Thinking of getting 2017 15" MBP but worried about the keyboard

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sam6543, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. sam6543 macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2018
    I need to replace my current laptop and the 15" Macbook Pro looks like the best choice but I've read a few people having issues with the keyboards. I'm a bit wary of getting one now, especially given the the price, if there's a strong chance the keyboard might start having issues. Ideally I'd want it to last ~4 years so no good if they keyboard needs replacing after a short amount of use.

    I've read the 2017 version was supposed to have improved things though. Does anyone know if 2017 version is OK / only a minority of keyboards affected or if there really is a design fault with them?
  2. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    Instead of getting all emotional, let’s think about this. Apple sells millions of Macs, and you’re considering basing your buying decision on “I’ve read a few issues...” There is a famous saying that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. That applies here.

    Mine is about 14 months old. Yeah, it’s different than earlier keyboards. Try it before you buy it. If you can’t handle different, either don’t buy one or use a different keyboard with it. But don’t base your buying decision on an unfounded expectation of unreliability. Keep in mind too, that your warranty covers failure.
  3. Falhófnir macrumors 68020


    Aug 19, 2017
    Going purely on anecdotal evidence it seems the 2016s and 2017s do have an issue which can result in the entire topcase needing to be replaced (as the keyboard cannot be changed alone). Whether there was a minor keyboard change between the 2016 and 2017 models, or whether it’s just that the Kaby Lake chips run cooler (failure is potentially linked to the machines getting hot) the 2017s (again, anecdotally) seem to suffer from the issue somewhat less. Apple have been replacing the topcases free of charge so far, but we have yet to hear if they will continue to do so for machines outside of their 1year warranty period. We are probably at the very most 5 months away from the 2018 model, perhaps if you can it might be worth sitting it out until then, though if there is a change that can be made to fix the situation that doesn’t require a full design change, it’s pretty likely it would find its way into the 2017 models anyway.

    FWIW, I have now decided to sit out this design cycle altogether - but then my upgrade need isn’t all that pressing.
  4. cptn.nemo macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2016
    I know lots of people with the 2016-17 touchbar model and they’ve had no problems. I bought mine refurbished hoping any problem would be fixed, also I’m purchasing Apple care just in case. I’m not too worried and I love mine. I love the slim design and I actually use the touchbar, it’s not necessary but convenient for me with photoshop. Keyboard is VERY slim and takes some time to get used to, but if you can adjust, typing can be crazy fast
  5. Rkuda macrumors regular


    May 23, 2016
    The keyboard on my 2016 MBP still seems fine after more than 1 year of use. That said the keyboards are more problematic than the 2015 model with 2017 seeming to be better than the first iteration of the new keyboard.

    I’ll echo Falhófnir and suggest you may want to wait for the 2018 models if you can. They are bound to have atleast some more tweaks to make the keyboards less prone to issues and the GPU should hopefully get a nice bump with Vega.
  6. fyrpm macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2014

    I have a 2017 macbook pro 13 and 15. Both keyboards are excellent IMHO. True there is not as much travel as in the 2012 13 I upgraded from, but the tactile response I feel is actually better and the keys more responsive. Typing with the new keyboard does take some gettin used to, however once accustomed to it you may be surprised to find you prefer the new keyboard to the old styles. Any way, the 2017 MacBook pros are amazing laptops and far superior in build quality to any predecessors. I have yet to have any issues with either 2017 model.
  7. tomdwan macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2015
    I have the 15‘‘, it‘s excellent.
    If you can wait, sure get the 2018 model, although I don‘t think there will be a massive upgrade or a new keyboard
  8. tkwolf macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    I think it isn't the travel issue that's problematic with most keyboard posts, I think it's the fact that there's a higher incidence of keyboard malfunction in the last two iterations of macbook pros? Or am I wrong?
    I too, am thinking of getting an upgrade but the keyboard issue is what's holding me back.
    I don't want to pay around 300-700 USD to get my case replaced purely because of some dust issue, for a machine that costs this much. I am in no way, attacking anyone here, or judging anybody for thinking that the 2017 macbookpro is great but based on observation on reddit, youtube videos, and around here it seems to come up more often.
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yes there is a chance your keyboard will have an issue, but there is a chance that any electronic device can fail for any number of reasons.
    Every product has its issues, go to a forum about any electronic device and each release will see a few issues for that device. These MacBook pro's have a possible keyboard issue whoop de whoop, other devices have a gpu issue or a ram issue or a software issue or screen issue that's slightly higher than other devices. In short anytime you buy an expensive new electronic device you are beta testing the latest hardware its that simple, the only way to avoid this is to be only buy new devices using old tried and tested tech, these tend to be rubbish but good luck with that.
  10. tkwolf macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    For this one, keyboard seems to be the most common issue though, which again, is why I'm holding back on purchasing. I hope the 2018 macbook pro, if there will be one, will have a revised non-faulty design.
  11. kikote macrumors member


    Jan 20, 2009
    Huerth, Germany
    I bought the 2017 MacBook a few months ago... I did also have the same considerations as you are having. An the end I took the risk because of the following aspects:

