MacBook Pro 15" or 17"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macuser154, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. macuser154 macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2009
    I am completely torn between the 15" and 17" Pro. Money is out of the equation, what I'm really interested in is the usability.

    I have a 15" 2007 MacBook Pro right now, and the size is great. At work I use it at a desk, but at home sometimes I like to kick back with it. So my question is, how easy is the 17" to live with when your not using it as a "desktop replacement"?

    Cheers in advance
  2. shambo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    I had exactly the same dilemma as you last Summer, basically money no object so which one to buy? Knowing I was looking at top specs anyway I ventured into my nearest Apple Store to test drive all the sizes for future-proofed power, portability, and performance. This just made me confirm my suspicions in that while the 17" was way to 'clunky' the 13 incher lacked the power I needed. In the end I opted to invest in the obvious choice of a top end 15". This I believe is Apples sweet-spot of power, portability, and performance, and I have to admit I haven't looked back.
  3. Cathode macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2008
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I was in the same boat as you. I currently have a 15" and have decided I will buy the 17" as my next computer.

    The 17" really is a desktop replacement. It's gigantic. If you travel frequently it may not be ideal. You can play with one at the Apple Store and that can give you a little bit of an idea on what you will be dealing with.

    For me, the deciding factors were screen real estate and the ExpressCard slot. The extra hour of battery life is also a plus.
  4. dgdosen macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2003
    I might go with a 13" on the next refresh (I need an update)

    I've also been using a netbook (hackintosh) with paltry 1024x600 resolution - and you know what? It's not half bad - especially when you consider that I've really gotten used to using spaces and using the bottom left corner as a hot corner to get into it. It's pretty easy to be effective with an easy to use virtual desktop.

    That makes me think the difference between a 13" or 15" MPB comes more down to what size PC I want as opposed to the resolution. Given that - I think I'll go with the 13" for size considerations. I can always drive my 30" monitor from my MBP.
  5. Kupoback macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2009
    I've asked this question here, and to myself many times, I kept wondering the same thing. Best advice I can offer is go to Apple store, test drive the 17" and the 15". See which is more your thing.

    When I was considering it, I thought hey 17" best for the money, then when I saw it and compared the actual size, I figured it's not the best for portability. I see the 17" as the best choice for what I'm doing, but it's more of a desktop . replacement in my eyes. So I'm leaning towards the same specd 15" so I can take it to school, work, at home, and etc. Hell, I didn't even consider matte until I messed around I used one, and found that no glare is awesome for portability and for graphic design.

    So best advice is, go to Apple store and mess around there.
  6. Clete2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    One thing to consider: Do you need an ExpressCard slot? The 15" currently doesn't have one.

    Personally, I go with 17" laptops purely for the 1920x1200 resolution. If a 15" had the same resolution, I would go with that.

    I travel a fair amount (but not a LOT) and I find that it is bulky but it gets the job done.
  7. DNAppleGold macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2009
    I'd lean toward 17"

    I have a MBA and a 17'' MBP HD. I love the air for portability - even around the house. I love the 17" for, well, the large display. If I had to have one, it would definitely be the 17". On the 17", you can display multiple, useable windows on the same screen for side/by/side comparison. Plus, TV and Movies look great and don't feel small. As much as I love the MBA, I do get tired of the small screen, beautiful as it is, especially when I'm working on complicated projects. The one caveat is that if you are planning on being on the road a lot, the 17" is not practical.

    Now, you asked for the 17" vs. 15". I had a 15" laptop for work (Think Pad), and in some ways found it the worst of all worlds. The screen was not really big enough to feel big, the unit not light enough to be really portable. Honestly, if you are looking to move around alot, consider the MB/MBP 13" or the MBA (did I tell you I love the MBA). I also "downgraded" to a 13" ThinkPad at work for much the same reasons.
  8. shambo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    MBA = BadBoy Lite. :D
  9. Clete2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    By your standards, the MBA isn't worthy of Apple's logo. It is neither a medium in power nor in price. Oh and it doesn't have a matte screen option.

    I wouldn't give it the BadBoy name.

  10. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    ok can you or someone clarify the term "badboy"?

    i feel like i see this term a lot on

    what is it? what is it referring to?

