MacBook Pro 13” or 15”

Zefferus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
5
3
Hi guys,

I need some advise on the models to buy, currently I only aim at the MacBook Pro 13 Touch Bar base model with 8G ram and 256ssd and the 15 “ base model with 16G ram and 256g ssd. 2018 13” actually my favorite but I am worried about the 8G ram and a shorter battery time compare with 15” 2018 version. And I also don’t want cumstimozdd order online. So only 2 choise left for me.
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
What will you use it for?

In my opinion, the 13" is currently hard to recommend. If you really need good performance, either multi-core or gpu, you're better off with the 15", that is if you can afford it.

If you plan to use it for light tasks then the new MacBook Air would be a better purchase coming it at $400 less.
 

darkmatter343

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
125
96
You can get a 13" Pro with 16GB at the Apple store, but I think it's the top spec i7, 16gb, 1TB 13" and sells for $2800... so even more than the 15". The base model 15" is probably your best bet if you really want 16GB. Do you need 16GB? It depends really on what you plan on using the laptop for, because OSX is so efficient, 8GB might work for you and it'll be plenty fast for a long time. That being said, 16GB is always good to have if you plan on holding onto the laptop longterm, increases it's resale value, and will give you more headroom if you plan on changing to a more heavy workflow in the future.
 

Zefferus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
5
3
Many thx for your reply, may I get some more input on the battery lifetime compare between 13” and 15”, does 15” last longer in normal lite work?
[doublepost=1542686115][/doublepost]
What will you use it for?

In my opinion, the 13" is currently hard to recommend. If you really need good performance, either multi-core or gpu, you're better off with the 15", that is if you can afford it.

If you plan to use it for light tasks then the new MacBook Air would be a better purchase coming it at $400 less.
I want to run a parallel desktop for Win 10 and normally based on Office Suit. A little PS and final cut
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
Many thx for your reply, may I get some more input on the battery lifetime compare between 13” and 15”, does 15” last longer in normal lite work?
[doublepost=1542686115][/doublepost]
I want to run a parallel desktop for Win 10 and normally based on Office Suit. A little PS and final cut
They are both rated for 10 hours. They increased the 15 battery size when they went from LPDDR3 RAM to DDR4 to compensate for the increased energy use. The 13" still uses LPDDR3 so it doesn't need the bigger battery. So in theory the battery life is about the same. In practice I can tell you the 13" had a very decent battery lifebut I can't compare.

I'd say go for the 15" if you can afford it. I went for the 13" when it came out and returned it. On paper it sounded good but the iGPU was struggling with some basic things.
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,176
2,072
London
The 13" would have been great except it clearly suffers in the battery life department. I think the 15" has anything around 3 hours advantage over the 13", which isn't good news for people looking to purchase the 13".

A lot of people have reported getting 4-6 years use on the 13", some have pushed it to ~8 with lighter use and maybe if you go bare bones you can somehow manage 10 hours. Meanwhile, the 15" has managed over 10 hours on light use.
 
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A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
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I went with the 15" for the higher specs and hopefully better longevity. Battery life is also an improved.

That said, in practicality I think I would have liked the 13" more for its mobility. Ideally I wish apple would make a 14" MacBook Pro. My ThinkPad from work is 14" and its really the perfect size. While the 15" is very small and light for a 15" laptop, its still not the best if you're schlepping your computer around a lot.

The new Air looks interesting. No, it doesn't have a Touch Bar but frankly its just a gimmick. I find it a lot easier just to have physical buttons there tbh.
 
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Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
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I went with the 15" for the higher specs and hopefully better longevity. Battery life is also an improved.

That said, in practicality I think I would have liked the 13" more for its mobility. Ideally I wish apple would make a 14" MacBook Pro. My ThinkPad from work is 14" and its really the perfect size. While the 15" is very small and light for a 15" laptop, its still not the best if you're schlepping your computer around a lot.

The new Air looks interesting. No, it doesn't have a Touch Bar but frankly its just a gimmick. I find it a lot easier just to have physical buttons there tbh.
Form wise, I prefer the 13" by far. But with mobility, battery life is important and I don't want to adjust my work flow because I am constantly worried about draining the machine when I am not with a charger.

If it helps, the 15" is pretty small for a 15" machine anyway so I guess it is something you can easily get used to. On a desk or table, the 15" will be fine and I think even on your lap/in bed, even though it is bigger, the palm rest actually kind of helps to use it comfortably? I had the mid-2014 15" and I would say I used to more than 50% sitting on a bed resting against my pillow/headrest!
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2011
550
239
They are both rated for 10 hours. They increased the 15 battery size when they went from LPDDR3 RAM to DDR4 to compensate for the increased energy use. The 13" still uses LPDDR3 so it doesn't need the bigger battery. So in theory the battery life is about the same. In practice I can tell you the 13" had a very decent battery lifebut I can't compare.

