It's decision time, choosing between 3 nice notebooks...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by entatlrg, Nov 16, 2009.


Which would you choose?

  1. 15" MacBook Pro

    31 vote(s)
  2. MacBook Air

    4 vote(s)
  3. 13" MacBook Pro

    25 vote(s)
  1. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I'm undecided on which notebook and screen size is best or me.

    I have a Mac Pro Desktop, but I don't use it often. It gets used as a server, for downloads, back ups, and storage. I'm able to work most days from home I don't like to work at a desk, my work space of choice is a couch, kitchen table, recliner, or outdoors. I'm not creative at a desk.... feels too much like work :)

    The workload on the machine won't be too heavy, by far the majority of my time is spent on emailing, light design work with simple vector software, some photo editing, video watching and editing.

    Price is no concern, the main thing is I want a nice computer that I'll be comfortable using all day every day. I've had some time with all three machines listed below, still I can't decide which one.

    Here's my considerations:

    15" MacBook Pro
    The major plus here is the nice 15" screen, there's no other reason I'd buy it. If I bought the 15" MBP I'd buy the high end one, whether I needed the power or not, perhaps in the future I will. I'd love to have the larger screen for sure, but I can't decide if the extra weight, size on desk or in a bag is worth it.

    Mac Book Air
    It's a wow computer for sure. Has enough power to do what I need most of the time and I could of course sit at my desk and use the Mac Pro for heavier tasks.

    I like everything about the Air except the keyboard, since its thin the key travel distance is shorter than the MBP's therefore you can tend to punch the keys and it's not as comfortable or cushioned feeling as the MBP's.

    The fan tends to run often or louder I understand, but it's not a deal breaker. Thin, light, reasonably powerful, it's tempting.

    13" MacBook Pro

    I've read here some people chose this one because of the price. But, aside from price I think people choose it because it's a good compromise between all the features want. A powerful notebook yet compact in size.

    I like the screen size of the 15" MBP, I like how light the Air is on my lap, it's fast with the ssd, if it only came in a 15" version with greater distance in the key travel I'd be all over it, and finally, I like the 13" MBP as well, lot's of power and easy to handle.

    With notebooks as nice as these three it hard to make the final decision. I appreciate all your feedback and I'll post back which one I end up choosing and note how it's going.

    Which would you choose and why?
  2. thunderboltspro macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2009
    macbook pro 15 sounds more appealing.
    Its just about the right size for power and comfort.
    It sounds like you will be multi-tasking so the air might be a bit underpowered.

    depends if you think the extra two inchs is worth to you.
  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I'm confused. You have all this "Office Mac Pro, dual 24" ACD's| Couch 15" MBP, 2.8/256ssd |Portable MacBook Air, 1.86, 128ssd | iPhone 3G S⃣ 32gb TC 1tb", and you still need another computer? At any rate, go with the 15. Speed, power, portability.

  4. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    No no ... I own the company, we buy Mac's for all our staff ... that's gives me the luxury to use any computer. I'm down to deciding on 'one notebook' to handle all my tasks.

    Syncing as good as it is, I still prefer to work from one computer.

  5. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Since I'm going to be staring at the screen for many hours a day I agree on the 15" MacBook Pro ... higher resolution, larger screen = less strain on eyes, right?

    The other option I've thought about is the 13" MacBook Pro and hook it up to an ACD. You can buy those monitor arms that attach to all kinds of things so I could conceivably use a large external monitor anywhere, even the couch :)

    My friend has a 24" monitor arm so he can use it at his couch with the monitor right in front of him and he just swings it away when not using it. Like me, he's also doesn't like working from a desk.

    Plugging and unplugging from an ACD isn't too inconvenient and that would give a real large monitor instead of a 15" to stare at all day.

    The idea is if you're going to be looking and working in front of a screen all day 'bigger is better', right? (At least up to a point of course, 24-30 inches).

    I'm thinking maybe:
    - the 15" MBP on it's own, or
    - MacBook Air with ACD, or
    - 13" MBP with ACD.

    Thanks again for the input.
  6. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    +1 for the MBP

    but since you don't need that much power you can also buy AIR...its an awesome machine...

    whatever you buy make sure you buy apple care with it...

  7. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Keeping in mind I'm going to hook up to a 24" Apple Cinema Display whenever possible which will be 90% of the time I'm thinking maybe the 15" screen isn't so important now.

    Plus, anywhere I'll take the notebook when I have no access to the ACD most times I'd probably rather carry less weight and smaller form factor than have a screen 2 inches bigger.

    If I'm not going to follow through and hook up to the 24" display like I plan to then I'd be better off with a 15" screen.

    How would you set it up?
  8. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I'm thinking the 13" MBP and 24" ACD may be the best option.

    That means I'll really miss the allure of the cool Air, and I'll miss the 15" MBP screen size too when I'm using away from the ACD.

