That Butterfly Keyboard...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Barrierfreeman, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Barrierfreeman macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2012
    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 :)
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Takes a little getting used to. But honestly it's a great keyboard
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    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.
  4. FattyMembrane macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2002
    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.
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    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....
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    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
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    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).
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    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.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    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
  10. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I used a rMB and was not happy with the keyboard. Felt very wrong to me and I made a lot of typing errors.
  11. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    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
  12. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Last year I tried out the rMB and the rMBP. I hated the keyboard on the rMB so I ended up buying the rMBP.
  13. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    I prefer the rMB keyboard. Feels odd going back to a 'squishy' keyboard now ...
  14. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    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.
  15. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    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.
  16. Picapau21 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2015
    Completely disagree...Has plenty of feedback once you get used to keyboard I have ever used. My typing speed and errors are down significantly.
  17. JaySoul macrumors 68030


    Jan 30, 2008
    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.
  18. chriscrk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2011
    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.
  19. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    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.
  20. jdasikainen macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2016
    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.

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