Is the MBP 13" screen big enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by palmettoking, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. palmettoking macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2009
    South Carolina
    I realize this may be a slightly petty question, but it is a $200 one to me. I'm entering college this fall and have decided on the MBP line of laptops. I've got it narrowed down to the upper level 13" or the lower level 15". I've played around with both at best buy and for short amounts of time the 13" screen seems good and gives me an extra bit of portability. But I'll be spending long periods looking at the screen next year. Does anyone with the 13" experience eyestrain or fatigue after looking at it a while? Or should I shell out the extra cash and get the 15"? Thanks in advance
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    It depends on the person. After owning a 17" Notebook for years now, I could never go back...Keep playing around with them, only you will really know.
  3. ritsard macrumors regular


    Jun 18, 2009
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I guess it would depend on what matters to you portability or the size of the screen. Personally, I prefer the 15. It is a compromise between the 13 and the 17. If you are in college, I would imagine you would use it to take notes and protability would be really important. You can save up the 200 bucks and just get an extra monitor so you can use that when you are at home or at the dorm.
  4. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    staring at any computer monitor for long periods of time will strain your eyes, that is just the facts of the matter.

    that said, I find my 13" to be more than large enough (pixel wise) for any day-to-day tasks -- even iMovie making!

    remember, you can always hook up the 13" MBP to an external monitor if you need more real estate or start to experience any eye fatigue.
  5. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    I'd go with the 13". For me, portability is what a notebook is all about, and the 15 and 17"-ers out there are just too large to be carried around for long periods of time. Just IMO.
  6. airwalke macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2004
    I've been using a 15-inch screen since the middle part of this decade, but my girlfriend recently got the 13-inch MBP... I was surprised at the size of the screen! Even though the black borders appear to make it artificially larger, I felt like I didn't have nearly the same strain looking at her old 12-inch PowerBook. If you're looking to do some casual gaming and various other tasks, the 13-inch MBP is a GREAT value.

    FWIW, both versions in my experience are EXTREMELY light machines. I noticed the difference immediately between picking up my old 15 inch Powerbook and my new MacBook Pro.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What software will you be using? 13" is to small if the software has a very complex user interface. If you are mostly just entering text then a small screen will work. But 13" is absolutely to small if you are doing any kind of media editing like running Final Cut Pro or Logic. Text editing is a very simple user interface and can work on a small screen.

    IIt also depends on your eyes ad if you can read small type.

    The best setup would be the small 13" screen with a 20" or 24" monitor on your desk.
  8. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I think if you have to ask then you should go with the 15 inch. The 13 inch is a great laptop but I'd end up using it with an external monitor--which would probably be more expensive than just getting the 15.
  9. kipkeston macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2009
    get the 13" and a $200 22" screen for your desk. Like the excellent dell 2209WA (e-ips).
  10. EmielS macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2009
    agree! 13"! you won't regret it.
  11. Karpfish macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2006
    The 13" is the best pick for a college student. I have been using a 15" MBP for the last two years and just got a 13" MBP, and now the 15 feels so clunky. You will be happy next year to be carrying a 13" rather than a 15".
  12. Z06jerry macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    The 13" and the 15" have pretty much the same text size. The 15" has more pixels (desktop space) but the pixel size and dpi is pretty much the same as the 13", there will be no difference in 'eye strain"

    MBP 15" = 1440x900, pixel pitch of 0.231mm (110dpi)
    MBP 13" = 1280x800, pixel pitch of 0.224mm (113dpi)

    MBP 15" = 1440x900 = 1,296,000 pixels
    MBP 13" = 1280x800 = 1,024,000 pixels

    And the text on the 17" MBP is 15% smaller due to it's higher resolution.

    MBP 17" = 1920x1200, pixel pitch of 0.191mm (133dpi)
    MBP 17" = 1920x1200 = 2,304,000
  13. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    15 inch + 24 inch monitor
    But both screens are junk until you get the 17 inch
  14. bonswizzle macrumors member


    Jun 3, 2009
    London, UK
    I have gone with the 13" before starting my postgrad course this year. So far I've test driven it with all the things I'll be doing and it's more than enough! I switched from a 17" Vaio so I'm used to a pretty large space, but after a few minutes my old laptop started to look a little ridiculous really, too big for what I need, I'm sure you'll be more than happy with the 13". Plus I'd probably recommend getting a bigger screen if you feel so inclined, I'm thinking of doing so for images/video editing etc.
  15. DrunkenMunky macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Im getting a 15 inch... for portability.

    In my room, im going to have an external 22".
  16. CalMin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2007
    This is an issue of personal preference. I have a 12" Powerbook and find my 13" MBP too big!
  17. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    the 13" is fine... keep in mind that I ran protools on my 12" PB..... with an external monitor :)
  18. mcs37 macrumors regular


    Mar 2, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I'm writing this now on a new 13" MBP (with 128GB SSD to boot). Love it. I spend 90% of my time using it attached to a 22" or bigger LCD, and I don't use it as a desktop replacement. However at the moment I'm typing this on my lap and it's still wonderful -- lightweight, beautiful, backlit keys, and no more hard disk spinning around.

    As most people said, it's personal preference. If you want a desktop replacement that spends 90% of its time on a desktop, I'd say go 15" or 17".
  19. Minimoose 360 macrumors 65816

    Minimoose 360

    Jul 7, 2008
    17" MBP FTW.

    It's really not that big. (for the screen size)
  20. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    I personally recommend that if you need the portability, get an external and hook it up to the 13". Personally I travel a lot on business (hence I need portability) but I work a lot with presentations, on 1024x768 projectors. Hence the 1280x800 is a bit small for me... lol. That's why I went 15". As I have to have my data with me everywhere I go (my line of work brings me around the world) I just have my laptop and when I actually am home, I hook it up to my 24" ACD (granted it could be any screen, it just so happens that mine is the ACD)
  21. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Pretty much any claim of the 13" being "more portable" than the 15" is pretty ridiculous. Sure the 15" is bigger, but I've never been on a plane/train using my laptop and thought "Gosh, this thing is impossible to use in this confined space."
  22. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    Yes but it IS harder. I can only get a proper viewing angle on my 15" if I'm on the business class section
  23. butterfly0fdoom macrumors 6502a

    Oct 17, 2007
    Camp Snoopy
    I echo the 13" + external sentiments; I've got that setup and it's awesome.
  24. Alasta macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2005
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Which Monitor?

    For those of you who are using your Macbook Pros with an external monitor, are you using an Apple display or do cheaper off-brand monitors perform okay?

    I'm planning to buy a 13" Macbook Pro later this year and I'm currently trying to decide whether to stick with my current 17" LG Flatron, upgrade it, or do away with the external monitor altogether. From reading this thread my gut feeling is that keeping the Flatron in service is the best option as it's quite a nice display but I would be interested in what others think.
  25. justaregularjoe macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2008
    Wow. I hope to hacve the exact same :D

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