15" MacBook Pro or 13" MacBook Pro? iWork 09' or Office for Mac 2011?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thomasbroval, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. thomasbroval macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2011
    Recently I have been tired of Windows. I totally hate it and want to buy a Mac Book Pro. I just don't know which one. The 15" or the 13"?

    Normally, what I do on a computer is this:

    I use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, I also download music from iTunes, edit videos (I love iMovie, so that is also one of the reasons I will be changing to a Mac), make presentations, and a lot of Word documents. Sometimes I upload pictures from my digital camera.

    I think that the screen of the 13" is just too small. The 15" seems a good fit for me, but I just haven't decided. I can afford both, but would save money on the 13" model.

    Also, I will be buying software to make documents, presentations and spreadsheets. I have both Keynote and Pages in my iPad, but I have never tried it on a computer. Apple is always more "cleaner" and "prettier", but Microsoft has more compatibility. Also, does anybody know if Apple will be updating iWork 09'? If so, I wouldn't buy it, I would buy it after the update.

    I am from Guatemala, and have been thinking about using Apple's educational pricing. Does anybody know if I can use the discount? If so, what do I need to show?
  2. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    The 13" screen worked fine for me given its decent resolution, but the 15" may serve you better given the applications you use.

    I'm not a fan of iWork, especially Pages. There are definitely problems switching between Pages and Word with lost or altered formatting. Even though I have Pages, more often than not I just type in Text Edit and format a final draft in Word on my desktop PC.
  3. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    If you can afford both I'd go for the 15. The extra screen space will always come in handy.

    I wouldn't want to work on a 13 without a secondary larger monitor. Too small for me.
  4. ThaDoggg macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2010
    Peterborough, Canada
    I would get a 13 and an external monitor. It will still be cheaper than a 15". You benefit from portability and a good screen size (23 or 24 so that you don't break the bank) when stationary.
  5. v66jack macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2009
    London, UK
    The only good bit of iWork is keynote. However if you have to do presentations on a windows computer, you'll enter into a world of compatability difficulties. I have had so many problems when trying to move stuff from iWork into MS Office (windows)

    MS Office Mac 2011 though is pretty awesome. Still get a few problems moving stuff into older versions of office. But with 2008 up everything moves around ok. No problems. IMO iWork is a waste of money unless the only programs you ever use are iWork ones. If like me you do some work on windows OS and some on Mac OS the office suite is far superior.
  6. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    15" MBPro with hi-res option would be my choice for your situation or, if you could possibly handle 13" then I'd be going for a MBAir rocket which has a hi-res screen anyway.

    iWork in Keynote and Pages is far superior and simpler to use that the MS Office equivalents in my opinion - and I've used both extensively.
    iWork can handle MS Office applications effortlessly - receiving from the PC for editing etc and sending back in MS Office format.
    expect iWork '11 sometime soon - possibly end of northern summer - but that's just a guess

    sure you can, just select 'education' in the Apple store and go from there.
    Student or Teacher ID is best or a letter from someone of authority at your learning institution will also suffice.
    (mostly though, you won't be queried when buying direct from Apple)
  7. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia

    Pages is an awesome app and there are zero compatibility issues between that and Word.
    same with Keynote - it creams PowerPoint in every respect.

    known fact - 80% or people use much less than 20% of MS Office's features, that's how bloated it is.
    opposite way around for iWork

    suggest you try some online tutes to get yourself up to speed :D

    Apple - iWork - Find out how to use Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the 13" is better for you. when you need more screen space, you can just use an external monitor.

    iWork is fine if you don't have to interact with people using MS Office on a regular (and non-casual) basis.
  9. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    13" is nice but the 15" is the sweet spot. I have had both, including a 27" iMac and not prefer a 15" and a external monitor. With that combo I can do anything and anything is mostly photography for me
  10. jegbook macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2007
    What about portability?!

    The OP has said nothing about how much he is going to travel with it!

    So, OP, how much will you be picking up the laptop and carrying it around with you? Will it be mostly on a desk? Cafe tables? In your lap on the couch?

    Based on what the OP indicates for his usage, I think a 13" MBA, 13" MBP, or 15" MBP would all be plenty powerful for the computing needs.
    That said, if the MBA is of interest, it seems worthwhile to wait a few months as they will likely be updated soon with Core i series processors. I think the currents model would still be powerful enough, but if waiting a couple/few months is possible, the i series CPUs should offer a significant upgrade and help improve the usable lifespan of the computer.

    Never used iWork so I don't have a comment on that.

    Mostly just need to think about how you will use the computer as a laptop and how portable, or not, you want the computer to be. Screen size is also a good consideration. I don't know how old the OP is, but many folks I work with struggle with the native resolution of LCDs, so a high-res screen on a 15" (1680x1050) or even the MBA screen (at 1440x900 on a 13.3" display) might be small.
    Something to think about.

