One computer or two?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by entatlrg, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Which set up would you prefer to use?

    1. 13" retina MacBook Pro


    2. 15" retina MacBook Pro and 11" MacBook Air

    Couple of points I've noticed from guys in the office with similar setups:
    - using only one computer everything is in one place, all organized no syncing necessary.

    - after using the retina MacBook Pro the 11" Air's screen looks real bad. After a few minutes eyes seem to adjust and it's less irritating.

    - compared to the small, lightweight 11" Air the 13" rMBP seems big for mobile use yet small for desktop use compared to the 15". The 13" is the compromise size, not the best for mobile or desktop use but good at both.

    (Not considering an iMac or Mac Pro, working to much on the go to have a desktop)
  2. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Honestly - I would rather get the maxed out retina and let that be the end of it. Clamshell mode when you need desktop work, laptop mode when you don't.
  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    I would prefer to have 2 Macs than 1. Choice no. 2 is better so you have a back up in case your other Mac is in for repairs. No downtime if you use your Mac for work. Before I had just one Mac, the video card died and had to send it for repair since its under warranty. Could not move forward to complete the work and the client needs the project asap.
  4. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Once you get a system setup you like, for syncing, using two laptops is not only enjoyable, but as noted earlier if one goes down, you don't miss a beat.

    I'm very happy with my current pairing. Main laptop is a 15" fully optioned MBPr, with my 13" MBA as its companion. Both new, on the same rev of 10.8.x, max ram, the speed of their SSD's make a great combo.

    The 15" _feels_ much lighter & more compact than it is when traveling which I do weekly. The screen size is priceless since my workflow involves multiple windows & desktops.

    Syncing is very easy once you turn it into a habit. It's autopilot & very fast.
  5. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    I would use the 15in at home as main computer if you dont want to carry it around.
    Then use the 11in as you "work" or "carry around computer".
    All you then have to do is sync when you go home.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go with a single 15" rMBP which is what I did.

    I think the MBA is too small as is the 13" MBP. YMMV and you may find a dual computer set up works for you, I think for my need and criteria a single machine is a better fit.
  7. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    I have a Retina 15" that I use 90% of the time, and a 5-year-old Dell Latitude that I take places where I wouldn't want to take (and possibly lose or break) a $3000 computer. Anything else would be superfluous. I have an iPad 2 that occasionally sees use as a glorified Kindle but mostly it just collects dust.
  8. willcapellaro macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2011
    Don't see much purpose for two laptops. Desktop and laptop is a little more understandable, but a laptop with external display for at home is a much better proposal.

    Two computers always will involve you showing up somewhere without what you need, and having to worry about application licensing.
  9. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    I really don't understand the dual laptop setups some of you people have. It sounds pointless. :confused:
  10. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    You didn't say what you will be using the Mac(s) for. Will the screen resolution of the 11" be high enough for you to comfortably work on it. Also, some people consider 15" portable but that depends on how you travel while carrying the laptop. If you're carrying it mostly in a car, the size shouldn't matter that much. If you're using public transportation a lot, then size would probably matter.

    And again since you didn't say what you were using the Mac(s) for, let me toss out some alternatives:
    • 13" Air with 15 MBP - 15" for when you neediit, 13" for when weight and size matter. Not as small as the 11" but not bad.
    • 15" MBP and an iPad. When you need to save the weight, would an iPad be enough?
    • 15" MBP (reasoning stated above)
  11. thinkpatience macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2009
    I would do option 2, and buy an external monitor for home.

    Currently I have 27" external display
    15" Macbook Pro

    and would love to add and air to the collection for traveling, quick grab and go.

    Like other's have said, syncing is priceless. :)
  12. Zeov macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2011
    i carry my MBPR "15 with me every day.. it's really light and theres no problem at all carrying it around to school / lan / whatever.

    go for the 15".
  13. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    mmm to me the single computer setup is the best choice possible... maybe with a big screen and backup disk at your main desk... two pc is always sinc...
    so to me actually the best is a 15 MBP retina with a thunderbolt display... I know it's expensive... but you have a desktop computer in a very light case... it weights as a cMBP 13....
  14. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    The 15 by itself. You should consider your needs/wants versus random polling which isn't very useful.

    Actually, I do have two laptops. One's the 15" MBP. One's a smaller "disposable" one used for travel. While losing the latter isn't my goal I wouldn't be as upset as if I had lost my MBP.
  15. entatlrg, Apr 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013

    entatlrg thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    That's a nice set up!

    I own a design, engineering and manufacturing business, (consumer products). I'm rarely in my office, instead I do most of my design work from my home office or my cottage, rarely sit at a desk. I also write and reply to a high volume of email. I travel often, mostly by car.

    We buy mostly Mac's for our staff, I can choose any Mac(s) I want. I've tried both the 11 and 15" two computer set up, and the 13" rMBP set up, still undecided which I prefer ... that's why I'm asking about others experience with similar setups. Thanks for the comments so far.

    On my last 5 day trip I took a 13" rMBP, my iPad and phone. The iPad goes with me everywhere, but not adequate for my design work, great for Siri email and reading pdf's. I missed the 11", it's so convenient when working away from a desk, I also missed the 15" rMBP screen size a little but not as much as the small, lightweight 11". I use the 11" for long hours when doing concept drawing in illustrator and run CAD software ... the 11" handles it fine, not as quick at the MBP's of course.

