13" vs 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RedJeans, May 1, 2010.

  1. RedJeans macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2010
    I'm going to university next year and I will be living in residence. I am looking to purchase a new (and my first!) Macbook Pro for this. I'm experiencing great difficulty in deciding which Macbook Pro to get - 13" vs 15".

    What I will do with my computer:

    - internet (Facebook, forums, etc)
    - MS Office (reports, presentations, etc)
    - MSN/chat
    - watch movies
    - listen to music
    - minimal PhotoShop
    - maybe play a couple games (Sims 3?) -> very rarely

    What I want from my computer:

    - I will be using it for university so portability is pretty important
    - I want my computer to last a long time (3+ years at least)

    Any thoughts/suggestions as to which Macbook Pro to get (with exact specs: CPU, harddrive, RAM?)

    Thanks a lot!
  2. iMav macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2008
    Columbus, WI
    Get the 13.3". The portability is great. I love the form factor.
  3. RedJeans thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2010
    And you think that, even though it still has the C2D processor, it'll last?
  4. Slovak macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2008
    13" for the portability with an external monitor (20"+) for when you work at home.
  5. Lurchdubious macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2008
    Mine are both 13" and they've been PERFECT for school! I've been thinking about 15" for my next one, if the blackbook ever dies, but I played around with a 15" at BestBuy a couple days ago and it seemed HUGE. I love the bigger screen, but I carry my macbook with me every single day and I think the larger 15" would get really annoying to carry everywhere. If I don't need a new one for 2 more yrs then I'll get the 15" as I'll be out of school, but until then, you can't beat the 13" portability!
  6. RedJeans thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Thanks so much :) How do you protect your Macbook? InvisibleSHIELD, case, etc? What do you carry it in?
  7. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009

    Hey RedJeans, personally, I like the 15" form factor. It's slightly bigger than the 13" but it has A LOT more horsepower. If price isn't a big factor, I'd go with the 15". As far as lifetime of product, I'm typing on the 2007 MBP you see in my sig and it STILL works GREAT! I love my MBP! If you buy a Mac, you can always count on it to work for a long time.

    For protection, I recommend the Tom Bihn Brain Cell (tombihn.com). It's GREAT for protection, I like to keep it protected in the BC but when I use it, I love the look and feel of a naked MBP ;)

    If you DO opt for a BC, make sure you get it in the position you use it most often, a vertical BC for backpacks, and horizontal BC for messenger bags.

    GET THE 15"!!
  8. RedJeans thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Isn't the 15" heavy/big?
  9. the Western zoo macrumors 6502

    the Western zoo

    May 16, 2006
    Aarhus C, Denmark
    Big/heavy are subjective matters, so I think you'll have to figure that one out on your own.

    I for one think that the 15" MBPs are not mobile enough for me. I would have to carry a bigger / wider messenger bag (I bike pretty much everywhere, and a wider bag would really be a pain). The 15" is 0.5 kg / 1 pound heavier than the 13", which isn't that much, but when you have to have it with you almost everywhere on a bike with books in the bag as well I'm sure you'll feel the difference. Lastly the 13" has better battery and since I often use my MB in places (libraries, café, trains etc.) where electric outlets isn't readily available this is a big deal for me.

    As for the durability my MB is more than 2 years old, and I am only upgrading because the lab that I presently work at is offering me a new laptop of my own choise, and with the "10 hour" battery I won't have to bring an extra battery with me...
  10. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    IMO you should buy the 13inch and a 24" external display...awesome setup :)
  11. RedJeans thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2010
    What kind of external display?
  12. aiqw9182 macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010
    Don't listen to the idiots that say that just because it uses a Core 2 Duo means it's bad. The available Arrandale Core i3 processors have proven to have the exact same performance as the 2.4 and 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo. Get the 13".
  13. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yeah the core 2 due is very ver capable. There's always the next new processor but it's fast especially for what your needs are.
  14. shoppy macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2007
    Depends, are you likely to want to use another screen, if not go for the 15" a balance. Especially the newer hi res. If you intend on using another screen then go for the 13" as either machines will do the job you would like.
  15. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2010
    Define "A LOT"?

    "A LOT" sounds like double, which is not the case. Look at his stated uses, he will see almost no difference between the MBP 15 and MBP 13. Also, portability is big to him. As someone that travels "A LOT", I can tell you for a fact, a 13 is far easier to move around with than a 15. 2 inches doesn't sound like much but it is. If you haven't traveled much, you can't appreciate it. The 13 will also have more battery life.
  16. Lurchdubious macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2008
    I like my MB's NAKED! The best bag I found for my needs is The North Face: Box Shot


    It protects my mac really well. In fact, 3 days ago at school I set it under my desk while in lab. Turns out there was a water leak no one noticed, and my bag soaked up most of it, getting the bottom 8 inches of the bag pretty wet. The macbook was dry! Totally fine! (textbooks too!)

