The MBP you'd buy for my uses.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Blues003, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Alright guys, I'm guessing this will become "another one of those 13 vs 15 topics", but just bear with me, okay?

    I'm thinking of buying a MBP. My main doubt is between the MBP 13'' and the MBP 15''. My current laptop has 15'' and I like the screen size, although I do find it slightly hard to carry around (it's a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ21M). On the other hand, I find the price of the MBP 15'' a tiny bit too high for my comfort zone. While the 13'' screen is said to be enough by a lot of users, do keep in mind this is supposed to be my SOLE computer. I will not be using a desktop (and I would rather stay away from depending on an external display too, although it's an option I've considered).

    That being said, I do care about specs, and would like to have an iX processor instead of a C2D. However, I find this secondary, taking in account my needs. From what I've posted, read, and been answered, the majority of people believe that a C2D is enough for what I intend to do with the laptop. So in the end, it really is about the low-end 13'' against the low-end 15'' screen size.

    Without further ado, here's what I intend to use my MBP for:

    Most frequently: (every day, 95% of the time I'm using it)
    Reading PDFs and Powerpoint files. - I study through these, and these are my main concern regarding the screen size.
    Creating Powerpoint and Word files.
    Browsing the web (mainly Forums, Blogs, E-mail and Youtube).
    MSN Chatting.
    Listening to music.

    Moderatly: (occasionally, maybe twice or thrice a week)
    Reading Word files.
    Light-gaming: Playing GBA or NDS games (via emulation), Stepmania.

    Less Frequently (once a week tops)
    Creating iPhone Apps.
    Light iPhoto/Photoshop editing.
    Heavier gaming: PSX/PS2 Emulation, COD4, etc.

    So, taking these needs in account, do you think the 13'' would satisfy me in a daily-basis? Or do you think it's a screen too small for a constant daily-use?
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    13" should be just fine. You can always hook it to an external monitor if needed
  3. Wehrwolf macrumors 6502


    May 21, 2009
    Even though it's your "less frequently" category, you should get a machine that can, at the minimum, meet these requirements. And for that I would say the the 15" i5 is the minimum. You don't want to short yourself on a machine that's going to be your only computer; plus I also think the 15" is a better value.

    In terms of screen size, 13" is fine for most daily use, but having upgraded from a 13" to a high-res 15", there's no way I'd go back to a 13". I'd miss the extra screen real estate.
  4. TopHatPlus macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    Southern Ontario
    well you are correct 13" will do everything that you need to quite with ease. The 13 inch monitor although it seems small it amazing!!! yes it looks small when sitting on a shelf beside a 27" imac but when you get it home and nestled into bed watching a movie its AMAZING its so versatile!!!

    But then there is the 15" with the 2.4 ghz i5 which is a pretty sweet machine no arguments >_< i just think once you get rid of your sony and you get using it on a daily basis you will not need an external monitor or anything else, all i use my 26" lcd tv for it having my itunes on and playing music which is defs not needed btu i have the tv =D hehe and you will also note that tv's and external monitors without spending a fortune on an amazing one will seems extremely dull compared to how vibrant mac monitors are =D one of my fave selling points on the macs!!! set it side by side with your sony and set the same background and you will see the difference!!! its impeccable.
  5. JacaByte macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2009
    My 15" MBP with a 2.40 GHz i5 processor can handle everything that I've thrown at it. This includes work in GIMP, programming, gaming, Word and Autodesk Inventor. Everything is as smooth as butter.

    I went with a 15" MBP to future proof it, but if all the stuff you listed is all you'll be using it for in the next 3-4 years I'd go with a high end 13" MBP.
  6. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    Go with the 15" and the high res screen.

    I have the 13" and it's fine for what I do but I have an 24" Apple Cinema display at work and a 27" Dell ultrasharp at home..
  7. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010

    The specs do not worry me. A friend of mine runs emulated FFX on his 2009 MBP 13'' at around 95% speed. That's enough for such infrequent gaming. My 3-year-old laptop also runs PSX games at full speed, and I've seen low-end 2010 13'' MBPs running NDS at full speed. So all-in-all, I think I'm covered spec-wise.

    Screen size really is my main concern.

    Resolution also doesn't bother me too much. Higher resolution allows more screen usage but also a bigger eye strain. I think both the 13'' and the 15'' base have the resolution I'd want for the respective screen size.

    What's keeping me from buying the 15'' is the price. I'm a student, so a MBP 13'' would be 1089€, while a MBP 15'' is 1657,70€. Giving such a high amount of money not only holds me 7 or 8 more months on buying it, but also seems like an excessive price for a laptop. Hell, I'd hate to be dependent on an external monitor for comfort, but a Dell monitor + 13'' MBP would still come cheaper than the MBP 15'', and offer more screen size and higher resolution.

    Anyone with uses similar to mine (mostly reading/browsing/document creating) with a 13'' to give their views?
  8. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    I write reports daily that require having a spreadsheet and a statistical package open and exchanging content between these and the word processor. And it's simply impossible to do that with the 1280x800 of the 13"

    If you are just going to open the word processor and type out of your head it's ok but if you want to use other sources at the same time, as good as spaces and expose is, still it is no replacement for having two documents open at the same time.

    You are a student, so I guess relatively young. I don't see how the higher density of the 1650x1080 15" could tire your eyes unless your sight is troubled.

