Going from a 15" to a 13" - will it be a big difference?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SteelBlueTJ, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. SteelBlueTJ, Nov 17, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013

    SteelBlueTJ macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I want to get my parents a Macbook for christmas but I am not 100% sure on the size. They don't do anything more than internet browsing, email and iTunes. They currently use my old 15" Powerbook G4 from 2005. It's still running 10.4 Tiger and is very slow by todays standards. Some websites don't even load anymore since Safari can no longer be updated. I have been intending to get them a base 13" Air from the refurb store. That should be a giant step up from the Powerbook. The 15" pro is overkill for them plus its more money than I can spend right now. The Air is even pushing it. But my main concern is going from a 15" screen to a 13". Do you think it would be that drastic of a change? Even though the new MBAir is 8 years newer and will run circles around the old powerbook, just because it is slightly smaller they might think it's a downgrade.
     
  2. MacLC macrumors 6502

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    Oct 18, 2013
    #2
    There are a number of factors including total pixel count and pixel density.
    There were 3 PB models from 2005 according to everymac.com, with 2 resolutions: 1280 x 854 and 1440 x 960.

    The current 13" MBA has 1440x900 resolution.

    On the issue of total pixel count, your parents may notice that more stuff fits on the screen if you had the 1280x854 15" PB. If they have the other PB, they may notice that less fits on the screen top to bottom.

    Either way, things may look slightly smaller on the 13". 9 years ago I borrowed a friend's 15" Powerbook 1280x854) before getting my own 12" Powerbook (1024x768). There was a minor difference in appearance, but a huge difference in weight. 5 1/2 pounds down to 4 1/2 pounds.
    Yet the MBA is only about 3 pounds so your parents will notice a HUGE difference in portability.

    If nothing else your parents will end up carrying the MBA around more and using it more than they did the PowerBook. Not only is it lighter, but the battery power makes it usable longer away from the power cord. Even more than that, the screen should be much better in semi-sunny light. My 12" and my friend's 15" were both extremely hard to see in the bright light or even under a shady tree on a sunny day. The MBA screen is not great, but much better.
     
  3. boomdog macrumors regular

    boomdog

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    #3
    I frequently change laptop at work and use 11", 13", 15" and 17". For me the 17 is best, but only because a full size keyboard fits in with a number pad. The only size which is a real pain to use is the 11". Just isn't big enough to use productively (my opinion).

    I wouldn't have thought they would notice a big difference in screen size, especially as the screen will appear much clearer and the lightness of the device, the battery life and shear speed will distract them away from the smaller screen.

    That is one amazing gift! I'm sure if they really don't like it they could return it for an exchange. Just make sure you ask them to genuinely consider it when you give it to them so they don't feel obliged to keep it.

    The only other options I see are either to try and encourage other siblings/relatives/friends of your parents to contribute to the purchase allowing you to afford the larger screen or to encourage your folks to buy a separate monitor later on to give them the best of both worlds.
     
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #4
    Honestly, the speed difference, let alone OS X platform difference between a semi-modern MacBook, 13" MacBook Air, or 13" MacBook Pro and any 15" PowerBook G4 will alone make up for the 1.9" diagonal screen real estate decrease.
     
  5. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

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    #5
    What a nice gift! But remember that the older one gets, the more difficult it is to read small text. I stopped using my beloved iPad mini for that reason, the small text started giving me a headache. To avoid any disappointment I would give your parents the option of testing it. If you buy it just before you give it, you are still in the 14 day return period.
     
  6. Tfb macrumors member

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    #6
    If this were for you I'd absolutely say go for it, but it's different for the older generations. It's a frustration for sure - I'd love my dad to be able to get a massive mac laptop that he could keep for five years instead of his quasi disposable windows machines that gunk up and frustrate him. But he SO does not need the power and it makes no sense for him to spend the money on the 15".
     
  7. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #7
    Awesome gift! I would say if your parents can afford a larger external screen and have the room for it later, only if they require it, then go for it. I am older and have terrible eyesight. I do have a 13" MBP and have no difficultly reading the screen or working on it. I also have a 27" iMac that I prefer to use though. This is why I make the suggestion of an external screen.

