Need help deciding whether the MacBook or the MacBook Pro is better for me

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ABernardoJr, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. ABernardoJr macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    Sorry for posting a question like this again, but I have been reading the boards for hours (literally) and the things I've read have helped a ton, but I think it would be easier to just make my own thread. lol
    I am looking to buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro after the MWSF this January (barring any new model being introduced then, which seems pretty far off), which is not too bad because my birthday is soon after and my parents will hopefully get it for me around that time. I have narrowed it down to a White MB 2.0 GHz C2D model with the 120 GB HD and 1 GB RAM (at least for now) and a 15" MBP 2.16 GHz C2D with the standard 120 GB HD and 1 GB RAM.
    I will be using this computer as mostly a desktop replacement (I know that many would right away say to get the MBP), but will probably carry it around when I go on any trips. I will not be using my notebook for any intensive tasks like constant video editing, or any professional web/photo design of any sort. I love the way both machines look aesthetically, but the keyboard of the MB seems a bit awkward. I don't know just how small the MB will actually look (I know that it has a 13.3" screen), and I don't want one that is too small. Portability is not my main concern, as the 15" seems to have a balance of portability and the power to be a desktop replacement. Still, money is a bit of an issue, so I am not able to easily buy the MBP as I may feel. I have recently read of how cheap the MB feels, so I hope that MB users can tell me more on that. This will be my first Mac (pretty much the first one in my whole family), so I want it to be a good one. I am pretty sure that I will be able to look at both models at an Apple Store, but I would still appreciate some insight to help me out in the future. Going to the store to see them would also help me decide if I like the glossy screens, or prefer the matte ones. If the matte ones are better, I will probably push for the MBP. Thanks in advance for your time. :D
  2. Lucky8 macrumors regular


    May 18, 2005
    I went from a white 1.8 MB CD to a matte 2.16 MBP C2D and never look back.
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    In all honesty, get the MacBook and spend the money saved on some RAM. If you need a bigger HD, you can upgrade it yourself later on. The only difference (real difference) between the 2 is the graphics card. Unless you're an avid gamer, or a video/graphics pro (from the sounds of it you're not), the MB will be just fine as a desktop replacement. You can get a keyboard and mouse, and that puppy will push a Dell 24" monitor, no questions asked. I recently bought a 15" MBP (mainly because I use shake, FCP, and several other GPU-intensive programs). One of my coworkers got a MB for Christmas, and the screen size difference is very slight. Also, he happens to have HUGE hands, and the keyboard is perfect for him. In other words, go cheap unless you know you need bigger and better.
  4. stevehp macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    It's not a house, it's a home.
    Seems to me by your post that the only real thing that is keeping you from a MBP is the price. If you can somehow scrounge up a few more bucks I think you will be happier with a 15inch MBP as a desktop replacement. I like the MB a lot, but I couldn't see myself using it as my main computer.
  5. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Oct 14, 2005
    I went from a 15" PowerBook to a white MacBook. The MacBook never felt cheap, and although odd looking, I never had any problems with the MacBook keyboard.

    The only time I found the MacBook screen size to be an issue was when I was trying to IM at the same time I was surfing. I had to make either the browser window or the IM windows skinnier than I prefer in order to get them both on the screen at the same time.

    When I went from the PowerBook to the MacBook, I thought I was going to hate it. (The only reason I ended up in that situation was because I sold my PowerBook to buy a MacBook Pro, but I ended up not liking how hot the first few months of MBPs made ran, so I "settled" on a MacBook until the next generation of MBPs came out). Honestly, I love the MacBook. If I wasn't able to get an exceptional deal on the MBP I just got, I'd still happily be using my MB. :)
  6. manosaurus macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2006
    Here is a way to find out which one is right for you.

