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Quick opinion question for MacBook Pro refurbs (1 Viewer)

Josh Steinberg

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Strongly considering purchasing a refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple rather than a new one, as I think it'll still meet all my needs.

For the same price (or within $20 of the same price), which would you pick?

-July 2018 model, 2.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7, 16gb RAM, 256 GB SSD internal drive
-October 2016 model, 2.7 Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16gb RAM, 512 GB SSD internal drive

Most of my storage will be on external drives so I'm not sure the larger internal drive means anything to me. All things considered, it seems the newer model would be better equipped to last a little longer than the older model.
 

Clinton McClure

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Personally, I would wait until next year and get a MacBook Pro without a butterfly keyboard.

If you absolutely insist on getting a model with the butterfly keyboard, I would go with the 2018 model.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Thanks Clint! I was leaning towards the 2018 anyhow!

We can't wait until next year - my wife and I each own a MacBook Pro laptop (mine from 2009, hers from 2010) and they are both literally dying before our eyes. The optical drive no longer works on mine, the battery no longer works on mine, the trackpad no longer works, and simple tasks take ages to complete. On hers, only one of the USB ports still works, and simple tasks like starting the computer or opening a new browser window can take more than half an hour to complete. We've tried the traditional fixes of doing fresh installs of the entire OS and all that, but these are old machines that served us well but have earned their retirement.

Neither of us are in love with the current MacBook Pro options, but the things we'd both like to have that are missing are gone from Mac computers in general and never coming back, so I don't think that waiting another year or two will get us what we want. Long term, we'd liek to transition to an iMac, but it's not practical for our current living space. We don't want to leave the ecosystem so a non-Mac computer is out.

But we're also no longer doing state of the art tasks, so neither of us needs our replacement computer to be the very top of the line model. As is, a 2018 machine is going to be so much newer than what we have that I'm sure it'll seem crazy fast by comparison. And we've decided that we're going to replace both of our laptops with just one that we'll share. Our computer usage has dropped dramatically in the age of iPhones, iPads and AppleTV streaming.

The refurbs seemed like a good option because they're a few hundred dollars less than a new machine, and will still be a tremendous improvement. And Apple provides warranty coverage as if they were brand new. Seems like a win-win to me.
 

Sam Posten

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Here's the thing. if the keyboards F up Apple will fix it now. Wait till September when the ext round launches, buy the best refurb you can afford then.
 

JohnRice

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I don't know anything about any MacBook keyboard issues, so I'll just comment on other stuff. Between the two, I'd definitely go with the 2018. That's an easy decision, based on what you said.

Now, regarding your comments about how less important computers are for you these days, and that you're considering an iMac. You really should at least consider a Mini. I've been using them for years, and the latest version is very nice. The base model would probably serve you fine. I wouldn't pay for Apple's RAM, so if you need more than 8GB, you can install it yourself. I've done it, as well as replacing drives in previous Minis. Just keep in mind that you need some special tools (about $20) and it is moderately complicated, but there are step-by-step videos that will guide you through it. The thing is, you can bump it to 32GB for roughly $130.

BTW, if you want to step up to the i7 processor, and would like to save some $, through Apple you can buy the base model and upgrade it to the i7, which comes with a 128GB instead of 256GB that you get from upgrading the i5 model to i7, but saves $200.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Wait till September when the ext round launches, buy the best refurb you can afford then.

Unfortunately, cannot afford to wait until September. Our existing laptops are literally dying before our eyes, and each day is less functional than the last. I'm looking to buy the cheapest possible model in the size/form factor that best suits our purposes. This is now a "needs to be solved like yesterday" problem. I almost bought last night - only reason I didn't was that the shipping requires a signature, and the delivery date for an order today would be Thursday, and no one's gonna be home then to sign for it. I will order something later today or tomorrow once the delivery window changes to Friday, since I will be home then.

Now, regarding your comments about how less important computers are for you these days, and that you're considering an iMac. You really should at least consider a Mini.

I meant more that one day in the distant future I could see switching to an iMac, but that's a long way out. Neither the iMac or the Mac Mini would be suitable for what we're looking for at this time - we really need to stay in the world of laptops. The reason for this is that my wife and I share a small apartment, and when we use the computer, we don't sit down at a computer desk or anything like that. We need the computer to be easily portable and movable within the apartment, so that we can get the most out of both our main living room and the bedroom. Having a laptop allows us the maximum flexibility in our living space, because it can be used anywhere in the apartment. iMacs and Minis end up taking up more space and being less flexible when you factor in the screen, keyboard, mouse, etc. One day in the future, when we have a larger space and don't have to maximize the flexibility of everything we use, I agree it would be ideal to switch to either a Mini or iMac. But right now and for the foreseeable, the laptop is the way to go for us.
 

JohnRice

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That makes sense @Josh Steinberg . That's very common. I have a different priority. I can let this stuff completely consume my life, so I intentionally don't have a mobile computer. That way, I can't take it with me and it can't dominate my existence. That's also why I don't have a smart phone. Not that most people avoid letting this stuff consume their lives, because in most cases it does. I just want to avoid it.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Interestingly, in our case, I think having a laptop has actually kinda helped keep the stuff from consuming our life. Because we don't have a dedicated computer space, we don't really get lost on the computer -- at least not in the same way I used to when I had my own place and had a little workstation set up. I was sitting in place and it was easy to get lost. Now, when you've got the rest of real life going on around you, it makes it a little harder to absentmindedly fall into it. If you would have asked me a few years ago, I wouldn't have imagined it, but we're at a point where we can go from each of us having a laptop to just one laptop for the both of us, and that will meet our needs. The smartphone for us is a bigger danger point for falling down that internet rabbit hole.

