is the 13" MBP too small?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SPNarwhal, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. SPNarwhal macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    i've been thinking of downgrading from my 17" to a 13"
    the 17" is great, when you actually sit down and start using it.
    but to carry around, kindof sucks. not because it's too heavy, just too wide.
    but is the 13" too small? personal opinions for those who own it?

    i'm going to go to the apple store and try it out for a little while,
    but even then. extensive use in a home environment and such is a lot different than using it at the apple store.

    so, owners of 13". do you love it? or do you wish you went with 15" or something
  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The 15" is best of both worlds. At the last 15" high-resolution is.

    To me the 13" is underpowered, again for me.
  3. Kiddo86 macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2008

    Personally, I can't imagine having anything other than my 17" now that I have experienced it. I've owned a 13", 15", and 17" and IMO carrying around the 17" is no problem at all... but if you want a smaller unit for travel, go 15" HR. The transition from 1920x1200 to 1280x800 will really kill ya since that's what you're used to... I can't even stand to look at 1440x900 anymore... but the 1680x1050 HR 15" wont feel NEARLY as much like a screen loss to you. As always, finding someone that owns the units your looking into or travelling to the nearest apple store to get some hands-on experience before deciding is well worth the effort when making these decisions.
  4. showkati macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    Cupertino, California
    I had the same feelings as you did. I owned a 13" for a year and it started to feel way to small for me. Luckily apple's resale value is incredible and i was able to use my 13" to pay for over 60% of the 15". Never been happier with the decision
  5. SPNarwhal thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    the thing is,
    i don't use my 17" all that much. mostly just for recording music on.
    and i am getting a brand new replacement i5 for it, so i could just sell it brand new and then downgrade to a smaller size and pocket the money.

    i don't use it as a primary computer, just to record music on,
    so first off, i don't need the power that the 17" gives.
    and all i really use is garage band anyway, so the size isn't going to be that big of a deal.

    the only thing i'm imagining is that in the future if i want a powerful laptop to do stuff with (play games, probably) it will suck to not have the option.
    but I play to purchase an iMac so that could do all that i need it to in terms of hard usage anyway. so sticking with the 17" is pretty out the window.

    13" should probably do me good, but i want some real world experienced opinions on it. i mean, i could easily just get the 15" instead.

    another thing with the 13" is that i could just buy a used "older" model and it wouldn't be that different than the new ones they're selling today.

    thenagain, i could always buy a used older model of the 15" too.
    i don't need all the power for what i do.
    recording music on garage band doesn't do that much.
  6. SPNarwhal thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    p.s: are the speakers better quality on the bigger builds?
    i know that on the 13" they're not visible grills like on the 15 and 17"
    does that make a difference?
    or a drastic difference?

    and the new models got sub woofers, right?
    does that include the new 13?
  7. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Great question!
    Display size is such a personal issue, as is the rest of the laptop. I've got all three. And I've used the 13.3" (which is one of the std sizes for other makes too) for years and find it a very nice size unless the extra size of a 15 or 17 is truly needed. Personally after extensive experience with these three, I greatly prefer the 15. And I carry it every day.
  8. Wehrwolf macrumors 6502


    May 21, 2009
  9. hypermog macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2009
    I have a powerful i7 desktop, so the portability of the 13" is it's greatest asset to me, and I really like it for that reason.
  10. UKBeast macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2010
    get 13inch one, i have got a 15inch hp now and god knows i hate carrying it.
  11. MTD's Mac macrumors regular

    MTD's Mac

    Mar 18, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I just got the updated 13" MBP, and the size is perfect for me. I was used to using a 21.5" 1080p external monitor, but switching between screens or just using the laptop out and about is easy with a few small, almost automatic adjustments (like resizing windows and remembering not to keep a lot of junk minimized in the dock).

    Yeah, sound is nothing special, but just carry some headphones or plug in to a friend's speakers to share video/audio.

    My opinion: go with the 13" if you can, portability + 10 hr. battery life (actually fluctuates between 8 and 12 hrs. for me so far).
  12. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Agreed. The 15" hi-res is the best option if mobility is important. The OP is asking for a lot of pain, going all the way from a 17" to a 13" screen.
  13. avediswolf macrumors regular


    Jul 23, 2008
    I had a 17" (Non Mac) Seems too much to carry around.
    My wife has a 13" MacBook and the dang thing is tiny.
    15" is perfect. Not too small, easy to lug around.
  14. SPNarwhal thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Right, but it's not going from a 17" Primary computer screen to a 13" Primary computer screen.
    When I bought my 17" I was planning on moving across the country, and only taking carry ons. (So that was a desktop replacement)
    didn't happen though, and i barely ever ever ever use my laptop now.
    Right now, I am on my PC even. I use my laptop pretty much just as a portable journal of my music, and I use it to record my music on. not very much use.
    I think 13" would be enough for me.
    But are the speakers good? I mean, good compared to the other models, not good compared to a bose sound system.
  15. Hackint0sh macrumors member


    Apr 12, 2010
    I have the 13" and really like it. I used to record a LOT on garage band on my 15". As much as I love the 13", I think you will miss the extra horsepower in garage band. I haven't recorded on the 13" yet, so unfortunately I can't comment on how well GB performs on it.