    1. normale I use an external keyboard when the MacBook is attached to my monitor. I only use the built in keyboard when I am on the go (20-30%). So I don't think that I am someone who is putting the built in keyboard under heavy load....
    2. The 2017 models seem to have a keyboard- update that corrects the flaws of the 2016 model. So I suppose, that the probability of having a lemon is minor...
    3. I also took the extended guarantee to minimize risks (not only because of the keyboard but because any device can have a malfunction

    Till now, everything is working perfect...
  12. redleg6 macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2018
    South Central PA
    I have a 2016 MBP and use the keyboard exclusively (no external keyboard). At first I did not like the keyboard "feel" at all. But I must admit, after using it for a few days I really have come to prefer this keyboard over older keyboards. I guess it's like everything else...use it long enough and you'll learn to love it lol.
  13. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    I am deliberating the same thing. I nearly pulled the trigger on one a few weeks ago but I just didn't like the feel of the keyboard at all in the store. That + lots of complaints of QC issues makes me hesitant. Still, when the 2018 MBP drops, I might buy a 15" 2017 since it'll quickly drop into my price range. Still, it feels like a gamble, especially if the next MBP has some kind of improved keyboard.
  14. TopShelf macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2017
    I have a 2017 macbook pro and about 4 weeks into owning it, the space bar didn't bounce back. I had to clean it with an air spray 4 times before it resolved.

    Would I recommend buying one? Yes, if you buy Apple care and don't mind possibly having to get it fixed down the road.
    I wouldn't recommend it if you don't buy Apple Care and hope to keep it for many years and not spend possible repair costs.

    A piece of dust can actually get under a key and stop it from working correctly. That's not a great thing.

    I don't plan to own this for 2 or 3 years, or I would of bought a 2015 model and hold onto that.
    Rather, have it for a year or so and get a 2018 or 2019
  15. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2012
    The Apple Refurbished Store has a 2015 15" MBP. Maybe you'd like that.

    Even a casual google will show that present MBP keyboards are problematic.

    Even more revealing is how the 2017 models are being heavily discounted, as much as $1000 off. I've never seen that in previous years. Just goes to show how unpopular they are.
  16. sam6543 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2018
    Thanks for all the replies! I've been searching some more and the keyboard thing does seem like a common complaint although they do sell a lot of laptops so might it just be a small minority. I think based on what everyone has said I'll try wait for the 2018 version and hope it's released before my current laptop gives up completely.
  17. tkwolf macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012

    This to me is what most of the replies seem to be missing. To me, it isn't an issue about the feel but the longevity, given the history of the current keyboard on both the 2016 and 2017 versions. I'm not from the US for example, this is a huge huge huge factor and I don't have the money to burn every year or two to get myself a new macbook pro or even spend so much to repair the keyboard which shouldn't even be an issue for such a premium, supposedly.
  18. GtrDude, Jan 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018

    GtrDude macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2011
    Some people hate the new keyboards, some people love them, probably most people are somewhere in between the two extremes.

    I'm way out there on the hate side. Maybe even more than that....

    Got a 2016 and returned it because of the keyboard. It was killing my wrists to type on it, plus I hated the feel and the sound.
    Then I got a 2017 and had the exact same experience. Zero difference.
    I had both for almost a month and tried to use both for hours a day because I use a keyboard all day.

    I am currently typing this on a 2014 MacBook Air and interestingly I can type on this keyboard all day without feeling any pain.
  19. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    This is what I'm afraid of. The Apple store near me is a 45 minute trip. The great thing about my current 2012 MBA is that I've made maybe 3 trips in 5 years, and they've all been for small things like frayed power cords that were remedied immediately -- and if I had to put off going to the store a few days to finish up work on a project, I could. Something like a failing space bar has to be fixed pronto. No one wants to spend $1500+ on such a temperamental machine. Rolling the dice hoping you get a "good" keyboard feels like a fool's game...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 12, 2018 ---
    The MBA keyboards are really fantastic for laptops KBs, aren't they. I work on mine for 8+ hours most days and yeah, no pain whatsoever.
  20. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    If you can wait for the 2018 version, it's worth waiting. If not, avoid the 2016 and get a 2017 with Applecare.
  21. ducatiti macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2011
    I’ve been using keyboard covers preferably the thinnest ones on the market and after years of use, the keyboard feels and looks new underneath.

    For my 2017 15”, I’m using an Uppercase brand from Amazon which is even thinner than what I have used in the past. No marks at all on the screen after a month or so. So thin that it is difficult to lift the cover with you fingernails. I honestly think that this will protect the keyboard from premature failures.
  22. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    Interesting. A few reviews mention that it does leave marks on the screen, but maybe that's just a case of not installing the cover properly.
  23. ducatiti macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2011
    Please feel free to read the reviews on Amazon. Some are even shocked of how thin these covers are. They come with adhesive to keep the covers from moving but I honestly think that this is unnecessary. Again, these are the thinnest one I’ve seen ever. These aren’t like the cheap $3.99 covers from eBay. I believe that these are $12 shipped.

    --- Post Merged, Jan 15, 2018 ---
    Here is a quick pic of the uppercase brand keyboard cover. Only marks I see on my screens are the ones from my coughing lol.

  24. wcroadie macrumors member


    Dec 20, 2013
    Philly PA
  25. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    I have a MacBook 2015. It’s almost three years old and I haven’t had keyboard issues.

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