UMBP 15" or 17"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Boxer757, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Boxer757 macrumors member

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    I apologize in advance if this is a redundant post. I have been reading this forum for the last couple of days and have not seen the specific info I am looking for. Chalk it up to my ignorance if I missed a pertinent thread...I am a senior in college, about to graduate and as a graduation gift my father is going to help me purchase a new computer. I have always used PCs but I am ready to make the leap to a Mac. After doing research and going into the apple store and playing around with the computers I am pretty set on the new MacBook Pro but I cannot decide between the 15" or the 17".

    Alittle info about me/my usage that might help:
    -Going into a 2 year graduate program in the fall so portability is a factor.
    -Amateur photographer shooting in raw format and using Photoshop CS4.
    -Plan to load Windows XP and run through Fusion or Parallels.
    -Want to hook up my keyboard for composing.
    -Perhaps some gaming but that's not really a big deal for me.
    -I would like something that is fairly "future-proof" I know nothing is exempt from obsolescence but I would like to make this notebook last as long as possible.
    -Money is not really an issue, whatever mode I choose I intend to include the 2.93 ghz processor, 4GB RAM, and 320GB 7200RPM HD.Some pros and cons of each model that I am considering:

    17"
    Pros:
    -Larger screen size and slightly larger resolution (though some friends of mine who are established and seasoned photographers tell me they cannot see the difference between the 15/17 as far as photo editing, they do say there is a benefit when video editing and watching movies)
    -Extended battery life
    -More upgradeable for future (i.e. RAM)
    Cons:
    -Size may prove cumbersome in some situations (a class with small desks, airplanes, etc.) I would hate to accidentally knock my mac off of a small desktop that it is balancing on. I'm not clumsy by any means but I am a big guy...
    -I can't really think of any more cons :p

    15"
    Pros:
    -Smaller footprint and less weight means it is somewhat more portable than the 17"
    -A bit less on price but that is not a huge deal to me
    Cons:
    -Screen size and resolution not quite up to par with 17"
    -Not upgradable to 8GB of RAM (although threads I have read seem to think 8GB is sort of pointless given the dual-channel constraints :confused:)


    So pretty much the big differences I see are portability, RAM, screenspace, and battery life. The 17" wins out in 3 of the 4 but portability is a fairly large factor given that I am using my notebook in class all the time.


    So what do ya'll think? If you recommend the 17" do you recommend glossy or matte? I don't want to sacrifice color correctness and I think I can cope with some glare, is it really bad enough that I should go to matte?


    Thankyou in advance for reading this post and giving me your input.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    I would get the 15", mainly because I find the 17" too big. Battery life isn't going to be an issue, as I imagine you'll almost always be plugged into the wall when doing any heavy lifting. The concept of buying a 17" display on a notebook is completely foreign to me, especially considering the low prices of external monitors these days.
     
  3. wetrix macrumors 6502

    wetrix

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    #3
    As I think that both of these notebooks are too big, I'd say go for the 17" if you can afford it.
     
  4. yrael macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I'd base most of your decision on how much work you're going to to be doing on it outside of your house, and whether or not having a higher resolution would be better suited for that.

    If you're going to be working mostly at home, then you could potentially hook up, not only your keyboard, but an external monitor (15 incher recommended here, as it's more portable).

    If you're working on the go, or outside, the 17 might be the way to go, simply because of the antiglare and resolution.

    Now, in my own taste, I don't see a huge deal in this glossy/matte business, but when I'm using my laptop, I don't usually drop the brightness down. I can imagine that some colors are artificially boosted this way.

    Anyways, I personally would love if the fifteen boasted of the 1920x1200 resolution, because the foot print. Looking back at your post, though, I think you're leaning to the 17 anyways. And if you hate it after the first couple of days, no reason not to toss it back to apple afterwards anyways.
     
  5. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Buy the 17", and try to put it through some testing of your own. If you don't like it, return it within 14 days, and buy the 15".
     
  6. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    #6
    the 17" is a monster if you need portability get the 15" it's more than capable of handling everything you listed and then some.
     
