Portability of 2016 MBP 15 for college student

Nave29

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
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Ignoring all other factors... For a college student, would you consider the MBP 15 inch to be portable enough? I'm afraid the footprint might be too large for the average college desk, etc. Weight doesn't seem to be too big a factor (only 1 pound heavier).

Trying to decide between 13 inch w/ 16 GB RAM or base model 15 inch. Will buy whatever the latest edition is after WWDC.
 
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bopajuice

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Mar 22, 2016
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Dark side of the moon
Ignoring all other factors... For a college student, would you consider the MBP 15 inch to be portable enough? I'm afraid the footprint might be too large for the average college desk, etc. Weight doesn't seem to be too big a factor (only 1 pound heavier).

Trying to decide between 13 inch w/ 16 GB RAM or base model 15 inch. Will buy whatever the latest edition is after WWDC.
Desk or table you should be fine. A seat on a airplane, I found the 15 inch to be too big. With the tray down it was hard to open it far enough to have a good viewing angle. My 13 MacBook Air was perfect for flying. Dorm or classroom should be fine fir a 15.
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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I would never suggest that anyone base their computer on what fits on a desk in a lecture hall. It's easy enough to just take paper notes that this shouldn't even be a consideration. In some cases electronics are more of a distraction than an aid for that kind of thing.

I hate small screens, so I'm biased against the 13". I agree that the 15" is tight when flying. I suppose it wouldn't be bad if you pay for an exit row upgrade or business class, but I would never do that. I don't fly often enough to worry about it.
 

niploteksi

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Dec 11, 2016
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Ignoring all other factors... For a college student, would you consider the MBP 15 inch to be portable enough? I'm afraid the footprint might be too large for the average college desk, etc. Weight doesn't seem to be too big a factor (only 1 pound heavier).

Trying to decide between 13 inch w/ 16 GB RAM or base model 15 inch. Will buy whatever the latest edition is after WWDC.
If it's for yourself, maybe you could just take a look at what others are using since there aren't really any standard size desks around the world. But even in an auditorium you should be fine with a 15". As long as it fits you are going to be fine, since the smaller foot print of a 13" isn't really going to leave you much extra space for anything else.

The 13" inch is great for travelling, but extra screen space is always nice. Is it just going to be a typewriter?
 

The Mercurian

macrumors 68020
Mar 17, 2012
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A factor you should consider is what you will use it for. Big difference between 13 & 15" is 2 CPU cores vs 4 CPU cores. If you doing anything processor intensive the 15" might be best suited to your needs. If not the 13" would be fine probably.
 

Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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A friend's son bought a 15" MacBook Pro (older, slightly larger model) for college, and by the end of four years, he was pretty tired of having to tote it around.

The same friend's other son bought a 13", and... no complaints.

BUT -- the 15" definitely is nicer and more powerful.
It's really up to YOU -- can you handle the extra size and weight for four years?
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
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Agree with the others..

If you don't need the quad core horsepower and screen size, toting around even the latest thinnovation 15" MBP's will become unwelcome before too long.

No matter how thin and light they make them, the physical footprint size is still pretty large to be going in and out of bags and onto desks, etc over and over again.
 
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ZapNZs

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Jan 23, 2017
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What do you plan to do with the system?

If you do not plan to use it for anything intensive, and since it sounds like you will want mobility, the 13-inch seems like a better fit (unless you are going to do something where the performance advantage of the quad core + dGPU offsets the larger size and higher cost.) With a base model touch bar 13-inch, you would have enough money left over to purchase two very nice 24-27-inch 4K external monitors (which the 13-inch can drive), a mechanical keyboard, and some secondary external storage.
 

OneMike

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Oct 19, 2005
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I think both would be for college. A more important question to decide which to purchase would be what you intend to use it for outside of class.
 

satinsilverem2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2013
778
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Richmond, VA
I carried a 2012 Retina 15 inch for 3 years in college with out an issue. The old unibody machines were really heavy to carry around in a backpack every day but since the retina models have come along it really isn't an issue much anymore. Ive never come across a desk that my computer wouldn't fit on. I wouldn't sweat it.
 

Nave29

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
52
13
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I don't do anything intensive besides some very light Photoshop so I'll go with a 13 inch. Still deciding whether 8 GB to 16 GB upgrade is worth $180
 

serkan

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2012
427
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Menlo Park,California
I am on the same boat with you but on the business level.

In my college years, I also used my 13 inch MBP and it was pretty good to be honest. Bu when I wanted to work on two excel sheets or divide screen into two then the problems started for me.

I didn't have any external monitor for me to hook-up with my HDMI or any other thing, so I was bound to my screen all the time.

Now, I am checking out the new smaller footprint MBP,s and to be perfectly honest I am going to switch from 13 o 15. I don't know but feels lighter and smaller because of the footprint. I have made the comparison in Apple Store by dividing two screens in 13 and 15 side to side and loved the bigger screen which I can use with multiple things.

With every software becoming heavier with features and more every update you can easily see the difference of quad core or dual core. In my case, at Apple Store, I have witnessed when I fired up and divided screens for Excel and Word side to side and start typing formulas on Excel. On 15, it was smooth but on 13, I felt bit trapped and also crashed after couple minutes.

Extra GB upgrade definitely worthy because these machines are not like ur older machines that we can upgrade or play around anymore. Everything is soldered to logic board which makes them non-upgradable. So, if you can afford the extra bucks, go with the 16 GB; that's why I am doing too.