    I agree that buying a 60% more expensive laptop can't be too easy. So I'd recommend buying the 13" and get an external screen for serious work.
  9. TRUCRACKER macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2010
  10. JCCash macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    Buy a 15" MBP refurb.
  11. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    @ JCCash: in my country there are no refurbished models I can buy from the Apple website.

    @ Gabriel: I have little sight problems, but I'd surely appreciate a screen I'm comfortable reading on. Just because I can read small letters, it doesn't mean I wouldn't appreciate the comfort of wider ones.

    Regarding the external display idea: have you used that set-up? How do you feel it works? Do you think it's a "comfortable" solution? (as in, it won't trouble to plug in and off the MBP every time you need more space)

    Thanks for your answers.
  12. DKYang macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2010
    Under the less frequently category, I say try those out in the apple store and see if you don't mind the 13" size. Of course, you can't test the gaming part and probably can't test the app programming either, but see how photo editing is for you.

    If you plan to keep the laptop for a long time, more than couple of years, then I say go for the 15", high res or standard. This is going to be your main computer also. If you plan to get a desktop some time in the future and want the convenience, the 13" is fine. You'll just probably do more scrolling, that's it.
  13. fpsBeaTt Suspended


    Apr 18, 2010
    Having owned all variants, I can honestly say for what you want it for, I could not have any less than a 17"; the display is just THAT much better in actual picture quality and res. If you don't want to spend that much, get the 17" from a couple of models back (2.66 core 2 Q1 2009). Far better thannthe current top 13" model.
  14. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    Well, the good thing about higher resolution is that you can always zoom in.

    As far as the external display is concerned, I have a 24" (1920x1200)on my desk at work and a 27" (2560x1440) at home. I am a big fan of high resolutions :)

    It's pretty comfortable. All you have to do is pick a monitor with a Mini Display port input so that you don't need adapters etc.

    Here's a great widescreen monitor that is not too pixel-dense either.

    It has an IPS panel with great viewing angles (much better than the one on any laptop) and the backlight is really comfortable. Not the cheapest one, but if you are going to spend time working on it, well worth it.
  15. KirkL macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    United States
    I'm exactly same minus the App development and I got a 13'' and LOVE IT. Though I have to admit it heats up like CRAZY on AOE III
  16. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    To be honest, the one thing "bothering" me is if the 13'' is big enough for hours of studying. If it is, then my mind is pretty much made up. MBP 13'', then later an external display for gaming and occasionally comfort.

    So KirKL, do you feel the 13'' is comfortable for reading PDFs and PPT files for long periods of time? :p
  17. tflournoy95 macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2009
    Go refurb 15 inch. it will be like 300usd cheaper and from what youve said im sure the c2d will be fine
  18. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    As I've said before, I do not have the possibility of buying Refurbished products in my country.
  19. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    13", but 15" 2.4ghz would be great. Nice screen estate plus an option of HR matte/glossy :]
  20. El Zanto macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2010
    Funny. Just after I emailed you, I came on macrumours and here is your thread on the first page :D

    Like other's have said, if you don't want to spend all that money on the 15" then just do what I'm doing, get the 13" and hook it up to an external monitor for when you're at a desk.
  21. KirkL macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    United States
    Ya i honestly do. But then again I've never owned anything bigger than a 13'' so I might have just gotten used to it.
  22. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    The C2D and 320M will do everything you possible need. So if money is an issue, a 13 inch MBP will suit your needs.
  23. cricketbird macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2008
    I have a 13" and a 15" and highly recommend the 13" size. It is great for portability, reading, and editing stuff. I have an external monitor (15" cheap office surplus I snagged) that I plug in when I need to do reference-writing (ie - PDF on one monitor, word processor or spreadsheet on the other). Not sure about your "rarely" gaming requirements (I'm sure the other folks have weighed in on that), but for all the office-y, student-y type stuff, you'll be happy with a smaller, more portable 13" than lugging around the 15".

    I pulled out my older 15" Mac recently when I hadn't brought my 13" home due to heavy rains and a long bike commute. My first impression was, "wow, what a huge screen! Why haven't I been using this??". But then when I started using it, it wasn't really big enough to comfortably have two papers side-by-side and still be legible, and the extra width seemed to just get wasted. Then I hauled it out to the dining room table to work on and remembered how heavy it was and was grateful I don't have to lug THAT on my back to campus and back each day.

    Go for the smaller size and pick up a cheap external monitor on craigslist or swap shop for use when you really need the extra width.
  24. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Ahah, I came back from holidays and in the hotel where I stayed in, there were only 2 available computers for us to use: both of those with 12'' monitors. Now that I'm back, every 15'' screen seems to big. xD Not uncomfortably big, but big as in "maybe I don't need all this space" big. xD The laptop I'm typing in right now looks as if the screen is too big. :p And I've been using it for 3 years now...

    Thanks for all your input, guys. Feel free to keep sending the ideas, I'd love to hear more about your thoughts. And yeah, gaming really isn't my priority, specialty since 95% of my gaming is VBA/NDS, which requires 2 or 3'' of screen space anyway.
  25. mjustice macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2010
    I would suggest you get the 13" MBP. It has more than enough RAM and chip speed to handle what you're suggesting. For the rare instances where you need additional desktop real estate, get access to an external monitor. I've done medium-to-large grade programming projects on a MBP and when I've needed the extra (screen) space I also needed my desk and a comfy chair, so hooking into a monitor would not be a big deal :)


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