Which MacBook Pro Should I Buy?

If there is one question that I get asked every day through my email and various social network channels (aside from Mac vs. PC), it’s whether or not a 13 or 15 inch MacBook Pro is better. Each has their own set of pros and cons, and in the end it comes down to which machine meets the needs of the user better.

When Robert decided to make the switch and go with a MacBook Pro, he found himself facing the same question, “Which MacBook Pro shout I buy?” So, we decided to make a video.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with a significant price drop compared to its slightly larger 15-inch sibling. Part of the reason for this difference in price is the processing power. The 15-inch MacBook Pro allows for a quad-core i7 processor while the 13 is only upgradable to a 2.7GHz dual-core i7. The differences in performance between the two are notable, but only in cases where you’re actually causing some strain on the cores. For basic tasks like web browsing, light gaming, and listening to music – this may not present enough incentive to go with the 15-inch model.

Another difference between the 13 and 15-inch Macbooks can be found in how they handle graphics. Gamers especially will appreciate the AMD Radeon 6490M or 6750M and the potential they have for delivering high-quality graphics to the screen. The 13-inch MacBook Pro relies on the graphics provided by the Intel HD 3000.

Both models support solid-state drives, which currently provide the best performance over traditional platter-driven options. If you need more storage space for less, the 13-inch tops out at 500GB while the 15-inch offers a 750GB 5400-rpm option.

The most noticeable difference between the two is overall screen size and resolution. The 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy display will give you portability while sacrificing resolution at 1280×800 compared to the 15.4-inch at 1440×900. The 15.4-inch also offers a high-resolution glossy and antiglare options which increase the pixel count up to 1680×1050.

Overall, the two notebooks are very similar. They share the same build quality, operating system, options and many accessories. The decision between them comes down to cost and portability vs. performance. If you really need a high-performance laptop and portability isn’t as big of a factor to you, the 15-inch would likely be your better choice. For Robert, who takes his notebook with him to school every day, the portability and lower price mades the 13-inch MacBook the best option.