    One thing for sure. Make sure you get the FASTEST hard drive possible if you go with the 13".
  16. SPNarwhal thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    does garage band really use that much power?

    i would assume it's just a simple program, and doesn't do much.
    i wouldn't expect to see a difference between garage band on the 13" compared to the 15"
  17. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    I like the 13". When I'm on the move, it is easy to carry and the display is good enough. When I'm at home or work I just plug in an external monitor and use it like a desktop.
  18. tdream macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2009
  19. RetepNamenots macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2009
    Ask me a month ago, and I would say that I wouldn't be able to live without my 17", simply because of it's resolution.

    However the new high-res 15" is great; if it had been out a year ago I would have bought that instead.

    For me, 1440x900 or whatever the resolution is, is nearly not enough.
  20. TiberiusXavier macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    I love my 13.3" MBP (2009 model) and wish I can get the newer one.

    I had two heavy 17" laptops before (Toshiba and Dell). They were nice computers too, but it is too heavy to carry every day for me. The 15" is nice machine but it is too much of a compromise to me. I was looking for either 13" for portability or 17" for a mobile desktop. The portability comes at the cost of increased performance, but it does everything I need. I have a gaming PC for the hardcore stuff.
  21. jungeliest macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2010
    13" is the best, if it's not your only computer. It gets really hot, since it has only one fan, and it gets noisy too, therefore you cannot work on it for hours if you are into music production. It is like a really pricey Moleskin really. The 17" I'm working on nowadays is perfect for the job, too bad it's not mine.

    I'm hearing rumors about iPad being able to use USB sound-cards. Keep the i5 17" and buy that instead if that is true.
  22. boylerman macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2010
    It's all going to boil down to preference, but Ive grown really attached to the 13" size. Over the past five years, I've had a 17" a 15", a 13", a 9" and a 7" computer, and for me, 13" is the sweetspot. I'm currently on my 3rd 13" UniBody, and I don't see myself going bigger. When I'm at the office, I hook it to my 23" LCD, and still maintain the ability to be ultra portable.

    The argument of it not being powerful is a joke perpetuated by people who don't understand computer hardware. It's a powerful computer with an extraordinary battery life, and more than capable or running anything you throw at it.
  23. King Apple macrumors regular

    King Apple

    Mar 17, 2010
    i personally like the 15"
    still very portable. There is an obvious increase in the weight.
    And who wants c2d anyway/
  24. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    My OSX 'netbook' is an old Powerbook 12" rig. It does email and browsing just fine and I can still use it for some presentations as well. When I travel internationally, it usually is my travel companion. I never bought a Macbook Air...I found the price vs. performance ratio on those to be just ridiculous.

    So I likely have a different opinion than most. No, I don't think the 13" is too small. I think its not small enough versus what it could be. I think the Macbook Pro 13" _SHOULD_ be the Macbook Air part of Apple's lineup, and the Air retired. I was really hoping the 13" MBP would have evolved by now to remove the superdrive (for size/weight) but make it an external option, I find the graphics fine (but an upgrade would have been nice) and the CPU/RAM/storage options to be fine. I just want it exactly the dimensions of the old 12" line of Macbooks. To me that would be my perfect travel companion. Minimal to zero compromises on performance (as with the Air) but in a smaller package.

    Unfortunately, I think the 13" lives in a strange segment of Apples overall portable lineup. Its almost as if they aren't sure about retiring the Macbook line in total, but don't want to put the 13" in a position to compete with the 'executive' class Macbook Air. I think they need to rationalize their product set. But that's just me.

    I would have bought a 13" this time around instead of another 15" if they'd just made it a tad bit smaller and kept the horsepower in place.
  25. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    I personally think the 13" is great. I've owened a Macbook before and noe I've upgraded to a Pro. 13" is grrat for lugging around and the screen is big enough for everyday use, but you might want more screen real estate if you're a creative professional.

    The video card on the 13" is powerful enough if you're not interested in gaming.

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