That Butterfly Keyboard...

Barrierfreeman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 21, 2012
206
292
Wasn't sure where to post this as it spans two forums, but looking for some feedback on the 'butterfly' keyboard. As it seems it is going to be implemented in the new MBP.

Is it any good? I've not had a chance to use the new Macbook, but for those that have is the internet right and it's pretty painful to use, some saying akin to tapping on a touchscreen, or is it ok and just a case of getting used to?

Obviously I ain't going to order anything till I have tried it out in the flesh, but figured I would garner some opinions :)
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,467
24,206
Tap your fingers on your desk.

That's what it feels like; just hammering a flat surface. No feedback whatsoever and no way to find the keys from feel alone. I'm personally not a fan but you can still type pretty quickly on it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Impatientmac

FattyMembrane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2002
966
129
bat country
I used one in an Apple store a while back. My first impression was that I didn't like the feel, but that I could still type at about the same pace as I can with the normal keyboard. I did about 5 minutes of fairly keyboard intensive work on the rMB and although it was still a strange feeling, I started to get the hang of it.

Then jumped to a MacBook Air (I've been using MBAs for about 6 years at this point) and it felt like the keys were a mile high and really wobbly. I realize that's a very limited experience, but I got the sense that I'd be used to the new keyboard after a day or two and given how 'old-school' the keyboard I've been using for years felt after just a few minutes on the new one, I'm looking forward to it on the new MBP.

On the new board, the keys are larger, there is less travel (which is where most of the complaints come from), but what really surprised me upon going back to the old board is just how little extraneous movement there is on the keys in the new board. There's a very small amount of up/down travel and that's it - there's almost no side-to-side movement.

My impression is that a lot of people walk into the store, type a few words on the new keyboard and decide it's for the birds. I don't think that's a great way to judge a keyboard.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
The butterfly mechanism is not the problem with these keyboards it's actually a far better and more stable design than the scissor method.

It's the key travel in the retina MacBook that's the issue and that's down to how thin the machine is no other reason, the same design in a slightly thicker machine with more space for key travel should be a great keyboard....
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,830
30,335
Boston
I'm not a fan, I prefer the longer key travel

The butterfly mechanism is not the problem
I've seen enough threads in the macbook forum and elsewhere about the potential longevity of the keyboard. It leaves me a little concerned.

Nothing scientific or anything, but my general observation and opinion
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
I'm not a fan, I prefer the longer key travel


I've seen enough threads in the macbook forum and elsewhere about the potential longevity of the keyboard. It leaves me a little concerned.

Nothing scientific or anything, but my general observation and opinion
I'm just going by design, it's a much better design for a key mechanism for accuracy and stability of key press, simple as that. Key travel will be down to space in the machine not the design of the mechanism. Longevity is another matter but I don't see the MacBook threads full of issues (not that I go there much).
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,952
4,548
Most people seem to have a love or hate relationship to it. However, what I hear and read very frequently is something along the lines of 'I didn't like it at first but then I got used to it and now I love it". I think that from the technical aspect, its a very good keyboard just that it lacks the sensory feedback that many people are used to, so it might appear awkward at first.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,830
30,335
Boston
I'm just going by design, it's a much better design for a key mechanism for accuracy and stability of key press, simple as that. Key travel will be down to space in the machine not the design of the mechanism. Longevity is another matter but I don't see the MacBook threads full of issues (not that I go there much).
I'm not knocking the design, definitely a marvel of engineering, but I think the plastic scissors have been somewhat problematic for some folks. I'd say its not a complete failure where every keyboard will have problems but I've seen enough that the keyboard gives me pause
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,499
2,280
Shropshire, UK
It took me about a week to get used to the keyboard on the rMB, but now I have I love it - it has enough travel and I can type very, very quickly on it
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jayderek

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,085
2,055
Oregon
Last year I tried out the rMB and the rMBP. I hated the keyboard on the rMB so I ended up buying the rMBP.
 

Bryan Bowler

macrumors 68040
Sep 27, 2008
3,735
3,386
Granted, I only used one for about 3 or 4 minutes once, but I loved it. I don't understand where everyone's dislike is coming from.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chriscrk

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,952
4,548
Granted, I only used one for about 3 or 4 minutes once, but I loved it. I don't understand where everyone's dislike is coming from.
I guess that physical sensation is very important and has even something of intimate character to many people, so if you suddenly get offered something that doesn't give you this familiar feeling, the first instinctive reaction is rejection. I would bet that the criticisms we are reading are mostly based on emotional reaction rather then rational analysis. Rationally, I really can't find a single issue with the butterfly keyboard. Its indeed less flimsy, easier on the fingers and if I am not mistaken the keys are actually bigger which makes it easier to work on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuelsan2001

Picapau21

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2015
401
146
Tap your fingers on your desk.

That's what it feels like; just hammering a flat surface. No feedback whatsoever and no way to find the keys from feel alone. I'm personally not a fan but you can still type pretty quickly on it.
Completely disagree...Has plenty of feedback once you get used to it...best keyboard I have ever used. My typing speed and errors are down significantly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jayderek

JaySoul

macrumors 68030
Jan 30, 2008
2,586
2,680
Used one for an hour and didn't like it much, very harsh on the fingertips.

But I fully realise it takes a good couple of weeks to get used to a genuinely different keyboard.

I love my current 2011 MBP keyboard, so I wouldn't be massively on board with Apple going Butterfly for the new range. But let's see.
 

chriscrk

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2011
523
1,037
Planet Earth (?)
I'm so PSYCHED for the event! I'm going to buy something yummy to eat, get comfortable, and enjoy it to its full extent. I've been waiting for this MBP for so long.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,219
3,351
I have a MacBook now and like it, but I also have the magic keyboard and like that better.

I hope it's closer to the Magic keyboard. It sits right between the feel of the current pro keyboard and the MacBook keyboard.
 

jdasikainen

macrumors 6502
Mar 4, 2016
353
64
Bald Knob Arkansas
im PSYCED for the event as well im in need of a macbook pro for collage and im not buying the current model im not going to finance 2 grand for a 15 inch with such old hardware. lets seeh ow well the new one goes. been stuck on a pos dell windows laptop for the past few months since my macbook pro died. good specs but man i miss macOS so much i cant wait every day to get out of class and get to my mac pro in the dorms. but i mam nervous for the new keyboard but i guess we will wait and see what they end up doing.