  11. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    iWork will probably be revised when Lion comes out so it can take advantage of some of the new Lion features.

    I prefer using Pages and Numbers but also have Microsoft Office when I need compatibility. (Sorry -- Pages and Numbers are not compatible once you go beyond basic features). More, but still not completely, compatible is the free OpenOffice.org suite.
  12. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Yeah the larger screen size and higher resolution of the 15" model will definitely be better movie editing, and more comfortable for everything else too. I have a 13" and pretty much always use it with an external screen as its a bit too small! And yeah office is the way forward, iWork is nice, but if you are opening files from other users with Office there can be sometimes formatting errors etc. You can't go wrong with office really! [​IMG]
  13. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    It's all a matter of personal preference. Like one other said, you never mentioned how much you're traveling? If it's a lot, go 13". If it's minimal, go 15"

    As for Office/iWork; I use both. Try them out. They both have their pros/cons. I find iWork lighter, and much easier to use. I use Office because, and I HATE TO ADMIT THIS!!!, I'm lazy! :D Only at work though. I'm too lazy to convert it. First step is acknowledging the problem, right? LOL!
  14. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2006
    Mt Brook, AL
    I use a 13" BlackBook and I have found the screen size entirely satisfactory. However, I will admit to a small laptop bias: I have a 12" PB which I love and I am lusting after the 11.5" MacBookAir. As for iWorks vs MS Office, I have iWork 09 and Office 2011. To date I have had no problems moving between them. Being able to save iWork spreadsheets into the .xlsx files for Office 11 is very important to me as I send out a lot of what I do to people who insist on MS Office "files." They will never know an Apple product produced their spreadsheet. I enjoy that also! :cool:
    As mentioned by others, if you plan on carrying this machine around with you, the MBA or 13" MBP might be your best shot. My wife has a 15" MBP and she hates carrying it with her when she travels, claims it "weighs a ton!" and sometimes takes my BlackBook. You need to spend a little time looking at both of them up close and personal to see what you actually prefer as to screen size.
  15. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have iWork 09 and my wife has Office for Mac 11. We both have OpenOffice. I prefer iWork or OpenOffice. She prefers OpenOffice but needs Office 11 for the teachers at our daughter's school who send MS format files that OpenOffice can't recognize.

    I got Office 11 for $7 through my job and I still think iWork was a better value. But I must admit that for certain things, Office 11 is better. If you share documents with people on Office 2007 or 2010 on Windows, Office 11 for OS X will work better for you. There are features of Excel that beat both Open Office Calc and Numbers. I like Pages better than Word but I wish Apple would make save as an option instead of insisting we "import" things and "export" things to use MS formats. It is as if Apple is pretending they own the PC market like they own the mp3 player market. It's a little silly. Then there are the quirks of Office 11. It has that doggoned ribbon. Yuck. It wiped out fonts on my wife's Mac Mini and I had to reinstall OpenOffice to get it to create documents that weren't showing up in 0.02 point fonts. All 3 programs are dogs (slow) but Office 11 is the slowest and it associates itself with doc, ppt and xls files so double clicking one of those files sends you on a trip to the spinning beachball for a longer time than OOO or iWork would make you wait. So you can get away with freeware OpenOffice or you can spend 80 bucks on iWork or you can write a fat check to MS for Office 11. Unless you really need some feature of Office 11, take the less expensive less headache route. Even though I'm allowed to install my wife's Office 11 on my Mac for free, I won't do it. I deal with it enough at work and for what I need Pages, Numbers, Keynote and OOO work well enough.

    As for 15 in vs 13 in, I carry my iPad when I'm out and about so I'd go for the hi res 15 in if I needed a MBP right now. But the 13 in is a great value especially if you need to carry it around with you. If screen resolution is important, the 13 in MBA actually has higher resolution than the 13 in MBP. If speed is important, the 13 in MBP is faster than last year's fastest MBP and over twice as fast as the MBA.

    hope this helps...
  16. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    If you're referring to Windows MS Office, 2003, 2007, then 2010 .. there is no Office 2008 suite on Windows (only Mac).

    I second the option to go for the 13" (high end) + External LCD. Forget about the MBA ... although lighter still VERY limited (its still just a netbook running C2D and not even a P8600). it'll be old in less than 9mths REALLY old. Look at last years MBA looks like crap really.
  17. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    I beg to differ. There are certainly compatibility problems between Word and Pages. When I switch between these programs, the page margins sometimes change and I lose headers and footers. If you're tracking changes in Word, that information is lost in Pages. Apple does many things well, and Word has certainly become bloated. But to say that Pages is better than Word is ridiculous.
  18. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    respect your opinion yet agree to disagree ;)
  19. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    I am not sure that this is a matter of opinion, actually. I have a number of files on my hard drive right now that were made in Word 2003 on a PC and whose formatting looks all messed up on iWork. Sometimes it is a departmental form that I have to fill, and there is NO WAY that iWork can format the file properly. Not all files behave this way, but enough of them do such that using iWork while collaborating with PC users becomes too inconvenient.

