I use my MacBook Pro most of the time with an external keyboard and mouse. I always have, but that’s a particular issue with my current laptop, a recent-model MacBook Pro.
However, I’ve been tempted to try the TouchBar to see if it improves my enjoyment and productivity. And for that I’d have to use the MBP’s keyboard full-time.
I know the MBP2016-2017 keyboards are problematic, but how about the 2018? Is that a problem? Is it reliable?
I do need to use the built-in keyboard a few days of the year so I don’t want to take chances.
P.S. I picked the wrong day to ask this question.
Mine is: MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
I am not careful to keep crumbs out, and haven’t personally had the problems others describe. My fingers don’t like the keyboard as much as they like the A1243 keyboard that I usually use on my desk. I’m much less accurate on the internal keyboard.
Hopefully you are in the market for a 15inch so the 16 inch will just be your new default.
To be clear, I’m not looking to buy. I have a 2018 MBP and am thinking I’d like to try using the TouchBar daily. To do that, I’d have to use the built-in keyboard as my primary and I’m cautious about that, given the MBP 2016-17’s poor reputation.
I’ve had, for odd reasons, a '16, and '17 and an '18.
The 2016 was not great, and while I didn’t have key drop outs, I did get a swelling battery, which Apple changed out in 3 days.
The '17 was better, I think. The '18, however was noticeably better than the '16/'17. I think my experience fits with my understanding that the '18 is Apple’s third try at that kind of keyboard.
To answer your question: it’s “fine.”
Of course, I expect the '19 keyboard to be categorically better.
I kind of like the touch of the 2018 MBP keyboard. I know I’m an outlier in that regard. Then again, I’m not fussy about keyboards. The standard Apple keyboards are fine with me.
I liked the Touch Bar when I had it, in apps that use it for more than “here are keyboard shortcuts it is easier for you to type” or that let you customise it, it really shines. An example use case for me was Scrivener - when I was writing my book last year I couldn’t remember, and frankly wasn’t willing to learn, the shortcuts to set all the different text styles in the document, but they were right there on my Touch Bar - so I actually used them.
I also use BetterTouchTool to customise the Touch Bar too - my primary work machine has a Touch Bar and like you I need to use the built in keyboard a few days a year. That said I’ve been transitioning more and more to “take laptop, roost, keyboard and mouse” for anything longer than a meeting (such as the traning course I’m on this week).
For me it’s not a few days a year – more like a few days a month. Other than that, when I’m in my home office, the laptop lives on a stand to the left of my 27" external display.
The roost, keyboard and trackball option is tempting for when I travel. Now that I’ve started leaving the laptop in my hotel room and just using the iPad when I’m out and about, it seems appealing to have a setup where I can spread out and be comfortable when I’m using the laptop.
For me it depends how many workshops are in a year and how long they are but as the F key on my work machine has developed a personality of it’s own I’m very happy using an external keyboard!
You’re work machine is a MBP? What year?
It’s a 2017 model, 15". At some point we’ll take it to the Apple store for them to figure out the F key issue, but as most of the time it’s docked and elevated it’s not an issue
I’m inclined to think I’m best off not taking a chance. Which has never stopped me before!
I have a 2018 MacBook Pro which travels with me every week through airports, hotels and offices.
So far I’ve had no issues with my keyboard and with Better Touch Tool have found the Touch Bar pretty useful.
How do you use the TouchBar?
I created buttons for things like ‘airplane mode’ which turns all the radios off and shuts down things that will try and synch like OneDrive etc.
Also like the out of the box screen lock button, which I find quicker than the keyboard shortcut when leaving my desk.
I’ve found that the MS Office apps also make good use of the touchbar.
Removing the Siri button is a must.
Out of caution, I can at least think of ways to program the touchbar for things I will do undocked, or am willing to stretch far to activate. Like putting the screen to sleep.