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13-inch vs 15-inch MacBook Pro. Which is Best For You?

Today, I want to share with you my comparison of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro to help you decide which one is the best for you.

Posted by @EldarGezalov on January 30, 2017
macbook pro 13 inch 15 inch comparison
13-inch MacBook Pro or 15-inch MacBook Pro, which one would you choose?

I have used the 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016) for a couple of months now, and it will be my primary computer during 2017 and beyond. One thing I didn’t tell you is that the decision between 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro wasn’t an easy one for me. I have used both of the machines for a couple of weeks, and I thought I would share my comparison with you.

DESIGN

Both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro share the sleek and beautiful industrial design, although, in my opinion, the smaller form factor makes the 13-inch model look a bit more balanced and pretty.

13-inch: 10
15-inch: 9

PORTABILITY

2016 15-inch MacBook Pro is more portable than the earlier generations, but it is not even close to 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro, which has also improved dramatically in this department. The 13-inch is a clear winner here.

13-inch: 10
15-inch: 7

PERFORMANCE

It is a dual-core processor versus quad-core processor, so it is an easy win for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. But it is important to notice that for my workflow, the performance of 13-inch MacBook Pro is more than enough during 99% of the time.

13-inch: 8
15-inch: 10

PORTS

Both of the models I am comparing have four Thunderbolt 3 ports, although, on the 13-inch model, only two ports allow the maximum bandwidth (up to 40GBs/s), making 15-inch MacBook Pro the winner in this category. I don’t think I will ever use all four ports to its maximum potential, so the difference in score is minimal.

13-inch: 9
15-inch: 10

DISPLAY

The quality of the Retina display of both models is excellent, but the bigger screen size of 15-inch MacBook Pro makes the difference when it comes to working with multiple windows or watching the video content. But, same as with performance, for 99% of the time 13-inch model provides enough screen real estate for general tasks.

13-inch: 8
15-inch: 10

SPEAKERS

Speakers are great on both, but the speakers of the 15-inch model sound a bit louder, making it the winner in this category.

13-inch: 8
15-inch: 10

BATTERY LIFE

There has been a lot of talk about the battery life of new MacBook Pro. I didn’t have any problems with both devices, but I would say that getting the full 10 hours from the 13-inch model is much harder compared to the 15-inch model. On average, I am getting about 8 to 9 hours on the smaller MacBook Pro and about 9 to 11 hours on the bigger model.

13-inch: 8
15-inch: 10

SOFTWARE

With a release of 10.12.3 update, the operating system on both models feels more stable, although I can still tell that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is much more buggy, mostly because of Radeon Pro graphics.

13-inch: 10
15-inch: 8

RAM, SSD, KEYBOARD, TRACKPAD

Other things like RAM, SSD storage speeds, keyboard, and trackpad are almost identical, so no point in comparing them.

PRICE

Also, I am not considering prices, because I was choosing the primary working tool I will use for many years, but 15-inch MacBook Pro is more expensive than 13-inch.

13-inch vs 15-inch MacBook Pro

Total score: 71 for 13-inch MacBook Pro vs 74 for 15-inch MacBook Pro

Conclusion

To summarize, although I like the design and portability of 13-inch MacBook Pro, the bigger screen size makes the difference for me when I work on the go. The performance difference was not very decisive, but the longer battery life of the 15-inch model is one of the main reasons why I have decided to go with the bigger model.

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