    Have to make compromises I suppose and the 13" MBP / ACD set up seems like the wisest idea so far.
  9. eleven59 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2008
    ive been in same situation. i think the 13" mbp is the best bet. can always use an ext monitor like you say.

    wish i had a mac pro for downloading, storage, server, encoding, etc!!
  10. Techhie macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    considering the MP doesn't get much use as it is, I say the 15" MBP and one of those overpriced 24"ers you already own would go well together.
  11. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    No, it just means more space for your icons, palettes and windows.
  12. Hands Sandon macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2008
    Just get the stunning 17" and forget about the OK, but low resolution, ACD.
  13. Corrupt.Tears macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2009
    Buy a 13 inch if your carrying it around everyday (like me)

    Buy a 15 inch if your NOT going to carry it around everyday.
  14. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Do you guys usually hook up to an external monitor when you're at work or home?
  15. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yeah. Got a 24" LCD with monitor arm connected to my 17" MBP.
  16. Bbusyb macrumors member


    Sep 11, 2009
    Notts, UK / Alex, Egypt
    I'll say go for the 13" MBP for the extra mobility.

    As you mentioned, you don't like working at a desk, and While you may be comfortable Forking on the Coach with a ACD hooked up for extra screen real estate, Its very liberating to be able to toss you Laptop into a bag and go elsewhere and set up shop.

    I switched to Using 12", 13" laptops a few years ago as I found that anything bigger was too unwieldy to use on the move. While the extra couple of inches is nice when you are at home or have space, it rapidly becomes a problem when you have very narrow space (Cattle Class) or Table space is limited.

    I do everything on my 13" MP, including Video Editing, and while the extra screen would be nice when doing so, for 80% of my work the screen suffices. An additional monitor would be nice for those times, and its on the list of things to get wen I'm a little more settled in one place.
  17. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Decision made - MacBook Pro 2.53, 4gb RAM, 256ssd + ACD

    Thanks, I've decided to go with the 13" MBP (with ACD) for my main machine and my Mac Pro will be used for downloads, server, storage and when I get the urge to work at my desk.

    The 15" MBP and the MacBook Air will go to my staff.

    I'm sure going to miss the Air, it had enough power to do what I need to do, except the fans running so often bothered me, as does the short travel distance in the keyboard, otherwise it's great. I'm still tempted to make it work and get used to the keyboard and the fans running ... but when hooked up to the ACD you can tell it's working hard and the keyboard on this MBP is second to none .... so a little more weight for a lot more substance ... power, ports, keyboard etc.

    The 15" MBP is a GREAT machine too, but side by side I didn't notice the screen to be clearer or fonts larger / easier to read than the 13".

    The big bold screen looks really nice but when I hide the dock and status bar on my 13" I get lots of screen real estate. Soon I'll have a 24" ACD in my den on an ARM and I'll hook the 13" into that when I'm working/reading for hours. Nothing else about the 15" appealed to me, comparing to the 13" it's heavy, bulky, takes up a lot of space on a desk or in a bag ... so if you're hooking up to an external monitor often the 13" MBP is the way to go I think.... and that's probably why it's Apple's number 1 selling notebook right now :)

    Thanks everyone for the input, it helped.
  18. nick1516 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2008
    I'd get the 15", it has the extra power, and it's still fairly easy to carry and move around.
    Edit: didn't read past first post, sorry about the late post.
  19. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Feb 1, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    I wouldn't want to carry around a laptop larger than 13". I've done it before and found it to be too bulky. And I wouldn't buy the underpowered, overpriced Air under any circumstances.
  20. Gatteau macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2009
    13-inch is just too small. Even if you have an external monitor, you'll still sometimes want to use it w/o the monitor and you'll realize it's too small.

    That's my opinion anyway.
  21. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    I don't think you can beat the 13" Pro for its combination of portability and power. It'll beat the Air at most any task, while being almost as portable. It's also more expandable, and has the newer battery, which is a big deal to people like me. :)
  22. bigjnyc macrumors 603


    Apr 10, 2008
    congrats on your decision it seemed like the 13" solution was your preferred choice from the beginning since it gave you a nice balance.
    I was faced with a similar dilemma a while back when I moved to my new condo which is two floors, I sold my iMac and wanted something i can use around the house. I chose the 15" MBP and I am so glad I did... I absolutely love it. i have an external monitor but could probably count on one hand the times I've hooked up my laptop to use it. It's just so simple to sit on the couch or lay in bed and use the MBP. As for the extra weight and size I highly doubt you'll feel the difference unless you are really scrawny with the arms of a 12 year old girl lol. I dont travel alot but when i do the extra little bit of weight doesnt bother me one bit. Being a very light user non-professional I dont use all the extra power but it's good to have it just in case. So anyhow I know you already made your decision but just thought I'd write down my experience in case anyone else comes in here with the same dilemma.
  23. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Provided I hook up to my 24" ACD when I'm home then I think I made the right choice with the 13".

    Although if I find myself using it too often without hooking up to the ACD then I'll wish I'd went with the 15". Going to give the 13" and Monitor a good try for a week or two ... if no go then I'll have to steal the 15" back from my staff :)
  24. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
  25. entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    yes, a lot of people do love their new 13" MBP's ... Apple advertises it as their most popular notebook now.

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