    The screen is small for that kind of work but some of my best idea's/designs come to me when I'm reclined on the couch, or outside on the deck. The 11" screen clarity (TN panel) sucks compared to the rMBP's, and probably a reason why I shouldn't use the 11" for long hours, certainly noticeable eye strain...

    My trip before that I brought an 11" Air and my wife's 15" rMBP, ended up using the 11" 80% of the time. It's not what I should of been using but it's what I enjoyed using most. As they say in photography, the best camera is the one you always have with you. The 11" is sort of the same idea.

    There's strong points for both the 13" rMBP setup and the 11" and 15" setups. I think what I 'should' do is make the 13" rMBP work, reason being it's easier on the eyes, the footprint isn't that much larger and not much heavier than the 11", yet there's something about the 11" I can't resist. And the 15" rMBP is such a powerful/beautiful light and thin laptop it's hard not to want to use that screen size at times, plus the added power is nice.

    To add to the mix, I have an old Mac Pro that I'd like to set up as a server, it's being used now for manual back ups and entertainment.

    I make numerous business decisions instantly everyday yet I'm so undecided on my tech setups. :confused::)

    Thanks again.
  16. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    I belong to this club :D

    Sounds like my travel patterns are very similar to yours, the only exception is I also have an international travel schedule which involves two one month trips each year to our operations in the UK, Germany, Italy, and France.

    True confessions, I'm such a tech addict that I couldn't decide till I tried them. So I now own every current model of MBPr, & MBA.

    While you are right my perception of my 13" MBPr is it's a bit easier on my eyes, yet I cannot say I've actually experienced eye strain after truly long periods (13 hr International flights) using my much loved 13" MBA.

    Even though it's just 1/2 lb lighter, the thin tapered form factor makes it feel and handle just like my 11" MBA. That's a phenomenon I find rather fascinating.

    The only two objections I have with the 11" MBA is it's 16.9 aspect ratio requiring more scrolling & obviously less viewing area, & the shorter battery life.

    Whereas the much more spacious 16:10 of the 13" MBA makes a huge difference in productivity. Far less scrolling, rather surprising actually as I didn't expect that kind of truly noticeable difference until I owned both 11" & 13" MBA's then used them under the same identical situations... long flights across the pond.

    So in my case, the 13" MBA & 15" MBPr are great companions.

    For me it's also about the peace of mind knowing that if something happens to one, I have the other to keep going with. Being in business I'm sure you can appreciate that benefit.

    It takes me some time to properly setup a new Mac to my liking even though I have the process as streamlined as possible. With one down I can work on it when I have time, instead of having to give it to one of my IT guys. I just prefer and enjoy setting up my own computer, as opposed to having anyone else do it. Silly in some people's opinion, but we all have our preferences.

    At the end of the day there is a lot that I find very compelling and appealing about both my 15" MBPr & 13" MBA.

    I'm a very satisfied Mac user.
  17. Woodcrest64 macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    Having one is enough. I'm trying to simply my life and reduce the amount of electronics I have. My wife has a Mabook as well so if mine were to die or need to be serviced I can use hers. I also have an iPad. I also am trying to rid of my DVDs and bluray movies.

    Before I had a desktop and two other laptops laying around. I'm heavy cloud user and can't wait until everything goes that way.
  18. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    I'm an option 2 guy. I run my own business as well and do a ton of traveling. The 15" rMBP is with me everywhere, along with the iPad. Until its travel time. The 11" fits perfectly in the airplane's light as a feather yet extremely powerful for what it is. I did own both the 11&13" airs initially. Sold the 13" when the rMBP released and held on to the 11". From now forward, this combo...again, with the iPad is what I'll be owning. For me , it's perfect. The redundancy is huge when you absolutely rely on the computer for your livelihood.

    My rMBP is the 15"/16gb RAM/768gb SSD. My 11" Air is the 2011 core i7/4gb RAM/256gb SSD. Wouldn't trade either....but I'm intrigued with Intel's Haswell power saving....I skipped the 2012 model because of the battery similarities. While USB 3 will be nice...I'm waiting to replace my 2011 when I see this years offering

    Good luck
  19. davidinva macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
    Macbook and Mac Mini?

    I use a Macbook as my only computer. With external monitor and keyboard at home, as laptop away from home. Thinking of a Mac Mini for the desktop, keeping the two synced. Anyone else use this setup?
  20. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    I do.
    I work mostly at home and have a 15in MBP as my main computer. I also have a mini that I use for backup (files) and as an eventual spare computer in case something goes wrong with the MBP. I have the same applications in both computers and sync the documents between the two at least once a day. I use Chronosync for this. I normally do not use the mini for work if I have the MBP with me.
    I have printers, scanners, and other stuff hooked to the mini, and have them available to the rest of the users at home (family).
    I have tested this backup/spare setup a couple of times, and it works fine.
  21. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
    11" air and an iMac would be my ideal setup. currently got my pro for sale to fund an imac purchase but had no interest
  22. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    Bought the 11 inch, didn't like it, sent it back.

    The screen was tiny and poor quality, the machine was fast enough, but I found the WiFi unreliable (and lots of reports of people with the same problem).

    I'd consider a 13inch retina.

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