Deciding between a 15" and 17" MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dbruzzone, May 1, 2006.

  1. dbruzzone macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2006
    Greetings all...

    I apologize if some of you see this thread and think "Here we go again... Yet another 15" vs. 17" question" but I've been reading through all the 15" vs. 17" PB posts that I can find and have found that opinions seem to be fairly evenly divided. People either love their 17" PB or they don't... So I thought that I'd try to sollicit some opinions from some (preferably) existing owners and/or people who have owned both.

    First some background:

    - I previously owned a 15" TiBook then a 12" AlBook. I loved both of these laptops (Obviously, one of the things that I loved most about the 12" AlBook was the fact that it was so small and light, but the 15" TiBook was never cumbersome).
    - For the most part, I'll use the laptop at home and at the office. I live in NYC and have a 10 minute/block commute (on foot) so I'd be carrying the laptop in a backpack (for which I can buy a 15" or 17" sleeve). I also travel (in economy class) about 3 - 5 times a year... I'd like to be able to use the laptop at the airport and possibly on the plane (although I'm not a traveling consultant and have found that my grandiose plans to work on such and such a project while in flight often degenerate into eat the meal, watch a movie then go to sleep).
    - I will, among other things, be using the laptop for (Java) development (My profession) and HD video editing/musical "pottering about" (One of my hobbies).

    Given these criteria, and the fact that I quite like the idea of the 17" MBP's DL SuperDrive and FireWire 800 port (which I think would be useful for HD video capture and DVD authoring... But which could both, to some extent be gotten around with, for example an external DL DVD burner, etc.), what are your thoughts? To my surprise, I find myself leaning in the direction of the 17" model (On paper, the differences in size and weight don't seem to be that great).

    Do you own a 17" PB? If so, do you travel with it? Have you ever successfully used it on a plane? Do you wish you'd gotten the 15" model instead? Or vice versa...

    Your thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated...


  2. eAspenwood macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2005
    I recently sold my 15" Alum powerbook to get an MBP, and I owned a 15.4" MBP for a week before returning it to order a 17" MBP. One thing I noticed is that the new 15.4" is actually bigger (width and length) than my old 15 PB. So the gap in size between the 15 and 17 has closed a bit, I think. Also, for me the extra hour of battery life will come in handy when traveling. Honestly, I think both sizes are a little too big to comfortably do work in coach. With my 15", I always ended up in a with it resting halfway on my belly, cuz I was terrified the person infront of me would lean back and crack my screen. Not an easy position to type in, but I've gotten good at it. I'll have to get just a bit better at it for the 17. :)

    Anyways, when I bought my powerbook last year, I had a tough time deciding between the 15 and 17, but ultimately went with the 15 because of portability. This year with the MBPs, I think the feature differential pushes the scales in favor of the 17.

    BTW, I'm a java developer as well and noticed my IntelliJ is a bit slower on start up; not sure why since its a pure java itself. Once started up, it seemed to work at the same speed or maybe faster. I had problems installing Eclipse, but didn't try too hard since I mainly use IntelliJ anyways. I'm sure someone has found a workaround.
  3. dynetk macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    The decision between 15" and 17" is usually really up to what you want to use it for. The best thing to do is go to the store and look at them and see for yourself what the size/weight difference is. It sounds like though that the majority of the time your laptop will actually be on a desk. I also don't consider 3-5 times a year alot of traveling so I wouldn't factor in the extra portability at all. Having the extra screen real estate as well as the DL DVD burner would probably be the main selling points for me in your case.

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