2015 MBP 15" vs 2016 MBP 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dingado, Feb 16, 2017.


MBP 2016 13" vs MBP 2015 15" for grad student?

  1. Macbook Pro 13", 2016

    7 vote(s)
  2. Macbook Pro 15", 2015

    17 vote(s)
  1. Dingado macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    Hi guys,

    My university for my Bachelor's degree forced us to use a windows PC and I have been living in this nightmare for 3 years now.
    Luckily I'll be going to grad school far away from this school and now dying to get back to a Mac.

    I was wondering what y'all would recommend for a grad student, not necessarily using any heavy software except for lightroom? It appears that I can get a 2015 MBP 15" for about the same price as the 2016 MBP 13" (no touch).

    I couldn't care less about the touchbar.. What I am afraid of missing out on is the Thunderbolt 3 ports, the better screen, bigger track pad (although I used it in the store and initially wasn't a fan), and lastly the speakers.

    HOWEVER, this computer will be my only form of entertainment system for at least 2 years. It'll act as my TV, free time use and workstation.

    I don't really care about the weight of the Macbook, but perhaps the 15" is just too bulky to bring with me on campus every day - I'm not sure. I've always had a 13".

    So, questions:

    Which would act as the overall best computer that'll last at least 2 years?
    Which will be better for using as my only computer to do school work, applications, etc.?
    Which will be more enjoyable to watch YouTube, Netflix, etc. on? Here the question is screen estate vs brightness / colors.
    Which will be better for listening to music? TV shows?
    Which will be easier to write papers, research and organize applications, projects, etc.?

    Thank you all for your inputs

    Also, I will purchase the Macbook in early May. Will this change prices?
  2. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Either will handle Lightroom, but the quad core will do it better.

    I personally prefer a larger screen for viewing things, including writing and video and pretty much everything. Definitely bigger to carry, though. The newer screen has better contrast and for some video and some other content better color, but you normally wouldn't notice the color so much unless you're editing photos or video.

    Don't know which has better speakers between the two you're looking at. Either way, headphones will give you much better sound for music, videos and such.

    In early May there may be refurbed 2016s. If so, you can look at a base 2016 15" for probably $2000-$2100, if you want the best of both the models you're considering, and better speakers for sure.
  3. caramelpolice macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2012
    The 2015 15" model is 50% heavier and a fair bit bigger. For a college student whose most demanding use case is Lightroom and will be carrying it around all day, I'd probably get the current 13".

    I don't expect pricing to change much before May, though Best Buy does have a pretty good sale on the non-Touch Bar 13" Pro right now for $1249. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/promo/save-on-mac-021217
  4. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
  5. csurfr macrumors 68020

    Dec 7, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    For portability, the 13" can't be beat. I had the 2015 15". For me, the screen size and nominal performance boost wasn't justified by the added heft when you factor in the power adapter, books, etc.

    I have the 13" TouchBar now, and aside from the issues with the 4K LG UltraFine, it's great. Just don't get that display and you'll be golden.

    Edit: I should have mentioned that I run photoshop and illustrator daily and it handles everything fine.
  6. Dingado thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Minnesota, United States
    Thanks guys.

    It is truly appreciated it. I'm still in dilemma of which to choose, but you have definitely given me a few pros and cons.

    And wow, the Best Buy deal is pretty good! Especially open box for 1,125! Thanks for the heads up. I hope something like that will be available around May.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think a 15" laptop will provide better user experience with Lightroom
  8. mpConroe macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2017
    Arbroath (UK) / Wroclaw (PL)
    If I were you, I would go with MacBook Pro 13'' and if you have more money, consider Touch Bar version. Touch Bar is nice future, but you will get better processor and 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports.
    I just bought new MB Pro 13'' TB and I'm really happy to use it. I'm using it to learn Xcode and I will use it to Photoshop when the Satechi hub comes in. Unfortunately, there is no SD card slot in newer generation. I really enjoy the space grey colour. I'm a student. But I have another PC laptop for Access, Project and other MS Office apps which they are not on Mac (on Mac you only can get Word, Excel and PowerPoint, I'm not sure about OneNote). MacBook is 13'' and my Asus is 15'' but I prefer MacBook cos the display is just amazing compared to TN screen of Asus, even it is 15''.
  9. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I really can't believe anyone would recommend the 2016 13" over the 2015 15" ... I understand wanting to be mobile, but depending on the peripherals you use, you may not be more mobile when you're carrying dongles around.

    The advantage of the Quad Core is also being underestimated here, I wonder how many people making this bad recommendation actually use Lightroom?

    Furthermore, if you're a photographer (as most LR users are), the availability of an SD card slot is a no brainer. I'm seriously surprised you are comparing these two given your use case.

    When you're done shooting, and you want to edit your photos, are you going to connect your USB-C to USB-A/SD card dongle, or would you rather just pop in your SD card?

    This seems like an easy choice to me, but then again, I actually use Lightroom frequently.
  10. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Whether you are talking about a 15-inch from 2012, 13, 14, 15, or 16, it can run circles around a new 13-inch. Both are capable computers, but the difference in processor can be night-and-day for some types of use. Quad core MacBook Pros made half a decade ago are faster (in the CPU department) than new dual core laptops made today.

    If the mobility is an acceptable tradeoff, I recommend the 15 inch. A 2015 refurb with the 2.5 i7/16GB RAM/AMD R9 GPU/512SSD is around $2,100...in many cases, a 2016 touchbar 13-inch will cost more than that, despite huge differences in potential usage capability.

    A refurbished 2015 13-inch might also be worth pricing up...$1,050 can get a nice computer.

    As for price changes, I believe the answer to that is YES, because
    -The 2016s will likely be available as refurbished models by then
    -The 2015s will likely be available for even less money as retailers start blowing out new, refurbished, and used stock
    -The entry-level 13-inch price may be reduced substantially when Apple stops selling new MacBook Airs

Share This Page

9 February 16, 2017