can't decide between the 13", 15", 17"? check out these screen resolution comparisons

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by modular, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. modular macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009
    I'm trying to decided between a 15" and a 17", along with a lot of other people it seems (based on the number of threads here). So I've comped up some images showing the screen resolution differences. not only are these images the same size as it's respective laptop screen, it also shows the difference in pixel density. the 17 is 133ppi, while the 15 is 110ppi and 13 is 113ppi (thanks for the correction slffl).

    note: these are basically fakes screen shots (i know it's got a tiger menu bar and a leopard dock). the point is just to show the difference in screen real estate with the line of macbooks.

    I hope someone finds this useful!

    here we first have the 13", then the 15" and the best for last, the 17".



  2. modular thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009
    ha, yea im actually at the office on my my work machine (mac pro). thats why i still have tiger... and an anivirus :rolleyes:
  3. uberamd macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    Exactly what I was going to say. ClamXAV ftw.
  4. Philflow macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    Neat comparison.

    And yes you are right, in this case it's ppi and not dpi.
  5. thefrenches macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Thank you!

    As I wait for my 13" MBP (arrives tomorrow), I have wondered what the actual screen size is, and now I can see it, thanks to my 24" desktop monitor, I can just adjust a window to fit the screen size and see what I'll be looking at soon.
  6. modular thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009
  7. slffl macrumors 65816


    Mar 5, 2003
    Seattle, WA
  8. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    Let's see. Thumbnail, thumbnail, workspace. It's a no-brainer: The 17".

    I'd consider the 15" if it was 1680x1050, but hell will freeze over before Apple updates their toy screens.

    In 2003 I was on a Dell Inspiron 15" with 1680x1050 (it was available with 1920x1200, but that's a tad too hard on the eyes - 147 ppi!). At the time, the PB G4 15" was 1280x854 (LOL) and the 17" was 1440x900 (ROTFL).

    In 2006 I got a Dell Precision 15", still with 1680x1050. That year, Apple finally discovered that people's heads don't explode if you increase the resolution on the 15" a bit, but sadly they didn't dare go further than 1440x900, and they're still stuck there. Adding insult to injury, OS X uses huge jumbo letters for stuff like menus and file names (much bigger than OS text in Windows), so it feels more like a 1280x768 screen than a 1440x900.

    These screens for the visually impaired are the reason why Mac laptops were always a no-go for me. When they added an option for 1920x1200 on the MBP 17" in 2007 they were finally worth considering, and a few days ago I placed an order for my first portable Mac.

    I don't understand why they don't go 1680x1050 on the 15" (129 PPI). The PPI on the 17" is 133 so it's not like the pixels would be too small on the 15".
  9. modular thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009

    oh ok, i may have been mistaken.. let me check it out and i'll update

    looks like it checks out, i'll update the images...

    updated: i've replaced the images in the original post to reflect the correct DPI's for the 13 and 15 inch
  10. eVolcre macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2003
    I agree. I'm cross posting all over the place right now but this post applies here as well ...


    I just got back from the Apple store to help me make the same decision. My current laptop is also a 17" 1st Gen MBP. I love it but like you, it sometimes gets too large to carry around. But, I have traveled all around the world with it over the last 3 years and HAVE taken it to work every day for a year. It's large, but doable. Before I saw them in person I had convinced myself to get the 15" because it seemed more portable. To be honest, the difference isn't that great between the 15" and 17". If I could take the 15" around I can take the 17".

    The other aspect was screen real estate. I've gotten used to having two Safari windows open next to each other or a browser and a Word document. I do a lot of research and writing and this helps me be more efficient. You can't do that on the 15". This is tough to describe without pics but ..

    17": A full browser and a Word document fit next to each other with a little room to spare.

    15": 25% of the browser was hidden behind the document

    13" 40% of the browser was hidden behind the document.

    This is a completely unscientific and subjective approach but it helped me compare.

    My conclusion ... the 15" doesn't cut it for me. It's so close in size to the larger one that its not truly portable. The screen resolution is also too low. If my browser is going to be hidden anyway and I'll be using Expose/Spaces for my workflow, then I may as well drop down to the 13" or the MacBook Air.

