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New 13" Macbook w/ Touchbar or Old 15" Macbook Retina for Designing?

almost 3 years ago from , Full-TIme User-Interface Designer

Hey Designers,

In short future I am going to upgrade from windows to mac and at this point I am confused between New 13" Macbook w/ Touchbar and Old 15" Macbook Retina. Mainly, I do use Photoshop (will use sketch & principle in mac) and will do Front-end Development as well.

New 15" Macbook is way out of my budget.

46 comments

  • John PJohn P, almost 3 years ago

    Old 15 is the best laptop ever made.

    18 points
  • Matt RintoulMatt Rintoul, almost 3 years ago

    I bought a 15" with the touch bar to replace my 2011 MBP. In my opinion the touch bar is a significant blunder on Apple's part.

    In practice, I almost never look down at my keyboard, so I never look at the touch bar. Since there is no physical feel to the buttons, it's very hard to find the right button to press, and most of the time I end up hunting with my finger hovered over the touch bar, because the slightest touch will activate some other button by mistake.

    The most frustrating use cases include how easy it is to accidentally tap brightness down when trying to find the escape key, and accidentally holding down the escape key while resting my hand near the edge of the computer when it's on my lap.

    7 points
    • Sean LesterSean Lester, almost 3 years ago

      Yeah... I had/have the sense that I would never get use out of the touch bar. The only time I've seen the new macbook in person was when a guy brought one in to show his work for an interview and... it's pretty comically small.

      1 point
    • Ben Digman, almost 3 years ago

      I find the touchbar crazy useful and way more helpful than the function keys were but I definitely don't think it should be considered a reason to pick up the laptop.

      1 point
    • Powers Gray, almost 3 years ago

      I don't understand why the touch bar isn't blank and just simply a sensor. In my mind you'd hover your finger over the bar and a UI would pop up on the screen...that way you wouldn't have to look down.

      0 points
  • Tim SainsburyTim Sainsbury, almost 3 years ago

    From a practical perspective, the bigger screen on the 15 will be much better. I use both 13 and 15 regularly and the 15" just feels much nicer to use if you don't have an external available.

    4 points
  • Filippos ProtogeridisFilippos Protogeridis, almost 3 years ago

    I was in the same dilemma (although switching from a 2011 MBP) and decided to go with the older 15" Macbook Retina. I would never go for a touchbar over physical keys, and definitely don't see any reason to pay a hefty 400-500$ extra for the base model just because Apple decided to increase prices. I'm extremely satisfied with this decision, would suggest the same. The 15" MBPr is a beast.

    4 points
  • James LaneJames Lane, almost 3 years ago

    Here's what I use and it's unbelievably quick with Photoshop open and front-end development (e.g. compiling going on at the same time):

    MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014) Model Name: MacBook Pro Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,3 Processor Name: Intel Core i7 Processor Speed: 2.5 GHz Number of Processors: 1 Total Number of Cores: 4 Memory: 16 GB

    I'd recommend highly. Maybe get one off eBay or something?

    ...Oh and I plug it into 2 external monitors as well.

    4 points
  • Bruno AbattiBruno Abatti, almost 3 years ago

    "Old" 15'' MacBook Pro.

    3 points
  • Nat BuckleyNat Buckley, almost 3 years ago

    I use the new 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for design and front-end development, and I love it.

    It replaced my 2014 11" MacBook Air. It’s so much faster, and the Retina screen is just amazing. I have to really force myself to plug in the external monitor to see how things look on non-Retina screen.

    It’s really fast. I use Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, Slack, and a bunch of other memory-hogs all at once and so far I’m impressed.

    I know it’s a controversial opinion, but I also love the Touch Bar. A lot of Apple app make really smart contextual use of it, for example Mail lets me easily Archive / Trash etc when I read emails, but when I compose mail the Touch Bar show me different menus depending on where my cursor is. Especially the last used addressee emails is really neat. I do a lot of programming and my text editor of choice is Vim, and so far haven’t missed the esc key feedback.

    Right now not many apps really make the most of this new interaction paradigm, but it’s clear that some really great things are possible, and I’m curious to see what other developers do with it.

    3 points
  • Anton StenAnton Sten, almost 3 years ago

    I have the new 13" Macbook w TouchBar (2.9ghz i5 with 15gb RAM) and it works like a charm with both Sketch and Photoshop. I now have it hooked up to the LG 5k but previously I've been using it with a Thunderbolt Display, both work very well.

    If you're moving around much like me, I prefer the portability of the 13" over the added screen size.

    2 points
    • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, almost 3 years ago

      is the TouchBar useful for Sketch or Photoshop?

      2 points
      • Anton StenAnton Sten, almost 3 years ago

        No, not really to be honest. I use the Touchbar for unlocking with TouchID (and accessing 1Password)... Oh and autofill in Safari form fields.

        0 points
        • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, almost 3 years ago

          So it's fairly useful, the touch bar? It seems gimmicky and a waste of real estate.

          3 points
          • Anton StenAnton Sten, almost 3 years ago

            Useful is a stretch in my experience but it has potential. I would wait a year before I would call it a failure.

            2 points
          • Nat BuckleyNat Buckley, almost 3 years ago

            TBH all the function keys were a waste of real estate. I used them almost never, and when I did it was for all the extra gubbins they’ve added to them, like brightness controls etc.

            2 points
            • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, almost 3 years ago

              See I disagree. I use the brightness, volume, and media keys all the time so I don't think it was wasted real estate.

              4 points
      • Lee Williams, almost 3 years ago

        If you write any code the touchbar is an actual hinderance since you lose the escape button and fkeys.

