If you have used both sizes (15" and 17") extensively in past year, please respond

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Luba, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    I am looking to get a laptop to carry to work and use because I rather use a Mac than the PCs at work. As a bonus I'd also carry my laptop to Starbucks to do work, surf, and perhaps do some amateur video editing. I travel a couple of times a year (at most 3 times) and also plan on carrying it during those times. I have ethernet in my office and throughout the building there's WiFi.

    So most of the time I am carrying it from my house to the car, then from the parking lot to my office, so I'd say I'd be carrying it for 15 minutes per day. When traveling, who knows long I'd have to carry it . . . perhaps 90 minutes waiting in line, walking to get luggage, etc.

    Some say, using the 17" in economy is impossible on plane. The extra inch all-round makes it that bulky? Some say the extra inch depth makes typing more comfortable while some say it makes it less comfortable. Using both at the Apple store, not sure what they are talking about.

    Any comments/insights from users of both sizes for extended periods of time, most appreciated!
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    The higher resolution on the 17" is to die for IMHO. I've never tried taking one out on a plane, however.
  3. eyekyu macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2009
    im not sure what airline you're flying with, but with every plane i've been on using a 15" is almost impossible in economy let alone the 17"
  4. Luba thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Never used any laptop on a plane, so both 15" and 17" are both un-usable in economy on an airplane.

    I would get either the 15" i7 High Res with anti-glare or the 17" i5 with anti-glare . . . same price! Or go all-out and get 17" i7 for $200 more.

    I like how the 17 has ExpressCard and an extra USB. I had planned on using the ExpressCard for an eSATA external HD when doing my video editing, say at Starbucks, but then learned ExpressCard doesn't put out any electrical power which would mean another cord to the the eSATA external. Sudddenly, video editing at Starbucks didn't seem as convenient and fun with all those cords. But still having the ExpressCard slot is quite a bonus, and it's the same price as the 15" i7. I also figure I'd only hit the limits of the i7 when video editing anyway, so not sure how important having i7 verus i5.
  5. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I use both in our lab. I've taken both on trips. Neither one is ideal for flying coach, especially if the person in front of you wants to recline. An iPad would be more ideal in that scenario. Or you can upgrade to business class or first class.

    If your main use is to take it to the office, the 17" isn't going to be a drag. Plus it has the ExpressCard slot that could come in handy for professional accessories (like SATA host adapter or wireless broadband or Compact Flash Card reading or added FireWire 800 ports). Also in the past, the 17" had a more efficient heat-sink and fan assembly than the 15" model -- so the CPU and GPU runs cooler.

    Some feel, like Goldie Locks vistiing the Three Bears, the 13" seems to small. The 17" seems to big. The 15" seems just right.
  6. Luba thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Some say the extra inch depth on 17 makes typing more comfortable (forearm more comfortable?) while some say it makes it less comfortable. What's your opinion?

    Would a cooler CPU and GPU mean more battery life?
  7. underblu macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2010
    I just went from a MBP 15 to the new MBP i7 17" with a matte screen. Honestly, the extra resolution and added screen real estate is fantastic.

    I do like the comparative compactness of the 15 but so far I'm digging the 17. I'll see how it goes over the next week or so.
  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The 17" is impossible to use in coach on a plane. Business class you might, but then again for the price I could buy something else… maybe a better meal.

    The 17" also takes up a but much of the Starbucks tables, so it's also difficult.

    The 17" however is pretty light and slim, so carrying it around in bag or just holding it bare in your arm is fine. I used to do that all the time.

    Now I have a 15"; for me this size is perfect. Still it's hard to use on a plane, but some craft it is possible in coach. Works for my Starbucks lifestyle as well. Easy to carry and the new high-resolution display is really an added bonus for me.
  9. Luba thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Sounds like the 17 is not really usable (stable) on your lap, that it must be on a table/desk.

    Was also thinking of using the 17 while lying in bed, probably too big to keep stable??

