Apple Trade In With Phobio

I currently have a 2016 MacBook Pro. It’s been great but my biggest complaint is the keyboard. Fortunately, it doesn’t malfunction. It works as intended but that’s the problem. The butterfly keys are terrible and for a laptop, the keyboard and monitor are pretty much everything. I can plug in an USB keyboard but it won’t make it portable.

I paid $2799 for my 2016 MBP and the trade in value is only $710. I decided to bite the bullet and take a loss and trade in for the 2019 16″ MacBook Pro. Three things I’m after: the bigger screen (vs 15″), 8 cores (vs 4 cores), and “magic” keyboard AKA the old keyboard that shouldn’t have changed to begin with (vs butterfly keyboard). I bought the 2019 MBP online and started the process for the trade in. Phobio is the company that Apple uses for trade in. The plan is to pay for the 2019 laptop and once the trade in is completed, get the refund for $710 back on the card.

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2016 MBP (top), 2019 MBP (bottom)

Phobio sent out a box with shipping labels for me to pack up my old laptop and send it off for inspection and trade in. I took several pictures during the factory reset and noted the condition of the laptop. I am very careful with my stuff. These devices are expensive!

A few weeks later, I get an email from Phobio informing me that my trade value has been reduced from $710 to $250. They said they detected some screen damages during their inspection. Here is the photo they took and sent to me.

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Phobio found screen defects… can you see it?

I don’t see it and I also took photos before shipping my old laptop to them.

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Do you see any imperfections on the screen? I don’t either. I declined the new trade in offer. I called Apple and Phobio for additional options. Phobio is firm with their decision. They say that the damage they saw could not have happened during transit but more of wear and tear damage. I told them that there is no damage when I sent it to them, could the damage occur while they were inspecting and testing – of course not.

They shipped the laptop back free of charge. After receiving it back, I inspected the laptop and did not find any screen damage as they described and photographed (I still don’t see it on the photo). I contacted Apple and they suggested to bring it into the store to do the trade in – but with COVID19, the stores are closed. I was nearing the return/refund deadline – which was extended from 14 days to 30 days due to the current situation. I didn’t want to risk not being able to get the trade in amount and/or get a refund on the new laptop so I just returned it and got a refund.

Working from home, I don’t need to be portable with the laptop so I just docked it with a keyboard and monitor – problem solved until the new ARM Macs come out and I’ll revisit the trade in option.

After this experience, I would definitely suggest to do your trade in inside the Apple store. Any screen damage will tremendously reduce the value. But at least when doing it in the store, you will know right away of the value. And they may be more lenient with imperfections.

The best USB C dongle for your 2019 MacBook Pro

I recently traded my 2016 MacBook Pro for a 2019 MVVK2LL/A model (8 cores) for obvious reasons (“magic” keyboard and more cores). With this generation of MBPs, you will need a dongle sooner or later. I have been using this dongle for a few years.

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doedoeflu dongle

It has mostly every thing I need. USB3 A ports, C ports, card reader and most importantly HDMI. I tend to dock my MBP when I’m at home because the keyboard is just unusuable and I like using a larger monitor. The only port I wish it had was an ethernet port.

Wifi is convenient but I don’t really like using it with computers. I transfer data between my home server and other computers on the network. Wifi is slow compared to being plugged in. So I end up using a USB-C to A adapter and a USB3 Gigabit LAN adapter. Yes, another dongle.

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Tendak SuperSpeed USB 3.0 to RJ45

The current dongle works with the 16″ MBP. The connectors are the same – dual USB-C. I figured, new laptop, new dongle but this time get one with an ethernet port. There are more dongles available now and at competitive pricing. I was able to find one from Saferell that checks all the boxes.

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Saferell dongle

The dongle consist of 2x USB3 Type-C ports just like the previous dongle. It takes up one side of the laptop. With all those ports, it utilizes both ports. It has a way to run the power adapter as well. It has everything I need from the previous dongle and more. It has gigabit ethernet and 2 HDMI ports.

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2 HDMI ports

Now the description may say triple display but it only has 2 HDMI ports. The third display is the laptop itself so don’t misunderstand thinking there are 3 HDMI ports or 2 HDMI plus an addition display port.

