MBP 15" vs. 17"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RWCantel, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. RWCantel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    #1
    I want to buy soon, and I am wondering about the differences between the 15 and 17 inch MBP's.

    I plan on upgrading the processor, firstly, and with both computers the starting specs are identical, and the processors can also be upgraded identically, to my understanding.

    Next, if I were to get the 15" I could get a 250GB HDD at 7200rpm for around $50 less on the bottom line as opposed to getting a 360gb HDD at standard RPM or at 7200 for about $140 in the 17" MBP. I feel that 250GB is probably enough for me, considering that I have a 500GB external HDD as well, and will likely use it for a lot of storage (of video/audio files).

    Ultimately, I want something that's going to be awesome, portable (like a laptop should be) and powerful. I want something that's going to look good, and be easy and fun to work on. I know there is also a debate going on here about the glossy/matte(anti-glare) finish, and I know that the CHOICE for that only comes with 17" MBPs. I feel myself leaning towards the glossy finish, but again, opinions are welcome here on that as well.

    The bottom line here is that the 15" MBP would cost me between $300 and $400 LESS than a 17" MBP. I want to know if the differences (if there REALLY are that many, other than 2 inches, and a 'built in 8 hour battery') are really enough to justify the jump to 17" given that I can get the same specs (minus the HDD size) for much less?

    opinions? :confused:
     
  2. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

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    #2
    15" for you. Portable.

    17" has a higher resolution screen btw, full HD.
     
  3. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

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    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #3
    I upgraded from the 15 inch to the 17 inch. I upgraded the case because my old one was a little tight for the 17 inch. Both seem heavy in a suitcase or backpack and I can't really feel much difference. I like the resolution and the battery life and the additional USB port. It runs cooler and the speakers are louder. I would not go back to a 15 inch in the future. I have used the Powerbook / Macbook Pro 15 inch class laptops for at least 5 years now. It was easy to upgrade the hard drive to a 500 GB drive in my 17 inch. Looking forward to upgrading to 8 GBs next year when prices are down.

    I also use the Apple displays and it is nice to have the same resolution at home with the 24 inch display that I have when I am on the road.
     
  4. xhambonex macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 17, 2008
    #4
    People like to complain that the 15 isn't portable get a 13 macbook. Personally if your willing to carry it and iMac can be just as portable for you, its just all depends on how much you want to carry around. The 17" wouldn't be to hard to carry, and since its got the matte screen option I'd go for that. Why, I don't like looking at myself during movies. Anything the screen goes black its like a mirror. And keeping that thing clean is annoying. You notice fingerprints all over dirt anything like that. I'm sure my screen is dirty, but its matte and I can't really tell nor does it bother me, however good for the computer it may be. The battery I don't care about much, sure 8 hours sounds great. Full res HD screen, there's a real bonus. Really since they will perform about the same, and you know the differences I'd just go to the store and see physically which one appeals to you the most.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    The 17" would never be a consideration for me, mainly because of the non-removable battery. For someone who travels a lot, not being able to swap batteries is just retarded.

    The 15" model will do anything you need it to do, fits better in a backpack, and will last you a long time. Put the money you save towards a RAM upgrade or something.
     
  6. pablol macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Berlin
    #6
    Go for the 15"

    I've own a MPB 15" at home and a 17" at work. I hate traveling with my 17" and really wish I had the 15". To me it's just bulkier, heavier (yes, only a little but every bit counts when traveling), and requires a larger case. My Tumi roller back only fits at 15" and to get a 17" I would have had to get a bigger bag, which I didn't want.

    So if portability is important, I'd for sure choose a 15". Now, if it's primarily sitting on your desk at home or moving from desk to couch, you might be OK with the 17". The extra screen real estate is nice.
     
  7. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    North Korea
    #7
    Having had a 15" Unibody and now upgrading to a 17" i could honestly never go back to using a 15". Its a good machine, but the screen resolution on the 17" just blows you away, the 17" also feels stronger, more rigid and sturdy, of course the 17" clocks slightly faster, and cools better due to its larger surface area which is an issue in any Macbook Pro. The feel the similar weights to me and are actually nearly the same size which is why its funny when people say they think the 17" is less portable because its not. Most of the extra screen size on the 17" is taken out of the 15"s excessive screen bezel meaning the machine isnt overall much bigger.
     
