Why is 15" macbook pro so expensive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mrtune, May 10, 2012.

  1. mrtune macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    I have an again late 2007 13" Macbook at home that I'm looking to replace in the coming months.

    The keyboard/trackpad randomly disconnects on me (Replacing top case didn't fix it, so I assume its a logic board problem). It also needs a new battery. Needless to say it's on it's last leg, and I don't see value in trying to fix it.

    Here's my dilemma. The computer is used for general computer work. Internet, email, calendar, word/excel, etc. I'm perfectly content on getting a base model 13" Macbook pro for $1199 or a 13" Macbook Air for $1299.

    My wife on the other hand isn't the biggest fan of the tiny 13" screen. She prefers a little more screen real estate. My issue is that the 15" starts at $1799 which is a huge leap over the 13".

    It's getting hard to justify a mac to my wife because companies like dell will offer you a base spec'd 15" starting at $600 that will get the job done. I'm looking at a $1000+ price difference.

    Will Apple ever offer a 15" laptop with the base model guts for a good price? It would be awesome to simply click on the $1199 Macbook and upgrade only the screen to 15" for like $100-200 extra and leave the rest alone. $1399 is much easier to swallow than $1799.

    It's a shame that in order to get a bigger screen I also have to upgrade everything else all at the same time, leaving me with a computer with overkill hardware for my needs.

    I guess for the time being I'll keep trying to convince my wife that the 13" is a better option than the 15" but it won't be easy. I really do not want to buy a dell or hp.
  2. Arelunde macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    In this day and age, it's not outside the bounds of reality to have more than one computer in a household. You could get the 13" MBP for yourself and a larger screen PC or laptop for your wife... and probably get by with less of a financial hit than buying the MBP 15". There are many perfectly adequate PCs for an extremely reasonable price, allowing you don't need it for intensive work-related projects.
  3. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
  4. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    As others have suggested, take a look at the refurb section. It's absurd to pay 1,800 just to get the screen size thats standard on other notebooks. In fact with almost every other company the 15 inchers are always cheaper than the 13 inchers for portability reasons. Craziness.

    Consider yourself lucky you're not looking for a 17 inch laptop like I am ;-). The refurb MBP is $1,759 for the baseline. Looks like I'm hitting eBay for a deal.
  5. Ray Brady macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2011
    If it's any help, I bought a 15" HP laptop about six years ago. The wifi failed just after the warranty expired, and would have required a motherboard replacement to fix. About three months after that, the screen would no longer come on.

    I gave up on it and bought a 15" MBP instead. Four years later, it's still going strong, and has never given me an ounce of trouble.
  6. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    While the display ceasing to work was probably HP's fault, as I see this all the time on HP/Compaq laptops where the screens start turning white unless you 'tap' on them or 'jiggle' it, the wifi/motherboard aren't made by HP and this would just be bad luck. HP for some reason put cables and connectors in high stress parts like in the hinge of the display that make them eventually short out.

    Its no secret that the MBPs are worth the money, but it'd be nice to have a 'lower end' spec'd model in the 15 inch category to satisfy us who don't really need a discreet GPU, but would like to have a larger screen than 13 inches.
  7. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
  8. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    It's not just HP that does this. The 2nd generation iBooks were notorious for having the display fail because of the hinge design. The video cable and the wifi antenna cable are routed though that hinge and over time, it wears out and the display goes nuts.

    Apple's current design is much better now. I'm guessing they've learned a lot about what not to do based on the issues of the white iBooks.
  9. unfrostedpoptar macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2010
    Yep - I kept trying to get the perfect all-in-one computer. I had a MBP 15. I finally realized it was too difficult to combine both. I now have a MB Air 11 (from the refurb section of the Apple store as others have suggested!) and a 27" iMac (used). So I have both the biggest and smallest Macs made.

    Also got rid of my iPad since the MBA is about the same size and does so much more. And, you can have almost all your data kept synced between the two computers via iCloud. You can also pair the MBA with the new 27" TB display/docking stations so you can have a single, super-portable computer, and plug it in to a giant screen/mouse/keyboard/etc with one cable!
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Along with some of the others who have posted in this thread, I'd suggest that you take a look at refurbs, they offer pretty good value (15-20% off in most cases, occasionally up to 25%) and come with all of the warranties of a new computer offered by Apple.

    Alternatively, sometimes, after a refresh, if you can live with not having the absolute latest and most recent update, the discontinued line can be sold at a considerable discount.

    Cheers and good luck
  11. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    Sadly there is a huge jump from the 13 to 15. I would try refurb or if your ok with a little older model eBay or Craigslist maybe a way to go. Or just tell your wife tough cookies your getting the 13 :D.
  12. macbwizard macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2005
    The 13" air has the same screen real estate as the 15" MBP. I would go with that.
  13. pauliaK macrumors regular


    Jan 16, 2012
    Banff, AB
    That's what I would do! Grab the cheapest MBP or MBA and just get an external display for it. Though at first you can try using it witout an external in order to see if it's really necessary for you, you might end up noticing that 13" is enough for your basic use. If not, then just get a 19" or simillar external display which is gonna be even more real estate for your eyes and when you don't need a big screen you would still have a portable machine and overall cost would be less than 15" MBP :)

    Best of luck with your purchase!

    P.S. I had this very same dilema last lear, i've been thinking wheather should I spend more on 13" MBA or just grab a 11". Now after more than half a year I couldnt be happier with my decidion to go smaller :).

