Laptop for grad classes... 13 or 15?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by brendu, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    So im a grad student and my old iBook just isnt cutting it anymore.. im planning on getting a refurb macbook pro, i just cant decide between the 15 inch ubmbp with removable battery, or the 13 inch ubmbp with non removable 7 hour battery....

    I really like the thought of the 15 and i guess im wondering if anyone who has a 15 thinks its either too heavy or just not necessary over the 13 when actually traveling with it daily.

    technically either system will work for me and i know that so i really want to know if the weight / screen real estate is worth $300?
  2. Antowns macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2009
    Just got a 13.3 white MacBook and my girlfriends using it for University. She loves how its easier to carry around and it fits into her bag. If you're like her and you're going to University/study most of the time then it may be more ideal to get the 13 inch. Obviously if you're not that bothered about it and you can afford it the 15 inch one would be a nicer experience and it saves you upgrading later if you get fed up ;)
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I have a 15" MBP and use it for grad classes. I really like the bigger screen. But you should be fine with either one.
  4. Cybbe macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2004
    You've listed the three relevant factors: screen real estate, portability and price. Some might add performance, but my guess is that it won't be important in your case.

    I have the 13", mainly due to costs and portability. I value that more than increased resolution and screen size. This is individual, so you just need to figure it out yourself.
  5. snakesqzns macrumors regular


    Apr 26, 2007
    I wouldn't buy anything with a glossy screen, especially if I might use it outside of a dimly lit room. For this reason alone I'd go with the 15".
  6. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    13" MBP -- it's great for taking to classes or hitting the library, coffee shop, bar, park bench, or wherever you prefer.

    Use the money saved to get an external monitor for those late night writing sessions. A similar setup has worked great for me over the past two years as I was completing my graduate degree.
  7. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    I'd go with 15 personally, but only because Brits are generally bad looking and it can block off the world better.
  8. brendu thread starter macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    forgot to say i already have an imac that im going to keep if i get the 13 and possibly sell if i get the 15....

    startin to think maybe the 13 makes more sense, but i really want the 15..
  9. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
  10. mmbo macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2008
    i got the 13" as a gift and i love it!! it seems small but its not that bad.
    i like the 15" screen more just because it is bigger but it weighs ~5.5lbs more. way to heavy to carry and travel around IMO
  11. MrFrump macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2008
    Are you coming from a 12" ibook? I went from the 12" ibook to the 13" MBP and it sounds funny to say but the MBP screen seems so much larger to me its ridiculous. I'm in grad school as well and portability and cost are everything to me so I went with the 13. Good luck with your choice.
  12. Worthy.Of.Ed macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2008
    I can relate to your situation. I used to have a 15" Powerbook that I used for college. When it came time to upgrade, I bought the 24" iMac. Then about a year after that, my Powerbook pretty much gave out. I was going back to school so I also wanted a laptop. I chose to keep my iMac, and get the 13", as opposed to selling my iMac and getting a 15" (or even possible the 17").

    From my experience, keeping the iMac and getting the 13" is the perfect combination. If you have an iMac at home, performance on the laptop isn't really an issue. As far as screen real estate, I was easily able to have two word processing windows open, or a word processor and a browser, or various other combinations. Screen real estate has never been a problem for me personally. And finally as for portability, the 15" is fine to haul around. I did that for two years. But the 13" definitely wins out here. I found that desk/lap/bag real estate was more of an issue, and having the 13" was definitely a relief. It fits everywhere, perfectly.

    My vote is definitely keep the iMac and go for the 13". Plus they're suuper good looking!
  13. Moocher macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2008
    NE Atlanta area
    I like the suggestion of using a 13" MBP with an external monitor at home. You can get a 19" or larger inexpensively. This give you better portability and a better-than-a-15"MBP display at home. If you don't need the MBP, think of the white one for even less money.

    If I was in grad school again that's what I'd do. Unless you are in engineering, architecture, or something that would really benefit from the extra 2" away from home.

  14. macbanda macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I was in the same predicament and decided for the 13". Price and portability is what helped in my decision.

    I teach College and I bring my laptop with me for presentations, movies, or to visit websites and the portability of my computer is excellent. Also, when you travel, it is the perfect size/weight. When I used to carry my 15", it was difficult to watch a movie when the person in front of you reclines. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with the 13" if price is an issue. By the way, I would say over 60% of my students use the 13" in class.
  15. o2xygen macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2009
    Get the 13inch and a cheap external screen. Thats what I did and its so handy, I didnt need the power because I use Mac Pros at school, and the 13inch is perfect for portability. Having the extra screen real estate at home is also great for watching movies and playing the odd game of C&C generals.
  16. kmaute macrumors 6502


    Oct 5, 2008
    What's your program? I have a SR MBP and it was 10x the computer that I realistically needed for my dissertation, even as it contained some rather rigorous statistical analysis and MC simulation. I find the 15" MBP to be the perfect size, although I'm on the big side (6'6"). The 13" would be good for classes, however, working on a data set or something of that nature might be a bit tedious. I would go with the 13" and then a large monitor (perhaps the 24" ACD) for serious business.
  17. TRAG macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2009
    Louisiana, USA
  18. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    I simply prefer the 13, but that's all personal preference.
  19. twombles62 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Definitely go with the 13. If you're lugging it around, the 15 will quickly become too heavy to be worth it. I have a 13 and it's heavy enough as it is with books and things in my backpack.
  20. brendu thread starter macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    thanks for the comments guys... just picked up the 13" went with a new one because for 100 more i got the free ipod touch (after rebate) and im really happy with it...

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