MPB for College... Extra Screen Real Estate vs. Portability

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by theblues, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. theblues macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    #1
    I'm going to college this fall and I'm buying a MBP. I have been debating whether or not to purchase the base 13'' or the base 15''. I'm leaning towards base 15'' but would the extra screen real estate make a difference for school or would I be better off saving $500 or putting that money towards an SSD, etc. There are a ton of topics on "which MBP" but I haven't found an answer specifically tackling this scenario of screen real estate (and I did mroogle). If someone has, please post it. Thanks for the help!

    Oh, and this is my first post! :)
     
  2. JustinBW macrumors member

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    Oct 5, 2009
    #2
    No one can tell you what you will like.

    The apple stores has both to look at, I would go there and take a long, hard, sweaty look at them and see which you would prefer. You can even pick them up to see how much portability the 13 does or does not offer over the 15.

    Thats what I would do, and did. I got the 13 and an external monitor which I never use.
     
  3. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a

    cloroxbleach4

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #3
    For college I would get the 13". Those desks aren't very big and I have issues fitting my 15" sometimes. I'd save the money and get an ssd, it'll speed up your mbp a lot more.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #4
    For me personally I would go with the 15" I like the extra screen space. It would be at 15" with the higher resolution as well but that is just me.
     
  5. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a

    cloroxbleach4

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    #5
    I guess this is where a hi-res 13" would come in handy.
     
  6. Vyruz Reaper macrumors regular

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    Dec 23, 2009
    #6
    I was in the same dilemma as you. I went with the 15 with HI Res display.

    While a little bigger, it is still really light to carry around, and the bigger screen and higher res. make it a dream to use at school and at home. That extra 1 lbs of weight cannot be felt. It fits in my north face backpack perfectly.

    Also, having newer specs was important for me to keep myself somewhat future proof. I love the 330m card for gfx power when i need it, i love how fast the i5 is and the batt can be managed to make it through the whole day at school. I go to a UC and I have never had a problem using my MBP in class or lectures. Its just the perfect size of portability and screen size and performance that blows you away. Get the 15 with hi res, and next year upgrade to a SSD.
     
  7. TRUCRACKER macrumors 6502

    TRUCRACKER

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    May 31, 2010
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    VA
    #7
    HA! Long, hard, and sweaty...

    Anyway, I would go with the 15". It's still pretty portable and the i5 could come in handy depending on what you're doing.
     
  8. pauldp macrumors newbie

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    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #8
    I would say go with the 15 for more real estate. Just finished college and there was plenty of times I needed to have more than one document or program up at once to look at. Spaces help but having the extra room to not have to flip back and forth or scroll left and right will be a nice convenience. But then again it might have been just the environment. For example, coding with a google window open is much easier when you have them open next to each other.
     
  9. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #9

    Depends on what you want to do with it. The 15 has a more powerful processor, but the 13 is no slouch-- it's equivalent to my last-generation MBP 15", and I pound this poor thing.

    Keep in mind that OS X has the wonderful Spaces feature which gives you multiple desktops. So "real estate" is plentiful.

    It's a tough call, both machines are marvelous. But if you don't need the extra processing power of the 15, the 13 is a great choice, and you'd save a bit of cash.

    I would not go SSD yet. They're great until they start to fill up, then they gradually become a little less great, and they don't last forever as people think they do. Personally I don't think they're worth the large amount of extra money quite yet. Spend the $500 on RAM and a couple of capacious USB hard disks (each at least 2X the size of the internal hard disk of the Mac) and use them alternately with Time Machine to keep your Mac backed up.
     
  10. djasterix macrumors 6502a

    djasterix

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    #10
    I'll go with the 15", more power and really portable...
     
  11. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

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    Kitchener, Ontario
    #12
    I went through my first year of college with a 13" MacBook, and while it was nice to carry around and such, working on it was cramped and not very efficient, at least for coding and schematic drawing. So I decided to sell my MacBook and get a 15" High Res MacBook Pro, with the anti glare because I was getting tired of the mirror display, especially if I was sitting next to a window.

    The 15" looks larger and obviously takes up more space, but it isn't much heavier to carry around, so it's nice having all the screen real estate I need when working on the go.
     
  12. Rithem macrumors 6502

    Rithem

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #14
    I went from a 13 MB to a 15 MBP. Still pretty portable and really powerful. I'm glad I got the HR screen too. I went into the store and saw the regular and I didn't like it too much.
     
