Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch VS. 15 inch

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keatth, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. keatth macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2013
    So i bought a 13 inch base model. After setting it up I only have 22gb of free space left, so I was thinking of upgrading it to one with more storage, then I thought heck maybe Ill just get the 15 inch instead. Before the laptop I had a 21.5 inch iMac. The 13 inch screen seems a little small to me now. Here are my concerns with the 15 inch:

    * Bigger footprint. The 13 inch sits on my lap perfectly, the 15 inch would spill over my legs, I think, at least it seems that way, not entirely sure since I couldn't test this out at the store since they are secured to the table with alarm wires.

    *Typing. I've heard typing on the 15 inch is awkward since the keyboard is farther away, is this true, anyone have any experience on this?

    * Portability. Well, its only a pound heavier so it doesn't seem like its a big deal, plus I'm using a backpack. Anyone experience switching and having it be cumbersome?

    I am using this computer as a business computer to make money online, so i will be creating websites, running software, writing e-books, rendering ebook covers. I also plan on using it for gaming, for example batman arkam city.

    Now if i get the 15 inch maxed out at $2,500 it will cost me around $150 a month for 18 months with no interest financing. But I am wondering if I really need the pro graphics card with the extra nvdiea card or not ,maybe the $2,000 one will work just fine. Then i think well that would be around $120 a month and for $30 more a month I could have the extra power just in case I ever needed it later down the line.

    My last concern is if people will think Im a douche for whipping out the 15 inch instead of the 13 inch.

    I also have iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2, not sure if that factors in or not.
  2. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    I am making the same decision as you at the moment, but am tending towards a base (2.2GHz) rMBP 15.

    I currently have an MBA, but find it a bit lacking for heavy-weight development tasks.

    I tried both rMBP 13 and 15 in the store, and actually found the 15" marginally more comfortable to type on because my wrists are further from the front edge of the computer - it rests on the less-sensitve forearm (yes, I know I shouldn't really be resting my wrists or forearm on the computer at all, but if you don't have a large desk or a chair with arm-rests, then some contact is inevitable).

    Regarding size and portability, I initially thought that an rMBP footprint was too big, but it's actually only slightly larger than my MBA. The reality is that I struggle to fit even the MBA on an economy-class airplane table, so I normally use an iPad with a keyboard for working in restricted spaces. I don't fly enough for this to be a deciding factor.

    However, I do carry my computer to work every day, so weight was a consideration. I weighed my backpack and estimated that I normally carry 4-6Kg of stuff. The rMBP 15 weighs maybe 750g more than the MBA, so I might be increasing my pack weight by 15% - probably just noticeable, but no big deal.

    I also looked at the higher-end specs, but came to the conclusion that virtually nothing I do would use a dGPU (no gaming and only very infrequent photo or video editing). The Iris Pro scrolling and screen response seems very smooth to me.

    Whilst I would like the 512GB SSD, I think this is more to compensate for a lack of discipline in keeping the disk tidy. I manage OK with a 256GB SSD on the MBA, and have a NAS at home, plus a few hundred GB of online storage, so 256GB is doable, provided I keep my media on the NAS and only transfer what I need for occasional busy trips.

    I also think that most of my apps are limited by memory, not CPU (very little encoding or heavy processing). Going to 16GB from 8GB will be a big move up.

    My conclusion is that the 2.2GHz base model will be fine for me.

    Good luck with your choice!

  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Why do you need a macbook? What's wrong with your imac?
  4. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    I think he already disposed of the iMac and bought the rMBP 13. But I agree, for the stated use-cases, a desktop would probably be a better bet - a requirement for mobility was not mentioned.

    If I didn't have to carry my laptop with me every day (due to office policy) I'd prefer to use a desktop with a large screen (or preferably two!) as a day-to-day machine.

    Laptops are fantastic if you need one machine to work in multiple locations (even different rooms at home), but they are a compromise in terms of performance, expandability, screen size & general ergonomics.
  5. MacGurl111 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2010
    I think for many a 15 inch is almost like a desktop replacement. For me, I know this is true. I blog, write, and study using my 15 inch. I can't imagine going any smaller. We have a 13 inch at home.

    If I was "mobile" going from office to office, coffee shop to coffee shop, then I would pick up a MacAir for "light" work.
  6. keatth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2013
    i moved and do not have room for a desk, the iMac made no sense anymore, plus the macbook pro is actually more powerful than the model iMac i had. Plus i need to take my laptop to work now too.
  7. augustya macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2012
    Wait why ? Why can't you rest your wrist or forearm on the computer at all ??
  8. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    Most typing tutorials (& pianists!) suggest you will suffer fewer potential problems with tendons (RSI etc.) if the tops of your hands stay at roughly the same level as your forearm. If you rest your palms on the computer your finger joints angle upwards, which puts more strain on the joints.

    I generally try to rest my arms on the desk, just in front of the elbow, so that my fingers hang naturally over the keyboard, with palms about an inch above the computer. It's actually quite comfortable - you don't rub against the front edge of the laptop, and your hands keep cooler!
  9. Max Payne macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2006
    Brisbane, Australia
    15" all the way. The 13" is too expensive for the specs it has.
  10. keatth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2013
    Yeah true. I'm going to exchange it tomorrow.
  11. Dsching Suspended


    Sep 11, 2014
  12. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I wouldn't. For your stated needs the 13" should actually work better. (Unless you need the large screen)
  13. keatth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2013
    ok I think you're right. However I'm still going to exchange it, but for the 256gb 13 inch model. I only have 20 gb's left on this base model.
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I think the size of your laptop will have little impact on people's doucheness assessment of you.
  15. keatth, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014

    keatth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 24, 2013

    OK so i exchanged it and got the 15 inch macbook pro base model, I figured I would need to try it out to see if I like it better than the 13 inch.

    Thoughts..This thing feels massive, but I'm not sure if its a bad thing yet. The keyboard is definitely awkward to type as its farther away, I feel like I have to reach more and my forearms rest on the semi sharp edge of the unibody. For sure if you need the big screen for video editing I can see now why that makes sense. The extra storage is good, I still have 103gb left after I put all my stuff on there. Now I'm wondering if I go back to the 13 inch the screen will seem too small. I like the big screen but now it does seem kind of seem like overkill.
  16. aoaaron macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2010
  17. CarreraGuy macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2013
    The 13" is really meant to hook up to an external monitor when not in "road warrior" mode or sitting on the couch. Also the optional HDMI cable has proven its weight in gold for me.

    That extra pound of the 15" adds up when you carry it around everyday like I do.
  18. jaapnl, Nov 16, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014

    jaapnl macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2014
    Okay, I didn't solely register to comment this, but I'm currently struggling with similar issues.

    I have previously used macbook air, and currently running a macbook pro 13". I'm considering selling this one and getting a 15" as I mostly use the computer at home anyway and it's my primary machine.
    I'm afraid the 15" might feel unnecessarily big, yet too small in a sense - and that I might be better off with an actual desktop or at least an external display. But the thing is, I really enjoy the retina display and would like to be able to do moderate gaming but then with smooth gameplay.. but still, I do "love" my 13" and feel worried that the 15" might not be all that I'm hoping for it to be if I do decide to make the change.

    It would be nice to hear peoples experiences with similar "issues".
  19. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    The 15" isn't a monster and those 2" actually make a big difference in productivity over the 13". Also, the 15" has much better CPU and GPU specs.

    Lastly, why do you care what people think of you? If they judge you based on the size of the computer you take out than they aren't worth your time. I've taken mine to school and have never received any vile glances.

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