  7. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #7
    Thankyou all for your replies thus far, you have all made some good points and have got me thinking about a few things...

    After thinking on it some more I am thinking that the difference in screen size may not matter all that much simply because I can always get a large, high resolution, external monitor later if I feel that the size and resolution of the 15" is inadequate for some tasks... Do you agree?


    So then really the argument is left that the 17' has a longer battery life (though I will not often be away from a power outlet for 8 hrs it does mean the batter should last longer overall and for the occaisonal ariport or car trip it could come in handy)... And the option to upgrade to 8GB of RAM which from my understanding cannot be done in the 15" (but will I ever need 8GB of RAM and by the time I do will it just be time to get a new laptop?) I'm assuming HD upgrades are an equal playing field for both...


    Am I missing anything? What do you guys think?
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #8
    Yes.

    Just buy a spare battery. I don't trust non-user replaceable batteries.

    Pretty much. I'd probably just get an external if I needed more space anyways.
     
  9. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #9
    Without a doubt, the 1920X1200 resolution on the 17" is far superior to the 1440x900 one on the 15". If you'll be using the notebook with an external display most of the time, then this advantage becomes irrelevant. However, if you'll be doing most of your work directly on the notebook, then the 17" will be significantly better.

    The 17" battery will last 1000 charges before retaining 80% of it's original battery life, while the 15" will only last about 300 charges. This means that your battery will last much, much longer before needing a replacement. The 8GB of RAM is currently only works perfectly with the 17". Some people have tried it out with the 15", but have reported issues. However, at $1000, it's best to leave the RAM upgrade for later :p

    Ultimately, it's up to you if the higher resolution and better battery is worth losing some of the portability of the 15". The border on the 17" is a bit thinner than the 15", but without a doubt, it is a larger machine. Personally, I'd go with the 17", but it's up to you to determine if the 17" is too big.

    If you end up going with the 17", you should probably go with the matte screen. Anywhere outdoors or near outside light, and the reflections get annoying. The anti-glare options still retain all the quality of the glossy display, too. In doors, glossy will be just fine, but if you're going to be anywhere near the light and attempt viewing photos, the reflections can get very distracting.
     
  10. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #10
    I find the 17" a very nice sized notebook to use. I have owned 13", 15" and 17" models and when it comes down to the dealbreaker, its not the size, its the weight.

    The 13" MacBook is heavy for that size.
    The 15" is great for the size and weight.
    The 17" is slightly bigger but for the weight, it feels just as light as a 15" with more power.

    I actually carry my 17" around, even on to campus and on my motorcycle a lot more than I carry the 13". For the same weight, I can carry the 17" and only the 17" without the extra charger. For the 13", I have to regularly drag around the charger, which made the "light" weight not really so light. So far, since I got the 17", thats the only laptop I carry around to school and even to work. At first, I just carried the 13" to work but after I moved the files onto my 17", my 13" hasn't left my desk at all... its being a "desktop" replacement.

    However, thats how I feel. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
     
  11. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    Dec 25, 2008
    #11
    17" is wayyyy too big. you might aswell carry around an iMac! haha

    i would maybe like a 15.4" for home - but my 13.3" is perfect for how much i travel
     
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #12
    Agreed. You're going to be typing notes in class, but if you're using one of those tiny desks at a lecture hall, your 15" MBP won't fit properly anyway, so it may not offer much of an advantage over a 17". In that situation, a 13" MB would be the best solution. However, if you're lucky enough to be sitting in a small classroom with a proper desk in front of you, the 15" will still not have an advantage, because they'd both fit well on the table.


    I'm mobile nearly every day, and I don't use an external LCD. That's the reason I personally want a higher resolution screen. I need a bigger desktop, and the 15" MBP isn't the perfect solution. If you use an external LCD, perhaps the 15" MBP is perfect for your photography needs.

