Keyboard shootout: 2018 vs. 2017 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards compared

“Yes, the new MacBook Pro 2018 is a lot faster than previous MacBooks, but many people are wondering whether Apple has improved its keyboards,” Mark Spoonauer reports for LAPTOP Magazine. “If we’re talking about durability, things look promising, as a teardown from iFixit found that the keyboard on the new MacBook Pro has a silicone cover under every key. That should cut down on debris and the dreaded sticky-key issue that led to a class-action lawsuit and Apple instituting a repair program.”

“Apple also says the MacBook Pro 2018’s new keyboard is quieter. But is it really? And does it feel any different from its predecessor?” Spoonauer reports. “To find out, we put both the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the 2017 model in front of five staffers — without telling them which was which. Each tester evaluated the keyboards using the typing test.”

“When it comes to words per minute and accuracy, our results give the nod to the 2017 MacBook Pro’s keyboard. But does that mean the 2018 keyboard is worse? Not necessarily,” Spoonauer reports. “It comes down to whether you prefer less noise and what seems to be a slightly different touch on the newer MacBook Pro. Some might call it cushier, while others would say mushier.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve tried both. Of the two, we prefer the quieter, slightly cushier 2018 revision.

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  1. Is Apple so OBSESSED with iOS and touch screens that they can’t get the basics right anymore on anything that needs a real keyboard to function?

    Granted, I’m pretty heavy-handed with my typing but the last keyboard I liked was on my 2012 13″ MBP, which is also the last model that was user-serviceable.

    1. There is no “right” keyboard design. People have been griping about keyboards for as long as computers have been around. Mostly, people just got used to a specific design, such as the old “clicky” PC keyboards of the 1980s. Any change from that familiar standard resulted in cries of distress…for a while. Then people got used to the feel of the new keyboard design and forgot about it.

      Frankly, as long as the keyboard design is functional and reliable, then I am satisfied. Hopefully, the new silicone inserts around the keys will solve the reliability issues over the first two generations of the butterfly keyboard design.

      MDN, why don’t you take a poll on keyboards. Then repeat it six months from now and a year from now and report on the trends.

      1. I’ve been using PC and Mac laptops for over 20 years. You do need to get used to them. However, I have the 2015 MacBook 12 and it’s loud and requires a hard press on the keys. My finger joints hurt enough that I’m back to using a 2009 MacBook Pro which is wonderful and QUIET.

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