Reason To Buy 15" Over A Cheap 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by shambo, Sep 15, 2009.

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  1. shambo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    To help new Macbook Pro buyers what are the main reasons to purchase the capable 15 inch over its 13" weaker brother?

    Okay I will start with the obvious: bigger screen, bigger hard drive, bigger ram, bigger processor, extra GPU, more screen real estate, better battery life, higher quality build.

    Any others?
  2. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2008
    You pretty much covered them all, other than the separate audio input/output jacks.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'm pretty sure the build quality is the same.

    Also, the 13" MBP is lighter, and about $800 cheaper.

    They both have the same battery life, unless you're using the better graphics card in the 15", in which case the 15"'s battery life is significantly worse.
  4. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    Well, I had mine 15" uMBP for almost a year, back then it was different.

    If I was buying today, I'd get the the base 13" and upgrade ram and Intel SSD myself. With the current MBP prices it's hard to justify the 15". You don't get your money's worth in extra features IMO. The 9600m GT is nice, it's twice as fast as the 9400m. But compared to other discrete GPUs it wasn't exactly amazing a year ago, and it's much less impressive today.

    If I had to downgrade to 13", the only thing I would miss is the screen resolution.
  5. BaronvdB macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I just sold my 15" Uni MBP yesterday after I bought my second 13" MBP....i actually prefer the 13" as the 15" was just a little too big for my liking...i don't do hard core graphics stuff anyway so I'm not missing the better graphics card of the 15".
  6. Harmless Abuse macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2008
    If I ever took you seriously, I'd be so sad inside!

    I'm more of a fan of the 13"

    It weighs less, has the exact same build quality, and costs less.

    The RAM and harddrive limitations are the same on both notebooks as they both use the same sized parts. I'm a fan of the size really. I like small computers, they're easier on my back, which isn't so happy because of my crappy hip. Not to mention I'm carrying 4 - 5 textbooks a day, 3 binders, 4 - 5 notebooks, and my TI-89 along with various writing utensils. The extra pounds do start to make a difference.
  7. tbbaot macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2009
    The right size varies according to the user and what they are going to be doing with it. People that travel appreciate the smaller size of the 13. Those that need the extra size and power can go with the 15 or 17. Apply logic to your purchase instead of just spending extra money for nothing
  8. JamesGorman macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    The 13 is a very capable machine. If I had the extra cash I probably would have opted for the 15. I would use the extra processing power, and the option to play games at a higher FPS would be nice, but honestly, for me its not necessary. In a few years, when I upgrade my notebook, chances are I may get a 15" For the extra screen space, but even than I may not need it considering at home, where most of my work will be done, ill have it hooked up to a 20"+ Monitor.

    On a side note, Im sick of all this "pro" machine talk. I have the unibody macbook, and just because it dosen't say pro on it, is it not a "good enough" machine. Its still more powerful than the current lower end 13" "macbook pro" . But I'm sure people out there would argue that I do not have a pro machine. Whose to say what makes a pro machine. Ill be entering real estate next year, so I will be a professional so to speak. Does that mean my macbook will no longer serve me?
  9. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    Got the more travel friendly 13" so I could unload my boat of a uMBP 15. Tried two 15"ers after my 12" PB and can't stand the behemoths otherwise known as the 15 MBP. Also had a two MBA's and two MB's. Money isn't a factor, portability & functionality are.
  10. illibball087 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2009
    reasons not to buy 15 inch...

    amazing hinge
    big speakers grillz
    awesome graphix card that you have to logout to use
    expensive so you know its gotta be good

    on a less sarcastic note people buy mostly what will suit their needs for portability go with the 13 inch and if you need power get the one with the 2.53ghz processor...seriously the 9400m is plenty for most of the things many users will do (gaming aside)
  11. Switz213 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2008
    I'd say having a speaker on the front, where you are is better than within the unibody as with the 13"....

    The speakers on the 15" are significantly louder and better. The graphics card is useful and it literally takes 3 seconds to log out/in.
    My hinge is fine...
  12. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    Well, some people gotta justify their 13" to fill that emptiness left by not having a nicer machine;) Im glad i dont have a 13, i realized the other day that my 15 is barely big enough to fit in my lap.
  13. thecheda macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Los Angeles
    15 Inch

    I would honestly go with the larger screen. Movies and games look much in higher resolutions.
  14. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    15" is a Boat? Are you the guy with little hands on the Burger King commercial? You know what they say about a guy with little hands..........he has a little mac:D
  15. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I think the 15" is a beautiful machine, but as a keen photographer who does a lot of travelling, I needed a capable laptop that could fit in my camera backpack too. So the 13" was the logical choice for me. Is the 13" cheap? Hell no. Nor is the 15". Not sure where the OP got that idea. If anything, a thread like this is more likely to reveal the virtues of the 13" rather than the negatives.

    There is talk of a troll in our presence, but this sounds like someone who has a deeper emotional need. A deep, deep hurt, brought about by some childhood trauma where a 13" laptop was associated with the offender.

    Repressed memories suck.
  16. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    What does your friend want/need? If you want to help them, then find this out and meet that need rather than trying to force them into something that they don't necessarily want. Frankly, there's not much separating the 15" from the 13" (they both lack the express card slot and have downgraded SATA controllers, limiting SSD capabilities). They are both made with the same manufacturing process and componentry. If they want something better, then recommend a 17".

