Arguments for or against 15" or 17" New Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NJRonbo, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    I am set to buy my first Macbook Pro in 2.5 years. I had pretty
    much settled on the top-of-the-line 2.8GHZ model (although you
    can custom to 3) with the better video card. Not sure if this is overkill
    for someone not into gaming, but I figured the extra video memory
    couldn't hurt with video and picture editing.

    ....then I saw that the 17" is going for $200 more and is loaded with
    the same features as the 15" (2.8, better graphic card and memory).

    Anyone have any thoughts of why it may be better going with the
    17"? Is screen resolution any better?

    I used to have a 17" PC years ago. It was heavy and a bitch to use
    on an airplane. However, in these past few years the 17" models have
    become lighter and I would imagine in Apple's case, more streamlined.

    Just thought I would ask for any arguments for or against the 17"

  2. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    The screen is MUCH better on the 17 inch. In retrospect I wish I went with the 17 incher, but I'm perfectly happy with the one I have.
  3. midgetsanchez macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2009
    I was in the exact same situation as you. After several weeks of debating I finally went with the 17". It's not significantly bigger than the 15", which has mediocre resolution(almost all other 15.4" PC laptops on the market have at least a 1650 x 1050 screen). Plus the slightly better battery life and expresscard slot, as well as Sata 3.0 is a plus ( the sata bus on the 13 and 15 inch models is severely crippled. you won't be able to get optimal performance if you choose to upgrade to an SSD later).

    Portability-wise, there's not much difference between the 15 and 17. Unless you travel on an airplane every week, it won't be an issue(if you do, get a 13").

    Read my old thread here:

    Go with the 17, you won't regret it. My friends who have gotten the high-end 15" wish they went for the 17 instead.
  4. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    Was the 17" revamped, if only slightly, along with the 15" this year?

    I know the 17" got a makeover within the past year but the 15"
    boasts a 60% better screen color gamut. Is that the same thing
    for the 17" or if it's not, does it make a difference?

    The quality of the actual screen image is more important than
    the extra real estate I will be obtaining.

    BTW, a really good thread that you referred me to. I will continue
    other questions there.
  5. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    The screen on the 17 incher is better in every way especially the pixel density.
  6. scottlinux macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    17" is like carrying around a huge pizza box. At least that is the feeling I get. A little too big. But if you do not have to move it around much, it's fine.

    There is no express card slot (Grrr) on the 15 inchers now, if you need eSata, EVDO, and other express card options.
  7. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    it's like less than an inch wider than the 15 inch machine...
  8. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    There is no difference other than size of screen between the 17" and 15". Both have the updated screens.
  9. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008

    Also the resolution is standard for a 15" laptop. Any tighter would make it hard to read.
  10. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
    The thing that annoys me to no end about the 13" and 15" is that the black bezel around the screen is REALLY thick. But on the 17" the bezel is nice and thin. How is the weight of the 17" on your lap? Can it even be comfortably used on a lap, or does it need a desk to work on?
  11. fehhkk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    For me, reasons of 15" over 17" were the following factors:

    - Price: 17" was too much what I was planning to pay
    - Size: The 17" is quite a bit larger than what I wanted

    I might regret not getting the 17" because:

    - SATA 300 on the 17"
    - 1080p resolution on the screen
    - 512MB VRAM on the 9600M GT (I play games on Windoze)
  12. Mactagonist macrumors 65816

    Feb 5, 2008
    NYC - Manhattan
    The 17" is one inch wider and .7 inches deeper. It is one pound heavier.

    Hardly huge.
  13. Cole Slaw macrumors 6502a

    Cole Slaw

    Oct 6, 2006
    If I was buying right now I'd get the 17".
    The 15" doesn't seem so "Pro" anymore.
  14. auero macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2006
    This is always tough for me when I buy a new mac (usually ever year I switch out for a new one).

