Going to get a Macbook - 13 or 15"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Risco, May 8, 2011.

  1. Risco macrumors 68000


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    OK I have never owned a Mac before. I made a big jump last year and went to laptop ( Asus N61JQ 15.6" ) I was a full on pc gamer / high end pc, so had to go for something with a reasonable graphical grunt in order to not feel to much slowdown gaming wise.

    Now this was perfect for the first few months. However I became more and more depressed about the poor quality screen ( viewing angles and colour reproduction ) and horrendous battery life ( 1.5 hours at most ) I also found I just was not gaming any more as I have both an Xbox 360 and PS3 ( and iPhone :p )

    So I am set on a mac, as it gives both a good screen and the battery life I need. I can't see myself playing games but I want the chance to try out some new ones now and again as the battery life makes it more feasible.

    My concern is the 13" has intergrated graphics, and the resolution is so damn low! I can't understand why the MBA has a higher resolution for the same size? I cannot go without a dvd drive, so MBA is a no go even on refresh.

    Portability is not a massive issue, although it would be handy as I don't drive but ride a motorbike. I guess the thing that puts me off the most from the 13 is the resolution and graphics. Maybe I am answering my own question.

    Also there is the cost issue. Now for sure I spent £1100 on my Asus at the time. So a MBP is not far off at £1500 and on the edge of what I want to spend. I am a EPP member so do get some discount.

    So based on what I said, what should I go for? Also what resolution?
  2. mac00l macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    The real question is, what would you use your MBP for???

    If you are not gaming at all, and you will only watch dvds (which have a resolution of 720 × 480), then you will not perceive any difference between the 13" and 15" aside from the screen size.

    MBP 13" 1280x800 vs Asus 16" 1366x768. That means you get a much better pixel density in the MBP.

    But reading your post, is more than obvious that the 15" is better suited for your needs, you'll find the dedicated graphic cards if not extraordinary, yes quite capable.

    So go for it!!!
  3. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    From what you said, I would recommend the 15. The 13 is an amazing little computer, and it was my first choice. I had one for a week, but I could not get past the graphics. If you're used to playing on high to medium settings then you likely won't be happy. If you only use it to game on occasionally, low to medium settings might not bother you to much. My best advice... If you have a store with good return policy, try out the 13 and see if it meets your needs. If it doesn't then return it and get a 15.

    Also, check YouTube ... They have a few gaming reviews on the 13.
  4. Risco thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    This is the million dollar question. I do not game at all on my laptop, but I am worried I will miss the screen size of my current 15.6" I will be using it for photo's, web browsing and video encoding along with the odd game. I am just a little concerned that the built in gpu on Intel is not going to cut it?

    There are three big draws for me when it comes to Apple. First is customer service, secondly their screens are great and thirdly the battery life. I want to get in a 1 year upgrade cycle with Mac's as they hold their value so well.
  5. tiwizard macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2010
    Don't expect more than 2 hours while gaming, by the way. That goes for the 13" and 15".
  6. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Here's my .02 cents on at least one aspect you mentioned. I ride a motorcycle too (Ninja 500 so not too big a bike really). The 13" just barely fits in my tank bag (granted, this is including the fitted sleeve I have for it, but I would not want to just put it in the bag without some padding - as well as some seperation from the magnets in my tank bag ;) ).

    It does fit a little better in the tailbag I have (That sits on top of saddle bags, yes, I have enough bags to carry a lot on my bike if I really want *grin*). But the tailbag isn't all that practical for everyday commuting so I don't really use it much except for travelling (The tank bag just pops on and off so is great for daily use).

    So in my experience the 13" is better for portability specially when we're talking limited space like motorcycle luggage.

    What you could do is take in your motorcycle luggage and see if the 15" would fit well (tell an employee you just want to see how well it fits. I'm sure they'll let you. And by telling them you are making them aware you aren't trying to steal it. I work retail, that should at least put them at a little ease with you doing that). Cause your luggage might handle it better than mine :) (Though my tankbag is pretty big honestly for a tankbag, I don't have one of this little ones. I bought it to fit shoes, a change of clothes, my lunch and my purse to take to work).