  8. RWCantel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2008
    #8
    There would be some travel involved, sure, but primarily it's a desk/lap-on-couch type deal... I'm mostly concerned about the higher resolution on the 17"s... is it REALLY that noticeable? I have a 42" flatscreen and watching HD on it is a big jump... but on a 17" screen is full HD really that much of a benefit over what the 15" is offering?

    Also, if I'm editing HD video, is it going to be pointless to do it on a 15" because it's NOT HD? Or maybe at that point I buy the cable to connect the 15" to my HD TV, and then output at that at an HD resolution?... is that possible? Oh god I'm running in circles
     
  9. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #9
    LOL. you need to work out.

    I carry my 17" almost every day. Even on international trips. No problems.

    The 17" MBP weights the same as most 15" pc laptops FYI.
     
  10. pablol macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2003
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    Berlin
    #10
    LOL... I'm in good shape but approaching 40 my back ain't what it used to be, therefore I don't dig messenger bags and prefer rollers. The 17" doesn't fit in the smaller Tumi bags, which are better for overhead storage on planes and I fly international every 2 months, so for me 17 ain't cool.

    But I bought it because I wanted the larger screen real estate but have since realized I'd rather have the better portability and dock to a monitor at work.
     
  11. RWCantel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2008
    #11
    so, docking the 15" to a HD monitor, can you achieve HD quality output? or is the output dependent on the GPU etc. of the laptop that's sending the signal?
     
  12. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #12
    The output's dependent on the display you're connecting to. All the new notebooks can output up to 2560x1600, even MacBook and MacBook Air.
     
  13. RWCantel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2008
    #13
    so if I'm concerned about editing HD video on a 15" MBP because it doesn't output HD, but I have the option, already, of wiring a 15/17" MBP to an HD monitor, I should just shut up and get the 15?
     
  14. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

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    Dec 29, 2003
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    Vancouver
    #14
    If you're leaning towards the 15, then the answer to this question is yes.

    I prefer the 15, Others here show their preference for the 17. They have pretty good arguments too. If you're still not convinced, get the 15 and be done with it. :D
     
  15. RWCantel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2008
    #15
    Okay, so last question:

    On the body of the 15 vs. 17, is there any other difference than 1 more USB on the 17"?? am I losing any other ports by getting a 15"?
     
  16. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #16
    Nope, but the screen and speakers are better on the 17, as is the heat dissipation
     
  17. RWCantel thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 6, 2008
    #17
    Alright, well, somebody make a pitch to me as to why the 15 or 17 is better for me... I want portability, and I already have a case that will fit a 15", however, I also plan to ultimately do HD video editing on the laptop. I have an HDTV at home, and I assume I can connect either the 15 or 17 to it and get HD on it to edit on? Does this make the 15 the obvious choice for me, or are the screen/speakers/built in battery/2-extra-inches really going to be the bees knees/cats meow/jesusfish to my life?
     
  18. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #18
    Depends how much portable work you intend on doing, really. If you can spring for the 17, you've pretty much got a 24" imac you can fold in half and take anywhere. :)
     
  19. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    Hants
    #19
    I own all three sizes of unibody and travel and use the 17" mainly. It is a fantastic machine with no compromise.
     
  20. kajitox macrumors 6502a

    kajitox

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    May 2, 2007
    #20
    The weight difference between a 15" and a 17" along with the size difference has completely turned me off to the prospect of more viewing space. I likely would never go higher than a 15" and instead, I use an external monitor for the big stuff.

    Just my personal opinion.
     
  21. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #21
    The weight difference?

    ...A pound?
     
  22. kajitox macrumors 6502a

    kajitox

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    #22
    It's more like this: there's a target weight that I am going for and if it passes that threshold it becomes an issue. Even the MBP is heavy sometimes and I personally like the weight of the MB, even though the MB is only a little lighter than the MBP. But alas, the MBP didn't cross line of where I wanted the weight to be under.

    And a pound is pretty significant when you take into account how much these computers weigh.
     
  23. desiringGod macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #23
    Unless you needed FW or a higher res screen on the road, I would buy a refurb MB and then buy a high quality external monitor for home.

    You save a lot of money, get portability, and a large screen at home. It is the best of everything.
     
  24. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #24
    Err, they said they wanted to do HD video editing. No FireWire, 9400M and 2.4GHz at best means no.
     
  25. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #25
    If we're talking Air or MacBook against the 17, then there's way more of a valid point
    dimensions wise. The Air's less than half its weight, the UMB's pushing two thirds. That's significant.

    If you can handle a 15, you can handle a 17.
     

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