2016 MacBook Pro 13" vs 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JerTheGeek, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. JerTheGeek macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #1
    Hello all
    I have a 13" 2015 MBP. I really like the new design and features of the 2016 MacBook Pro, and am considering upgrading in a few months.
    Last time around I couldn't afford the 15" in the storage I needed, so that ruled it out. But this time I can afford the 15" if I wait a bit longer to save, so it's back in consideration.
    I use my MacBook for basic stuff and also will be using it for when I start online college classes.
    I also do lighting programming a couple days a week, as well as video editing for YouTube in iMovie a couple times a month; when I do these things I usually hook up to my 20" external monitor, and use the Pro as a second screen on my desk. I realized yesterday that the 15" might not fit that well on my desk in this setup, but then it is a bigger screen by itself.
    I don't really need quad core or 16GB of ram for my uses I don't think, so really the only reason I'd do the 15" is the larger screen.
    There's the portability factor too. I carry my laptop to work 3 times a week, although I currently use a larger sleeve for my 13" now, so I doubt the actual carrying in my bag would be that different with the 15". However actually using it on the go like in the car or just quickly opening it to add a file or something like that seems like it would be harder, or less convenient and easy, to do on the 15". But maybe that larger screen would be nicer for just using the MacBook without the monitor.

    What do you guys think? Would a 15" be an upgrade or would the 13" be more convenient and should I just stick with the 13"?
    Thanks!
    -JerTheGeek
     
  2. michaelromanenko macrumors newbie

    michaelromanenko

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    #2
    My first Mac was a 2008, 15" MBP. It was a great machine, served me well, but carrying it in a messenger bag with a charging brick was a big hassle for me. I traveled with it from time to time, but I hardly can call that 3kg 15" a portable machine.

    When Airs, in 2012 became more affordable, with faster SSDs, I decided to go with the 13" Air with upgraded RAM to 8GB. It served me for 4 years now: I'm a software developer, did many projects on it. I thought that the screen would be too small, but with external monitor plugged in, when extra screen space is needed — not a big deal. I got used to it. There are rare cases, when 2012 Air is not capable to stand the load. For example, when you have Atom with some plugins, Chrome running, external monitor is connected and you share screen in Skype call.

    Now, I'm going back to a 15" MBP. My 2012 Air weights ~1.3kg, and 2016 15" is ~1.8, if I'm not mistaken. I'm ready for some extra weight, and it's not as big as was in my previous transition. And, as I mentioned before, I've met some performance issues on my Air. That tasks (Skype screen sharing, Atom and some running tasks in Terminal windows) are pretty basic and common, and I plan to do some iOS development and dive into more graphics-intensive stuff, so now I really feel, that performance gain would be useful.
     
  3. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #3
    If I have an external monitor to use with my 13", does that kinda negate the need for the 15's larger screen? Since I don't need the extra power?
     
  4. Sully macrumors regular

    Sully

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #4
    Yes. And, after owning a 15", I don't find the 13" screen too small for my office related tasks or for videos and browsing. It may be that I've grown used to smaller screens of the iPhone and iPad or it may be the high quality of the new screens. I'm perfectly happy with the 13" screen. Plus, regardless of weight, I think the 15" has a huge footprint in comparison to the compact 13".
     
  5. michaelromanenko macrumors newbie

    michaelromanenko

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    #5
    Some extra power is needed to drive an external monitor. I'm sure, this is not an issue with the new MBP, but it was quite noticeable on Air for me.

    Some extra screen space is quite useful. If you are a web developer, you'll be able to have DevTools fully revealed near the browser window. XCode is much more pleasant to use with this extra inches. I missed my 15" many-many times, doing work on my Air.

    The only thing that bothered me in 15" Pros was the weight. Now, when they became lighter, I have no doubts that going back to the bigger screen is the right choice for me.
     
  6. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #6
    My 13" Pro has no issue driving my standard res 20" external monitor, it works perfectly fine with it; and when I'm using just the MacBook screen, I have no issue with the 13" size it works great for me. So I think I'm gonna go for the 13" Pro.
     