    15" Pros:
    Bigger screen/higher resolution than 13"
    Option of dedicated graphics
    Option of faster CPU

    15" Cons:
    Heavier than 13"
    Less battery life (with faster CPU and graphics cards)
    Less portable than 13"
    More expensive than 13"

    17" Pros:
    Bigger screen/MUCH higher resolution
    Expresscard slot (for eSATA, 3G cards, multiple Firewire, etc etc)
    300Mb/s SATA controller (vs 150Mb/s in 13" and 15")
    3x USB slots (vs 2 on 13" and 15")
    Better battery life

    17" Cons:
    Less portable than 15" and 13"
    Very expensive
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I wouldn't call the 13" MBP a weaker brother over the 15". True at the higher end you get dual GPUs and a faster processor but there's enough overlap to show that the 13" MBP is an extremely capable machine.

    I think many people buy it because the cost is much cheaper then the 15" and/or the form factor. The 13" makes that puppy very mobile, more so then the 15"

    I myself was tempted for the 13" but was seduced by the dual GPU option of the 15" sadly I found how capable the 9400m was and my 15" MBP is on that GPU most of the time. That is I've come to realize I could have spent less money and gotten a machine that would have met my needs.
  18. pesc macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2006
    One advantage with the 15" is that it can be had with a nonreflective screen. If you buy the 13" you will get a super-glary mirror screen. Too reflective to be usable for me.

    Now, the 15" is too clumsy for my taste so I won't buy that machine either...
  19. mattais macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    Now, i'm not saying that the 13" is better than the 15" in terms of power. It's just a much wiser investment.

    For example - i have a machine thats equal in spec to the 15" i was considering... but with the money I saved I bought a 24" monitor for when I was at home. Keeping in mind that the average person spends only 33.3% of their day at work and the rest at home, you can't discount factoring in home usage when deciding which laptop to buy.

    Therefore, I - speaking to someone that clearly has issues with the number of inches he has - personally have 37 inches compared to your lowly 15.

    Consequently, my 13" Macbook Pro is 146% better than your 15". Plus it has a keyboard that looks like it was actually designed for it, instead of one that looks lost in a sea of aluminium.

    To summarise : You are wrong. Not that the 13" is a better buy, it just suits some people and not others. Nobody gives a rats ass about ridiculous justifications. I tried to be more ridiculous than you in this post but in truth our arguments are actually on a similar level.

    People will buy what they like. Some of us just spend our money in different ways to others.

    Posted with love (we are from the same family of course)
    Mattais xox
  20. shambo thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    Thanks this is the type of thing I meant. Anyway my friend is wanting the 13" however I am concerned he should spend a bit more and future-proofs his purchase with the better machine, hence the list. :cool:
  21. shambo thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    Good point on the screen option. :cool:

    Can I ask if the 13" is too reflection and the 15 too clumsy what you'd recommend?
  22. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Power-wise they are similar when people are in a common situation where for not too much $$ more than a high-end 13" MBP you can get a low-end 15" MBP. In fact for me I have a 13" uMB (the gen right before they were called Pros) and my 2.4GHz 13" uMB has the same exact CPU as my low-end Late-2008 15" uMBP, the Intel P8600 2.4GHz. So my 2 machines power-wise are the same except for the 15" having the option to turn on the dedicated 9600GT. In day-to-day usage between the 2 I don't notice a difference in performance (which is to be expected since both have the Intel P8600 and 4GB RAM). Its only when I play games and turn on the 9600GT of my 15" MBP that I notice a difference. I only got this 15" since I was intending it to be my only computer (sold my desktop) so wanted the higher res and better video card when I occasionally play games.

    For the current gen, many buyers find themselves deciding to get the higher-end 2.53GHz 13" MBP but thinking "hey, for around $200-$300 more I can get a 15" MBP" but the only difference with the current high-end 13" MBP -> low-end 15" MBP is a tiny CPU bump from 2.53GHz -> 2.66GHz and a bigger screen + screen rez increase (also better speakers but meh that's not too major for most). The both still have the 9400m. So the question to ask is if you want the increased portability (which to be honest weight-wise is just 1lb but the overall dimensions can make a difference for your daily commute/travel) is worth it to sacrifice a bit for screen-size and res. Tough call but the fact is both are very capable machines.
  23. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Why get a MBA over MBP 17? The MBP 17 has bigger screen, Express Card, up to 8 GB RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM HD's, Full HD resolution and Super Fast processors while the MBA just has a severe form over function case.:rolleyes:

    I'm really undecided if I want the 17 inch MBP or the MBA. I guess I should just get a MP, 13, 15, 17 and Air and find some way to sync everything up. I really want the MBP 17's Express Card and screen
  24. sgrrsh26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2009
    I bought the significantly cheaper 13", that way if something awesome comes out for them next update i can resell for less of a hit to my wallet.
  25. JajoPGH macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Well I returned my 13 inch and picked up a 15 inch.

    This thing feels much larger than I thought it would feel. In the store, it looked like a no brainer to get the 15 inch, but having it here at home, it feels huge. I can't even imagine a 17 inch.

    I won't be moving it around too much (ie I don't use it for work). I mostly use it from room to room in the house, so the portability issue isn't going to be too much of a factor.

    But to tell you the truth, the 15 inch looks better in the end. But the $$$ doesn't :eek:
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