Macbook Pro 13" vs 15"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Android 007, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Android 007, Jun 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    Android 007 macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011

    I have quit a dilemma on my hands here.

    After searching, researching, asking questions, etc., I have finally decided on buying a Macbook Pro for college after looking at some very impressive laptops such as the Samsung Series 9 13", Lenovo T420s, and Lenovo X1.

    Right now, I am debating whether I should get the 13" or 15".

    The ONLY reason I would buy the 15" is for the higher resolution(1680x1050) matte screen. Also, the 7200rpm HD worth the upgrade?

    The 13" would much better suit me as a college student due to its portability and weight. However, I am trying to convince myself that the 13" 1280x800 screen will be perfectly fine for me. Also, if I do end up purchasing the 13", is the upgrade to a i7 worth it?

    I am going to be studying computer engineering and will be using several different engineering applications, and other applications such as Photoshop, xCode, and Eclipse. I know you may be thinking "Why is a computer engineering student asking these questions," but I'd much rather get other opinions than assure myself that I know everything 100%.

    Thanks for the help! So... 13" or 15"??
  2. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    Well first, the 13" isn't exactly light. There are plenty of 13" PC laptops that are lighter (plus the MBA of course).

    I considered the 15" as well (same reason as you). In the end I chose the 13". The screen size is fine. When I need more, it gets hooked up to a larger monitor.

    For processors, the biggest difference between the 13 and 15 is the number of cores. Between the two 13" models, the speed difference is about 20%. If you are getting a 13", the extra speed is probably worth the price difference if you have the cash.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I worked for 2 years on a 1280x800 screen and was always glad when I got home and could attach my external screen. Eclipse on this res is possible but not exactly great.
    The 15" HD is just perfect in comparison. Working on the go without an external extra screen now works really well. I know quite a few who do the same thing on a 13" MBP but most have external screens at home and others never really tried anything else. I prefer my 15" HD very much. I am not really concerned about weight though, only size and it fits in every bag I run around with. It doesn't even take more space as the 13" is as thick.
    That is just my 2 cents from one IT student to another.
  4. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011

    Try them out at the story. Get the one you like :)

    I like glossy. The 5400 RPM drive is fine (for what I do), so I would say it is NOT worth the price. But, as always, it depends on you and what you want to use the machine for.

    When it is on your back, the lighter weight makes a huge difference, especially if you commute by foot / bike. I'm in good physical shape, but some days I end up walking a couple of hours and my back gets sore with the 13", and I notice the weight a lot more than I ever did with my old netbook. I think the screen is gorgeous, and even viewed side by side with the 15", it looks great to me. I am not a graphic design artist. I don't make movies. So, for the programs I use (Word, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Evernote, Chrome, etc.) maybe it doesn't matter. I don't think the i7 upgrade is worth it. If you are going to spend about 20% of the purchase price for that, you might as well move up to the 15" and get all of its other benefits.

    Sounds like the 15" would be best for you.
  5. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I don't think you could really go wrong either way. They are both quite nice. My money went to the 15" when I realized the weight difference wasn't worth the loss of screen resolution and performance for me.
  6. hehe299792458 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2008
    seconded. get the 15 in one for screen size, resolution, performance, and battery
  7. Android 007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    So you guys don't think about 1lb extra will be much heavier in my bag?
  8. x-kid macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    While I really do enjoy my 13", I really wish i went with the 15". I really miss the higher resolution when I'm not hooked up to my external monitor. The size and weight difference to me isn't much.
  9. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    i had both

    13 is great for portability

    but i just wanted a bigger screen LOL

    for ur basic needs the 13 will do fine

    u can always buy a extrnal monitor if u need bigger screen
  10. Android 007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    I just can't decide whether it'd be better to buy a 13" with an external monitor, or a 15".

    Ughhhhhhhhh lol. I'm never going to decide...
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Engineering student here... EE to be exact.