It's funny but despite having the laptop for the portability, it doesn't leave the house. We're not looking to take it with us on vacation or on the train to work or anything. It's just nice to have it that way so that if one of us is watching something in the living room, the other can grab the laptop and go into the bedroom and turn that into a workspace.
 

Sam Posten

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Unfortunately, cannot afford to wait until September. Our existing laptops are literally dying before our eyes, and each day is less functional than the last. I'm looking to buy the cheapest possible model in the size/form factor that best suits our purposes. This is now a "needs to be solved like yesterday" problem. I almost bought last night - only reason I didn't was that the shipping requires a signature, and the delivery date for an order today would be Thursday, and no one's gonna be home then to sign for it. I will order something later today or tomorrow once the delivery window changes to Friday, since I will be home then.

Then buy a 2018 it's that simple. You are going to be tempted to regret it when the new hotness launches in 4-5 weeks but don't.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Then buy a 2018 it's that simple. You are going to be tempted to regret it when the new hotness launches in 4-5 weeks but don't.

I think I'll be okay but I do appreciate that :)

I think the only thing that would make me upset would be if Apple launched a new 17" MacBook Pro with an internal Blu-ray writer, and brought traditional USB ports and Firewire ports back to the laptop. But I think we both know that there is absolutely zero chance of that happening.

It sounds like they're going to be releasing a 16" model with advanced specs that would probably carry a price tag that's beyond what I want to spend. I imagine I'll have the same response as I did to the iPhone X - a great looking product that'll make a lot of people very happy but isn't what I'm looking for at this time.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I appreciate the second set of eyeballs - I usually feel pretty confident making my own decisions but it's been so long since computers have been an active hobby of mine that I was glad for the second opinion to confirm that I wasn't doing something completely insane.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Just ordered the refurb 2018 15” model and should arrive on Friday. Also ordered (from Amazon at a much better price) some USB-C to USB-3 adapters so I can plug in my devices. Haven’t set up a new Mac since summer 2009!
 

Nelson Au

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Hey Josh, I see I’m late to the party. I’ve seen your other posts about not being happy with the current Apple MacBook Pro line and that you wished they still made the 17”.

I’d wondered what you use your MacBook Pros for. Word processing? Photography? I guess you’re using it for your ripping project. Because I’ve been wondering if you really needed a laptop. Have you considered an iPad Pro? I have a couple and I really love them. It’s my art studio as I can sketch and paint on it with the Apple Pencil. I write all my Hitchcock posts on it with the Apple app, Pages. The files are stored on the cloud so I can access and edit the document from any device. I’ve stored the posters from the Hitchcock films on it and I can upload the photos for each of the Hitchcock posts from it. But I actually do most of the posts for that thread on my Mac Pro as I have the posters stored there too.

The iPad Pro is really portable. I read on it. I write on it. I sketch and draw on it. I watch movies and youtube on it if I’m not in front of the TV. I can read the news from the news apps. Amazingly, I do almost all my computing on it. I still need a desktop for my Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop work. Amd that might change soon when Adobe has their version of Photoshop for the iPad. And for my work in design, I still need a desktop PC for CAD work. But that’s Ok, it’s for work at work. Though I’ve done my work-work on my own iPad Pro as I’ve done sketching for work projects.

Just last night I was controlling my Oppo with my iPad Pro with the Oppo app. I could see my external hard drive that’s connected to the Oppo and I could select and play from my music files on the drive. And I didn’t need to turn on the TV to do that.

I was really surprised how much it took over. I go to bed reading with it and wake up and get my email on it before I jump out of bed. Funny, by the way, I still have my 2013 MacBook Pro which hasn’t been used a lot. It’s still brand new.

I hope your new MacBook Pro works well for your needs. We all have our own work flow and we use what works best for us.
 

Thomas Newton

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It sounds like they're going to be releasing a 16" model with advanced specs that would probably carry a price tag that's beyond what I want to spend. I imagine I'll have the same response as I did to the iPhone X - a great looking product that'll make a lot of people very happy but isn't what I'm looking for at this time.

Now one of the rumors sites is saying that the 16" rMBP will replace the 15" one. It looks like it will have a slightly higher-resolution display, and a "scissor" keyboard instead of a "butterfly" keyboard. If the "replace" bit is true, that might cast doubt on the rumor about the starting price being a lot higher.

https://9to5mac.com/2019/08/06/16-inch-macbook-pro-processor/
https://9to5mac.com/2019/07/29/16-inch-macbook-pro-price-specs-more/
 

Josh Steinberg

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Nelson, thanks for the kind words!

My wife and I both wanted to have a computer vs a tablet in the house. Honestly, since neither of us are doing video editing (which we both did when we got our old laptops), we probably didn’t need the MacBook Pro. But since that’s the only line with the 15” size, that’s where I went...but also why I felt comfortable getting last year’s model at a discount. It’ll still be miles ahead of what I’ve got.

For me, I’m rarely doing anything crazy. The most would be capturing and transcoding VHS to digital video, which I do occasionally. Maybe some light iMovie tinkering. My Final Cut Pro days are long behind me.

I got ten years out of my computer and my wife got nine out of here. If we can get at least half that out of this, I’d be happy.

I’ve realized that I’m kinda over computers as a hobby. I used to have fun following the trends and new technology and keeping up with the latest and greatest. Now I just want something that does simple tasks in a neat and elegant fashion and doesn’t need to be replaced or repaired often. I’m probably overpaying for the bigger screen but I’m okay with that.
 

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