Size Matters!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oldschool006, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. oldschool006 macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2009
    At the risk of getting flamed, I'm asking the obvious but ethereal question. Before you set this on fire, hear me out. In my case I live in a developing country. I travel a lot and when I'm not traveling I need to move around in the city to work so as to avoid cabin fever in a small dark apartment.

    I'd like to get the 15" MBP as I do a lot of photoshop/lightroom/photo mechanic photo editing and also plan to learn video with final cut express. I like the matte finish screen of the 15, and also the added real estate but everyone keeps saying the same thing... go for the 13 for portability and add an external monitor. I do have that, a 22" Dell. But I would still prefer to work off a 15" screen when I'm portable.

    The question is, do you folks really find the 15" to be perceptibly bigger and heavier then the 13"? Enough to be worth the glass and small screen size? The key word is PERCEPTIBLY. I know the dimensions and weight comparison by the numbers, but what are your real world findings?

    My apologies for asking a repetitive question, but I must ask it my way as I will be home in the USA for a couple of weeks and will have to make a final purchase before moving back to the middle of nowhere for another 2 years.

    Thanks for the constructive thoughts and the abuse that's sure to come.

    BTW- I'm upgrading from my 2004 12" iBook
  2. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    My wife has the 2011 13 and I have the 2011 15 with matte. I don't mind the extra weight and have carried a 15 for the last 5 years for that reason. That and I cringe every time I have to work on the glossy screen, but that is my preference solely. I find it to be harder on my eyes than the matte screen.
  3. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Dunno about the 15", but I have a 17" hi res and a 13". The 13" is technically faster than my 17" 2010 and smaller/lighter, but as cute as it is it just doesn't offer decent real estate (for me).

    Some people say the 13" is effective in areas like buses trains and planes. That's fine. The question is, are you effective on buses, trains, and planes. I work better at the library and coffee shops, where i'm not moving @ 60-600mph and/or in a pressurized cabin, and the tiny real estate of the 13" is alot less convenient than taking up a whole desk w/ my 17" (not that it does :D).
  4. TheFarmer macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2011
    Get the 15"...that's what you want. Size matters b/c "That's what she said" -Michael Scott.

    15"...the added resolution (especially in the HR model) makes a big difference if you need the space when you're out and about. :)
  5. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    It's not the additional weight of the 15, but the bulk. I'm much more likely to have my 13" with me than my 15". It's just more cumbersome, so the 15 only goes if it's a necessity.
  6. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    I use Lightroom a lot with my 17" MBP and I couldn't even imagine using a 15" screen. With the two side panels open left and right the 13" model seems way too small.
  7. tasslehawf macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Plus, I would be weary of the weak graphics card you get with 13".
  8. oldschool006 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2009
    That's all very excellent input!
    (that's what she said)
  9. fkhan3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2010
    With the work that you do, you would be much better off with 15”. I personally don’t think 15” is much heavier than 13”. I have even travelled to the other side of the world with my 17” and it didn’t bother me at all.
  10. LunaC macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2011
    Im used to a 17 MBP after using it for the last few years. I picked up a new 13 on launch day to use with lightroom/ps but just couldnt do without all the space so I had to go for a new 17.

    Weight and size wise, there isnt that much of a difference, I guess it comes down to what sort of bag you are planning to carry the MBP in and that is the deciding factor. I can see girls going for a 13 MBA/MBP to toss into their purses.
  11. 1quick1 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2008
    The 15'' is noticeably bigger then the 13''. I had the 2011 13'' and exchanged it yesterday for the 15'' because I wanted the better graphics. It's definitely not nearly as portable as the 13'' but still easily manageable. I say if you want the 15'' for the extra screen space, by all means get one. The only thing I didn't get that I wish I could've (didn't have it in stock) is the high-res screen.
  12. ssn637 macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2009
    As a long-time MBP 13" user I've often had the urge to upgrade to the 15" model, especially with this year's introduction of Quad-Core processors and a graphics card worthy of a pro (in the high-end version). But every time I walk into the Apple Store and pick one up off the shelf it feels noticeably heavier and bulkier. A high resolution matte display and all that power are tempting - but they come at a price. I take my 2010 MBP 13" to work every day and travel with it often. At home an external monitor helps with the eye strain. Unless you're a serious gamer enthusiast or power user I feel the 13" is an ideal system. Size does matter! I can easily imagine the future MacBook Airs supplanting the 13" Pros once their storage capacity improves. I've tried accessing my Time Capsule from remote wireless locations but feel this is not a substitute for local storage.
  13. oldschool006, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    oldschool006 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2009
    It is a good point that the difference in size is the issue more so than the weight, especially as once you take off the glass for the anti-glare screen you've shaved the weight difference down to 1/2 pound-250 grams... doesn't seem that significant. But i bet psychologically the small 13" footprint makes the portability factor seem that much more apparent. I agree that a good bag or backpack would make a big difference overall, and yeah, I doubt I'd be doing heavy editing in a bouncing car or tiny aircraft space.
  14. macimby macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    FWIW, I had been eyeing the 13" myself, but am starting to favor the 15".