  7. goobot macrumors 603

    goobot

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    long island NY
    #7
    The 13 inch is defiantly very compact. I myself came from the pre-retina unibody machines so my 13 is almost the same width and depth as the current 15 inch and the 15 inch actually weighs less. I ultimately decided that since I'm used to that size I would rather go for much more powerful machine with the added bonus of a bigger screen. Though if it was my first laptop I think the 13 inch and its size would have won me over.
     
  8. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #8
    Still kinda going over this decision. With the 13", it seems like it's not that much of an upgrade from what I have now, but the 15" would be quite a more substantial upgrade from my 2015 13". I'm just not sure about the larger screen, I'm sure it would be nice, but in certain use cases, like when I put it next to my monitor on my desk, I'm not sure how it would fit or work for moving around with it or using it away from the desk or table, since it is physically a decent bit larger than the 13".
    What do you guys think? 13 or 15 for my usage?
     
  9. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    LA, California
    #9
    I prefer the handling of the 13" tMBP overall, and the difference in screen size doesn't matter much for photography since both are too small.

    I use the 13" with an external 4K monitor as needed.

    BUT...I think I'll also get the 15" on the next cycle just for fun!



    R.
     
  10. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #10
    lol that's what I'm thinking, sometimes it's fun to get the opposite model just to switch things up and make it feel more like a new MacBook (or iOS device). But I don't want to just get the 15" for that reason. I do think the screen would be beneficial. But not sure how worth it, considering I have no problem with the 13 and my monitor.
     
  11. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #11
    I am definitely stuck on this decision. Really can't make up my mind (as is usual when I am trying to decide between Apple devices lol :p )
    I like the 13" cause its cheaper, and I can get it sooner without having to pay as much. I do like the overall footprint and compactness of the 13", as well as the portability.
    The 15" I think would be good cause of the larger screen and performance....but I'm not too sure I actually need the performance or bigger screen cause I have a monitor and my current 13" handles my tasks fine. My needs could always grow more demanding in the future, as my chosen major is computer information technology, so maybe the 15" would be more future-proof?
     
  12. sziehr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #12
    So I had 15 2012 and I tried the 2016. They were great machines. Then I tried my wifes 13 I got her and I was over the moon. The 3lb was so light and the compact design is amazing.

    I have plenty of power for for all the stuff I do which is also very similar to your use case. The cash I saved on the machine this time around I will buy accessories for the new usb-c revolution. I am going to buy a 5k display instead of having a heavier machine with a larger screen all the time.

    I think I will circle back in a few years and get one with touch bar when 16 gigs of ram is cheaper. I had the TB 15 and it was amazing. The issue was I did not need the power or the extra weight on a day to day carry.

    The option of spending money on a screen and dock seemed like it would get me much farther than a single machine.
     
  13. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #13
    That's a good point, the external display is a better option than having a heavier and larger MacBook all the time. It seems to me like I should just stick with the best of both: the portability and compact form factor of the 13" and the large screen of my external monitor. I really don't see myself needing the power of the 15" and if I get to the point when I do need the power, I could then upgrade to the 15 at that point in time; until then it's overkill to spend the money on power I won't need.
    There is still the question of if the extra screen of the 15" would be beneficial for me, for times when I don't want to connect my monitor. That's pretty much the only thing I have to figure out now; I know I don't need the power, it would just be for the screen size.
     
  14. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #14
    Looks like the 13" suits your present needs better, and it's cheaper. If you think you're going to be doing some heavy-duty work in the future, say more specifically what it is if you can, and maybe you can get better advice. You plan on doing IT, developing new software, AI, anything in particular?

    For me the extra screen size is great, but that's a subjective preference.
     
  15. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #15
    All I know for the time being is I will be taking some software development/ computer programming classes for my degree, which is Computer Information Technology. I imagine I'll be doing some basic programming, but from what I've heard even a MacBook Air could do basic programming tasks, so I don't anticipate me needing a 15" for this. Only reason to go for it then would be the screen size, which I need to decide if I want or not...
     
  16. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #16
    What do you want the extra screen size for? Do you watch movies on it, keep different tasks side by side?
     
  17. sziehr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #17
    Take it from another CIS major the 13 is going to do you solid. I am a system admin / Network admin / Security guy

    I have to say the largest thing is screen size beyond the 15. I need 27 or more just to keep up with all my tabs and windows.

    So it serves me better when I am at my desk to have a 5k LG or the like.