    First, buy a MB and then wait until one of your friends or an aquaintences gets MBP. When you get a chance to look at and work with the MBP then you will know which one is right for you when you go back to your MB.
  7. ABernardoJr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    Thanks for all the quick responses. I forgot to mention that I am indeed not a gamer, so that's not a problem (took that into consideration ;)). I have seen a MBP (not sure if it was a 15" or 17") a few times and I've seen the program that is used for video, as one of my football coaches always used his MBP and a projector to show game footage to the team. I do not plan to store nearly as much video as him (I don't have any video at the moment, actually lol), but it would be nice to use that program for fun. Does the graphics card have anything to do with the video playback? Or is that strictly video games? Again, thanks for the replies. Any more replies would help out also.
  8. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
  9. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
  10. ABernardoJr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    Well, it's pretty much what my parents are willing to pay. I think that if things go right, I can get the MBP, but it is more like a "just in case things don't work out right" type deal with this notebook, I'll get a MB. I'm very fond of the MB, and if I had a profession in which portability was huge (no pun intended), I'd probably go with the MB. Still, since this will be the main computer I use, I am considering if the MB is big enough to use (I'm not too happy with getting an external monitor). Also, even though this is my main computer, there are still two others in my house, and one is a pretty powerful desktop already. Either way, I'm really eager to finally jump into the Mac world. lol
  11. hqsbud macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2003
    If a high-end screen is not an issue for you, I'd say the MacBook, maxed out as others said, would be great for you.

    On the cheap feel, a couple years ago, I considered an iBook, but at an Apple store, I was put off by how creaky the case was when you pushed on various parts. It just felt cheap. The MacBook my daughter has feels very solid to me, and I feel more comfortable carrying it around than my MBP. These are all just subjective touchy feely things of course. If you can get to an Apple store or any store that has both, I think your question would be answered very quickly.

    The viewing angle range on the MB is far inferior to the MBP as I showed in a couple other threads here. But sounds like that won't matter to you that much. It's a nice screen on the MB, but not for the photo editing that I do, and which you don't. For the web surfing, word processing, and gaming my daughter does, it's great.

    I actually like the MacBook keyboard more than the MBP keyboard, but that varies from person to person. Again, if you can get your hands on one of each at a store, your question will be answered.
  12. farqueue macrumors 6502


    Jun 18, 2006
  13. gcrowell macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2006
    MBP, price no object. I have a 15" MBP, my son has a MB. The MB is very nice, but I would not use it as a desktop replacement. The 15" MBP, IMHO, is the perfect replacement desktop. Portable, useable in a coach seat on a plane, and decent screen real estate. Oh, and smoking fast.
  14. orangemacapple macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2006
    mb. then spend a couple dollars on an external monitor.
    i got an acer 26" for my desktop use. pop&go.
    mb w/ extra display is less expensive than mbp, and quite frankly the mb is a more comfortable machine. i had a mbp (until a gf walked with it) and i'm glad she left the mb behind instead of mbp.
  15. ABernardoJr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    Thanks again for the replies. Still, I'd rather buy a notebook and use that one's screen, rather than having to buy an external display. It's a possibility of course, but I'd prefer using the notebook's screen. Is the 13.3" look awkward? I've seen pics where it seems sort of short (regarding to height) and pretty wide. I've seen the dimensions, and they are making me lean toward the MBP more. But then I read things about how poor the quality of the MBP's screen is with things like grain and uneven illumination and whatnot. I hope the issues will be cleared up soon, for everyone's sakes. lol
  16. Jimmieboy macrumors 6502


    Oct 30, 2005
    I'd check out the refurb store online and see what they have there. You might find out that you can pick up a cheap macbook or MBP. Don't put your hopes on it, but sometimes you receive unexpected goodies, like a larger harddrive or more RAM than advertised. Also when buying from the refurb store you're less likely to get a bad apple.
  17. ABernardoJr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    True. I've read about how people like going through the Refurb store to find some. If I ever did that, I'd wait for C2Ds to show up though. lol BTW, is there any way to know if the refurb was part of an overstock and if it's new prior to getting it? I would prefer to get one that is truely new, even though the other refurbs are still considered new. :D

    BTW, I just read about a member who got a military discount on it (via, and I'm wondering how this process works. Do you need to be one (or be related to someone, as is the person who posted about it) who is an active member of the military?
  18. clicq macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2006
    After having my Macbook for a few weeks, I can say it's very good in all respects except the limited vertical viewing angle of the screen (if you don't have the screen in the correct position, colors tend to get washed out; it's very noticable in iTunes, for example).

    As for the other questions you brought up, the Macbook feels very solid, more so than any Dell laptop I've handled. There is the one exception of the left of the case, near the ports that can be pushed in slightly, but it's not that noticeable. It does scratch very easily (I made the mistake of putting it in one of those plastic bins when you go through airport security by itself, and it came out scratched on the bottom AND the top!).

