just looking for opinions on 13" mbp vs 15" mbp

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jimmyhii, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. jimmyhii macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm starting my course in university later this year, and have been thinking about getting a mbp for school. I have a really tough time deciding between the 15" and 13", not really for the laptops themselves but for the money i could save to get other stuff..

    If i get the 15", that's about all the money i'll have for my laptop - the RAM/HDD upgrades and peripherals will have to wait (i'm a student, so that might be a while). But the 15" means i have a decent gpu and can play the some games (i usually play FPS-es). I love taking photos, so i do quite a bit of photoshop editing - another aspect that the faster specs will help in. And the 15" has the high-res screen option!!

    If i get the 13", i'll have enough money left for a monitor (to make up for screen size - i can't imagine working on the puny 13" screen only!), 8GB RAM, a faster HDD, and a bunch of peripherals (good mouse, keyboard, etc.). However, the GPU wouldn't really give me much options in gaming (but i could probably live without that). One downside is that some of the peripherals (monitor) would only be useful at home..

    What do you guys think - is a compromise on specs worth it? one more thing is that this MBP is going to replace my old PC - which has 'died', so i'll be doing everything on it. based on current models, the difference between the low end 13" and low end 15" is almost $1000 here in Singapore! Would just like to hear your opinions! :) thanks in advance!
     
  2. snowwing macrumors member

    snowwing

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    #2
    I made the switch (from Windows) to a Macbook pro 13" a year and a half ago. It is my only computer. At home I have it hooked up to a 22" monitor. I have not owned a 15 or a 17.

    I have updated the RAM & hard drive (very easy). I don't use it for gaming. I do run Windows XP on a virtual machine.

    I absolutely love the size of the 13. When I'm on the road it takes me just a few minutes to get used to the smaller screen but it works out just fine.

    Good Luck with your decision.
    Ron
     
  3. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #3
    if you do a lot of photoshopping i recommend the 15", the 4g ram and 500gb hard drive that come with the mac by default should last you a long time.
     
  4. jimmyhii thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #4
    thanks for the replies guys, right now im more inclined to get the 15" (mainly due to the screen and gpu), but the notion of getting a 13" then upgrading to 8GB RAM, possibly SSD (if i can find a good deal - a 7200rpm hdd isnt bad either) is really tempting haha. anyway i hope when apple releases an update for the mbp my choice will be easier :D
     
  5. Built macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    For me...because I travel with my MBP...13" is the sweet spot for portability.
     
  6. jimmyhii thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #6
    yeah, i have to agree the 13" is really portable. but i think the sweet spot is in 14" notebooks! 13" screen is a bit small for me..
     
  7. great high wolf macrumors regular

    great high wolf

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #7
    The 13" Pro has got to be about the best you can get in terms of portability. It's very compact, but also full-featured enough to be a main machine. If you're going to carry your laptop on your back all day, every day, the 13" is probably the laptop for you.

    But then again, I own the 15", and it's not as bad as you'd think in terms of portability. It's certainly not excessively heavy, nor is it excessively bulky, and it gives you the precious extra screen real estate, especially if you go for the hi-res display option. If you're going to take your laptop in in the morning, and home in the evening, the 15" is worth considering.
     
  8. dtblaze macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
  9. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #9
    It is a bit small, but I don't even notice that anymore. It has roughly the same resolution as most 14" notebooks, so you don't miss out on screen real estate. I love mine, and I have a fairly inexpensive, but nice monitor that I plug into at my desk, which is quite convenient.
     
  10. JKK photography macrumors regular

    JKK photography

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    #10
    I travel, and I absolutely, completely, irrevocably love my MBP 13". I found the 15" to be a little too big, and for the amount of money it costs I could upgrade the HDD to an SSD. Everything simply flies... Actually, that may be an understatement. It's crazy how fast everything is now (that isn't to say that the stock HDD is slow by any stretch of the imagination; instead, everything is just that much faster).
     