    The final aspect is completely subjective. The 'lust factor'. I've realized I don't like the current designs. The black keys and border are generic and don't give me the same 'I wanna buy it' feeling that the old ones did. Keeping that in mind, the 15" is just too blah. Not sexy and portable, not thin and large. The 17" does have some lust factor. Its the thinnest 'large' laptop on the market and the screen is something else! On the other end - I don't like the 13" MBP either. The MBA is something that is unique.

    That's my opinion. Keep in mind that my main consideration is the screen resolution. I haven't decided which way to go yet. All I know is that the 15" is out of consideration. It's either the 17" or one of the smaller ones. The 17" compared to my machine has an incredible screen that does make me want it. I might even keep my current machine. It's being overhauled by Apple and meets my needs. I like the old design. I also couldn't get used to the glass trackpad. It was too hard to push it!

    It's not worth it. The slight difference in size and weight doesn't make it any more portable than the 17". It's going to feel cramped. You're going to have to get used to it and if that's the case, may as well go fully portable and get the 13" Others can chime in on the graphics card etc.


  11. JasonR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    So I just bought a new 17", and I have an iMac 24"

    I like the idea of everything being portable, and thought about using the 17" MBP with 24" LED (instead of the iMac), and the buying a Macbook Pro 13" for hardcore traveling. What do you think?
  12. eVolcre macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2003
    Are you sure the images are accurate? The 13" and 15" look right relative to each other but the 17" in person had more work space than your picture. The text/images were smaller.

    I could be wrong but I had them all lined up next to each other with the exact same webpage/word document open.

  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    This was pretty cool. :)

    It's also why I'd never recommend the base 15" MBP over the high-end 13" MBP. The resolution gains are very very small, and you need to carry around a bigger laptop to get it.
  14. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Footprint size is another thing to consider. I've got a 16.4" laptop which is almost the same size as the 17" MBP. I love the screen -- but don't love how much space this thing takes up on a desk/table/whatever. It's big.
  15. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Thanks for posting these shots they're helpful. I keep going back and forth between the new 13.3" and a refurb last gen 15.4". I've currently got a G4 iMac 17" with 100 ppi (1440x900) resolution, am I correct that stuff will look larger on the 15.4" with 110ppi versus the 13.3" with 113ppi? Thanks.
  16. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    110 ppi and 113 ppi are very close, so things should actually look pretty similar in size. It's just that you'd see more stuff on the 15 than you would on the 13. Does that make sense?
  17. antskip macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    with similar ppi, objects should look similar, as long as each system is set up with same ppi software setting. ppi is hardware. but ppi is often set in software at a different setting. default is often 96ppi or 125ppi (for HD). for example, I have 147ppi hardware with 125ppi software setting. all other things being equal, a bigger screen with equal ppi (in hardware and software) is just a bigger screen, so just more real estate. :)
  18. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    I think you're referring to DPI, not PPI.
  19. dlhuss macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Not a fair comparison. Stretch those 17" browsers to behind the dock and watch the 17" kick the lame 13" and uberlame 15" to the curb!
  20. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lots of personal opinion in here. I think the 17 inch would be huge for daily travel. I just returned a 13 to get the 15 as the two inches makes a LARGE difference in workspace, despite the 1440x900 res. 1680x1050 would be nice yes. But it is still workable. The 13 inch just started feeling like an overgrown netbook. The 15 inch is a good middle ground for me, not too small but still portable. The 17 is something I'd primarily keep on a desk and not carry around.

    But everyone is different.
  21. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    That's what she said.

  22. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2008
    Warsaw, Poland
    I used to have two documents open next to each other on 12", 1024 x 768 screen. It's just the matter of the smallest size you can live with. I'm not saying it's comfortable, but it was fine. If it's possible to do this on that screen with no overlapping, it's surely possible on 15" MBP? I can imagine it would be hard to come down from bigger screen, however. I got used to 22"
    externals and now my workflow includes Expose and Spaces rather than having everything neatly arranged in one space (on 13").
  23. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Yes that makes sense. Based on the OP's screen shots the 110ppi of the 15.4" looks a little bit bigger to these over-the-hill eyes and in my opinion that's a good thing.
  24. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I also just returned 13" MBP and ordered a 15". I have a MacBook Air and use it for everything... the 15" that's on the way will be used mostly on a desk ... I considered the 17" too, the screen is really large and beautiful, but it is for sure bigger and heavier than the 15" ... may when they're both closed the difference doesn't seem to great, but open them up and put them on a desk and the 17" seems like a tank compared to the 15" ...

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