I'd say go for the 15" if you can afford it. I went for the 13" when it came out and returned it. On paper it sounded good but the iGPU was struggling with some basic things.
Does anyone know if the 2017 15 inch MBP (with the LPDDR3 and smaller battery) has equivalent battery life (in practice) as the 2018 15 inch MBP? I bought a new 2017 15 inch model from B&H on a recent deal for $2,049 (still unopened: 2.9, 16GB, 512GB, 560 GPU). Waiting to see if the deals get any better on a 2018 equivalent model over the holidays...before opening the 2017.
 

kzoojason76

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2008
97
24
I may be in the minority here, but I like the 13 better than the 15. The 15 just seemed too "big" for me. The screen on the 13 is amazing! (as would the screen on the 15). I can do everything I possibly want on the 13" i5 16GB/512GB. This laptop will last me for years and years to come.
 

tromboneaholic

Suspended
Jun 9, 2004
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Clearwater, FL
I want to run a parallel desktop for Win 10 and normally based on Office Suit. A little PS and final cut
PS and Final Cut will definitely perform better with the dedicated graphics card in the 15" models. The 13" models do not have dedicated graphics cards.

If price is a concern, you might want to look at a refurbished 15 inch model on the Apple Store.
 
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DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2011
550
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I may be in the minority here, but I like the 13 better than the 15. The 15 just seemed too "big" for me. The screen on the 13 is amazing! (as would the screen on the 15). I can do everything I possibly want on the 13" i5 16GB/512GB. This laptop will last me for years and years to come.
I much prefer the form factor of the 13 inch as well. I had the mid 2012 15 inch rMBP for 3 years and did find it a bit bulky. I know they’ve slimmed down the 15 inch since then....but I still prefer the 13 inch from purely a form factor perspective.

The only thing I’m unsure about with the 13 inch is the iGPU and whether it will limit me in anyway based on my intended use. If not, I’d strongly consider going for a 2018 13 inch instead of the 15. My use: MS Office Suite, Lightroom, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, Parallels (with Windows VM installed). The one thing I do prefer the 15 inch screen size for is Lightroom/photoshop photo editing (ie the extra screen real estate is nice).
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
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Boston
Form wise, I prefer the 13" by far. But with mobility, battery life is important and I don't want to adjust my work flow because I am constantly worried about draining the machine when I am not with a charger.

If it helps, the 15" is pretty small for a 15" machine anyway so I guess it is something you can easily get used to. On a desk or table, the 15" will be fine and I think even on your lap/in bed, even though it is bigger, the palm rest actually kind of helps to use it comfortably? I had the mid-2014 15" and I would say I used to more than 50% sitting on a bed resting against my pillow/headrest!
I constantly battle trying to find the best laptop as my needs change. Right now I have the 15”. Previously I had a 2013 MBP -13” retina which was a good overall compromise though a tad heavy. Before that was a Air which was great but ended up leaving me wanting more power. Before that was a 15” unibody MBP C2D, which was big and heavy (especially with the optical drive) and not ideal for travel.

The biggest problem I have with the 15” is the weight and size on the lap. They also don’t usually fit on airline trays.

I’m happy with my 15”. If the 13 had comparable specs I may have gone with that but that’s not the case.

Really my only complaint- which applies to all MBPs, is the new keyboard. I really prefer the older chicklet keyboard. And actually I preferred the old Al PowerBook g4 keyboards from long ago.
 
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darkmatter343

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2017
125
96
I used a 15" yesterday and I'll reverse what I said. I guess if you don't mind the larger size but I found the 15" huge, it felt like I was using a 17" laptop. No word of a lie though, the Apple store employee, what an awkward conversation we had... I said exactly "I prefer the smaller 12", and she says "I prefer big things", and with that followed a minute of awkward silence. One of those "Say what?!" life moments o_O
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,176
2,072
London
I used a 15" yesterday and I'll reverse what I said. I guess if you don't mind the larger size but I found the 15" huge, it felt like I was using a 17" laptop. No word of a lie though, the Apple store employee, what an awkward conversation we had... I said exactly "I prefer the smaller 12", and she says "I prefer big things", and with that followed a minute of awkward silence. One of those "Say what?!" life moments o_O
I find the 15" looks and feels huge in stores as well - I wonder if it is to do with how we are using them in store (stool vs table height vs standing etc) and the fact we are surrounded by 12"/13" machines. At home, I don't think I even noticed how big my 15" mid-2014 is (and the 2018 one is even smaller than that!).
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,472
3,860
From personal experience if you're going to be writing documents the extra vertical space on the 15" is a real material benefit over the 13" size. If you will be having reference material open while writing, thats another big point in the 15" favour. I'd imagine video and photo editing will also be a lot more comfortable on the less cramped screen. The physical size, as of now with these touchbar models is a complete non issue imo unless you spend most of your time travelling and using your computer on seat-back desks. It's literally comparable to a 13" MBA (2015 model) in portability.
 

Zefferus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2018
5
3
How do you like your new base 2018 MBP 15? I am thinking of getting the same one.
So far so good, two things can not ignore: 1. Huge! Really not convenient for travel; 2. Hot, I am updating mojave, hope it can be cooler with the 6 core. From outlook 13” one will be very beautiful. But the pro belong to 15”.
 

MrGunnyPT

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2017
549
466
What will you use it for?

In my opinion, the 13" is currently hard to recommend. If you really need good performance, either multi-core or gpu, you're better off with the 15", that is if you can afford it.

If you plan to use it for light tasks then the new MacBook Air would be a better purchase coming it at $400 less.
Aye this, you should only get the 13" if you need something mobile with 16GB of RAM. Mainly 2 or 3 VMSs.

I got 8GB and work with a Windows VM just fine but for a second one I would need an extra 8GB to make it smooth.