    On the other hand, I have a 2003 .doc file with images, which show as black squares in ALL versions of Mac Word, including 04, 08, and 11, whereas iWork shows images in the file just fine.

    So, unfortunately, despite all the marketing hype and all these gigabytes and gigahertz with bluteeth and wifi thunderbolts with USB, a basic task of reliably exchanging documents between different computers still has not been solved.
  20. TechNut315 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    Mac Bias

    Remember this is a Mac site so most commenters will have a massive Mac bias. It is generarlly thought that overall the MS office package is better than iWork. I think most people who actually use both programs think Word is a bit better than pages, Excel significantly better than numbers but Keynote is better than powerpoint.

    They are both very good packages which will do the job so it depends on what program you think you will use the most. Also if you need to transfer windows MS office files with fellow workers it is easier to go with office. The compatibility IS BETTER than with Pages etc.

    As for the 13" vs 15" problem. The 15" is a better laptop, with a much better GPU and screen resolution options. However the 13" will do all things you want to do very well, easier to carry and cheaper so a 15" might be money wasted. At the end of the day both 13" and 15" MBPs are good computers and Office and iWork will do the job (but maybe with a bit more hassle with iWork)
  21. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    That's been my experience (image files in Windows Word not coming over to Mac Word), especially anything in WMF (Windows Metafile Format), but also problems with PostScript which Microsoft has never handled well but Apple handles with aplomb.

    For these files, OpenOffice.Org seems to have the best success rate of opening the files.

    You also need Mac Word 2011 to read equations from Windows Word 2007 or later -- Word 2008 didn't do it. And Versions of Word 2007 and later default to Microsoft fonts that don't come on Macs (but can be bought for about $150, more than the price of Office Home&Student) unless you have Mac Office.
  22. jegbook macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2007
    Off topic, but here in 2011 MS's software can't even read its own documents from 8 years ago. Huh.

    This reminds me of a complaint about the iPhone and PDAs and PIMs in general:
    -iPhone: no native Tasks/To Do app at all. Really, Apple? Really?!!!?!
    -PDAs: Palm is still the only maker that ever got really accurate sync and field mapping between a PDA and desktop app. And still not perfect. WTF tech industry?!
    -PIMs: calendar syncing. How can I not categorize/flag certain items on my calendar to sync with a common google calendar? Or even another Exchange calendar? Why do I have to maintain different calendars for different purposes? And why can I not sync subsets of contact data between other Exchange accounts or across google accounts? Why does everyone have their own contact record template and not use an industry standardized field set? And how can the iPhone not have the ability to create a contact group to e-mail who bunch of people at once. I love my iPhone but there is some seriously basic functionality that Apple just misses on. Pick it up, Apple, your slack is starting to drag on the floor...

    Whew. Sorry for the off-topic rant. :eek:
  23. notjustjay, Mar 25, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I'd get both Word AND iWork. iWork is certainly cheap enough, and when you can use it, it produces beautiful, clean, fun documents.

    "When you can use it" is different for each of us depending on the intended applications. For some of you, it will be "all the time" and you'll never need to use Office. For example, if you're a student, for household use, or running a small business where you produce and use the majority of documents yourself, or if you need to create a presentation that only you will present.

    Some of us need to regularly share and collaborate on documents with other people (usually Office users), and require 100% flawless file interchange. If you need this, you really need to get Office to prevent the formatting problems already discussed above.

    And some of us work in corporate environments that rely heavily on VBScript macros, document life cycles, revisioning, and so on, and you'll basically require Office at all times.

    What you can always do is start with iWork as your primary (only) office program, and then if you really do need a feature only Office can give you, then buy Office later.

    Personally, my choice goes like this:

    If I need the document to look really good and stand on its own (like a newsletter or a slick presentation) - I use iWork.
    If I need to share the document with other people, or the document will be reused and updated for years to come - I use Office.
  24. bigbadneil macrumors 6502


    Jul 18, 2009

    I have a Sony Vaio Z and I am ready to go back to Mac, I have had so many ideas I don’t want to bore you all with them but as of today at 14:24 I am going to buy a new iMac (Fully Loaded) and a 11" MB Air (also fully loaded) and give the Vaio to my daughter. I will partition some of the iMac and put Windows Vista on it so that I still have some windows options. I just hope the MBA has enough HD as that is one of the main reasons I am getting rid of the Vaio................I am hoping the iMac will take up the slack there

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