        2 points
    • Sandeep Sharma, almost 3 years ago

      Thanks for your reply! I would also like to know about 13" display. Apple says it is 67% brighter display compare to previous one. What's your thought?

      1 point
      • Paul HermannPaul Hermann, almost 3 years ago

        Hey there, I got the 15" w/ TB and came from a 2012 13" non-Retina. The screen is really impressive in its color and also brightness yes. I don't use an external display anymore, as a main screen it's enough for me. Also the 15" is only marginally larger than the old 13" that I had before (and weighs less).

        1 point
      • Anton StenAnton Sten, almost 3 years ago

        I came from a 15" Retina and I would definetly say this is brighter. The previous one I always had cranked up to 100% in brightness whereas the 13" is good at around 70-80%. (Same goes for LG 5k Display, I have it at 80% whereas the Thunderbolt was always at 100%).

        1 point
  • Alex CampAlex Camp, almost 3 years ago

    The touchbar is awesome, but not exactly useful when designing. Screen real estate is what I'd think about more unless you plan to plug it into an external monitor. Some small details about the updated macbook in general I've noticed the past few weeks is that the form factor is noticeably more compact than before. Thinner, lighter, etc. The keyboard feels really nice now and the larger trackpad is great. Dongle game sucks but it's nice having a simpler charging cord that can be plugged in on both sides.

    2 points
  • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, almost 3 years ago

    @Sandeep I'd go for last generations MacBook Pro. It's a great machine, and it's not a 1st generation device with all the inherit gremlins, and problems that come with new tech.

    If you like the Touchbar concept you can hook up an iPad via Duet and with a bluetooth keyboard + mouse you'll have the functionality integrated on the iPad screen. I've been using it, and it's a fun way to experiment with the new UI. I've mostly just used Safari's tab navigation as it is useful. I haven't found any other Touchbar features that have benefits that stand out. It's faster to change volume and brightness with hardware keys (less taps), and a lot of functionality just takes longer to get to with the Touchbar.

    1 point
  • Tropical HoochTropical Hooch, almost 3 years ago

    I bought a used 2015 15" MBP for $1500 and it is perfect for my design and development needs.

    You're going to pay roughly double for the touchbar MBP. Plus you'll need to buy a handful of dongles. You can't get any more ram than previous versions (16gm) and the processors are the same.

    The new MBPs are beautiful & powerful laptops, but they're simply not worth the price tag.

    1 point
  • Tony Jones, almost 3 years ago

    Touchbar Mac is cool for like a week when you first get it (like any new toy), but in all honesty, it's not even a competition..old 2013 -2015 15" retina is the MVP

    1 point
  • Nils.gh nilsgh.comNils.gh nilsgh.com, almost 3 years ago

    Once you get used to the touch bar it becomes like keyboard shortcut, its amazing! The screen is wonderful. Its fast, quiet etc etc... As you probably know the USB is gone but I rather go with a slimmer computer since I use USB like once every second month and probably less. The cloud is the shit. Don't be a fool and buy the old macbook if its isn't a matter about money. Haters gonna hate and there sure is allot of them .

    1 point
  • Norm Sheeran, almost 3 years ago

    Old 15". The bigger screen is more valuable than the touchbar to a designer. I currently have the new MBP 15" with touch bar, it's nice but the old 15" just has this classic vibe about it, I kinda miss in a way.

    1 point
  • Bruno MarinhoBruno Marinho, almost 3 years ago

    old 15

    0 points
  • Freckley FrecklesonFreckley Freckleson, almost 3 years ago

    I'm using a work administered 13" and it's painful without a second display. Given the amount of times us designers use ESC, the touch bar is not ideal for design.

    0 points
  • lkemrtgh -lkemrtgh -, almost 3 years ago

    Either go for the new Macbook 13' or the old Macbook 15'. Don't bother with anything that has a touch bar imo.

    0 points
  • Yogesh Bhusara, almost 3 years ago

    Old 15" Retina is the best. I don't think having a touch bar will affect or increase your productivity in any way.

    0 points
  • Marek LMarek L, almost 3 years ago

    Retina 15" 2015 all the way. Is faster and has all the ports.

    0 points
  • John PJohn P, almost 3 years ago

    "5 years apart and just 1fps better. My 2012 vs late 2016 MacBook Pro"

    0 points
  • Lucian MarinLucian Marin, almost 3 years ago

    The new 13" MacBook sans TouchBar is the best option for designers.

    0 points
  • Nick MNick M, almost 3 years ago

    The 15" sans touchbar.

    0 points
  • Dillon RaphaelDillon Raphael, almost 3 years ago

    Actually the Razer Blade has a better screen than the Macbook. And is a lot more powerful and cooler.

    razerblade

    0 points
  • Roman MakarenkoRoman Makarenko, 22 days ago

    If you don’t have a lot of gigabyte files in Photoshop, then even pro 15 "2009 with a fast SSD will do. Therefore, just push on the price. If the price is slightly lower than the market, then, for example, you can sell it for almost the same price in a year. When I moved I used the firmware of 09 on a poppy (it was only a couple of years ago), a couple of months later I got the opportunity to change it to the 2012 firmware, but 13 ". A couple of weeks ago I bought a new iMac - on the old laptop the battery wound up and I wanted a big screen. On both laptops, he worked with virtual machines, IDE and all graphic editors from Adobe and there was always enough power. The average poppy period without a significant performance loss is 5 years, from the ones offered to you, I would take it in 2015 (it should have a normal video card integrated only in the 13 "firmware). And use this https://store.ramotion.com/macbook-mockup

    0 points