    I have the 13" Aluminum MacBook. Great machine and highly portable. Since you are going to be an engineer, you don't really need the extra real estate (screen wise). The 13" screen is plenty, trust me, after much work in Power World and MultiSim.

    CPU upgrade is worth it for math crunching, do it.
  12. Android 007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    Thanks Jav, it's nice to here from a fellow engineering student!

    Right now I am pushing for a 13" i7 + external.

    But, if I buy a 15", do you think its still worth spending $300-500 on an external?
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    What would you need external for? I can see it for art, photo, or liberal arts majors. But us? We just type or code.

    At any point, code or designs are always so big, a big screen never cut it since we have to jump to either an entire different place in the file or different file.
  14. Android 007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    So, do you think programs such as MS Visual C++, xCode, and Eclipse would look fine on the 1280x800 13"?
    Also, what's your opinion on upgrading to a 7200rpm drive(if I were to buy the 15").
  15. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2011
    you can buy a 20 inch hp extrnal monitor for under 200 bucks.

    i just went for 15inch cause i wanted a biggr screen "on the go" and for ***** and giggles LOL
  16. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    That was my reason too. Working on the go, on campus, in the library, together on homework in a group or some friends place the 15in HD beats 13" hands down.
    At home I still have an external screen though. Simple convenience but it doesn't need to be any kind of expensive IPS screen. Just take a cheap one that is big enough. Every halfway decent TN desktop screen can keep up with even good notebook screens.
    When you write/work on something and always have your source on one screen it helps you just spend less time switching around. You work on a homework one screen can always hold the homework description. You can also do some less intensive work while watching a tv series on the other screen.
    It really is worth the few bucks they cost.

    I think what jav6454 is saying is that if you only code or edit some code screen size doesn't really matter. That is true of sorts. If you are some script kiddy and reall know your stuff all you need is MacVim and be on your way. You would be fine with 640x480 screen.
    As for Eclipse and Visual Studio it is convenient if you can display two source files well side by side and there is like the error/warnings panel, the navigation pane also the method/variable pane is really nice if you edit some bigger class that you don't know very well. Eclipse most certainly works on 1280x800 there are plenty options to minimize stuff put it somewhere else, shrink it, put it behind something, create views .. but it works much better on 1680x1050.
    I once used to spread Eclipse over two monitors. Haven't done it since I got 15" HD. The external screen is now only for other stuff like browsers, documentations, ....

    Believe me get the 15" unless you are a girl(who often carry smaller bags) or some really skinny guy that half pound won't make a difference. If I weigh myself in the morning I way about 2-3 pounds less than at night and I don't complain when I walk home at night. That is like 1% of my body weight. Outdoor climbing gear weighs more and you carry it up a vertical wall of stone.
    The only reason to take 13" is imo, size (you cannot fit it into your preferred bag, or on your lap in a train) or money (15" is just a lot more expensive. But weight is just ridiculous. If you complain about weight get a truly light notebook like a Sony Z or MBA which both way almost half of a 13" MBP.
  17. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Yes I do.

    On the 7200 rpm drive, you will notice the difference. I know I did when I upgraded the standard 5400rpm drive to a WD 500GB Scorpio Black 7200rpm.
  18. Android 007 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2011
    Thanks, you have some pretty great points. The weight isn't too much of a difference between the 13" and 15" anyways. I feel like the 15" would much better suit me so I may buy the 15" :D
    Alrite, thanks, will upgrade to 7200rpm.
  19. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2008
    For about the last 10 years, I've had a version of the 13": the 11" iBook (I think), a 13" MacBook, and a 13" MacBook Pro. I recently upgraded to a 15" MPB and I'm glad I did.

    In a weird way, I find the 15" to be more portable than the 13". While the 13 is light and portable for easy touring, I found it very hard to use on my lap. It was a bit too small. The 15" balances quite nicely.

    I also can't over-estimate how much easier the 15" screen is on my eyes. If you use the laptop as a portable a lot, I found the screen size and resolution of the 13" to be very tiring over a long session.

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