Advise on Old (70 ish) person buying 17" Macbook Pro vs 15"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jamesarm97, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    #1
    I have a friend that always calls me when his Windows computer crashes or when his popup or spyware blocker is not running for some reason. I have been talking to him over time about Apple computers and he finally decided to buy a laptop for his wife because he was always tying up the main computer. At first he was looking at getting the 17" MBP, mainly because of the screen size. He has trouble seeing and likes the large 19" monitor he has now. I originally tried to talk him into getting a cheaper MB and a 20" iMac for the same money he would be spending on the 17" MBP. I know he is secretly planning on using the computer more than his wife and she will be stuck with nothing again.

    Now that the new MB and MBP's are out I was really pushing him to get the 15" MBP. The reasoning was the 17" was way more than he needed and the hi-res option he wanted would not really help with his vision, it would make it worse. Here were my points:
    • The 15" is a nice size to lug around (he was planning on using it for Church presentations).
    • Resolution is less so things would look bigger, not smaller. He runs in 800x600 resolution on a 19" monitor ;)
    • His 19" sits back on his desk about 19" away, so if you put a 15" right in front of your face (because it is a laptop) it would still look big.
    • He could still connect the 19" monitor and use it and have a larger screen at home.
    • It was less expensive and we could add some of the features and options (like Timecapsule) and the price would still be lower.

    I have been feeding him reviews and such be he emailed me today with this one and of coarse he is wanting the 17" now again because of the glossy screen and customer support problems. I think the original spec he was looking at was the hi-res LED option on the 17" which was glossy only at the time.

    http://mossblog.allthingsd.com/20081026/macbook-pro-tradeoffs/

    Which way do you think he should go? I just emailed him and said it was his money and choice, do what you want. I get tired of helping people that don't listen. This is mainly a computer for email / word / powerpoint. It was originally for his wife only for photos and making cards but he is going to take it over, I just know it. If it is truly for his wife then the 17" would not work well because of the weight (she is having back problems and such).
     
  2. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #2
    If he really wants the 17", let him get it. Weight is not a problem and the resolution is easily changed via the menu bar.
    Maybe his wife can hit him over the head with it, too.
     
  3. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #4
    When you are old it doesn't help you to get closer to the screen -- typically older eyes have problems seeing things close-up. Therefore it's better to have a bigger screen and sit farther away. I vote for the 17-incher.
     
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #5
    If he runs 800x600 on a 19" monitor, he's not going to like 1920x1200 on a 17" screen.

    I have a 17" with the hi-res (matte), LED, and I just love it -- even though I'm not young and wear glasses. It's a beautiful screen. The thing is, I've always liked hi-res screens, whether laptops or externals, and I'm willing to have to look a little harder at those small fonts than most people are. I also use a 23" 1920x1200 on my desk. It's the price I pay and I pay it willingly.

    He needs to be sure he's willing to pay that price. I think the 800x600 thing he likes has got to be taken seriously as a powerful argument against the 17" hi res.

    I've used a bunch of 19" monitors, over the (many) years I've been looking at monitors. When I sometimes set them to 800x600 to see how a web page would look at that resolution, I hated it.

    Why don't you have him set his 19" to what's most likely its native resolution, 1280x1024, and see how he likes it? If he doesn't like it, then he's going to hate 1920x1200.
     
  6. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #6
    So this computer is supposed to be bought for his wife. What does she think about it?

    Buying a laptop only makes sense if you want to carry it around. Buying a laptop to put it on a desk is nonsense. And I don't think the performance of a MacBook Pro is needed at all.

    I'd check out the combination of a Mac Mini + 24 inch TV with DVI input at 1366 x 768 native resolution.

    You get a sharp picture if you run an LCD screen at half the native resolution, so 960 x 600 on the 17 inch MacBook Pro should be fine. It is just an awful waste of money.
     
  7. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #7
    Are you not able to make fonts and icons bigger on a high res screen so people with eye problem can see it better?
     
  8. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #8
    Jeez, by your standards, I have to unload my MBP. It sits in my kitchen 95% of the time and does no heavy processing.
    But what a screen!
     
  9. jamesarm97 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    #9
    I did that and he did not like it at all. I almost had him talked into the 15" MBP, until I think he read the negative article on the glossy screen. My argument was that he could still use the 19" screen he has at home, and on the road would have the smaller / easier to carry 15".

    The sad thing is this all started out for his wife to have a new computer because he is always on his and now it looks like he wants it for himself. I suggested for the price he could get a 20" iMac for his wife and the 15" MBP for himself.

    - James
     
  10. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #10
    I know you can do that, so I just set mine that way as a test. I didn't like it at all. Obviously we're talking subjective here, but to me the fonts and lines were indistinct. Bigger, for sure.

    I agree with James that it's sad. Something other than pixel counts is going on.

    I'm reminded of something I heard long ago: there are people who only use advice the way a drunk uses a streetlight -- for support rather than illumination.
     

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