    I just picked one up yesterday because my other died but the price difference wasn't much from the high end 15" and it got me thinking... till I remembered owning the 17". It's a great laptop don't get me wrong but it IS bigger and it becomes a pain to take around, finding a good bag for it, and the resolution is higher but it actually made it harder to read things. I found myself leaning in much more often. I always thought the 15" was too small but I find myself moving around the house a lot more and it's easier. Granted the size isn't a HUGE difference but it's there.

    If you need more screen space, just get an external monitor. I did it and it just sits on my desk :p I love being portable.
  15. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    Thank you for your comments.

    The only argument I have for the 17" is the fact that there is
    increased resolution on the screen which is nice.

    Also, unlike the older bulky 17" models, this is only 1 inch wider
    and 1 pound heavier than the 15". My old Dell 17" notebook was
    10 lbs. This Macbook Pro 17" is 6 lbs.

    Also, the $200 difference is for the new 17" model. If you go to
    the Apple website and compare prices all the new MBPs are on the
    same page and Apple is quoting $200 more. Of course, I am ordering
    from MACMALL as its over $100 cheaper.

    Very tempting to upgrade to 17" when you are only talking about
    1" and 1lb. at a difference of $200.

    Just hope it fits under the airline seat like my 15" does.

    Haven't made a decision yet.
  16. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    The other things that the 17" has is express card slot, better fans (only read on forums, have not confirmed), and option for matte. I think it also has more speakers then a 15....think.

    At the end of they day, you have to decide if you want a 15 or 17.

    Only advise i can give you, do not bother with the 3.06 upgrade, not worth the money. Throw the $$$ at an after markert ssd, it will make a huge difference while you will not even notice a 3.06 upgrade on everyday tasks.
  17. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    So, I took a trip to the Apple Store some 25 miles away to look at
    both models side-by-side. The store was crowded at 10:15am. There
    was a line outside for something inside the store, though I had no
    idea what as I just walked in.

    Looked at both. Picked up both. Played with both.

    Next to the 15" the 17" is a monstrosity, though in actually, we
    are only talking about an inch bigger all around. It just looks huge.

    As for weight, there is only a 1 lb. difference between both. However,
    picking each up individually, I could feel a noticeable difference with
    the 17" though it wasn't overwhelmingly heavy.

    Slightly easier to type on the 15" keyboard as the keys seem spaced
    more like a desktop keyboard. On the 17" I noticed that the keys were
    more spread out. Not a big deal. I think I was typing just as fast on

    Screen resolution was nicer on the 17". Everything looked smaller
    which to some may be an inconvenience as it makes things harder
    to read. However, if you want my opinion, I actually felt text looked
    neater on the 17" and you could definitely see that you could readily
    have more windows open without sacrificing real estate.

    Finally, it seemed the 17" had better color and definition than
    the 15" model though the difference wasn't overwhelming. The one
    thing I was surprised about was that both screens were surrounded
    with black bezel which I though was only inherent of the 17" model.

    When it got right down to it, I was more impressed with the
    17" Macbook Pro. However, I fly several times a year on business
    and it scares me to use it in coach including trying to fit it beneath
    the seat. Last time I flew on a plane the guy across from me had
    a 17" Dell (I think) and he had to use it on his lap rather than the
    fold-down tray.

    The weight is not really an issue. What's one more pound?

    I'll be making a final decision in a week.
  18. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Why not go for a refurbished 17" MacBook Pro at great prices?

    You can get the 2.93/4GB/320GB for $2199 for glassy or $2249 for matte.

    Step down to the 2.66/4GB/320GB and you can get it for $1949 and $1999, respectively.

    FYI: The only thing that happened to the 17" MBP during WWDC was that it was spec-bumped from 2.66 with a BTO of 2.93 to 2.8 with a BTO of 3.06, the hd was bumped to 500 standard and the price dropped $300. Otherwise, everything else is the same, including the battery and high color screen that filtered down to the 15".

