15" MBP: Best of both worlds or a poor compromise?

PFDarkside

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 9, 2010
22
0
Newbie here. :rolleyes: This thread is me putting my thoughts down and if you are so kind, looking for a little feedback.

I've been waiting to buy a new Macbook Pro since early January, I was following the Buyer's guide (and like most here) expecting a refresh in February. Since then I thought I had decided on a 13" (plus SSD and maxed RAM) but the lack of screen real estate and integrated GPU only is making me question my decision. I love the portability of a 13" though...

This will be my first Mac and first laptop ever... I'll be using it for Aperture and maybe Logic along with couch surfing, coffee shop surfing, etc. Now that the day is drawing near I'm wondering if a 13" is really the solution. Is a 15" a good compromise between portability and performance or will I be disappointed with both aspects? I had a crazy thought to shoot for the 17" and build a Dell Mini Hackintosh on top of it for the couch surfing. Hmm...

(The problem with trying out laptops at the store is that they all feel small and portable, next to the massive displays it feels like a 17" is the only option, the smaller ones feel like toys! I know from toting around the work lappy that a 13" is very convienient from a portability standpoint)

So, photo editing, some recording, and web browsing from a desk to couch to venturing into the wild, will a 13" dusappoint from a performance and resolution standpoint? Is a 15" a great compromise or the worst of both worlds? Would a 17" plus Hackintosh netbook fulfill my needs?
 

alskdj

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2009
78
0
15" is a lousy compromise IMO, bump res up and then I would consider it ;) IMO, 17" for work, 13" for portability. No middle ground :p
 

jjahshik32

macrumors 603
Sep 4, 2006
5,259
1
Having owned the 13", 15"(matte) and the 17"(matte) (all current models!!) and walking around campus for 7+ hours a day I can let you know right now that the 15" is THE BEST SOLUTION out of the three.

The issues I had with the 13" was that its glossy screen was very annoying. Everywhere I went I was distracted with the mirror like screen indoors and especially outdoors. The difference in weight between the 13" and 15" wasnt that big of a difference BUT the 15" screen real estate made a huge difference!

The 15" can also be bought with the matte (I love it) while giving the notebook feel unlike the 13" which felt like a little toy! Also docking the 15" at home turns it into an instant desktop connected to an external monitor especially with the dedicated gpu makes the animation (spaces,expose) so much smoother.

Originally I had the 17" mbp and lugged it around campus. The weight is definitely heavier but that wasnt the issue with me. The number one issue that I had with the 17" mbp is the length rather than weight. For example, in C programming class, just to compile a simple little code I had to bust out my 17" all the way out of my backpack to compile. It was such a hassle!! Also there were times that I'd just take my 17" out just to surf the net for 5-10 minutes before stuffing it or rather sliding the whole thing back into my backpack was getting tiresome.

Anyway when you do walk around all day like I do (especially to the parking lot), the 15" doesnt feel that much different than the 13" but definitely lighter than a 17".

15" is such a perfect size/weight/length/specs/screen size.

Oh and with a 13" mbp I was getting around 5 hours and 30 minutes of battery life (using one notch of brightness but at times had to crank it up halfway just because the glare was too much and I couldnt see the screen which sucked up more battery life, reducing it to 4 hours and 30 minutes or so) and just surfing the net. BUT the 15" (matte) I just use 1 notch of brightness and its plenty bright everywhere I go (including outside!!) and I would easily get 8 hours battery life (I dont even bring a charger to school).
 

flexo

macrumors newbie
Apr 7, 2010
11
0
I would agree with @jjahshik32 here. Prior to the 15" unibody I currently own, I had the 13" and there really is not that much of a weight difference to tell you the truth. Also, the 15" screen size just gives that extra umph to the experience. Go forth and don't look back!
 

Fenix90

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2010
18
0
15"

I think the 15 inch sounds good for your needs. It's smaller and has nearly similar performance as a 17 but is more powerful that a 13".

You could really spec out the 15" like the 17" in terms of hardware. Yes you do lose some screen real estate, but there's always an external monitor.:D
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
15" is a lousy compromise IMO, bump res up and then I would consider it ;) IMO, 17" for work, 13" for portability. No middle ground :p
Mac Pro for work and MacBook Air for portability; everything else is a compromise. :p

------

In all seriousness, I think the 15" MacBook Pro is a good computer; I just switched back from a MacBook Air and it's pretty good so far. I'm quite happy.
 

rtmadden

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2008
115
6
Maryland
Get a 15" refurb unit and drop the cash saved onto an iPad for your "couch surfing". Even with the extra 2" over the smaller MBP, you'll probably still want an external display.
 