If it counts, count me in me +1 for 15 incher.

Hope it helps a bit.
 

Nave29

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
52
13
I am on the same boat with you but on the business level.

In my college years, I also used my 13 inch MBP and it was pretty good to be honest. Bu when I wanted to work on two excel sheets or divide screen into two then the problems started for me.

I didn't have any external monitor for me to hook-up with my HDMI or any other thing, so I was bound to my screen all the time.

Now, I am checking out the new smaller footprint MBP,s and to be perfectly honest I am going to switch from 13 o 15. I don't know but feels lighter and smaller because of the footprint. I have made the comparison in Apple Store by dividing two screens in 13 and 15 side to side and loved the bigger screen which I can use with multiple things.

With every software becoming heavier with features and more every update you can easily see the difference of quad core or dual core. In my case, at Apple Store, I have witnessed when I fired up and divided screens for Excel and Word side to side and start typing formulas on Excel. On 15, it was smooth but on 13, I felt bit trapped and also crashed after couple minutes.

Extra GB upgrade definitely worthy because these machines are not like ur older machines that we can upgrade or play around anymore. Everything is soldered to logic board which makes them non-upgradable. So, if you can afford the extra bucks, go with the 16 GB; that's why I am doing too.

If it counts, count me in me +1 for 15 incher.

Hope it helps a bit.
Haha you're making my decision easier to get the 16 GB RAM for $180. I'll probably stick with 13 as a student even though I love the big screen on the 15
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
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While I have historically advocated 16GB, the lack of upgradability and repairability of many modern laptops mean the service life could be significantly shorter than on designs that were possible to upgrade/repair (especially if a part should fail, such as the hard drive, given the out-of-pocket repair costs could be unjustifiably high.) So while I have historically purchased specifications based on my longer term anticipation, I'm no longer quite as confident of a such a formula and my most recent MBP was a bare-bones nTB model partly for this reason.
 

serkan

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2012
427
69
Menlo Park,California
Haha you're making my decision easier to get the 16 GB RAM for $180. I'll probably stick with 13 as a student even though I love the big screen on the 15
:) Think about the future and bite the bullet my friend.

I would say go with 8GB but you can't upgrade it later down on the road, which you'll need it for sure.

Unless you go with 2015 models where you can upgrade, in this one, you have to pay the man and take the 16.
 

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2015
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Land of Smiles
I would say based on my sons experience (1 with Phd and 1 with Bsc) the 13 or 15 is probably over kill for most college work and a rMB would be more than sufficient, however you also have private use considerations and preferences :)

Additionally I would not scrimp on SSD size as it's likely given the large selection of software options for students you are likely to need to run some windows applications and should really plan for a 50GB bootcamp partition IMO plus your other requirements

My eldest now a lecturer in advance laser technology still uses his rMB and the other swapped to W10 after finding too many issues using MBP in heavy industry but both used low spec 11" MBA's for the greater part of their years at Uni
 

Mobster1983

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2011
631
454
I have to laugh when people talk about the 15" not being "portable." It's only one pound heavier than the 13", and far more powerful. Let's not even begin to talk about comparisons to previous MBP.

I carried the 15" for my last semester of law school and, while noticeably heavier than my 13" MBA, i had no problem carrying it all over campus, even with a backpack full of law books, most of which were heavier than the MBP.

Of course, I am a former army infantryman so I am used to carrying over 100 pounds. So that could be part of my amusement. ;-)
 

Kcetech1

macrumors regular
Nov 24, 2016
191
92
Alberta Canada
Of course, I am a former army infantryman so I am used to carrying over 100 pounds. So that could be part of my amusement. ;-)
don't feel bad im a 5 foot 4 130 lb mother of 3 thinking what the hell is up with these people ..... I still lug a pair of 17" units around 6 days a week and I sure don't hit the gym either.

and yes Law books and Engineering books weigh a ton.
 
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Matthew9559

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2007
929
30
Cleveland, OH
For college, I'd stick with a 13". I used a 15" MBP for most of my 4 years and would have preferred a 13". Easier to fit on desks in classes, at library didn't really matter since you've got plenty of room to spread out.
 

Nave29

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2014
52
13
For college, I'd stick with a 13". I used a 15" MBP for most of my 4 years and would have preferred a 13". Easier to fit on desks in classes, at library didn't really matter since you've got plenty of room to spread out.
That was my exact worry. Based on what everyone has said, I'll be going with a 13 in. w/16 GB RAM as soon as a refresh is available, hopefully WWDC.
 

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2015
3,422
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Land of Smiles
I have to laugh when people talk about the 15" not being "portable." It's only one pound heavier than the 13", and far more powerful. Let's not even begin to talk about comparisons to previous MBP.

I carried the 15" for my last semester of law school and, while noticeably heavier than my 13" MBA, i had no problem carrying it all over campus, even with a backpack full of law books, most of which were heavier than the MBP.

Of course, I am a former army infantryman so I am used to carrying over 100 pounds. So that could be part of my amusement. ;-)
LOL

I wonder if Uni life is somewhat different in UK as my sons never had cars and only 1st year was in halls after that they were in flat shares with a several mile walk to campus and no doubt via the pub on the way back :)

I also note as a side issue when travelling the number of times I have been glad not having a large 15" laptop (laptops including the Mrs one) would just not fit in to hotel safes and the one here in Spain currently would not even take an Ipad :rolleyes:
 
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