    Although you say "desktop replacement", it doesn't seem like you use your computer for anything too intensive -- no photo/video editing or gaming, where the MBP's separate graphics are a big advantage. And your aversion to using an LCD means that you probably wouldn't use the extra resolution the MBP is capable of for external monitors.

    The 13.3" screen is fine; it has the same horizontal res as a 17 or 19" LCD (1280 pixels), but is just shorter by about 224 pixels. The size isn't a big deal, the viewing angle is (it's what I dislike most about it).

    As for the question of portability, I definitely like it's size. It's wider than my previous laptop (a 13.3" IBM thinkpad), but about the same weight. The 15" MBP is not that much heavier, though if you're carrying it for any long distance (say, running across an airport to catch a flight), you'll appreciate any weight you can save :D.

    Finally, I'd definitely go with Jimmieboy's idea to look at refurb MBPs. For not much more than the midrange Macbook, you can get a refurb MBP. And if you're a college student, don't forget about edu pricing...
  19. hqsbud macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2003
    Completely agree here. The vertical viewing angle range of the MB is very small compared with the vertical viewing angle range of the MBP, and I showed this with photos in another thread that I've copied here. I also compared other MacBooks at an Apple store and observed the same results.

    The other thing is that I find the MB screen to be very unevenly lit when cold (at least the one we have). After it warms up, it's sufficiently even that I haven't noticed the unevenness. I never used instruments which measures the evenness though.

    But again, if a large viewing angle or cold unevenness doesn't matter for your uses (or if cold unevenness is only affecting our MB), then it doesn't matter.

    Attached Files:

  20. ABernardoJr thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    Thanks for the replies hqsbud and clicq. Shots like that help me compare the appearances. Also, after looking up some pics of MacBooks and reading about some people's feedback about it, I am sort of torn yet again. I constantly see how small the MB looks, but that's usually when it's next to a MBP. Is anyone willing to share any pics of the MB they have with it in relation to other things around it so I can get an idea of exactly how it looks? lol I will probably stop asking so much soon, especially if I get to see the models in stores, and I'll probably order it online afterwards. If the MBP C2Ds hit the refurb store soon, I MIGHT get one, although I really want my first Mac to have me as its first owner. lol :D
  21. clicq macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Here's a few random pictures...




    and pictures of the screen:
    [​IMG] Notice that you can see the alternating colored bars in iTunes. (The "grain" you see is from resizing the picture down and the camera, the screen doesn't have those in reality.)

    [​IMG] Notice how it's all white in iTunes from a different angle.

    and full res versions are at
  22. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    Try the Apple Federal Government Store

    The refurb site has special pricing on some items not available to the general public. Any Federal employee / Military member can buy from here.

    Refurbished MacBook Pro, 15-inch, 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo
    15.4-inch widescreen display (1440x900 resolution)
    512MB (single SODIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    80GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    Slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory
    Built-in iSight Camera
    Front Row and Apple Remote
    • Save 33% off the original price
    • Instant rebate - save $150.00
    • Ends December 31, 2006

    Merry Christmas everyone
  23. mac17 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    i had the same conflict i ended up with a black mb and a 20" samsung widescreen monitor (i bought from staples on black friday only $180!) and i love it, looks great and no it doesnt feel the least bit cheap the size is perfect and i love the glossy screen.
  24. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Macbook Pro! It's the only way to roll!

    yeah I personally think the bigger screen is worth it. But it also depends on your budget situation. Macbooks are by no means bad or underpowered machines. It just seems a few threads are popping up on MR here from people who bought the MB and now find themself wanting a MBP instead.
  25. orangemacapple macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2006
    i'm sure you'll be very hapy with the larger screen to use as a desktop. it is a shame you couldn't have found one that would do 1920x1200, but that is much bigger bucks.
    no matter, the mb will display fine on it.

    i just hope my acer 26" just gets here. newegg sent it on the 18th and ups lost it for a couple days - they say it's on the way now, but they won't give me an estimated delivery date. grumble, grumble, grumble.
    i promised my MB i'd get her one for xmas and i really hate for my mb to think i lied to her ;-) (yes, i have a love affair going on with my mb)

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