Still can't decide - 13" MBP or 15" MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Davidb67, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Davidb67 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Despite looking at both machines in an Apple store on a number of occasions, I still cannot decide on which size MBP to go for – I did like the idea of the 13” although do not need to consider portability – it will be my personal machine used 95% of the time at home. My computing-use will be relatively light and well within the 13” capabilities spec-wise, I’m just concerned about screen real-estate (particularly as I won’t be hooking up to a monitor).
    I’ll be using the machine for web browsing, email, itunes & occasional spreadsheet & documents – no gaming. So it would appear I don’t need to go for the greater graphics capability of the 9400+9600, and I don’t have a ton of stuff that’s going to require huge HDD – I’ll stick with whatever the chosen machine comes with and consider SSD upgrade at some future point if prices tumble.
    As I’ve said seeing the two machines in the metal hasn’t helped sway me in a particular direction as I would have hoped. I’ve gone pixel-blind reading the myriad of “do you regret buying 13”.....”wished I’d bought 13” threads, and still remain undecided!!!
    I think I’ve distilled it down to simply a matter of screen area / resolution. I believe the resolution is higher on the 15” MBP, so pro-rata you’re getting even more on-screen that the simply size increase? That correct? All other factors (processor, HDD size, “portability” etc) don’t figure too highly as the “decider” due to what I’ll be using the MBP for and “where” – around the house mainly, not lugging around every day.
    Appreciate views & comments.
     
  2. ahbiteme macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #2
    Personally I'd go for the 15inch if you can afford it. Spreadsheets can be huge at times and the 13inch screen will be restrictive. Furthermore, with the higher specs, you're more future-proofed in that hopefully you won't need to upgrade to a new machine as early due to sluggish performance.

    I went for the 17inch a few years ago and going back to even a 15inch screen feels restrictive, let alone a 13inch.

    To me, the only real advantage of the 13inch is portability, and maybe a cuteness factor. Since the former isn't an issue and seeing both machines in the metal didn't sway you in terms of the latter, I'd go the 15inch.

    Sure, your needs might not require it now, but the future-proofing idea is what makes me get the higher specs.
     
  3. brendu macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    look at the refurb store... you can get a 15" like new for the same price as a 13" and if your mostly using it at home 15" makes more sense.
     
  4. jointsmoking macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    #4
    Well I've just got to say, I love the 13inch. I just don't think you are going to see that much difference in screen real estate 13 vs 15 inch. For what you say you want to do, you should have plenty of screen real estate on teh 13 inch. I use mine primarily at home, it's very comfortable on a lap and fits anywhere when it needs to go away. I've never seen lack of screen real estate as an issue. That said, you'll enjoy whichever you get!!
     
  5. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #5
    Since you mentioned:

    1) You'd be using this laptop 95% at home (portability not a factor really) and
    2) Not going to hook it up to an external monitor

    leads me to think a 15" would fit your needs better. I have both a 15" and 13" unibody at home and I definately notice the screen size/resolution difference side by side. The 15" is not too bad as a standalone monitor with no external. Like others have mentioned, you can get a refurb Macbook Pro 15" (last gen with removeable battery) for like $1349 direct from Apple's Refurb store. I'd give you a link but the Apple online store is down now as they're probably adding the listings for the new Ipods coming out today come 1PM EST announcement. Good luck with your search.
     
  6. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #6
    I can only tell you my experience. 15" is cramped for editing photos, I would consider it the bare minimum for me. It is a little heavier to carry around though. If it lives primarily in one location, I wouldn't even consider the 13". Just my .02.
     
  7. mrklaw macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #7
    I had a 13" macbook, and last year I bought a 15" MBP. The change in real estate is the biggest thing for me. Design is nice etc but it just has more usable space, especially as I like having the dock visible at all times (on the left usually)
     
  8. borntomac448 macrumors newbie

    borntomac448

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #8
    15

    Go with the 15" if you can. You will enjoy the extra screen real estate.
     
  9. PCtoMAC? macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #9
    Well if money isn't a concern, which it doesn't seem to be as you didn't mention it I would say go with the 15''. That being said I bought a 13'' because for me a laptop is all about portability if I wanted a computer with a big screen and really high specs I would buy/build another desktop. Although I have been impressed with the capabilities of my 13''.
     
  10. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
  11. zenoran macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    #11
    I just got a 13" but I have it plugged into a monitor most of the time... I would say if you're not planning on plugging it into a monitor you def need the 15".
     
  12. silentnite macrumors 6502a

    silentnite

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Location:
    Outer sight.. Outer mind
    #12
    I was thinking like you awhile back. I was lost but now I'm found. I'm using a mini port to HDMI cable to connect my Mac pro 13" into my Samsung 32" HD and will tell you I'm blowing myself away. No more second guessing for me. The cable cost me $17.00 and is well worth it.

    Save your money towards something else, HDD & memory upgrade. you'll be glad you did. This little baby rocks.
     
  13. eVolcre macrumors 65816

    eVolcre

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #13
    In my opinion, the true decision is between the 13" and 17". Portability = 13, screen real estate = 17.

    The 15" doesn't offer much of a step up from the 13 that makes up for the larger size/footprint.

