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Old Mar 26, 2013, 11:11 AM   #1
ravenvii
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[Owners/Former Owners of a MacBook Pro 17"] Should I buy a MacBook Pro 17"?

I'm wondering what your experiences using the MacBook Pro 17" was...

I had a MacBook 13". Somehow I didn't have too much of a problem with it (explanation below), but the screen is a bit too small.

So I upgraded to a MacBook Pro 15". Nice screen... but the back pains came. I'm not sure why it didn't come with the 13" -- but came it did. So I gave up on laptops and got a iMac 20".

Problem-free ever since. However, I'm returning to school soon, and will need to move my stuff around a lot (relative to now, that is). I'm contemplating what I should do.

And that's where you come in. In your experiences with a 17"er, is it better for your back? Worse (It did get worse when I went from 13" to 15"...)?

I will be at my computer a LOT -- being a CS major and all -- so I need it to be comfortable. I will stick with a desktop and deal with the moving part if necessary, but it would be nice if I could go portable WITH the comfort.
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Last edited by ravenvii; Mar 27, 2013 at 09:18 AM.
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 11:22 AM   #2
paulrbeers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenvii View Post
I'm wondering what your experiences using the MacBook Pro 17" was...

I had a MacBook 13". Somehow I didn't have too much of a problem with it (explanation below), but the screen is a bit too small.

So I upgraded to a MacBook Pro 15". Nice screen... but the back pains came. I'm not sure why it didn't come with the 13" -- but came it did. So I gave up on laptops and got a iMac 20".

Problem-free ever since. However, I'm returning to school soon, and will need to move my stuff around a lot (relative to now, that is). I'm contemplating what I should do.

And that's where you come in. In your experiences with a 17"er, is it better for your back? Worse (It did get worse when I went from 13" to 15"...)?

I will be at my computer a LOT -- being a CS major and all -- so I need it to be comfortable. I will stick with a desktop and deal with the moving part if necessary, but it would be nice if I could go portable WITH the comfort.
So you got backpain, when you went from a 13 to 15" and now contemplating a 17" which is even heavier?

I would really recommend you consider the rMBP. You can set the resolution to be the same as a 17", but it has roughly the same weight as the 13" cMBP. So you get the same resolution/desktop space as a 17", but roughly the weight of a 13". Kind of the best of both worlds.

This is just my opinion. I personally wouldn't lug a 17" laptop around a campus. Too heavy, takes too much room up when using, etc. etc.....
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 11:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by paulrbeers View Post
So you got backpain, when you went from a 13 to 15" and now contemplating a 17" which is even heavier?

I would really recommend you consider the rMBP. You can set the resolution to be the same as a 17", but it has roughly the same weight as the 13" cMBP. So you get the same resolution/desktop space as a 17", but roughly the weight of a 13". Kind of the best of both worlds.

This is just my opinion. I personally wouldn't lug a 17" laptop around a campus. Too heavy, takes too much room up when using, etc. etc.....
Haha, you misunderstand. The back pain isn't from carrying it -- it's from the pose while using it. The MacBooks rarely ever leave my desk.
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 01:55 PM   #4
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No back pains from using 15" PowerBook, 17" PowerBook, or any of the 17" MacBook Pro.
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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With back pain it may well be posture with any laptop, they just aren't that ergonomically great. I've got an MBP 17, had an MBP 15 before, and have also used a Dell Mini 9 hackintosh. There isn't that much difference between the 17 and 15 in terms of size, my 17 fits well enough into a 15 messenger bag.

I've found them all similar for back pain, to be honest - it is something I get and yoga plus ibuprofen and an attempt at good posture seems best :-)

If you really want to cover your bases then perhaps consider a bluetooth keyboard and mouse/magic trackpad? You can stick the laptop on top of some books to raise it up a bit (those big CS tomes have some use) so you aren't bent over looking at the screen and can have the keyboard etc. at the right angle as well?

hth,
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenvii View Post
I will be at my computer a LOT -- being a CS major and all -- so I need it to be comfortable. I will stick with a desktop and deal with the moving part if necessary, but it would be nice if I could go portable WITH the comfort.