  11. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    New York
    #11
    I really love the footprint on my 13", but I've found the guts aren't quite up to snuff for doing audio projects. So I'm considering a jump to a 15". Wish I could get a 2.66ghz i7 in a 13". I'd be in heaven.
     
  12. jimmyhii thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #12
    it would probably be sufficient for school, but gaming and stuff would take a big hit. I guess the main deterrent for me in getting a 13" is that it won't be able to handle everything smoothly, especially hobbies like editing (both photos and videos), animation (2d and 3d), and gaming!! (i love gaming, btw haha).

    oh i have a question on the 15" mbp, if i get the hi-res option, does it have a noticeable negative impact on battery life?
     
  13. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    #13
    For gaming and photo editing, the 15" is a no brainer. I am only a hobby photographer but I do some editing on my 15" screen, it's decent and could be better but I wouldn't swap a bigger screen for reduced performance.

    Frankly, if you're even considering the 13", I'd go for the 13" MacBook and spend the difference between the MB and the MBP on useful extras.
     
  14. leftywamumonkey macrumors 6502a

    leftywamumonkey

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #14
    Go for the 15", it will benefit you in the long run, unless you hate lugging it around, but it seems as though this will be your primary computer. So just buy the 15" and buy the peripherals later on. You can always buy a monitor, mouse, etc. later but you cannot always return the Macbook and ask for an upgrade (without dishing out more money).
     
  15. Cool Runnings macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Sweden
    #15
    If later this year mens fall 2011 I would have waited with the purchase, at least if you are favoring the 13" MBP that should get a good boost with i-core processor and probably graphics before back to school 2011. Even the 15" should get a speedbump and better graphics.

    Now, the C2D isn't a bad processor, look at the new Air that flies, much thanks tho the flash/SSD-drive. But C2D is at it's last leg.

    If gaming is important you should opt for the 15" or wait for the upgrade of the MBP-line.
     
  16. jimmyhii thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #16
    yeah, later meaning i start in august :) no doubt i'm waiting for the mbp refresh! just wanted to know what i want first! anyway i think i gotta agree with leftywamumonkey, since i will be using this for some time (hopefully through 4 years of school!), getting a higher spec-ed one makes more sense..
     
  17. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #17
    I have a 15" but I know many with smaller notebooks and I still wouldn't get them.
    A 13" is more convenient on a lap maybe but put in a bag and carrying it around the size of the 15" makes no difference in my opinion. My bag at least would still be the same size if I owned a 13" as I need to stuff other stuff into it too and it also is a standard size.

    The problem of the 13" is productivity I just cannot deal with the smaller screen or I don't want to. I want to be able to read the stuff on screen and no super high dpi like a Sony Z but enough space to everything.

    For programming I think the extra screen real estate is extremely useful. For writing papers alone it probably makes little difference. Using an external monitor does not help if you want to be productive on the campus. At home I still attach a second montior to the 15" MBP but on the campus or somewhere away form the desk the 15" is more useful imo.
     
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #18
    I have a 15" but I know many with smaller notebooks and I still wouldn't get them.
    A 13" is more convenient on a lap maybe but put in a bag and carrying it around the size of the 15" makes no difference in my opinion. My bag at least would still be the same size if I owned a 13" as I need to stuff other stuff into it too and it also is a standard size.

    The problem of the 13" is productivity I just cannot deal with the smaller screen or I don't want to. I want to be able to read the stuff on screen and no super high dpi like a Sony Z but enough space to everything.

    For programming I think the extra screen real estate is extremely useful. For writing papers alone it probably makes little difference. Using an external monitor does not help if you want to be productive on the campus. At home I still attach a second montior to the 15" MBP but on the campus or somewhere away form the desk the 15" is more useful imo.
     