    Then when I am out in the field deploying AP I want the light machine so I an not stuck holding up a 4lb thing when I am testing and tunning it up.

    So yeah 13.

    Trust me I had to go through this very same process. I ended up buying a few laptops and doing real world testing. It took me many tries but I settled on a non-tb 13 16 gig of ram base model.

    I will get snagging a display with power soon.

    Then I will setup a for mobil and desk
     
  18. JerTheGeek, Jan 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017

    JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #18
    Usually work with one window on screen at a time, often keep programs in different desktops and switch between them typically. I guess mainly for lighting programming and my iMovie editing (less frequent), for times when I do those tasks without the monitor. However, after thinking about it, it does make much more sense to just connect to the monitor when I do that stuff, and for those times when I just want to use it on my desk without the monitor, the 13" screen is fine, and I have used it often with no issues.
    I guess I tend to get stuck in the "bigger screen = better" thing, when in reality it isn't necessarily true. I think the bigger screen is not gonna be worth the trade off in compactness for me; that's why I have the monitor anyway!
    --- Post Merged, Jan 23, 2017 ---
    Yeah this is what I'm gonna go with. I don't need the power of the 15", so may as well stay portable and stick with the 13" which is the form factor I know I prefer anyway. Silly to spend the money on power I won't use and a 2" larger screen when I can use my current 20" monitor and use the saved money to get an even larger one if I want.
     
  19. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #19
    Just looked and found that the refurbished 15" 2015 is actually cheaper than the 13" tMBP. That's pretty crazy. Now at that price, that definitely makes me consider that model, since for actually cheaper I'd get better performance, bigger screen, and I'd keep the ports I use....hmmm.
     
  20. pshifrin macrumors 6502

    pshifrin

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    #20
    I went back and forth on this a few times during the extended holiday return period. Started with a 13 3.3/16/512 which was (and still is) perfect. Each 15 I purchased and returned had major keyboard issues as described in other threads.

    I took this as the universe telling me to keep the 13, which I have. I work in IT and it's the perfect size for traveling to satellite offices and home. At my main office, it's docked to a Dell 4K screen. It's very fast for daily IT tasks, remote sessions, monitoring, terminal and lite adobe suite work.

    Also, random coincidence, if I hadn't returned one of the 15s exactly when I did one weeknight, I wouldn't have run into the Yankees manager Joe Girardi in the supermarket a few mins later, which was really cool. He was very nice to my 7 year old son.
     
  21. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #21
    It sounds like you just have the itch to buy something new. Your usage doesn't warrant a 15, and the 13 you currently have is more than enough for you. You also said you utilize the ports on the 2015 model. Of course you are free to buy anything you like, but I'd recommend just waiting till the next generation, then see if you really need an upgrade.
     
  22. fokmik macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    #22
    if you need the extra gpu power, you should go with the 15" (if you use 2 monitors etc), if not i think its safe to go with the 13"
     
  23. szilske macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    #23
    Same question here... upgrade is due very soon! I also do software development on a 13" Late 2013 rMPB, which I love in terms of portability.

    But I often run stuff like IntelliJ, several terminal sessions and 1-2 Docker images while at the same time running the basic stuff, Safari with several tabs, Mail, Calendar, iTunes, Evernote, Rocket.Chat, Skype for Business and currently also a Windows 10 VirtualBox, which for itself runs an Oracle database instance, SQLDeveloper, Eclipse and local Tomcat server.

    All of that stuff at the same time is way, WAY too much for my 8GB RAM and I think it would be great having quad core CPU. I don't really need the 15" screen, as I am usually hooked up to two 27" screens, but I think the quad core cpu will be the game changer. So I fancy the 15" base model...
     
  24. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000

    JerTheGeek

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #24
    Tough decision for sure! Unlike your case I don't see myself really needing the extra power...but I'm sure it could come in handy at some point, and definitely wouldn't hurt. The screen size might be nice too...but I'm not sure it's worth the extra cash and size for me.
     
  25. Aomin3 macrumors member

    Aomin3

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    #25
    If the 2015 15" was too big for me, would the 2016 15" be any better? Has anybody had a chance to compare the size of 2016 15" with the 2015 13", how big is the difference now?
     

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