    But... are you going to be happy with a computer that will be left out of some gaming or won't be able to do it at the best graphics (I don't game much on mine. I keep thinking I want to but that is not how I end up using it)? I'd answer that before you make a decision. Mine is great for me, I do want it to have some gaming capability, but I'm not too picky (I mainly wanted to play Sim City and Sims on mine and maybe Fallout so you can see I'm not too picky. My 2007 though was so lame it couldn't even do Sims (at all) or Sim City well and only Fallout cause it was so old).
  7. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Gotta agree. I got a 2010 and the Sims will suck my battery in like 2-4 hours (and I'm sure much more intensive games are far worse).
  8. Bobby Corwen macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    I would save up and get the 17. Both the 15 and 13 are too Small screen wise.
  9. mastaofdisasta macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2011
    I am currently flip flopping between a 15 and a 13. I personally own a 15, and I jacked my bro's 13 just cause. I really do like the portability of the 13 and the fact that it carries a lesser footprint wherever you might go. However, there's no beating the screen size and power of the 15. If I had the opportunity to do my computer purchase over again, I would still go with the 15. Plus the weight between the 13 and the 15 isn't really that big of a difference anyways.
  10. tamvly macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2007
    I just made the switch from a 15 to a 13.

    The weight change is welcome, but I am not enamored with the glossy screen. As I only use the laptop sporadically, the 13 works fine. If I used it as my main system, I'd have to recommend the 15" model.

    Interestingly, the new i5 is actually quite speedy. Add an SSD and it would be a better system that the previous top of the line.
  11. KwanMan macrumors regular

    May 12, 2011
    I have the 13" and gaming on it is certainly amazing for integrated graphics. The new hd3000 really performs much better than you'd think
  12. Internal Fury macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2010
  13. DennyMac, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011

    DennyMac macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2011
    I just bought my first Macbook Pro on Thursday May 12th. I compared the 13 and the 15 in side by side tests while I was in the store. I played with both machines for about 15 minutes each and I went with the 13 inch 2.3 GHz i5 with 320GB HDD and 4 GB ram. Price was not a consideration since I was prepared to spend up to $2000.00 for the machine that I needed.

    I chose the 13 over the 15 because portability was a major concern. I have been using HP and Dell 15 inch laptops for the past 5-6 years and quite frankly they are heavy and bulky beasts as far as I'm concerned. I spend a great deal of time in airports and coffee shops, so battery life was a big concern. I found the smaller screen did not make a big difference for me since I will be using the machine for developing IOS and Android Apps for both the App Store and Google marketplace. I not a gamer so I didn't even consider using the laptop for that purpose.

    Expandability/upgrade was also a concern and the 13 inch Macbook Pro is just as easy to upgrade as the 15 inch.

    I just ordered an OCZ 120GB SSD, 8GB of ram (2X4GB) and the data doubler kit from OWC. I have an extra Western Digital Black 750GB HDD from another laptop that I will be installing in the Optibay with the data doubler kit.

    For me, portability was probably the biggest factor in the decision. If I had intended to use the laptop at home most of the time I probably would have chose the 15, but since this laptop will be used mainly as a road warrior...the smaller footprint was the better choice.

    This is my first experience with an Apple laptop and all I can say is... WOW! It is one fine piece of computer hardware. It will see a lot of use over the next 18-24 months, so I hope that it will prove to be as reliable and trouble free as I would expect it to be.
  14. Risco thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Does anyone have both? I am frustrated looking on youtube, and all you get is people wowing over the looks and feel. I cannot seem to find any comparisons showing how web pages compare when shown on each screen. This would give me a better idea of screen real estate. I also want to see more software reviews, showing apps such as photoshop and encoding, itunes and how well they run.

    If anyone can find a video, let me know.
  15. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    Regarding screen size, I have been pleasantly surprised with web browsing and even Mac Office work (ppt, xls, doc).

    The 13" is really very good given the portability.

    If you need more space, you can always hook up to a monitor in an office or at your desk at home.

    It comes down to graphics, I think. If you are going to game or put demands on your machine on a regular basis, you have to get a better GPU.

    Good luck,
  16. Risco thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Great replies so far guys. Now a quick question, this is for UK users specifically. Has anyone bought from Stormfront? I assume I can still take it to an Apple store if it needs servicing? However does the warranty differ, is it still provided by Apple?

    The reason I ask is there is a stormfront in my town, but the Apple store is at bluewater which is a little bit of a mission to drive to. Plus it makes it impossible to get it home unless my flatmate takes his car!
  17. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    13" MBP + External monitor. Most people don't need to edit photos on the go, so leave the extra weight at home. Casual video encoding = i5. Serious video encoding = i7.

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