How portable is a 15 inch MBP?

andrewtm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2012
160
18
I'm going to college in the next couple of months and I was wondering if the 15 Inch rMBP is portable enough to carry around in a backpack? I currently have a mid-2009 MBP and it's apparently heavier than the 15 inch rMBP now!

I would definitely want the MBA for all of its features and portability but the lack of retina really throws me off. I know most college students typically get 13 inch laptops, but I've had one for 5 years now and I'd like a change.
 

unknownfps

macrumors member
Jun 3, 2013
46
0
I'm going to college in the next couple of months and I was wondering if the 15 Inch rMBP is portable enough to carry around in a backpack? I currently have a mid-2009 MBP and it's apparently heavier than the 15 inch rMBP now!

I would definitely want the MBA for all of its features and portability but the lack of retina really throws me off. I know most college students typically get 13 inch laptops, but I've had one for 5 years now and I'd like a change.
Unless dGPU and larger screen is a must, get the 13" rMBP. rMBP gives you a fresh laptop experience so you won't feel like you're getting another "same" laptop.

I went on the 15" rMBP route, but it was unnecessarily big for me. The portability was good but 13" is better.

If only Apple made 14" rMBP, I would be so happy.
 

Yakibomb

macrumors 6502
May 13, 2014
413
60
Cape Town
I'm going to college in the next couple of months and I was wondering if the 15 Inch rMBP is portable enough to carry around in a backpack? I currently have a mid-2009 MBP and it's apparently heavier than the 15 inch rMBP now!

I would definitely want the MBA for all of its features and portability but the lack of retina really throws me off. I know most college students typically get 13 inch laptops, but I've had one for 5 years now and I'd like a change.
I recently moved from a 13" MBP to the 15" rMBP and don't find it anymore inconvenient, it's both thinner and lighter so I don't notice it much in my backpack. I really like the screen real estate you gain, its great for procrastinating during study breaks :D
 

andrewtm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2012
160
18
Unless dGPU and larger screen is a must, get the 13" rMBP. rMBP gives you a fresh laptop experience so you won't feel like you're getting another "same" laptop.

I went on the 15" rMBP route, but it was unnecessarily big for me. The portability was good but 13" is better.

If only Apple made 14" rMBP, I would be so happy.
I was just thinking since I've had mine for 5 years I would want my new one to feel like a different computer, and it seems the 13" rMBP is essentially the same on the outside. Hopefully the speakers and such are more powerful but overall it would look like the same computer. That's why I would prefer either a larger screen size or a different type of mac, you know?

----------

I recently moved from a 13" MBP to the 15" rMBP and don't find it anymore inconvenient, it's both thinner and lighter so I don't notice it much in my backpack. I really like the screen real estate you gain, its great for procrastinating during study breaks :D
Haha I think I'm going to be in the same boat. The current 15" rMBP is LIGHTER than my 13" from 2009; at 4.4 lbs it doesn't seem too heavy. But compared with the ~3 lb MBA, and the 3.4 lb 13 rMBP its relatively heavy. I would just be carrying it in my backpack around campus to the library and stuff, so I think the screen size would be worth sacrificing portability
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
8
Switzerland
If you don't suffer from a medical condition that makes you super weak, there is no problem at all with carrying a 15'' rMBP around on a daily basis. I used to carry a 17'' MBP on a daily basis. The 15'' rMBP is much lighter, on par with a non-retina 13'', so no problem at all.

Reasons to go for a smaller machine would be:
- limited desk space: Depends on where and how you want to use it. Never a problem for me
- price/loss risk. Sometimes you want to go for a beer after class or something similar, and I much prefer having a $1k machine in my bag than a $2k machine. Probably my paranoia :)
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
If you don't suffer from a medical condition that makes you super weak, there is no problem at all with carrying a 15'' rMBP around on a daily basis. I used to carry a 17'' MBP on a daily basis. The 15'' rMBP is much lighter, on par with a non-retina 13'', so no problem at all.

Reasons to go for a smaller machine would be:
- limited desk space: Depends on where and how you want to use it. Never a problem for me
- price/loss risk. Sometimes you want to go for a beer after class or something similar, and I much prefer having a $1k machine in my bag than a $2k machine. Probably my paranoia :)
Yep. If you remember, the 12" powerbook was 4.6 lbs. The retina 15" mbp is also 4.6 lbs. Amazing stuff.

Proof: http://support.apple.com/kb/sp48
 

andrewtm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2012
160
18
If you don't suffer from a medical condition that makes you super weak, there is no problem at all with carrying a 15'' rMBP around on a daily basis. I used to carry a 17'' MBP on a daily basis. The 15'' rMBP is much lighter, on par with a non-retina 13'', so no problem at all.

