13" nTB vs 15" Pro


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 4, 2012
Hi all,

Sorry if this thread is very similar to other threads, which I did have a look at, but my use case is a little different.

I'm primarily using this machine as a secondary device for uni which starts in a few weeks. As you would expect this involves web browsing, word processing and a little bit of light gaming as well. I have a fairly recent desktop at home running Windows 10 which is my go to for gaming but I also wanted something for on the go.

Currently I'm looking at the 13" base model without touchbar and the base model 15" with a 460 and 512gb drive. The 13" is $2,179 AUD and the 15" is $3,945 AUD.

My main concerns are:
- Is the extra 2.2" of screen real estate worth it for every day tasks
- Quad core vs Dual core (I notice the quad core is a lot smother running OSX)
- Dedicated graphics vs Iris with games such as Hearthstone, League and TF2
- Touch Bar vs Function Keys
- Portability
- Price

Thanks and regards, Kirixis


macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2010
I tested all 2016 models thoroughly, and ended up choosing the non-touch bar 13" due to the superior battery life and the portability. I use it for most for personal and business, so lots of web, word processing, spreadsheets, email, etc. and also for editing photos and drone/gopro footage. I find for nearly all tasks it runs very smoothly, and can even handle small 4K projects (less than 5 min videos).

Regarding screen, I don't miss the 15" screen that much and find the 13" a pretty good size. I also use a 27" 4K display when I need a bigger screen (such as photo/video editing).

Touch bar was a complete was of time, found it disruptive to my workflow rather then improving it.

The 15" was great (I had the maxed out version), but battery life was not as good, it wasn't as easy to throw in a bag to take to the office, and although the extra power and GPU was nice, the 13" can handle my workload pretty easily...and is just a bit slower when rendering 4k videos.

For value and good all rounder, go with the 13". The 15" is very nice, but the toucher was a waste and battery life is not as good, and is very pricey.

Wait till June 5 when WWDC comes out, rumours of new models and potentially new pricing may change your decision.

A fellow Aussie!


macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
I have a 2014 15-inch MBPr with dGPU I use currently as my workstation. I opted for the non-touchbar 13-inch as my mobile system because:
  • It has outstanding portability, and should the smaller screen size be an issue when at the home, the nTB can drive an impressive array of monitor options to augment the smaller screen size
  • It has outstanding battery life
  • Even the base model 2016 13-inch has outstanding graphics for an integrated GPU - its iGPU does about as well as my 2014's dGPU, which is a huge advancement in such a short period!!!
  • Sales on the non-touchbar model here in the States are often better than sales on the 13/15TB, and I feel the full MSRP is too high - with the amount I saved on the base 2.0/8/256, I felt the savings justified the lower specs than I originally wanted: while my 2014 quad core with 16GB RAM performs certain tasks much better, the dual core 2016 with 8GB RAM does a reasonable-to-excellent job at most things (it can run a single VM quite well, but will not run multiple VMs all that well)
  • The SSD is removable (I personally prefer this over soldered SSDs on the touchbar models for several reasons)
  • I prefer the function keys over the touchbar as I use the function keys and don't feel the touchbar will enhance my personal productivity enough to justify the pricing
  • If the service life of this system follows the industry trend of being shorter than systems of times past, the smaller expenditure means I'll have fewer issues with upgrading it sooner - and if it defies the industry trend, then even better


macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2010
Hawthorne, CA
I'm actually thinking about trading my 2016 13" MBP nTB for a 2013-2015 15" MBP. I feel like I need the additional screen real estate, plus I really don't like the keyboard or the way I have to buy additional dongles just to plug things in; like my iPhone or my SD card. Is it worth it?


macrumors 601
Oct 28, 2016
nope,they will never go back, the potential is too big to come with some static keys that you almost never use since everything now is almost auto,like auto brightness for display or keys
They went from numpad to function keys because helps a lot, and after few years it was taken for granted and everybody was pleased with the change. This is the next step in that direction, after 1-2 more years when the touchbar will be mature enough, most of us will never return to some big limitations


macrumors member
Oct 16, 2016
- Is the extra 2.2" of screen real estate worth it for every day tasks
to me personally, yes it is. wouldn't want to work with the smaller screen. personal preference though
- Quad core vs Dual core (I notice the quad core is a lot smother running OSX)
Dual core should do just fine. heaviest stuff I ran in uni was spss. depends on what you're going to study though
- Dedicated graphics vs Iris with games such as Hearthstone, League and TF2
I don't game, so I don't know

- Touch Bar vs Function Keys
controversial discussions about the tb going on. I can image the tb being useful with an app like better touch tool. Would I be willing to pay extra for it? as of today: no.
- Portability
you probably won't notice a difference when the laptop is in your backpack
again, highly personal thing to decide. The basemodel 15" is now approx 300$ more expensive in my country than what I paid in 2012 for my specced 15" nonretina. 300 more for a (imho) questionable keyboard and a gimmick like the tb. Personally I don't give a s* about the missing magsafe. Honestly, I'm quite happy they got rid of it and the legacy ports. usb-c and especially thunderbolt are the future.

The only question I have for you, is why do you want a MacBook? You already have a decent machine running windows at home, so why do you want/need to switch to macOS? Although I love OS X, I still have Windows 7 running in a virtual machine for the Microsoft Apps and SPSS. If you're accustomed to Windows, why switch?
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