[Buying Advice] Important decision points: Macbook Pro 13" or Macbook Pro 15" ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iLearnMac, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. iLearnMac macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    Hello all,
    Perhaps this was asked before, but could not locate it.
    How to go about deciding between Mac book pro 13" and Mac book Pro 15".
    I have not owned a Mac Laptop earlier. However I have used a Mac-mini.
    What are the important decision points?
    Use-case For me:-
    a. Would like to do light Video Editing
    b. Development for iOS & Android
    c. Office apps
    d. No games.

    I would love the screen real estate 15" offers, however weight considerations are important. Since while considering portability, we ought to also consider weight of required accessories like charger, Kingston cable etc. and not just the main machine.

    Please elicit your use-cases and how you made the decision, which will help me pickup some points to consider, I may have left out thinking.

    Thank you very much in advance.
  2. Heruhur macrumors member


    Apr 4, 2017
    Well I made the decision to go with the 13" model (with the touch bar), mainly for portability.
    I'm really happy with the size of 13" you can stuff it in nearly any bag, there's always room for it.

    I use it mainly for video editing, audio editing and some light gaming. (and internet/office apps)
    I use Final Cut Pro X for video, it runs smooth, some actions take a while for the background renderer to complete.
    I use Studio One 3.5 for audio editing, it runs pretty well, but I have to be careful not to add to much resource hungry plug-ins, or I'll have to bounce tracks, especially at 96kHz editing. (amplitube for example)
    As for light gaming, it runs Diablo 3 smoothly (the fans go on full throttle though) and Homeworld Remastered runs smoothly (and the fans kick in occasionally).
    On the road the smaller screen size doesn't bother me and at home I connect an external monitor.

    Well these are my experiences.
  3. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    You'd be fine with either, the base level 13" is still a very capable machine. The main differentiator is the dedicated graphics card. If you game this is obviously important, there are also benefits to some work flows (Which if you did them you'd know so don't worry).

    So you're decision comes down to portability. The 15" is an incredibly light machine, but again the 13" is lighter. So the 13" is more portable but they're both very easy to lug around. In terms of real estate you wouldn't really notice, it's one of those things that unless you work regularly on both you wouldn't see the difference.

    The 15" is the better machine by all regards, however the 13" is still very capable. So I'd base your decision on costs vs value. If you can afford the 15" without stretching your finances then go for it. Alternatively you could get the 13" as well as cases and accessories for the same cost.

    Also FYI they don't have Kingston locks anymore, I don't think there's room!
  4. Sun Salute macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2017
    For light video editing base model is more than enough - I've even done 4k video editing on the 2016 13'' base model, no problems at all. If you want more screenspace, buy an external display, it's still gonna be cheaper than a properly speced 15'' :) In my opinion, the 13'' are sort of worth the money, but the 15" is incredibly overpriced
  5. Matt Leaf macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2012
    Sounds like the 13" is for you, get some higher specs if you need more grunt.

    In my use case I absolutely need and require a dGPU and 15" machine to not hate my life while working, but if as you say you are doing 'light' video work, the 13" will more than do the job, as will the Retina display.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    For me (I've owned both), I prefer the 15" and the next laptop I buy will be of that size.

    The 15" MBP has the following advantages that I like.
    1. 16GB of ram - standard
    2. quad core processing
    3. dGPU
    4. larger screen/more screen real estate
  7. iLearnMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2011
    Thank you all.
    Yesterday, the 15" Mac Book Pro was finally available at the Apple Store.
    I could do a side by side comparison, including picking it up to feel the weight.

    My conclusion is: (Some of these are in context of my use case I have outlined above)
    I think I will get the 13" with RAM maxed out to 16 GB. and a 256 GB SSD. Base model processor will do.

    1. Portability/Weight consideration: In hand the 1/2 Kg more 15" feels more heavier.
    2. Screen real estate: As suggested above,
    a) Should it be required, when on desk, use an external monitor.
    b) With cost differential, at almost same price we can get 13" + reasonably good 27" monitor.
    3. I discovered an interesting piece of news --> Apple officially supports external GPUs!!!
    a) At the moment it is just Developer Program.
    b) This means in near future the extra graphics power can be acquired later.
    c) Agreed portability is lost, but it is not a bottleneck for me.
    4. Kingston Locks: Yes, sadly there is no facility of a Kingston cable lock for any mac anymore!!!
    a) My company uses a MacLocks product "The Blade Surface Tablet Lock – Surface Book Lock" Surface Pro 3/4.
    b) I saw they have a product for Mac Book Pro too: https://www.maclocks.com/mac-locks-...o-retina-lock/macbook-pro-touch-bar-lock.html

    Trust this will help the reader too.
    Once again thank you all those who gave valuable suggestion and points to consider.

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