mbp 13 with external monitor or mbp 15 only?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sweetheartdans, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. sweetheartdans macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    I am a university student studying teaching. The course is 4 years so I need the laptop to last for at least that long. The university is quite small in terms of walking around.

    I do not need the portability for class, however the only times I will take it out of my house are to use it in the uni library, between classes and friends house. I also plan to use it in different rooms around the house.

    My eyesight isnt the best and I currently have a 13" dell laptop and dell desktop. After I use the laptop for a long period my eyes do get sore.

    Option 1: mbp 13 with external montior from my desktop
    This option is cheaper than option 2, however if I use the computer for a long time, I will be using it as a desktop

    Option 2: mbp 15 (base model) only
    I feel that this laptop may be too much power for what i need (my uses are below) and if I decide to take a laptop to uni often, my bag will be heavy with books. I do love the screen size - Im using my sister's 15" laptop

    My uses including word processing, powerpoint, internet browsing, email, photos, occassional use of imovie, sims 3 and chat. Would the i7 processor be better?

    Which option would be best?

    Thankyou :)
  2. rockson macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2011
    I'd go with the 13

    Hey sweetheartdans,

    Funny should ask that as I have been asking myself this very question. I am a computer student. I own a 4 year old 15" macbook pro (a fast one) and recently bought a 13" i7. I had been wondering if I should trade them both in on a 17" macbook pro so I would have something to do work on at the school or perhaps just setting up with a large monitor.

    Since there are rumors of a new macbook pro I decided to just wait and see how my actual usage would pan out. I didn't know if I would want to do work at home or at the school.

    I tried taking my old 5.6lb 15" with power supply with me for a few days then my new 4.5lb 13" with me. The old 15" was only good for an hour or so on it's ancient battery so I had to carry the power supply

    I found that I generally preferred the 13" for work at school for some surprising reasons. One is that because the MBP 13" has so much battery life, I don't have to carry that around the battery pack. The MBP 13" battery pack is also noticeably smaller and lighter. I take my car to school so I would leave an extra power pack in the car.

    I liked the 13" because it felt considerably more discrete when I would use it to take notes in class. There is something nice about having a smaller form factor so you don't feel like you're looking over a big computer monitor to see the board. Also in line with this is the fact that it's easier to have a little 13" open next to a book or notepad as you study both and take book notes. I tend to use both the computer and a notebook to take notes in class - the notebook for diagrams. Lastly, several of my classes have class computers with full sized keyboards and 17" monitors. I found it to be much easier to have the little computer out with all that stuff already on the desk.

    The big huge deal that trumps all of this is the use of a large monitor at home. I have a 25" monitor and have just adjusted my schedule so that I do my reading at school but my programming at home. Having a huge monitor where you can put two side by side documents up is absolutely invaluable. You can't really do that on a 15 or 17" screen - not without going to very small fonts. If a large part of your day is writing documents I would get the big monitor. Your eyes will thank you!

    About the only thing I don't like about the 13" is that the edge of the keyboard is a little hard on my hands. I rest my palms while I type and exert quite a bit of force on that sharp lower edge. This of course is not such a problem since I am doing most of my typing at home on a bluetooth wiresless keyboard.

    I have the i7/4MB in mine and I put a momentus xt nand drive in it. I find it is very fast. If you want to save a few dollars, get the model with the i5 and either a 7200 rpm apple drive or go to otherworld computing and buy a seagate momentux xt nand drive. I think you would be fine with that since you are doing more word processing type tasks. The stock 500gb 5400 rpm drive slows the system considerably.

    You maybe should look at the 13" mba!

  3. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I would go with the 13 and monitor. That's what I use, and even though I don't move my computer a ton, I think it's the best solution for me. You get the best of a portable laptop and a desktop.

    If you do go with the 13", I'd definitely get the i5, the extra $300 is better spent elsewhere. If you need a bigger hard drive, it would be cheaper to do that yourself as well.
  4. Interzone macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2011
    If mobility is not your greatest concern, then go with the 15 incher. It has a discrete graphics cards, plus a higher resolution screen. The screen is big enough and good enough that you can forgo a monitor and not have to deal with extra wires and adapters. The i7 also comes standard, I believe, though it's entirely unnecessary for your purposes.

    If you do opt for the 13 inch model, do what alust2013 says and stick with the i5. The money you save would be better spent on an SSD, which you can (and should) upgrade yourself.

    Again, I know you said that portability isn't really a concern, but do note that the 15 inch model is really heavy. An extra pound may not seem like much, but it kills your shoulder after a while.

Share This Page