    Oh and yes, that's why I didn't even consider buying MBP, the screen quality difference is huge, easily noticable when you comparing those two next to each other.
  14. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If we're presenting anecdotal evidence to make our cases, I have a 6-year old IBM laptop that still runs as good or better as the day I got it. Over the years I've had Apple hardware fail at just about the same rate as the Wintel manufacturers.
  15. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    You get what you pay for. When you buy a laptop that costs $600, you get a laptop that is worth $600. You can't determine the worth of a computer by simply staring at a bunch of specs on a piece of paper.
  16. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Yeah, but the difference is that the quality that you can buy for $600 is "good enough", and anything more is just overkill. It's not that spending an extra grand is wasteful, it's that the return on investment tends towards 0 after that magical $600 mark.

    Okay, maybe $700.
  17. Zendokan macrumors regular


    Feb 17, 2011
    Short answer: NO.

    The only reason why the (lighter) 13" MBP configuration even exists is that trying to ram the 15" MBP configuration into the 13" size factor proved to be a disaster when it came to batterylife, cooling and heat dispersion.
    If Apple Inc could remove such problems the 13" MBP startmodel would be the quadcore i5.

    The only option that you have if you want to stay with MBPs, is too explain to your wife where the higher price difference of the 15" is "hidden" (CPU, screen size, better cooling therefor longer lifespan, etc...).

    The 13"MBA has indeed at this moment an equal screenquality as the current 15" MBP, but the new 13" and 15" MBP models are in production (with probably a release around WWDC or at worst a month after it). They will blow the MBAs screenquality out of the water.
    At this moment the mythical 15" MBA (we think/hope that it will come around 2012Q3) isn't comfirmed yet.

    Also, have you seen the specs of a 13" MBA? Not really impressive compared to the MBPs.

    So just make a case with some good arguments and start lawyering it to your wife.
  18. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2012
    If I understand you correctly, I have to agree with you. I bought a pretty expensive netbook 3.5 years ago for around $600 and it works fine until this day. The battery life is slightly reduced, but it still gets almost 5 hours of battery life and nothing is really wrong with it. The microphone is starting to pick up static, but that's about it. I use the thing daily as my main computer and used to take it to school before I got an iPad.

    Now I'm wanting to replace it with a bigger 15" MacBook Pro as my home computer as I already have an iPad that has roughly the same sized screen, but it's hard to justify spending $1700 on a computer that I don't really need yet. It is a lot faster than my netbook though, and the monitor is a lot nicer. Actually everything about it is a lot nicer, but the point is, my netbook still works for me. Also, I don't think I can sell the netbook out for anything... sadly.
  19. Arelunde macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    Justfying the expense of a new computer is tough - Mac or otherwise - when what you already have still "works." But reality is that several years in computer life is equivalent to something like a century in human life. Processing speeds are better/faster, user-friendly interfaces continue to evolve, and most importantly, apps and programs continually gain size and complexity.

    A computer or device that worked well in earlier years can often find itself struggling to run today's software. Eventually, you need to upgrade your hardware just to keep up, and not because it's a competitive thing.
  20. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    My wife and I have 4 active computers in our house, 2 desktops (an iMac and a mini) and 2 laptops (MBPs). you can't have too many computers in your house.
  21. Arelunde macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    I thought I was "bad" with a PC desktop, Mac MBP, iPhone4, iPad2 and Droid Bionic. I had one more PC laptop until recently, but with the MBP, I didn't "need" it any more. Must be some sort of addiction...? :eek:
  22. chrisgayle885 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2012
    One main reason is they don't skimp on the hardware. the second cheapest model has a Quad-Core core i7 processor. Even the cheapest model has a faster processor. They also you a more expensive frame for the laptop.

    still that's almost double the price of a PC.

    The main reason is they have everyone by the balls with the demand. This is a very good computer for someone would completely computer illiterate. some people will get a virus or have downtime... causing them to freak-out and not know what to do. When it's all said and done, a trip to the tech shop is $200.

    Since they heard Apples don't get viruses, don't break down, and lasy longer a $1200 computer seems like a good investment. If their credit card will allow it, if they have a high enough limit, they will buy an Apple with their charge card the next time their PC has a problem.
  23. AveChatman macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2012
    For a while the general thought was that Macs are better because of what you said, no viruses, more stable, etc. However, in practice, the experience in the offices I've worked in was that it really isn't so. There are problems with Macs as well, only different ones, and you can't even fix it yourself, as with PCs, because everything is locked inside and unhackable.I don't know, I would go with the cheaper alternative, myself.
  24. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I wish there was a cheap 15" model as well, read further if you want to know why:

    In the last 4 years, my wife has had a Compaq and an HP (which yes are the same company) laptop die. Total combined cost of around $1000. I was constantly fixing them and reinstalling. When her HP finally died, I told her I was switching her to a Mac. Problem was, she was adamant that it had to be a 15" screen because that is what she previously had. I decided to buy myself a 13" MBA and give her my High-end Early 2011 15" MBP. Sadly she now has the fastest Mac in the house and needs the least amount of power. I just couldn't bring myself to spend another $1700 on a base 15" MBP. Once the new Mac's are released, I will decide if I upgrade to a new MBP/MBA/Mac Mini.

    If Apple had a 15" with the 13" specs, I would be all over it for my wife. That would be the perfect combination for her. Heck, maybe if Apple had an MBA with a 15" screen it might even be better...
  25. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2012
    North East US
    a) given the tasks it doesn't matter. Any old laptop will do.
    b) with respect to having more real estate you are looking at something closer to $2500 in a MBP 15" because you'd need the hi res option to see an improvement. With those tasks I would opt for a PC laptop or the MacBook Air. Or fix the old one.
    c) If all I did was email, web and some MS Office stuff I'd go pick up a refurbished ThinkPad T60 or T61. Local store recently had them for $200 bucks.

Share This Page