  11. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    i really don't understand people who buy the 17". If I wanted a giant screen, I would get an apple keyboard, magic mouse, and an external display and hook up my 15" macbook pro to that and have an experience BETTER than just a 17". The only conceivable situation I can see that would make an argument for a 17" bohemoth would be if you need to make presentations to people on your computer. But really? even for those people, there are probably plenty of times where the 17" will inconvenience them, so even for them, I don't see it making sense.
  12. GFSarah macrumors regular


    Jan 19, 2009
    North Carolina
    Like so many others have said, when I went checking things out, I found a 17" laptop to be just too big to be portable. I needed portable, so a 17" was out for me. When comparing the 13" and 15", I felt the 13" couldn't offer the power & options I'd want, and since I wouldn't be using an external monitor, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of staring at a 13" screen all the time. I still wish my 15" screen was bigger, but otherwise I couldn't be happier and the screen is just one small con against a thousand pros. The size as it relates to portability was the deal-breaker for me. For what it's worth as far as the ExpressCard slot goes, I have the Oct 2008 MBP which has the ExpressCard slot instead of the SD Card reader like the new ones; but I've never put anything in it besides a third party SD Card reader.

    If you need portability, my vote goes for a top-end 15" since you can upgrade the components to be pretty much the same as the 17" anyway (with the exception of the ExpressCard slot). If portability is NOT a big concern for you, then why not a 17"? You can still upgrade the components if you want, and you'll have a bigger screen and that ExpressCard slot incase you ever need it.
  13. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    It's a mobile workstation. At 3kg it packs a great screen, the most comfortable laptop keyboard and quite some performance. When you're done with it you just put it in your bag and take it somewhere else leaving no clutter on your desk...
  14. shambo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    It is a bloated 'clunky' size yet has the very same keyboard and power performance as the top spec 15" bad boy.
  15. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    For some appications the resolution of the 15" is inadequate.
  16. fluffyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2007
    Well, it's a really big computer.

    I had the MacBook Pro (17-inch) when it was 0.2 lb heavier than the current model, and i used it for 2.5 years as my main computer. I nearly never carried it around; it sat on my desk and was a faithful companion. Far too heavy to tote around.

    I got a MacBook Air (1.86GHz, SSD) and I absolutely love the machine for what I do.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend the 17-inch MacBook Pro unless you were doing video editing.
  17. GaresTaylan macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2009
    I really wanted the portability of something smaller, but fell in love with the 17". The unit is thin and the display is great. I am glad I have the 17 and not the 15.
  18. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    15" is as big as I'd go for mobile solution.

    If I really needed a bigger screen then I'd consider an external in the place in of most use.
  19. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    I have a 17" MBP. 99% of the time it is my desktop. It's mobile in the sense that I can take it somewhere else and use it. If I had to do it every day it would be a pain! Bigger laptop needs bigger carrying case means you probably cram more stuff in there and overall means more weight. It's annoying to take out of it's case when going through airport security. Too big to really use while on the plane. Probably too wide for a classroom desk if I were still in school.

    Yeah, don't like it as a real mobile/on the go solution. Sitting on my desk? Perfect!
  20. linsam macrumors 6502


    Jul 3, 2007
    Irvine, CA
    I'd go with a 15" MBP. The screen size is great and it is much easier to transport.
  21. palmerc2 macrumors 65816


    Feb 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I currently don't own, or ever have owned a MBP. But I am going to be getting the 17" model once they are updated.

    I can't believe people are complaining about the weight, seriously.....really? When I was in elementary school my backpack weighed at least 25 lbs. I am doing this from my phone so I don't know the exact weight difference between the 15" and 17" models, but isn't it something like 1.2 pounds?? Wow, I hope you don't break your back over that. I assist design studios and architect studios all the time so I will be traveling with it at all times, I'll let you know how it turns out. After being on a 24 iMac, this will be a good relief. My main reasons for getting a MBP is to have the freedom to be able to do certain things other places besides my desk, plus the studios, and friends or what have you.

    I've found a good laptop bag for the 17" it's the Swiss army louvre messenger bag. It's awesome, I love it.

    My uncle has the 17" it's great, I love it. I know it's one thing to see a 15" / 17" in store....and another to live with it daily. Get the 17". It's power house with a big display. If screen real estate is important to you, keep in consideration is you won't always have an external display everywhere you go....
  22. PowerGamerX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2009
    don't worry about it. its just shambo-spamo.

    Just ignore it.
  23. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    The case on the 15" isn't really much smaller. Put one on top of the other and see what you think.

    The 17" screen is lovely.
  24. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I think I'm personally going to go with the 15" just because of weight. It's surprising carrying something around how quickly you notice it's weight.
  25. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    When I upgraded my original 2006 CoreDuo 15" to a 17" unibody MBP, I can't say I felt any difference in weight or bulk. It's probably there but it's not really noticeable. In my case, it even lives in the same backpack.

    What is noticeable is the extra screen real estate. I doubt I'll be going back to 15" model.

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