Reasons to go for a smaller machine would be:
- limited desk space: Depends on where and how you want to use it. Never a problem for me
- price/loss risk. Sometimes you want to go for a beer after class or something similar, and I much prefer having a $1k machine in my bag than a $2k machine. Probably my paranoia :)
Great to know! I also have a 24" monitor I usually connect with to my 13" and I feel like with a 15" I would eliminate the need for a monitor since the screen isn't too small or too big
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,256
2,080
USA
I have owned both the 13" and the 15"

I went with the 13" 2.6/8/256 over the 15" 2.6/16/512/750M.

The reason why is b/c initially I thought I could use the 15" as my sole gaming device but decided to save the money and use an Xbox One for gaming instead.

There is definitely a big difference in terms of portability.

The 13" feels like you are carrying a book for class, just thinner than most. You don't need a backpack or anything to put it in.

If you want to put it in a backpack it is like putting your Biology book in there, just thinner and lighter.

The 13" is great for carrying. The 15" is great for power usage.

If you need the dGPU and the quad core processor then you'll have to get the 15"

But if a 2.8 GHz i7 processor and 16GB RAM is enough for you on the 13" I'd go with that.

In the end, while some people will say "What's an extra pound" or "What's a couple inches more to carry if you aren't weak" but when you actually handle the two there really is a difference that you feel.

I suggest trying both or going to an Apple store or Best Buy and playing with them for awhile. Not just one visit but go 4 or 5 times. Only then will you get a good idea.
 
Last edited:

andrewtm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2012
160
18
I have owned both the 13" and the 15"

I went with the 13" 2.6/8/256 over the 15" 2.6/16/512/750M.

The reason why is b/c initially I thought I could use the 15" as my sole gaming device but decided to save the money and use an Xbox One for gaming instead.

There is definitely a big difference in terms of portability.

The 13" feels like you are carrying a book for class, just thinner than most. You don't need a backpack or anything to put it in.

If you want to put it in a backpack it is like putting your Biology book in there, just thinner and lighter.

The 13" is great for carrying. The 15" is great for power usage.

If you need the dGPU and the quad core processor then you'll have to get the 15"

But if a 2.8 GHz i7 processor and 16GB RAM is enough for you on the 13" I'd go with that.

In the end, while some people will say "What's an extra pound" or "What's a couple inches more to carry if you aren't weak" but when you actually handle the two there really is a difference that you feel.

I suggest trying both or going to an Apple store or Best Buy and playing with them for awhile. Not just one visit but go 4 or 5 times. Only then will you get a good idea.
Thanks for the input! I'm leaning towards the 15" because I feel like I would be gaming a lot, not hardcore gaming, just casual. I feel that with the quad-core the performance would be much better than the dual. I currently have a dual core and its alright, sometimes laggy. And regarding portability, there probably is a difference, but nothing too major that I couldn't handle, I hope
 

wlossw

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2012
1,065
953
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Thanks for the input! I'm leaning towards the 15" because I feel like I would be gaming a lot, not hardcore gaming, just casual. I feel that with the quad-core the performance would be much better than the dual. I currently have a dual core and its alright, sometimes laggy. And regarding portability, there probably is a difference, but nothing too major that I couldn't handle, I hope
get the 15" and invest in a nice bag. I suggest something by Briggs & Riley. With a good bag, your payload will seem smaller: best of both worlds.
 

Sifinity

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2014
322
1
Texas
im also in your same situation . idk if im going to need that quad core though ; if there are any computer engineering major , would you recommend that quad core or will CAD programs be fine with the dual core 13" . Don't go off the money aspect . i just need to know is the quad core going to be really that helpful for engineering programs or is there no difference with the dual core ; if i do it will be 750m 15" or the maxed out 13"
 

EX1127

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2009
300
120
Louisiana
im also in your same situation . idk if im going to need that quad core though ; if there are any computer engineering major , would you recommend that quad core or will CAD programs be fine with the dual core 13" . Don't go off the money aspect . i just need to know is the quad core going to be really that helpful for engineering programs or is there no difference with the dual core ; if i do it will be 750m 15" or the maxed out 13"
I carried a 15" 2008 mbp for 4 1/2 years of engineering school was the best decision I made. The more power you have the better because you will most likely need to use VM's for some of the software that you will be using. The 15" would be the way to go unless you get a second screen for when your not in the classroom. If you don't want to get the fully maxed 15 Id suggest spending a little extra on the processor and/or hard drive since ram is the easiest/cheaper to upgrade aftermarket.

