my take on rMBP 13 vs rMBP 15

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by leftyMac, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. leftyMac macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2011
    so here's my background:

    mainly I use my MBP for programming (xcode, coda2, unity, edge animate, etc) , video / audio editing, and graphic design. and I used to own 13" MBPs (of various generations).

    I loved the 13" for the portability, yet I was mostly working from home, and had my MBP hooked up to an external monitor like 95% of the time. then the time came for an upgrade, and I went for a 15" model this time around, and WOW!

    I used to swear by 13" MBP, but with this 15" rMBP, I can work anywhere without an external monitor! ironically that makes it more portable than a 13" model, at least FOR ME.

    I'm really glad I went for a 15 rMBP instead of 13". I'm sure 13 rMBP is a damn fine machine though. but like I said, for me, it was surprisingly better than what I expected in terms of usability. so I just wanted to share my impression of 15" rMBP, coming from a long time of sticking with the 13", with guys that are on the fence and not knowing which one to get.
  2. BoingoBongo macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2008
    My personal experience was the opposite. I had a 15" mid 2010, and I hardly took it anywhere because it felt cumbersome.

    I recently upgraded to a 13. rMBP and love it much more. It's far more portable, and I enjoy it a lot more.

    That's just my experience though.
  3. graaaapes macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2014
    I have to agree with Boingo. I am typing this on my just unboxed 13" rMBP refurb, which I bought after selling my 15" rmbp, which I bought after selling my 13". :D sounds fickle, I know. But I had owned an old 2009 13" up until last year, then I made the jump to 15" thinking I'd give it a try. It was awesome, for awhile, but eventually it just felt like too much machine for me, in both real estate and power. I can already tell I will be taking this new 13" with me more places, more often. (I also yearned for the better battery life.)

    I'm sure there will be moments when I miss being able to put two or more windows open side by side and have all that space, but I think my days of heavy photo and video editing are over. And luckily now with retina we can adjust the scaling on the 13" to compensate at least a little bit.
  4. taedouni macrumors 65816

    Jun 7, 2011
    I'm with you OP.
    15" = more real estate which is nice for programming. Plus that's an i7 vs an i5. 16GB of RAM vs 8GB. Possibility of getting a 750M or just the Iris Pro vs the lower 13" integrated graphics.
  5. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    My first Mac was a 12" PowerBook G4 1GHz. My second and third were both 15" MacBook Pros. A 2006 and then a 2007 model. My third was a Late 2009 13" MacBook Pro, and I'm not switching back to the larger screen again. The 13" models do everything I need them to do.
  6. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    13" + monitor is best combination unless you need the power. i think for software programming, it's not as necessary IMO
  7. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Just moved from 13"2009 to 15"2013.

    Barely notice the size, but love the bigger screen. Weight is almost equal. I never use an external monitor. I travel a few times a month, and drag mac to work and back daily.

    Loving it!
  8. matrik macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2014
    I also moved from 13" MBP to 15" rMBP and feel a great positive difference in coding and multi-tasking work (all because of the larger screen).

    I think it really depends on your workflow. Some tasks are easy to perform on 13", and you just get the portability as a bonus. However, some tasks need more screen estate and if you're doomed under a 13", you swear to the day you bought it :)
  9. JoJoCal19 macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2007
    Jacksonville, FL
    I went from a 13" Macbook (2006) to a 15" MBP (2012) and it's a huge difference in how much better the extra screen real estate is for day to day usage. Honestly the size difference was barely noticeable. I think the weight was more noticeable. However I will be upgrading to a mid 2014 15" rMBP and I think the weight savings will negate the size difference when it comes to portability. The footprint on the 15" MBP fits in any computer case I've tried that was made for even smaller Windows laptops.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've used the 13" and 15" MBPs, and I've come to the conclusion at least for my needs, the 15" MBP is superior due to the increased screen real estate. I was struggling with LR and photoshop with the smaller screen, it lacked the real estate and those apps were hamstrung.

    Likewise when I remoted into servers using RDP, the smaller screen made it more difficult to interact with the servers.
  11. Meister, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    If you use your macbook at home/office, hook it up to a screen.
    If you are on the road the form/weight of the 13" is of a great advantage.

    If you just use your mac at home get a MacPro or Mac Mini
  12. jjfcpa macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2009
    I have to go with the 15 rMBP

    I have a Macbook Air, rMBP 13, and a rMBP15. I work in a variety of places... home, office, client's office, coffee shops, airports, and yes, even on vacation. Being in the tech business is 24/7 so there is no time off.