    Uniquely in favor of the 13" are its lower price and the fact that I can pick it up firmly with one hand at a front corner while it's open, but with the 15" my grip is literally shaky. I think it's about 1lb. lighter. That suggests an advantage when traveling with it or using it briefly at meetings or using it where desk/table space is tight or using it on a lapdesk while simultaneously watching TV or other things (which I'd like to do often).

    In favor of the 15" are the specs-things making it more useful for some more challenging things. There's also the antiglare option with the 15" (which certainly tempts me although I don't really want the extra small pixel density upgrade that is required to get antiglare.) My perception when doing side-by-side comparisons while shopping was that although I could cope with the 13" screen size & pixels, the 15" did seem better and I appreciated the improvement.

    The other evening I was at a meeting where a couple of guys pulled out their 4:3 screen 13" PC's and I had the subjective reaction that they looked 'cute' and more for lightweight/brief work than real work, even though the new 13"ers are very capable and probably sufficient for most people's needs most of the time. I might prefer to be perceived as more of a power-worker unless I'm trying to appear more 'executive'. Your subjective impression may differ.

    Another factor is that it seems to me that in forums there have been fewer reports of running hot or fans running fast & noisy among 13"ers than among 15"ers, although there are also people who report no such imperfections in both sizes, so a person could get lucky or unlucky in either case. Running hot might be a concern if you'll be working in hot ambient temperatures. Some people have reported that re-applying premium thermal paste correctly (not a big glob of it like they found inside) fixed their issue, so I'd guess that it's just a matter of time before Apple's quality control feedback process improvement discipline will probably make that a non-issue.
  15. oldschool006 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Wouldn't ambient temps have to be greater than the operating temperature of the machine to have an adverse effect?
  16. 1quick1 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2008
    That is one of the first things I noticed yesterday after exchanging my 13'' for my 15''. I can one hand walk room to room with the 13'' but not so much with the 15'' You definitely need to use a more of a hand under the center, waiter approach.

    This thing does run hot when using something graphically intense but it's really no lounder or much hotter than the 13''. Normal operations both are whisper quiet but under load the fans kick on and it gets pretty hot. I'm sure the new 15'' generates more heat compared to the 13'' but it doesn't feel much different from my usage of both.
  17. skyrider007 macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    I've had three MacBook Pros and all of them including my latest one has 15.4" screen. For some unknown reason I just couldn't make the switch to a 13" despite my very basic computing requirements and the "want" for a more portable/lighter laptop.

    The thing is I have an iPad now and I don't really carry my MBP around so it usually just stay on my desk. Its bulk become evidently noticeable when I travel though. I know I have an iPad but sometimes you need to bring along a proper computer and that's when I wish I had a 13" MBP or MBA. But then again I wouldn't like the screen size. Oh dilemma.
  18. hansocars macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2011
    i've used my friends 13" in school for some years, and thought that it was a nice screen size. then i just bought the new 15" model, because of the quad core... and i must say i thought the 15" where much bigger in the beginning, but it took 2 days and then i couldn't think of getting it in a smaller size. it is nice to take with you, and i don't use it while traveling to school, so it is perfect... so get the 15" its sooo much better!
  19. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I used a 13" 2009 MBP. The resolution and quad core drove me to the 15" on the 2011. I couldn't go back to the 13" now. I loved the portability of the 13, but the 13" didn't have enough screen real estate to be my go to machine. My new hi-rez 15 fits the bill just fine. And it is pretty portable. Not usable on a train/airplane/etc. though.
  20. amoergosum macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2008
    I use my 15" MBP on problem.

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