As for the what to carry in I used a North Face Recon worked great used the front mesh pocket to store the cords and had plenty of room for school work.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,256
2,080
USA
Thanks for the input! I'm leaning towards the 15" because I feel like I would be gaming a lot, not hardcore gaming, just casual. I feel that with the quad-core the performance would be much better than the dual. I currently have a dual core and its alright, sometimes laggy. And regarding portability, there probably is a difference, but nothing too major that I couldn't handle, I hope
In that case, get a case for it. Kuzy from Amazon is good. Pearl is better.

A bag isn't enough because sooner or later you are going to get dings and scratches on it no matter how careful you are.
 

gadgetgirl85

macrumors 68040
Mar 24, 2006
3,588
121
If you can afford it a bookbook case keeps it nice and protected. It also looks like a book!
 

yangchewren

macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2012
215
1
I was just thinking since I've had mine for 5 years I would want my new one to feel like a different computer, and it seems the 13" rMBP is essentially the same on the outside. Hopefully the speakers and such are more powerful but overall it would look like the same computer. That's why I would prefer either a larger screen size or a different type of mac, you know?

Having been an owner of a 13" MB/MBP/MBA for 7 years, the shift to a 15" rMBP late last year was greatly appreciated - the lack of cramped-ness and the ability to edit keynotes with inspector as a proper sidebar.



Haha I think I'm going to be in the same boat. The current 15" rMBP is LIGHTER than my 13" from 2009; at 4.4 lbs it doesn't seem too heavy. But compared with the ~3 lb MBA, and the 3.4 lb 13 rMBP its relatively heavy. I would just be carrying it in my backpack around campus to the library and stuff, so I think the screen size would be worth sacrificing portability
I carry my laptop in a briefcase, so weight is concentrated only on one hand (and mainly pulling on the wrist) and move around with easy daily while on campus. I think you won't notice much difference in mobility since you'll have it in a backpack
 

gluckett

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2009
199
100
im also in your same situation . idk if im going to need that quad core though ; if there are any computer engineering major , would you recommend that quad core or will CAD programs be fine with the dual core 13" . Don't go off the money aspect . i just need to know is the quad core going to be really that helpful for engineering programs or is there no difference with the dual core ; if i do it will be 750m 15" or the maxed out 13"
Not a computer engineering major, but I do make CAD software for a living. Quad cores would definitely be recommended over dual cores. Not sure how deep into CAD usage you will get, but the more power you have the better. A lot of the software is written to take advantage of multiple cores. In addition, even if your CAD program isn't using all the cores, your system will still be able to use the remaining cores to run your other software while the CAD software is doing its thing.
 

andrewtm

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2012
160
18
Not a computer engineering major, but I do make CAD software for a living. Quad cores would definitely be recommended over dual cores. Not sure how deep into CAD usage you will get, but the more power you have the better. A lot of the software is written to take advantage of multiple cores. In addition, even if your CAD program isn't using all the cores, your system will still be able to use the remaining cores to run your other software while the CAD software is doing its thing.
That's actually very interesting. I am currently an exploratory major but I think I will end up in some type of computer related career, whether it be software developing or CAD. What exactly is your job/major? I'm interested because CAD was always something I've been fascinated with.
 

gluckett

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2009
199
100
That's actually very interesting. I am currently an exploratory major but I think I will end up in some type of computer related career, whether it be software developing or CAD. What exactly is your job/major? I'm interested because CAD was always something I've been fascinated with.

My major was computer science. I've been a software developer on a commercial CAD product for nearly 20 years now.
 

Carlv33

macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2014
1
0
Had my retina MacBook Pro for 2 years and never had an issue with portability. Is slightly more cumbersome than say a MacBook Air but not exactly heavy.
 

BlackbookGuy

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2012
131
2
I thought it was totally portable, until one day I took my 13 inch retina pro… you can do it, but I sure notice the extra weight.
 

Agent-P

macrumors 68030
Dec 5, 2009
2,502
23
The Tri-State Area
I'm currently in college and a few months back I switched from a 13" rMBP to a 15" rMBP. Sure, I noticed a difference in the weight/portability however the increased screen size is totally worth it to me.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,256
2,080
USA
I'm currently in college and a few months back I switched from a 13" rMBP to a 15" rMBP. Sure, I noticed a difference in the weight/portability however the increased screen size is totally worth it to me.
The 15" is one of those machines that's so beautiful if you know how to use it, that the extra weight wouldn't matter at all to the right user.

If you use the functionality of the 15" like the dGPU, quad core processor, extra screen real estate, then portability is nothing. It's totally worth the extra weight.

But if you never benefit from the dGPU, quad core processor, and aren't watching a lot of movies or running multiple programs on that gorgeous 15" display, the 13 inches' functionality is enough and the extra portability is what you should be looking to take advantage of.
 
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