    When the day comes for me to upgrade I know I'm going to be tempted to snag a 15" for the extra processing power, especially as I've started working with Aperture a lot more, as well as some other programs that I'd need some extra power for. However, in your situation I wouldn't hesitate to get the 13-inch! I've been 100% happy with the choices I made in my first two macbooks.

    Oh, and a 2nd monitor is a good idea too. In my office ("ManCave") at home I mounted a 37" LCD, mostly for xbox 360, but also for long study sessions in which I can lean back in my chair and control everything with my Magic Mouse. Works great!!
  17. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Speaking as a current college student, I would go with the 13", and you don't need to bother with the more expensive one either. I have the 13" aluminum MB, which is almost identical to the current lower end pro, and I use it for exactly the same things you want it for. It runs Sims 3 well (even without the extra 2 gigs of ram and nicer GPU) and it handles anything else I do with it, even Autodesk software in BootCamp, which is pretty heavy duty stuff. So you will be fine with the 2.4 GHz 13", and don't worry about the C2D thing, they are still excellent CPUs, especially for mobile computers.

    And even though the 15" is only two inches bigger and a pound heavier, the 13" is much much more portable. It will actually fit on the ridiculously small desks in lecture halls and is about the same size as the average textbook. With the money you save, I definitely recommend getting an external monitor in the 20-24 inch range. Go to a store and check out what they have, because most really work well, it's just a preference thing. Mine isn't from a big brand, but it works great, and serves my purposes well. If you are looking for a nice one though, I would look to dell or samsung, both have good displays at decent prices.
  18. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    any display will do...you can buy dell ones (they're pretty awesome) or the apple led display...its ($599 in the refurb store)
    the dell ones will cost you much less and are equally good IMO
  19. marcovortex macrumors member


    Jul 7, 2009
    Toronto, ON
    I truly think you would love either the 13"or 15" as both are great machines. I wanted to comment though however I have owned both of them in their current unibody forms and have always missed having the 15" when I was using the 13" as my main laptop. Bigger screen that fits more, better speakers, and better system cooling among others is always better IMHO than the small size difference between the two. Also when plugged in to a larger screen at home being able to switch to the more powerful gpu for some gaming or heavy lifting is always a big plus. Hope that helps, others milage might vary ;)
  20. Manderby macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2006
    I always had a 15" during studies because I needed space to work = bigger screen. The 17" did not existed back then. Now, after some years without a lap, I turned back to the MBP but a 13" this time. Right after the new ones were announced, I bought it. Now I have it and I love it. Core2Duo is no restriction at all. Doing heavy simulations, advanced graphics and lots of xcoding. Doing such heavy stuff, battery goes down to about 7-8 hours I think, but this is still great.

    According to your wishlist, I defenitely would go for the 13". I have the base model. Nothing to complain about.
  21. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    13" should be plenty fast. Internet won't be jeopardized just because it's a c2d :D
    so no worries hah.
  22. beto2012 macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2010
    I just got a 13" after much waiting for Arrandale.
    I was a little bit disappointed because they left the C2D on the 13".
    However I still got it, and I'm very satisfied.
    It's very responsive, and easy to carry around.
    The 15" is a little too big and heavy for me. The only unattractive thing that almost held me back was the glossy screen, but that's personal preference. I got Power Support anti-glare screen filter after seeing on a friend's MBP, and works pretty well.
    I use it with a 22" external LCD that you can get pretty cheap these days (definetly cheaper than teh price difference to the 15")
    If you prefer a bigger screen or are going to do Heavy gaming , go for the 15".
    Otherwise, don't do it just because it has the i5 against the C2D
  23. koruki macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    I've always gone with the 15" but I do have the 13" and the 13" MBA and yes they are much easier to carry around if you just going to throw it in a sleeve and carry it around around your arm. If you going to do the whole bag thing then the 15" isnt too bad, but yes its a bit heavy lol.
  24. 4PPLEM4C macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2010
    Depends on your specific needs.

    If you just need a small light laptop then go with the 13". Portability is what it does best. If you need a more powerful laptop then go with the 15".

    Also if the MBP is going to be your main machine then the 15" might be better. If you have an iMac or something similar as your main machine then the 13" is probably the better option.
  25. King Apple macrumors regular

    King Apple

    Mar 17, 2010
    Go for the 13" 2.4ghz. Buy an incase neoprene sleeve with it, get a free printer while purchasing, and finally buy a northface recon backpack to carry it in.:apple:

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