Why not get something like this:

http://store.griffintechnology.com/elevator

...and use a separate keyboard and mouse or trackpad while your at your desk?

This will lift your display up to eye-level so that you can sit up straight, but you can still just pick up your laptop when you want to use it somewhere else. For longer trips (e.g. home/school relocation) the stand packs flat in a jiffy and, even with a keyboard and mouse, will be a lot more portable than an iMac.

I normally use an external 24" monitor as my main display and my MBP 17" - on a stand - as my secondary display, because 2 screens are always better than one - but that doesn't meet your portability requirements.

Personally, I treat my 17" MBP as "relocatable" rather than "mobile" and wouldn't want to (e.g.) take it on a plane or train - but then I've seen people happily using them on planes.

Of course, Apple have killed the 17" MBP so you'd have to get an old model but they seem to be widely available either as new or refurb. and won't cost as much as a retina. I'd use the price difference to slap in a SSD (easy because the HDD is user-replaceable and really makes a speed difference).

While its true that the retina MBP can be set to use equivalent of 1920x1200 res, you'd better have good eyesight to use that on a mere 15" screen!
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theluggage View Post
Why not get something like this:

http://store.griffintechnology.com/elevator

...and use a separate keyboard and mouse or trackpad while your at your desk?
I tried this with the 15" MacBook Pro too -- it helped, but not 100%. That's basically why I'm asking about the 17" -- does the bigger screen help?

Quote:
Personally, I treat my 17" MBP as "relocatable" rather than "mobile" and wouldn't want to (e.g.) take it on a plane or train - but then I've seen people happily using them on planes.
Exactly. As I stated, when I had a laptop, it rarely ever leaves the desk, and only does when I go home (for breaks, etc) or move. Actually, I'm considering a 17"er or a Mac mini. Both have the "relocatability" I'm looking for, but the Mac mini having the downside of requiring a screen, and the 17" having the downside of being a laptop (if you get what I mean )

Quote:
Of course, Apple have killed the 17" MBP so you'd have to get an old model but they seem to be widely available either as new or refurb. and won't cost as much as a retina. I'd use the price difference to slap in a SSD (easy because the HDD is user-replaceable and really makes a speed difference).
Yep, I'm looking at refurbished for this -- $1,899 on there right now.

Quote:
While its true that the retina MBP can be set to use equivalent of 1920x1200 res, you'd better have good eyesight to use that on a mere 15" screen!
Another 'exactly' goes here -- my eyesight is quite bad
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 05:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ravenvii View Post
Another 'exactly' goes here -- my eyesight is quite bad
I'd suggest avoiding the 17" then (or at least having a good go on one first) - the standard text and icon sizes are noticeably smaller than on the 15" or 13". If you're having to hunch forward to see the text clearly then that might be what's doing your back in, and raising/lowering the screen might not help.

Sounds like you might be better with a mini and a 24" 1920x1200 monitor (Dell U2412 is a good 'un). Or, go for a 13" laptop and use it primarily via a 24" external screen (then you don't have to take the screen with you on a short break).
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 08:42 AM   #9
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I actually would recommend the MBP 17" for this scenario, since it's about exactly like mine, though the caveat about the screen text being small-ish with 1920 resolution stands.

My machine is usually hooked up to a Dell U3011 at home, but when I do move it, it is perfectly usable by itself. Since I mainly use it for photography and as a desktop replacement, it is the best for me.

Before making your decision, I suggest you go have a look at Windows laptops with 17" screens in a store to get an idea of the text size and see if it would work out for you.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 09:14 AM   #10
ravenvii
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Originally Posted by theluggage View Post
I'd suggest avoiding the 17" then (or at least having a good go on one first) - the standard text and icon sizes are noticeably smaller than on the 15" or 13". If you're having to hunch forward to see the text clearly then that might be what's doing your back in, and raising/lowering the screen might not help.
Yep, that's exactly what I wanted to know -- there's no 17"ers to play with at the Apple Store anymore, after all

Thanks guys! some great info in here.
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