Relznuk

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2009
387
0
UT, USA
Another happy 15" owner here. I wouldn't buy another size. The 13" is really too small for any Adobe CS work and the 17" is too big to comfortably put on coffeeshop tables etc.
+1. Tried them all - keep coming back to the 15". Portable enough that it's not a burden, powerful enough that it meets my needs.
 

J the Ninja

macrumors 68000
Jul 14, 2008
1,824
0
13" is fine for surfing, but trying to do work (not only FCP or Photoshop, but even just writing research papers!) on 1280x800 isn't that great. And 17" is a little big and heavy to shove in a backpack. I rather like my 15".
 

Mac-key

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2010
666
82
Alabama
I got a 13" - and I have no issues editing on FCP, or anything else. Yes I would like to have the extra screen space, but for me, the 13" is very doable. However, the real downfall of the 13" for me is the processor size. I'd love to have the 2.8 or bigger, but it's not an option.

Love the size and portability - especially during air travel
 

Raytrace

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2010
44
0
My first MBP was a 15, my second a 17. I'd probably go for another 15 IF they bumped up the resolution. There's no reason to be stuck with the current panel IMO. I would have gotten another 15 but the full HD display of the 17 is what lured me.

If the 15 were say 1680x1050 or something I'd consider it. I'm looking hard at the 13 for my next one. I'm getting a mac pro so I don't need a laptop for sheer power; I need one that's portable. And in my opinion, until they put a better panel on the 15 inch model, it's almost a waste of space.
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,548
11
Yay Area, CA
I went from 13" to 13" to 15" to 13" to 15" to 17" to 20" (Mac Pro) and back to 13" and now at 17"

I have to admit, the portability, at least for me as a college student, hasn't been much of a difference. I had trouble placing a 13" laptop on the desks so the 17" really hamper that effect much at all. I like the resolution of the 17", even on a non-high def screen. The 17" is like a good compromise for me as a desktop replacement. The 15" is good but it seems small. And with Apple, the 15" sometimes are a little bit slower then the 17" counterpart, not sure if that's still the case though.
 

PFDarkside

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 9, 2010
22
0
Man, I'm coming back to the 13" again. I was comparing the family's laptops today (Mom - 17", Dad - 15", Brother - 13", various windows Laptops, pretty recent) and the 13" is great from a portability standpoint.

Here's the kicker, I have a pretty nice desktop I built last year with a 24" Monitor. This will be my portable computer and if I really need the screen resolution I can always put the MBP on the desktop and plug into the 24".

That dedicated GPU and extra resolution is calling though! :) We'll see if the 13" is even included in the refresh...
 

Beric

macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2008
2,148
0
Bay Area
Never messed with a 17". 15" has always been a bit big for me. My 13" Macbook is very nice for portability (I don't mind the screen size), but is underpowered for sure. I'd really like a 14" laptop, but they only exist as PC's, and it's what I'll get if the next Apple 13" isn't powerful enough.
 

SpaceKitty

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2008
3,204
1
Fort Collins Colorado
I would agree with @jjahshik32 here. Prior to the 15" unibody I currently own, I had the 13" and there really is not that much of a weight difference to tell you the truth. Also, the 15" screen size just gives that extra umph to the experience. Go forth and don't look back!
Agreed. I had a 13" for about five months and sold it to buy the 15". The extra screen size was enough of a reason to upgrade myself plus the extra ram included.
 

Jaro65

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2009
3,703
563
Seattle, WA
Agreed. I had a 13" for about five months and sold it to buy the 15". The extra screen size was enough of a reason to upgrade myself plus the extra ram included.
Ditto. The 13" is really cute, but it doesn't offer nearly enough screen real estate for me. I so wish that Apple increased the resolution on the 15" MBP to 1680x1050 - that would be perfect. As it is now, I use both the 15" and the 17" MBP's.
 

PFDarkside

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 9, 2010
22
0
Perhaps the glowing fruit will make my decision easier when they refresh...

I guess I really wouldn't be surprised if the Pro line was pulled back to 15's and 17's, and leave the 13's to the standard and Air lines.
 

neteng101

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2009
1,138
151
Won't couch surf with one - no Flash, no physical keyboard, no go. It has its uses but is rather limiting when you need to input text and I still want Flash, even if it crashes the browser (hey, just restart the app, its not THAT hard!).