Is a 15" laptop too big for taking notes in class?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by naturallight, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. naturallight macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    For those of you in school who use a laptop to take notes in class, what size laptop do you use? How well does it fit your needs? Specifically, if you use a Pro, do you wish you had a smaller computer?

    I'm off to grad school in the fall, and I'm torn between MB and MBP. Since they're nearly the same weight, I think that transporting it to and from class won't be substantially different.

    What worries me is that a 15" laptop will be too big for taking notes in class. But then I notice that the 15" MBP is only 1 inch wider and a half an inch longer than my 14" Compaq. Would those inches really make a difference?

    Ugh, I wish Apple made a 12" Pro.
  2. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    I use my 12'' iBook and it's the perfect size for fitting on those little lecture desks or even on regular desks.

    What are you going to study? If it's not film or graphic design or something where you need a really powerful computer, get the Macbook.
  3. kellah macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2007
    East Lansing, MI
    I'm in school and have found that it's not so much the size (within reason) as much as the weight that bothers me. I used to have a heavy 15" Dell and it sucked. However, I just got a 15" SR MBP and this will be great. 15" is not too big for taking notes. Although a smaller laptop is slightly easier to carry around to class, you'll be happy you got the bigger screen in general. 13" is too small if you get a lot of stuff going on at once, in my opinion anyway.
  4. Roguepirate macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    the 15" is not too bad as long as there is desk space for you to put it on. I've used a dell 14" laptop for my college classes and didn't really find a problem with the small desks, so i figure 15" wouldn't be much different. But if you are wanting to juggle opening a book and paper along with the laptop on the desk, 15" may be too large.
  5. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Small $2 notebook and a pen are really small....and never any battery issues.
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I never really understood the idea of taking notes on a laptop. Its much quicker to write, well it is for me anyhow, and is SO much easier to copy diagrams and formulae using a pen or pencil.
  7. naturallight thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Hey, thanks for all the replies. I'm headed to business school, so I won't *need* a computer with a lot of graphics capabilities. However, a lot of the stats and test-taking software is only for windows, so I will have to run Parallels or Bootcamp. Also, I may be required to use Office 2007 for windows, but I think that Office 2004 is pretty much compatible, so we'll see.

    The MBP seems like a better value when compared to the black MB. Something about paying that premium for the black irks me (yes I know you get a bigger hard drive, but going from 120 to 160 won't make a difference for me.) And no, I don't want a white one.

    As for actually taking the notes, I agree, graphs and charts are way quicker when done by hand. But I type much faster than I write, plus it's easier to reorganize and read later on when my notes are typed vs written. In the classes I've visited, nearly everyone has a laptop.
  8. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    That's why I have a tablet PC, :) . My MBP will be for more creative and powerful stuff.
  9. Trepex macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2007
    Ottawa, Canada
    Dear god yes tablet PCs. Wish I could have afforded one when I was in school!
  10. naturallight thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Another somewhat related question: does the better graphics card in the MBP allow Parallels to run more effectively? Or will Parallels run about the same in both the MB and MBP?
  11. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    Depends on your application.
  12. naturallight thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Probably some stats programs and office 2007.
  13. keenkreations macrumors regular

    May 20, 2005
    Well, from what you are saying, if you do not want a white MacBook, I guess you answered your question. For me, jumping the extra $500 to hit a MPB vs a MB is worth it. Essentially, the MB and MPB is equivalent, besides screen size, graphics cards, and LED-LCD screens. So I guess it comes down to how much you want to pay.
    In my opinion, Parallels (or VMware Fusion) is more RAM intensive than graphics taxing.
  14. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2006
    not sure about grad skool... but it definitely would not fun to use my 15" MBP in a 500-student lecture hall. we are a bit too close to one another and the desks are tiny. i've seen at least 3 students this quarter dropping their laptops during class.

    i don't see the point of taking notes with a laptop either. i often draw figures and highlight important stuff when taking notes, hand is way more flexible.
  15. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    taking notes in class with a laptop isnt too realistic. Often I find people TRY to do this, but then they start multitasking either surfing or chatting and in the end of the class they just end up goofing off.

    The distraction is just too great to pass up and most people will end up not using it as it was intended. I say even if you were able to take your laptop, dont, because in the end you will do something else and not pay attention.

    For me personally I tried doing this with a 12'' PowerBook and I was able to take notes in small classes, but in lecture halls it was hard. I cant imagine taking my 15'' MacBook Pro into a lecture hall.
  16. keenkreations macrumors regular

    May 20, 2005
    I have taken notes in class, so I guess it depends on how you use your laptop. I admit that I have goofed off in class and started browsing the web, but i can run the laptop right on my lap with no problems typing. I guess it also depends on what content you are typing up. Personally, I hate paper, so I try to avoid using and bringing paper with me. (I'm one of those weird people who wishes everything was paperless, but that's me)
  17. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    I end up typing my notes up anyway, so if I can skip the handwriting part by using my laptop in lecture hall, then I do. I've done this with a 15", it's not too bad. It's a little awkward if you're in a crowded spot and your laptop is almost touching the other person's desk.

    What I really want is to take notes on the iPhone! :)
  18. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    I never felt comfortable using my Macbook in a lecture hall, nevermind a 15" MBP.

    To be honest, I don't like taking notes on a laptop anyway. I did it a couple of times then went back pen and paper. It just feels a bit more natural to write rather than type. Plus I think the information goes in more than when you type.
  19. L3X macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2006
    Chesapeake, VA
    Apple is working on Office 2008 which is the 2007 Windows equivalent. It should be released in the fall.

    Also, taking notes with a laptop completely depends on the classes you're taking. If you're taking math/science/engineering classes, you're most likely going to want to use pen/paper. If you're taking business/english/history/law classes, then a laptop should be fine for notes.

    Like everyone has commented on, you will find out what works for you. Definitely figure out how much space you will have though on your desk.
  20. Dynamyk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    The 12' iBook was ideal but I think most people do indeed have 15' laptops so if everyone else is using them you should be fine :)

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