The Early 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro: 3 Years Later

Current MacBook Pros

There has been much consternation over the direction that Apple has taken their laptops. While there have been those that have questioned the inclusion of the TouchBar, many have questioned whether or not the TouchBar is a useful tool in place of standard function keys. While the TouchBar has been controversial, there is a topi that has been even more problematic, and for good reason. That feature is the new keyboards. The issues that have been expressed are:

  • How little it takes for a key to stop responding.
  • The cost of an out-of-warranty keyboard repair, which is approximately $540 dollars out of warranty.
  • The suggested fix by Apple.
  • And most problematic, the rapidity of the issues.

All of these have added to the hesitation of many pundits to recommend the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros.

Early 2015 MacBook Pro

A couple weeks ago the Apple Care on my Early 2015 MacBook Pro ended. When I realized it had been three years, it got me to thinking about how I never wrote a review of the MacBook Pro. I did post about the issue that I had when I first got the machine.

As a brief recap of the issue, it would stop randomly and sometimes rebooting fixed the issue, sometimes it did not. At the time Apple offered to just return the computer and order another one. This was just about the time that the brand new 12-inch MacBook was released. I seriously considered ordering one, but since the laptop was just still so new, I opted to have them fix it. Ultimately, this was a better choice for me. The ultimate problem was a bad cable to the SSD. Once they replaced that, it fixed all of the issues.

Selecting the MacBook Pro

When I start looking at any computer, I end up creating a Numbers spreadsheet to allow me to compare many different factors, with just a quick glance. These include:

  • Storag
  • Memory
  • Price
  • Video Memory

Storage, Memory and Price are the biggest factors that I look at. Screen size typically dictates the prices. I look at video memory, mostly for long term viability.

Specs

The MacBook Pro that I got is a mid-tier model. It is a 13-inch with a 2.7GHz Core i5 CPU and 16GB of memory with a 256GB SSD.

The 2015 MacBook Pro was my first purely solid-state storage computer. Prior to getting the 2015 MacBook Pro I had a 2011 iMac with a 1TB hard drive traditional hard drive, a 2007 Black polycarbonate MacBook with a 500GB hard drive, and a 2007 20-inch iMac with the same specs as the Black MacBook.

For just over two years after getting the MacBook Pro, it was effectively my primary computer. It is not that my 2011 iMac did not work, it did and still does. There were a couple of factors that lead me to use it as my primary. The first is that it seems like a faster computer. The second, and more importantly, the MacBook Pro has a Retina Screen.

The Screen

The MacBook Pro has a 2x Retina display which allows for resolutions that go between 1024 by 640 to 1680 by 1050. For my usage, I tend to go with the highest resolution of 1680 by 1050. When I first got the MacBook Pro I went with the default because it was new. As time progressed, and especially when the MacBook Pro became my primary computer,

This has to do with needing as much space as possible when doing coding, particularly with Xcode. As mentioned above, the MacBook Pro was my primary computer for a while, so it is the one where I updated my app <a href=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wwrite/id366196225?mt=8&at=1000l5Yb’>wwrite and wwriteFree. While working on the code, and in particular in the Xcode Simulator, given the size and space needed for being able to develop and test the app.

Over the years, the extra screen resolution has been quite handy. It has been nice having the extra screen size. There have been occasions when I need to adjust the screen resolution, but I have typically kept it at the maximum.

Storage

One of the changes that Apple made with the 2013 MacBook Pros was the removal of the optical drive. The lack of an optical drive allowed Apple to reduce the overall size and weight of the laptop. A byproduct of the decision to make the laptop smaller was that the option for a spinning hard drive was removed, resulting in only SSD storage.

There are a total of four storage options, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB, depending on which model. My MacBook Pro has 25GB of storage. I debated on going with the base of 128GB, but knew that would not be enough. At the time, the cost of getting 512GB, or 1TB, was just a bit too much. So I settled on the 256GB model.

The choice of getting 256GB was worth it. While I have not filled up the storage on the MacBook Pro, I do think that having 512GB of storage would have allowed for a bit more leeway with what can be stored on the MacBook Pro. In particular, for the pictures that I have in stored in Photos.

Keyboard

The keyboard on the 2015 MacBook Pro is one that may users would say are the the best laptop keyboards that Apple has manufactured in the last decade. The 2015 MacBook Keyboard is backlit. For me, it was the first laptop that had a backlit keyboard. While it has been nice, it is not always that useful for me since I do not generally use the laptop in the dark, so the backlight has not been that useful.

After three years of usage, I have noticed one issue, besides having to re-accustom myself after using the Magic Keyboard for a while, I have two letters that have effectively worn off. These are the “A” and “R” keys. I am not sure what the reason that this has happened, but It could be the way that I hit the keys when I am typing. Here is an example of what it looks like

Ports

The 2015 MacBook Pro has a selection of different ports. These include:

  • Two Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • One HDMI port
  • Two USB 3.0 Type A ports
  • One SDHC slot
  • One headphone jack
  • One MagSafe 2 connector

I think I have used all of the ports at least once. I know I used the SD Card reader to install a copy of macOS to test something on an older version of macOS. I would not recommend running macOS off of an SD Card. It is painfully slow.

Since there is no built-in ethernet adapter, I had to purchase a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter. When I used the MacBook Pro as my primary computer, I would use the computer plugged in most of the time, so having Gigabit network connectivity did help quite a bit. Now, I use the laptop as a laptop. The portability is definitely nice when I need to change where I am sitting and working on my e-books.

General Usage

The general usage of my MacBook Pro has been for portability. I normally use the MacBook Pro for writing a lot of my blog posts, and for a significant portion of the writing of my e-books. The final compilation of my e-books is now done one my 27-inch iMac, mostly due to all of the space.

The amount of storage that I got has not been too bad, in particular since the release of macOS Sierra, when Documents and Desktop storage was released. It has allowed me to not manually manage the storage on my MacBook Pro.

The speed has remained pretty much the same since I first got the MacBook Pro, which is really nice considering that it is a three-year old computer.

Closing Thoughts

The 13-inch 2015 MacBook Pro has been a great computer. While the keys have begun to rub off, the keys still work well and I have not had any real issues with the keyboard, besides when I switch to and from this keyboard and the Magic Keyboard.

Having a solid state drive in the MacBook Pro has been a great speed improvement over the 2011 iMac that I had previously. Having an SDD is much faster than a spinning hard drive and is noticeable. If you were to take the Geekbench specs from my 2011 iMac and this MacBook Pro, they would be about the same, except the multi-core, which is still better on the 2011 iMac.

Overall, the 2015 MacBook Pro is a solid machine. I have not had any issues except for that first issue. I anticipate that the 2015 MacBook Pro will last for a few more years, until it can no longer support the latest macOS. If you want at 15-inch version, you can still buy the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro new from Apple today. However, if you were looking for a 13-inch model an online seller, like eBay, may be your best option but I would not be surprised if they go for a premium.