I’ve been using it for a few hours with one HDMI external display. I have a HP 27″ 1440p monitor. I don’t have any 4K displays but it does run at 60Hz. I don’t game on my laptop, mainly coding so the refresh rate is fine. It does run warm so be aware of that.

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Card readers

I’m still disappointed that Apple removed the card reader but at least most dongles have card readers. This one has a reader for SD and Micro SD cards.

The USB-C can accept the 100W charger and will charge through the dongle. Or you can charge on the other side of the laptop where the other 2 USB-C ports are open.

The dongle plug is on a stiff cable and I prefer this design than the previous dongle. It makes the dongle more flexible where I can position in different positions.

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Flexible plug

It makes it a larger dongle but it’s fine. I mainly use the dongle when I’m at home “docked”. I rarely use the dongle when I’m out or moving around the house.

I’ve always preferred the Space Gray over Silver – on my laptops, watch, and iPhone. If they had matte black, I’d be all over it. Between the two dongles, I feel the Saferell matches better.

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Space gray

I’m really pleased with it so far. Do you use a dongle? Which one do you use. What port do you miss the most?

Surprise! 2016 MacBook Pro ‪‎MLH42LL‬ – first thoughts

MacBook Pro 2016 MLH42LL‬

I’ve been on MacOS since 2003. It’s a great platform to use and develop on. I’ve had three Macbook Pros (2006, 2009, 2011). The 2006 still runs but runs very slow and is no longer supported. I gave the 13″ 2009 to my wife. My 2011 died late 2015. Now I’m without a Mac to work on.

I ended up selling the 2006 and 2011 and got a little over $400 for it. This was not even close to a brand new or even used Macbook Pro that’s newer than 2014. I decided to get a Dell Inspiron 7568. Surprisingly, I was able to replicate my workflow from MacOS to Windows 10. It’s still a little different but I’ve managed for the last couple of months. I get the usual crashing and weird hardware glitches (network related). I just restart the machine. I also get incompatibilities due to the environment – related to some node packages and Linux packages. I end up running Virtualbox and Ubuntu. I know you can run bash on Windows, but my workflow is a bit odd. Even with the struggles, I still pushed on. What can I do? At the moment, I’m unable to afford the apple tax.

Christmas and my birthday rolls around. My wife surprises me with a new 2016 Macbook Pro MLH42LL. Here’s a list of the specs.

  • 2.7GHz quad-core Intel i7-6820HQ Skylake CPU
  • 16GB ram LPDDR3 2133MHz
  • Intel HD Graphics 530 / AMD Radeon Pro 455 2GB GDDR5 ram
  • 512GB PCIe 3.0 drive
  • 4x USB3.1 type c ports / Thunderbolt 3
  • Touchbar
  • Touch ID

Everything is soldered so no upgrading. The hardware design is really nice. I’ve never really appreciated it until I spent a few months on a Windows PC. It’s solid and well built. The weight isn’t too bad. I hated the keyboard (butterfly switches) but surprisingly I got used to it within the first hour of setting it up. The touchbar is impractical. I’ve only used it for emojis and even that’s limited to the Safari browser when I’m typing on a web page. Maybe it’ll be more useful when developers implement it on other apps.

Touch ID is useful to log in to the laptop. There isn’t really a power button anymore. Even when you shutdown, when you open the lid again, it gives an illusion that it was only sleeping. I have yet to use Apple Pay on the laptop. I’ve configured it to use my Apple Watch (first version) but it’s slower to respond than  using Touch ID. Also, the vibration on the watch has become annoying.

I was disappointed with the announcement of the 2016 Macbook Pros. I talked myself out of even getting one, even if I could afford it. But after the first 10 minutes during my configuring of the new laptop, I knew I was fooling myself. If your current workflow is on MacOS and you’re considering the switch to Windows, go ahead and do the switch so won’t be curious. Many of you will probably come back to MacOS. I feel very fortunate to have my wife get me one. Maybe she was tired of hearing my frustrations and annoyance the past couple of months.

This is just a first thoughts post. I’ve only had it for about a week. I may post some other things as they come up.