  13. alexlam macrumors newbie

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    Mar 9, 2008
    #15
    i carry my 15inch macbook around campus all the time and I don't have a problem with portability at all. I feel that the 15inch is the perfect compromise. I definitely am more than happy with my decision
     
  14. djasterix macrumors 6502a

    djasterix

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    Paradise City
    #16
    Same here, I carry my 15" all day long, and its portability is great, I'm glad I decided for a 15" instead of the 13"
     
  15. grahamcracker macrumors newbie

    grahamcracker

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    Jun 10, 2010
    #17
    Hey,

    My advice after being at School for awhile is to go with the 13 inch for the portability factor. With lecture classes being so large you are usually packed into lecture halls with super tiny seats and desks that can hardly hold a piece of paper. The 13 inch won't feel like everyone can see your screen or encroaching into your neighbors area. The extra battery life will also come in handy when going class to class where you won't always have the convenience of plugging you comp in.

    The 15 inch screen doesn't really help as much with multi window work, it's still very cramped. Slightly less that the 13 inch but not enough to trump the portability factor

    With the money you'll save from getting the 13 skip the ssd and buy a nice external monitor to put in your room where you will actually be doing work. This way you get the portability factor AND extra screen space that is significantly noticeable!
     
  16. toffa813 macrumors regular

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    May 10, 2007
    Location:
    ATX
    #18
    I'd say 15". I just got my 15" i7 for college in the fall and I love it so far. Yeah, it will take up more room on my desk, but you will be using it a lot out of your dorm, which means no external. I came from a 13" white MB, and this felt really big at first, but after a week I'm very used to it and portability doesn't seem to be an issue at all. (But I haven't stuck it in a backpack and walked around with it) Plus, it weighs just slightly more than my old Macbook.
     
  17. ozreth macrumors 65816

    ozreth

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #19
    It would help if you told us what sort of actitivies you would be doing on your MBP...

    Anyways this is how it breaks down for me:

    15" has

    - Two more inches on the screen. Now, the two inches in the actual size of the computer is something you will hardly notice when carrying it around. There are very few bags that a 13" will fit into that a 15" won't, and even fewer surfaces that a 13" will fit on that a 15" won't. As far as weight, when you throw your MBP into a bag with several other items, you'll never know. BUT you will DEFINITELY notice the extra screen real estate, especially when watching movies and playing games (if you do that).

    - Better, dedicated graphics card. Will help on heavier programs and will REALLY help if you game at all.

    - The obvious things, bigger HDD (although you could upgrade the 13" HDD with an aftermarket one) and faster processor.

    - MUCH louder speakers. I move my MBP around the house a lot while doing things and the loud speakers are nice for music and for movies when watching with other people.

    Hope that helps.
     
  18. theblues thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 4, 2010
    #20
    Ha, I will take a look at the MBPs in-store but I don't anticipate looking at them long, hard, and sweaty JustinBW. I should have clarified this earlier, but I will be using Office/iWork for school, Photoshop, Handbrake, XLD, and possibly Aperture or Light Room. The 15'' sounds portable enough for college though, and should pack more of a punch. I think I'll end up with that. grahamcracker, thanks for your input, but I won't be in many lecture halls so that shouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

    Thanks sjinsjca and Vyruz Reaper for the SSD advice. I'll hold out on that for a bit. And thanks DeusInvictus7, pauldp, and toffa813 for the college-specific advice. And thanks everyone else for your input. I'm going to try and scrounge up some more money for the high-res... we'll see though.
     
  19. djasterix macrumors 6502a

    djasterix

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    Paradise City
    #21
    Great, so good luck in college and enjoy your mac...
     
  20. pacers721 macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2008
    #22
    im in my last year of college. I started with a 15'', got an external monitor and switch to a 13''. External monitors are awesome because you can watch movies, play games, etc. on it
     
  21. colourfastt macrumors 6502a

    colourfastt

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #23
    Consider the MBA with the SSD ... it's noticeably LIGHTER than the MBP.
     
  22. LucidPsychosis macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2010
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    #24
    The 13" is for hipsters who want a Macbook that don't understand computers.

    I have the base 15" (and I am using it for college currently), and portability is not an issue at all.

    The issue shouldn't be screen real estate either. Remember that Core i5 processor and the bigger native HDD.
     
  23. Rithem macrumors 6502

    Rithem

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #25
    lol. I see so many 13" MBPs around school as of late.
     

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