Macbook or Macbook Pro for writing?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by drtabbat, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. drtabbat macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2016
    So, I am trying to decide between the macbook and the new macbook pro. Here are the basics:

    I am a professional writer. I mainly use my laptop for writing, which usually means having final draft, microsoft word, iTunes and safari all running at the same time. I need to be able to store music and photos, but I do not do any heavy editing or programming.

    Battery life is not really much of a consideration, as I usually leave my laptop plugged in while working. Screen size is also not really an issue between the two options, as I am not interested in a 15" macbook pro. I am currently working off a 2009 13" macbook pro, so would go for another 13". Is there a huge difference between the 13" pro and the 12" macbook? It seems the macbook's keyboard is more cramped and that slightly concerns me (though I have not personally tested it out yet). Portability is somewhat of a consideration, but I've been hauling my old pro around so I don't think it would make a huge difference to me at this point.

    Storage/memory is important -- I do use some external hard drives/the cloud, but I like having my files on my laptop, ready to go when I need them.

    A concern I have with the macbook is the lack of ports. I like to charge my phone via my laptop while working, but it has ONE port, which I would be using to charge the laptop itself most of the time. Yes, I realize there are accessories to buy for this, but would find it irritating to haul around adaptors for something so simple. Another concern is having the latest and greatest hardware. My fear is regretting purchasing the macbook to find it feels outdated in a year or two -- since my laptop is such a huge part of my work, I need it to last more than a few years.

    So, to sum up, I feel like for my basic, daily usage, the macbook makes more sense, but the port problems, possible keyboard/sizing issue and hardware make me lean towards the macbook pro. Any advice? Ideally would like to purchase something at the end of the year. Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    I went from a 15 inch MBP to the MacBook; I'm already used to the screen size. My wife has a 13 inch MBP and they are very similar in size.

    The keyboard is full size on the MacBook, they just really shrunk the case around it but it is the same size as the other. The keys themselves will not travel as far down on a press as they do with the MacBook you have now. It will take some getting used to.

    The portability of it is fantastic. The iPhone charger is so small, why not carry around both, or get the dongle that allows both? Yes, it is one more thing to carry, but they really are pretty small.

    I had the luxury of going the store and seeing various models side-by-side, I thought the 12 would be too small, it wasn't and that is what I ended up with. I'm not saying it will be right for you, but it was for me.
  3. BeatCrazy macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2011
    You should probably test them both out in-store. The lightness of the 12" model may encourage you to write in places/ways you never thought before.
  4. Ace2617 macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2016
    I'm also a writer. When I was upgrading from my MacBook Air earlier this year, I wanted a 13" rMBP, but also considered the MacBook due to its thinness. But when I went to an Apple store to check it out, I just didn't like the keyboard. I'm sure I would've adapted to it, but the 2015 MBP keyboard was much better, and the screen is a bit bigger. I love the look of the MacBook, but ultimately I wasn't sold on the keyboard. As BeatCrazy said, I also suggest you check out the MacBook in a store to see if it would work for you.
  5. fisherking macrumors 603


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    i do a lot of writing on my 12" MB (as well as some photo editing); generally running pages or final draft, 12-15 pages open in safari; mail, calendar, notes, messages... plus itunes or spotify. it's been amazing, really, and am happy.

    i work often at my local coffeebar, and never bring the AC cable, the battery life is really good. but i have this (which could work for you, or something like it:

    the funny thing for me is... now, when i go back to my 2015 macbook pro (for mostly audio work), THAT keyboard seems weird. give it a day, a week... and you'll be fine on the MB...
  6. HardBall macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    The 12" has been my daily driver for a while. I'm a computer engineer, so I probably use the keyboard about as much as you do. A lot of ssh terminals, IDE, some lightweight ISA-level simulators, and sometimes lightweight VLSI tools. It's about perfect for my needs, as I have remote systems that I can readily access for the heavy lifting.

    The KB took about 2 weeks to get used to; I actually can type on there faster now than on my previous rMBP 13". The throw is shallow, you just need to adapt to not pounding on the keyboarding, but release as soon as you feel the click. I think vast majority of the people will get very used to it in 2-3 weeks. It feels better for my wrist, less tiring overall. The one area that is not ideal is actually fingertips; your finger-tips, the area just below your nails will feel somewhat sore after a long typing session as compared to the traditional KBs; so there are good and bad.

    Battery life is great. If you don't use high-throughput applications that pin CPU cores to high, then by far the largest drain would be the screen. As long as you turn the screen on at reasonable brightness (I use about 30%, which is plenty bright for most indoors use, maybe upto 50% outdoors); it would easily last you through a work-day.

    I would highly recommend that you pick up one of the higher end last gen models for that purpose, much more bang for the buck in terms of storage.

    I have never really missed ports; then I again, everything I have is either on a remote host, or in the cloud. So your mileage may vary. I would just buy one of those multi-port adaptors with USB-C pass-through, and put it on the desk that you use the most often; I'm sure it won't be an issue most of the time. At worse, you carry a multi-port adaptor in your bag, there some quite decent ones for a reasonable price, e.g.:

    Yeah, for writing, 12" MB definitely makes the most sense; as long as you are OK with the KB.
  7. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2015
    Land of Smiles
    I think given your modest requirements and that both systems will require dongles having the extra ports will be of little consequence and similar for battery life there would be only a small advantage with the base MBP

    I think your biggest concern is of the 2 which KB is the best for your needs, both have relatively short travel compared to previous MBP/MBA etc the new MBP is slightly longer travel but many have noted it as being somewhat louder/clicky

    Additionally depending on your typing posture the MBP reach over the larger trackpad my also be less comfortable for you

    If you can live with the rMB KB I think the portability will trump many other aspects that are relatively neutral for your usage and the $ savings can be put in to larger SSD that has a higher priority.
  8. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    I have to wonder what typing on these "butterfly" keyboards will do to hands and fingers over a long period of time?
  9. fisherking macrumors 603


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    as opposed to what? you could ask the same thing of the previous macbook pro keyboards. the best protection for your hands and fingers would be to not type at all (and wear steel gloves the rest of the time...)
  10. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I think you might be surprised at how much lighter and smaller the rMB is compared to what you are carrying around now. It's a full 1.5lbs lighter, which with the rMB at just 2lbs means its nearly half the weight. It's past that tipping point where the rMB virtually disappears into the weight of many bags, and as such, you might be tempted to carry it with you just about everywhere.

    The keyboards will take some adapting to - they are no longer soft and squishy like the old models - they are now precise with a pleasant click at actuation, but they require a lighter touch to take advantage of them. Otherwise they will feel very hard.

    Either way though you really can't go wrong.
  11. fisherking macrumors 603


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    it took me several days to adapt to the MB keyboard, and now love it. the weird thing is now when i work on my (late 2015) macbook pro.. and have to (re)adapt to that keyboard. my fingers get confused... :eek:
  12. Silvestru Hosszu macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2016
    It really depends on your usage pattern. I do have the base m3 but this is NOT my only laptop. I got it for mobility primary. If mobility won't matter I certainly would opt for the 15'' mbp or if I were to be forced to choose just one laptop it certainly would be the 13'' mbp which offer the best balance.

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