    With the upgrade of the Air there is no way your parents will feel cheated with the smaller screen size. If it was an 11", I think it would be a totally different story. Good luck with your decision. Lucky parents!
     
  8. Bear macrumors G3

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    #8
    One issue they might run in to with the 13" Air is their eyesight.

    Another choice might be to buy a refurbish non-retina 2012 MBPro 15" from Apple.
     
  9. cammyg123 macrumors regular

    cammyg123

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    #9
    Personal Opinion

    Having owned both of the sizes,

    I'd definitely go with the 15 inch display, it's bigger, give you a little bit more room to multitask, and the overall quality of the pixels, really isn't much different.

    I personally feel the 15 inch is more beautiful. But if you don't have the funds, the 13 inch is still a great option.
     
  10. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

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    #10
    I went from a 17" MBP to a 13" MBP without problems, including eyesight. I'm 65. Go for the 13".
     
  11. Bear macrumors G3

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    #11
    Not everyone's eyesight is the same.
     
  12. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Thanks. Yea I think I'm dead set on the 13" Air. Anything more would be overkill for them. Having them get an external display down the road does sound like a good idea, but they keep the laptop on the dining room table 24/7. Their place is very small and they don't have an office room. The laptop is better that way if they have guests over they can still easily move it out of the way. If they had a better place to put it like a designated office, then the base iMac would be the way to go. I even showed my dad a local guy on craigslist was selling a very nice 2010 27" iMac for a good price a few months back. He said he would consider it if he had a proper place to put it.
     
  13. twingo macrumors regular

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    #13
    I would get them the 27" with a wall mount. So they only need room for bluetooth keyboard and mouse at the small desk.
     
  14. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

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    #14
    go for the 13"

    I'ts portable and they have a small place (no office space etc), 13" is still a good size (it's what I use at home), some people make out that 13" is tiny, it's not. Plenty of old people use tablets such as the ipad with no difficulties and this would be at least 3" bigger. Anything bigger/more expensive is overkill and unnecessary in my opinion.
     
  15. GeekGuys macrumors regular

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    #15
    13" would seem more than enough but that is just my preference and everyone is different.

    Rather than getting a new monitor (space, costs etc) I would suggest buy an Apple TV. I assume they have a TV of their own. Use the AppleTV to throw the laptop display onto their main TV screen if they need it bigger.... less cost, no addition space taken up and real easy to do for the old technophobe generation :D:D:D (don't tell them I said that!!)
     
  16. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

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    #16
    That's right - and mine sucks.
     
  17. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #17
    Hey what do you mean by old people? Just kidding. I'm older and have cataracts starting, but can even read an iPhone as long as I enlarge the text a bit. You are right though about the 13". It really is not tiny and is very usable. I have 2 of them. I could have bought either the 15 or 17 but decided the 13 was good, so why spend the extra money.
     
  18. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

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    #18
    haha poorly chosen words! what I meant was older people with presumed worsening vision. I think if you can see a 15" fine then you can see the 13" fine.
     
  19. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #19
    Knew what you meant. Was pulling your leg. My teenage boys remind me all the time I am an "Old People". Appreciate the chuckle man!
     
  20. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Yea I wish Apple offered a cheaper 15" laptop - like a 15" Air. That would be ideal and I'm sure they would sell really well too. Maybe someday.
     
  21. saberahul macrumors 68040

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    #21
    I have many people tell me that but the beauty with the iPad is its pinch and zoom function which rids of that issue. Might be helpful.
     
  22. RVMac1432 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2010
    #22
    15 to 13 ?

    I'm 68. My 15" MacBook Pro dates back a few years. I just purchased a new 13" macbook with retina display, solid state drive and I can't believe what I've been missing. Many of my friends have these "lighter" computers along with IPad's and they range from low 60's to 80's in age. There are those that still won't touch a computer, but not because of eyesight. I also have a iTV device, and a large 20" monitor along with an adapter. I guess I'm saying you can set your parents up with basically any system you want and have few regrets. Go to the store and make comparisons. Remember that weight might play a factor. I hope we are not confusing you.
     

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