    In the past, I've always taken the MBA on the road or vacation because I wanted something as light as possible. I bought the rMBP 13 because I liked the extra power and thought it would be a little better for road trips and vacations because of the added power. It was a complete trade off in my opinion. I still liked the MBA because I felt it was easier to work with. Purely my opinion.

    A couple months of ago I went with the wife to Las Vegas for a week of fun and games and took the rMBP 15 (which is my daily computer) just to see how it felt. I wasn't sure if the bulk (on the plane) and weight (carrying around Vegas) would bother me to the point that I would not take it in the future.

    As it turned out, the key was to buy a very lightweight bag and carry as few extras as possible and the 15 seemed perfect for my needs. I've come to the conclusion that unless the MBA can be equipped with 16 gig of RAM and a retina screen, I'll just stay with the 15. While the 13 rMBP can be equipped with 16 gigs of RAM, the smaller screen size just doesn't work for me.
  13. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I had a 2011 15" QCi7 MBP that I absolutely loved ... but I was worried about the graphics card failure problem, so I sold it and bought a high-end 13" rMBP. I was expecting something near the snappiness of my old 15" and have thus far been disappointed. The computer lags - especially when connected to my TBD - and the UI on my 11" MBA is much snappier.

    I'm past the 14-day return period, or I'd return the 13" and get another 15". The QC makes a big difference, at least in my experience. Using CC with involved graphics or audio projects really bogs down the dual core. If the Mac minis had been updated in the past year or so, I'd spring for one of those and gladly replace the retina. The performance tradeoff just isn't worth the gorgeous screen.
  14. ihonda macrumors 68000

    Sep 17, 2009
    i luckily own late-13 13" and 15" rMBP. i like the 15" except the palm/wrist area is just far to large for me. i prefer the smaller footprint of the 13"
  15. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Personally I started with a Late 2008 MacBook (13" of course), then last year I bought a used 15" 2010 MBP; I loved the screen space and quality, but the weight and size kept me from taking it out of the house very often.

    Then last month I bought the Late 2013 13" rMBP, and after using this for about a month now, I take it with me everywhere I go, and I don't think I'll be going back to 15". But who knows down the line.

    The thing I like about the rMBP is that if I need the space in a pinch to fit something on screen, I can use scaling to 1440 or 1680 when needed. Works great. Plus I use a 23" monitor at my desk where it's at most of the time anyway.
  16. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Very good point. Just moved over and was rather upset/worried my first few hours using the 15. After a few days, and just about over it.

    BUT - if I had to switch back and forth between two units, I expect I would not be happy with the 15".
  17. soulreaver99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    I don't understand this statement. The difference in weight between the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro is negligible. In fact the 13inch rMBP IS practically a 13-inch MBA with retina and 16gb that you wanted.
  18. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I have both the MBA and rMBP, and I beg to differ: The MBA is a much snappier machine. If I could live with 8GB of RAM, I'd buy the 13" MBA and use it as a desktop replacement.
  19. leftyMac thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2011
    I don't have a MBA, but it kind of makes sense because rMBP has to drive the retina display. IPad3 also had the better specs than iPad2, but it didn't feel snappier because of the retina.


    I have a 23" monitor as well, and my old 13" MBP (clamshell mode) was almost permanently hooked up to it. I work from home, and what made me surprised is that since I got my 15" rMBP, I can work anywhere I want in my home without sacrificing the screen real estate. But yeah, 13" + external monitor is a sweet combo indeed!
  20. jjfcpa macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Perhaps I could have been more clear. I think the MBA seems more ergonomically friendly than the 13" rMBP. Don't get me wrong, you are correct that the 13" rMBP gives me everything I'm looking for except screen real estate, but at a significantly higher price than the MBA.

    From a purely travel point of view, the MBA suffices nicely at a much lower price point. The difference in a comparably equipped 13 and 15 is just a few hundred dollars and as it stands, I'd go with the 15.

    If the retina MBA ever comes out, it may meet my need for more screen real estate while on the road. I'd definitely consider that.
  21. Gman021 macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I like the 15s but I just bought a new 13 rMBP, and for the money, you can't beat it. Handles my light gaming (CS, WoT, DOD, etc), web design, and I hope to start doing some more app development.

    I plan on running an external monitor, but most the time I want to have my rMBP closed, in a stand, and just use the external monitor for daily stuff. Coding is when I would need both screens.

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