    So using it at a conference where a talk is typically given in an auditorium, would the 17 be too wide to put in my lap? Sometimes I go to conferences where the seats are as wide as movie theatre seats with arms on both sides. And sometimes the conferences are at universities where the seats have fold-out mini tables. Obviously the 17 won't fit on those fold-out tables, but how about the 15, would the 15 fit?
  10. The ORly owl macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2009
    My old 15" PC was bigger and heavier than the 17" MBP and I had no problem using it on my lap. Never took a plane with it, though.
    Sure, if you're used to a 13" or 15" MBP, it WILL feel bigger but it's just a matter of habit, really.
  11. gazwas macrumors member


    Aug 11, 2008
    I have the i7 17" and use it on my lap every day without problem.

    Using a 15" or a 17" on a plane would be very difficult and a more suited to the smaller 13" or better still an iPad.

    For your video editing the 17" and its very high resolution screen is a dream. I use mine for photography and its beautiful. However for anything else like web, email, pages/numbers documents the resolution is just too damn high.

    Its OK to use for short periods of time but gets tiring very quickly. People who but these machines for anything other than graphics, 3D, photography/video are just daft as the super high resolution is aimed at those markets and not casual web bloggers (got to have the best and most expensive type).

    As a work machine IMO the 15" is a much better solution.
  12. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
    The keyboards of the 15" and 17" are the same size and are of the same distance from the screen. That means the extra depth is below the keyboard, i.e., the track-pad area.

    So I'd say the extra depth would make it less comfortable, actually, if you're the kind that rests your forearms on your laptop. I mean, because of the extra depth, more of the laptop comes under your forearm and with the declining angle of your arms, it can mean more pressure.

    And with the Macbook Pros having sharp edges, it can be quite painful.

    The GPU for the 15" and 17" is the same so no battery life difference there, but for the i7 and i5 question, I really don't think there will be a practically significant difference. Sure if you ran a video encode that ran longer than either could last on battery, the i7 will die sooner but it would probably have encoded more than the i5.
  13. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    thats an opinion. i find the 17 high res hard too read because the text is very small. i have owned both 17 and 15 in the last year.

    Other than the small text I prefer the 17 screen over the 15. Now I have a 15 it is just easier to handle.

    Re typing I found it hard and unconfortable on the 17.
  14. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    As you can see from the above comments, there simply is no clear answer. It is really up to you. Then again, this is not exactly a win-lose scenario. They're both excellent machines, after all. I prefer to use my 17" MBP because of its bigger screen, but if I were to head out to Starbucks for just some casual browsing, I would grab its smaller brother. If using the computer in tight quarters is important to you, get the 15" MBP with a hi-res screen.
  15. fenman macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2009
    There isnt a whole lot of real life difference between the two in terms of portability. The only situation I can think of is being in a cramped coach class airline seat. Although now that we have to drive everywhere because of the Volcano that is no longer an issue either.

    17" screen is much better for film viewing and picture editing in my opinion. I was buying my first 17 when the only option on the 15 was a miserable 1440x900, but even the new HD is not a real subsitute - 17 has both higher DPI and area, so still much larger desktop.
  16. rmitchell248 macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2010
    Liebsthal, Germany
    Who ever told you that is on crack

    I just so happened to have my camera linked to my computer while reading this comment....


    The 17 is FAR more useable on my lap than even my 13'' was
  17. Mirabella macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    I used to use a 15" TiBook for several years. I've been using a 17" MacBook Pro for the last few years. I haven't noticed any increased difficulty at all with carrying the small bit of extra size and weight. I have no trouble using the 17" MBP on my lap. The greater distance from the front edge to the keyboard does perhaps make it slightly less comfortable, but it's a very nominal issue.

    I'm a bit surprised to read all of these comments about difficulty using the 17" when flying coach. I've done that many times, and had no trouble at all. None.
  18. The Final Cut macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2009
    Not sure what these people are talking about the 17" is fine for plane use, it will hang off the tray table a tad, but it's ok. I have used one on virgin america, which is notorious for being cramped. I love it when people say 15" would be alright, but 17" is too much, its like a inch longer, seriously. I think they just are too scared not take up an inch of space that is not thiers or embrassed to use a large laptop in public. Come one... I have seen people use speakers instead of headphones on buses and planes before. Not to metion people using those massive 18.4" gaming bricks in coach. You will be fine, if your brave, don't underestimate that tray table.

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