching over has nothing to do with the laptop, but rather the tables because they are so low.

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