    If it was me, I'd be picking up the 2.66 for $1999, since you're not going to notice a significant difference between the 2.66 and 2.8. But of you really want the speed, the 2.93ghz refurbished is still $300 bucks cheaper and the hard drive is so easy to upgrade yourself if you need the extra space.
  19. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007

    I am sure refurbished is fine for some, but not for me.

    I own a business so I can write off some of this purchase.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though.
  20. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    I got the 17 inch MBP last Thursday and have been playing with it all weekend

    I was up in the air too between the 15 and the 17 but I chose the 17 for the following reasons
    - Resolution on the 15'' was subpar compared to newer 15'' laptops
    - There's only a one inch difference in size and one lb difference in weight, but a large difference in resolution. And for a 17 inch laptop to weigh only around 6 lbs is very good
    - Extra life on the 17'' battery
    - Expresscard slot. I'm gonna be using this laptop for music recording and I want to be able to add multifunction cards as needed

    And now that I've played around wtih the 17'' and installed Windows 7 on it, I can picture a lot of people either magnifying the font size or lowering the resolution. The pixel density on the 17'' is deep enough that at default settings, you'll have a hard time reading text from over a foot away.

    I'm happy with the 17'' and the extra resolution will be useful when I start running Logic

    Also, I don't know the Macmall prices but I got another $200 off the apple website using the educational discount. I'm a grad student, but as far as I could tell, you just pick a school and they don't even check
  21. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007

    You are the guy I want to talk to.

    So, I take it you are very happy with your 17" Macbook?

    Doesn't feel overwhelming? No problem toting it around?

    Keep talkin' it up because I am leaning very heavily towards it.
  22. Bearxor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Just so we're clear, you understand that, right now, "refurbished" is simply Apple's word for clearance and the stock that they have are just the old models that were pulled off the shelves and sent back to Apple. If you ordered one right now it would be the exact same thing as having walked in to an Apple store before WWDC and walked out with a brand new one.

    Now, if you were looking at a 15", there would be a big difference, what with the sd card reader and built-in battery and all, but the 17" model was essentially untouched except a slight spec bump.

    Now, about the 17" MBP, I had put off buying 17" laptops because they were so big and so I had gotten a 15" MBP when I switched to a Mac. Having seen the 17" models after getting my 15", I was really shocked by how they were not much larger than my 15". The difference is just really insignificant.

    So, when I purchase my next MBP, it will definitely be a 17" model, especially if they keep up the crap resolution on the 15". My 5-year-old Inspiron 6000 has a 15" 1680x1050 screen and I see no reason why Apple can't offer something similar on it's 15".

    One downside about that huge resolution on the 17" is that the lowly GF9600 can't really run a lot of recent games at that resolution, so the 15" lower-res model has that going for it. The Inspiron I had used a X300 chip at 1680x1050 so I was in much the same boat there as well.

    Of course, if you're not really going to be playing games on it, this is a non-issue, but in case someone is reading this thread with the same question it might be a point they hadn't thought about.
  23. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    Yeah I don't regret it at all

    Far as feeling bulky, depends on how you move it. Carrying it around closed is not a big deal for me - I use a bag and it's only 6 lbs (which is pretty amazing because back in 2003, the 17''s used to be between 12-15 lbs). Moving it around when it's open though, you wanna use 2 hands. I used an ultralight for years so I'm used to being able to move my laptop around when it's open by grabbing the base with one hand. I almost dropped the MBP a couple times doing this
  24. wooten macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2009
    This thread has been very informative.

    Here's a stupid question. Can you comfortably use the 17" MBP in an airline seat? I had a dell that almost comically required angling against my chest so I could open the screen entirely.

    Typical, southwest coach type seats, no business class or first class for me.

  25. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    For 15": size and weight.

    Against 15": fat bezel, low screen resolution, and a chunk of useless glass glued right on top of it (aka Apple greatest design mistake that will be corrected this October).

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