    Besides, nearly all bags I own (backpack for uni, a Crumpler 3-compartment camera backpack, laptop messenger bag, etc), and the camera backpack I will hopefully buy in a few months (National Geographic backpack), fits a 15" MBP. If you are a student that also does photography, are bags a concern for you as well? :confused: I never want to be limited in my choice of bag. There are so many situations where I just want to stuff my backpack with my clothes and laptop, while sometimes, my camera needs to come along.


    If the 15" screen resolution was boosted to 1680 x 1050, I'd be at the store right now and recommend that you get the 15".
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    Straight from the Apple website. Batteries are very hit or miss. If the battery technology was so great, they'd have put them in the 15" models as well. Plus, I have a hard time believe the OP will be away from a power outlet for extended periods of time given the intended uses, which greatly reduces the battery life argument.
     
  14. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #14
    Sure, but the fact is that the 17" battery will last longer. The OP may not need the extra battery life, but it's nice to know that it's there if he/she ever needs it. The battery technology is probably going to be implemented in all of Apple's notebooks soon, but until then, it's another way to get users to go for the 17" MacBook.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    The new batteries are a better value, no? You only have to replace them half as often, which means you save 50% on battery costs? This is assuming both batteries are the same price in the US. I really don't know, though.
     
  16. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #16
    Sure, I guess. But if something isn't absolutely necessary, it shouldn't be a major factor in the decision. Unless you need it, the "it's nice to know it's there" just means that advertising has gotten to you.

    Depends. I don't think I've ever heard the price of replacing a 17" MBP battery, but it's most likely more than the cost of buying an existing 15" MBP battery plus whatever labor charge since it's not user-replaceable.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #17
    I read somewhere here that the cost of the 17" MBP's battery is $179, but I'm too lazy to check the Apple website for the price of a 15" MBP battery. :p

    I suppose you may be right though.
     
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #18
    Ah, yes- it says $179. I guess that's not so bad.
     
  19. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #19
    Since you are an amateur photog and not at the pro level yet, go with the 15" and use the extra cash for other things.

    The benefits of the 17" would be moot since you most likely won't be using it for professional "this is my bread and butter/food on the table" work.

    The 17" isn't heavy at all though, so if you just wanted to blow the cash since you have it go for it. Most people are pissed of that they get the 15" over the 17" and when they get the 17 they realize that it's just a slightly wider 15" with more power and a much better screen.
     
  20. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #20
    $129 for the 15" MB. $50 isn't bad at all considering you get 3-5X the lifespan of the battery.
     
  21. Boxer757 thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    Thank you all for your input, it is much appreciated... I am definitely leaning towards the 17" after talking to you all and looking at the two side by side in the store again. The size difference is not really that dramatic. My mind isnt completely made up (damn my indecisiveness) but I am feeling more confident the more I look into it.

    I'm waiting about a month before I pull the trigger. I could conceivably wait until late July~early August, would there be any good reason for doing such a thing? If not I would rather go ahead and grab the Mac so that I have plenty of time to familiarize myself with it before I start school in mid August.
     
  22. iWoz macrumors 6502a

    iWoz

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    #22
    I was in a similar predicament choosing over the 15" or 17"

    I eventually went with the 15" due to it being a laptop I wanted it to fulfill its purpose of being portable.

    As suggested you can always buy an external monitor if need be
     
  23. geophurry macrumors newbie

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    #23
    All about the size

    My first Mac was a 17" Powerbook, bought because it was more powerful / faster and, yes, had a bigger display than the 15". The thing was a beast, too large to be reasonably portable. It doesn't seem like it at first, but I think you'll likely find yourself not taking the system places you'd like to, . My suggestion: If you want a portable system, get the 15.5" MBP. At 17", in most situations, you're better off just getting a 24" iMac and coming to terms with not having a portable computer.
     
  24. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #24
    By purchasing it in July, you'll get Snow Leopard included free, which'll save you (at the most) $130. I don't think there'll be any hardware updates, but there might be a slight processor bump.
     
  25. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Oh yes...this would be amazing. I used an 8lb 15" dell inspiron 5150 for 5 years @ 1600x1200 and felt cramped on every other laptop. I'm a resolution freak :D
     

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