    The 17" really isn't that much bigger than the 15" and the resolution/screen real estate increase is out of this world ...

    If you can tote around the 15, you can manage the 17. There are many threads on this topic, do a search on my username and you'll see a bunch from a couple of months ago ..

    eV
     
  14. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #14
    the resolution of the 15" is bad enough, the 13" would drive me crazy
     
  15. Corrosive vinyl macrumors 6502

    Corrosive vinyl

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #15
    If you go portable a lot or plan on it, go with the 13. As many have said, the difference is negligible. I have a 13 inch myself and have no objections. I even went from a 14 inch and find it very nice. I don't know if you want to go all out for the 17 or just get a desktop. For the price the iMac would be a better deal for the price.
     
  16. jointsmoking macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    #16

    I think you hit the nail on the head. If screen real estate is your primary goal, you really need at least a 17 inch screen.
     
  17. eVolcre macrumors 65816

    eVolcre

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #17
    Yep. I owned the 1st Gen 17" MBP for 3 years. Apple recently replaced it with the new unibody stock version. It's amazing. I doubt I could ever go back to a smaller main laptop - maybe an Air/Netbook for light use/writing. I've traveled all over the world with my machine and even took it in to work every day for a year. It's a beautiful product

    To the OP: read these threads in the order below

    1. 13,15,17 screen resolution comparisons to show you how little the 15 offers over the 13

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=716327

    2. Once you decide the 13 doesn't work, here's a thread that debates the 15 vs 17

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=767473

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=728718

    3. Another thread with the exact same topic as yours. You really should have done a quick search :)

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=713816

    Go with the 17 if you can handle the drop in portability (compared to the 13). It's a fantastic machine

    eV
     
  18. drjuice macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #18
    You say you'll be using this machine at home "95%" of the time so my question is does this even need to be portable? I'm inclined to say skip the portables and get a 20" iMac.
     
  19. eVolcre macrumors 65816

    eVolcre

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #19
    I'm not the OP but there's no way I could ever use a desktop full time anymore. I'm spoiled. Like the option of working on the couch or backyard and being portable as needed. Portable in my case isn't going to the coffee shop everyday but I travel a lot and taking my main machine with me is invaluable.

    A desktop is good for general family use, media server, a super high powered Mac Pro (because they're so bloody cool) but in my case, I have a very powerful notebook with the screen real estate of the 24" iMac that isn't chained to a desk.

    I would even recommend a 13" with an external screen if you need a 'desktop'

    eV
     
  20. Davidb67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    Thanks for all the responses guys, decided to go with 15".

    eVolcre - tried a few searches but didn't find the thread you pulled out - thanks.

    Yep, although I won't be taking the machine to work/college everyday, no way i can sit at a desk at home (do that all day at work!), so portability means i can sit out in the garden during the 4 days of "summer" we get here in the N/E of UK!, and on the sofa, bedroom etc.

    And correctly-guessed, price wasn't a factor, hence it wasn't mentioned.


    Now I'm just dreading the "self-compatability-issues" with having to work on a Windows-PC during the day, and Mac-loveliness at home!
     
  21. nomad01 macrumors 68000

    nomad01

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #21
    I went from a 15" to a 13" years ago and haven't looked back since. Just prefer the form/factor for me.

    I've switched machines a few times since and always stuck to the 13". I really don't think the difference in real estate is huge. Got to your local store and compare... seriously.

    That said, if money isn't an object and you're not fussed about portability, the the 15" might be best for you.

    At the end of the day it's a personal decision and nobody on here can tell you what you want.
     
  22. eVolcre macrumors 65816

    eVolcre

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #22
    Can you share your reasoning for choosing the 15 over the 17? Given your usage profile the 17 just makes so much more sense.

    It's your machine and your money but I am curious ...

    eV
     
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #23
    As most of the other posters have suggested, and going on what you said your needs/preferences were, the 15" sounds better. To me, (I have one) it is the perfect combination of portability and quality. Besides, ease for the eyes, and quality (and size) of screen matter, and for these the 15" is a fair bit better than the 13". Well done and may you enjoy it.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  24. Davidb67 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    Yep, my reasoning against the 17" was that a couple of friends over the years went down the 17" (albeit Toshiba PC laptops) route to replace aging tower-pc's at home, and all complained that it was like sitting with a suitcase full of bricks on your lap (whilst slowly cooking your thighs too!).
    Now I know a 4~6 year old design PC laptop is no comparison to sleek 17" MBP, but I still feel sitting on the sofa, lounging on bed, that machine is too big.
    I was really, really tempted with the small, neat form-factor of the 13" esp. as spec-wise it's fine for me. And OK I know the keyboard is the same size as 15", but I used to PREFER typing on smaller devices until I finally had to succumb and get a laptop for work. Psion series 5 - LOVED typing on that thing - actually pretty-much how I taught myself to [almost] touch-type - no "hunt & peck" for me.
    BUT, fact is the resolution is a little better on 15" vs. 13", and I feel that's going to be the one thing I would regret with 13".....
     
  25. eVolcre macrumors 65816

    eVolcre

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #25
    Like I said before, it's your call. Not sure if you've allready done this but try and stop by an Apple store and check out the size difference in person. You might be surprised.

    eV
     

Share This Page