  19. croooow macrumors 65816

    croooow

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    #19
    My opinion is to get a 15" (which I did)

    I never understood the arguments about portability except in cases where the space you have to actually use the notebook is extremely limited (like on an airplane or very small school desk, a place where it would be much better to use an 11" MacBook Air!) The weight and size when closed is almost the same.

    Cost is the only real thing going against the 15" but you do get a lot more power. If you don't need all that power that I would go with a 13" MBP, if you don't need the power or don't have a need to store that much on the laptop itself and space will be limited for much of the time you use it then I would go with a MacBook Air.
     
  20. skasol macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    #20
    I will also say get the 15" it's got a nicer screen and it is a very good compromise btw the two sizes. I will eventually buy an Air for traveling but this is my baby right now.

    Good luck. If you do get the 15", get the High resolution screen, it's that good. good luck
     
  21. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #21
    The best model to go with is the 15" with the hi-resolution antiglare matte display (1680x1050). It provides a good amount of screen space to get work done and it looks absolutely gorgeous. I have compared them all, even the 17", and the 15" hi-resolution antiglare display is the best of all worlds, the best MacBook Pro display to get. The resolution is sharp (not like the low-res 13") and the pixel density does not make it difficult on the eyes (like the 17"). The 1680x1050 is the ideal resolution for mobile work, and the 15" is a good-sized screen to get.

    You will not be disappointed. The 15" 2.8GHz i7 MacBook Pro with hi-resolution antiglare screen will be my next laptop purchase if I decide to get now and not hold off for the Sandy Bridge models later this year. Yes, I like it that much!

    -Ward
     
  22. jimmyhii thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #22
    thanks for all your replies guys! i think i've more or less got my mind set on the 15" :) but somehow i don't like the aluminium bezel on the matte version haha =x i guess to each his own.. i wish i could take a closer look at the matte version at the mac stores, i don't see them anywhere! (in Singapore, btw)
     
  23. sydenham macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    #23
    My 2 cents. I think you should go for the 13, or maybe even a Macbook Air. If you will be dragging the laptop around daily to classes, you are going to be happy with the lighter weight, and smaller footprint. Laptops aren't the optimal gaming machines. Pounding the keys playing games can't be a good thing. Maybe get a 13 (I think you should wait a month) and the monitor, and an XBox or Used PC or something for the games. The laptop will have to last you a few years I am guessing, so just use it for your school work/ internet... I am pretty sure you will look very cool pulling a Macbook Air out of your bag in class.. The Air seems to be the future of Apple, so I think it will still be nice to have in a few years time. It may not be the fastest thing, but with the amazing battery life I think it will serve you well.
     
  24. Merkyworks macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #24
    i basically just got done with college and used a 13" MBP for the last 2 years. My MBP had a C2D 2.0GHz, 2GB ram, 250GB HD and ran Snow Leopard. I took it with me everyday, i carried it in a messenger style bag and had it on in almost all my classes. I thought that the 13" was super portable and easy to carry, it had a small foot print so when working on a desk the space it took up was very small so that was good. It was more than capable in running most of the applications that I needed it to.

    However there were some downfalls to the 13"
    1. the screen size was ok when on the go but when at a desk i found myself wanting more screen real estate.
    2.i did notice the integrated GPU when using iPhoto, iMove and photoshop. im not a computer gamer so i cant tell you about that.
    3. when converting video formats the CPU became very taxed so other programs suffered.

    At the time i bought my 13" I didn't have the money to buy a 15" even though thats what I really wanted. Now that I have graduated and have more money I will be getting a 15" MBP because I want a more powerful laptop, well that I my 13" just recently got stolen so I kind of have to by a new laptop.

    If I was in your shoes and had the money to get a 15" I would, its going to be the best computer performance wise. Dont let people with 13" MBP's say that the integrated GPU is decent enough ect., it "OK" at best. If you can wait then I would wait and see what the new MBP's are going to be spec'd with. hey maybe Apple will make the 13" more powerful and then it will suit all your needs.
     

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