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Author Topic: 15" vs 17" MacBook Pro's--opinions?  (Read 10855 times)
mikeseb
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« on: July 20, 2007, 03:05:55 PM »
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My ancient but still-chugging PowerMac G4 tower is going to become a file server, and I plan to replace it this fall with a MacBook Pro. I've looked at both the 15 and 17 inch models and wonder what others think about the relative sizes of these two laptops. I'll likely await the release of Leopard and the availability of the LED screen in the 17" size.

I've looked closely at both sizes at my local retailer but of course one can't really get a good idea with this sort of limited "trial".

Obviously the 17" screen's larger size will be handy for the usual tasks we all do in Photoshop, Lightroom, etc, but this must be balanced against its larger size and greater weight (maybe 1 pound heavier, 1 or 1.5 inches larger in each direction except thickness.) I'm a big guy so carrying a bit of extra weight doesn't bother me; and at least right now I fly only rarely. Those who do, do you find the larger laptop to be a hassle to schlep around? Is the larger screen worth any attendant inconveniences? At home, I'll likely be connecting to an external monitor and bluetooth keyboard and mouse/trackball, as well as to external storage.

Any other factors I should consider? What is the thinking re glossy vs. matte and hi res vs normal res screens? The glossy supposedly delivers better colors and blacks but has glare problems in brigher light; the hi res is knocked because icons and fonts are tiny, but this can be overcome in the computer's preferences.

Any impressions will be appreciated.
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 05:01:16 PM »
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Mike I did exactly the same thing this time last year when my 533 G4 became silly.  You were sensible to wait for the MBPs to settle out a little - I've had some niggles with this that are the result of it being a 1st gen machine.

I use a 17" one and my brother a 15" one.  Both are used for similar stuff (PS, Lightroom, light-ish Final Cut).  Initially I was uspet when the glossy screen was released a week after I recieved this.  I then saw a friends one and hated it - it smudges and glares and is horrid in every way IMO.

I have found his screen to suffer slightly less drop off at the edges than mine but both screens seem to be about as good as laptops get. I've not yet seen the LED display but I would imagine that it largely cures this problem - though I can forsee a trade-off with it being too bright - this is conjecture though as I know nothing of the science of screens and I would hope someone will clarify this.

I don't run an external display but do all of my colour critical stuff in the centre of the screen.  It calibrates fine but I'm using a Huey - hardly the last word in calibration - however - my colours match the output of my Epson 2100 closely enough for me not to be bothered.

I opted for the 7200 HD and it was a waste - I'd opt for bigger if I was doing it again - especially if I were to run dual boot (I don't.)

We both find lugging them about a pain in the bum though - he's 6'2" and a snowboarder - ie fit and strong.  I'm 5'11" and suffer the muscular inferiority of women - even if they rarely come taller!  I would have bought a desktop but don't have especially secure accomadation at the moment (move every 4-6 months) and he travels with the snow and surf.  There isn't much in the weight difference that I've noticed (both are heavy!) but the size is not insignificant.  However, the screen space difference is not insignificant either!  In comparison with my previous 15" Studio Display, this is heaven though!

I intend selling mine next year and replacing it with whatever the new 24" iMac is along with a low end Macbook for travelling.  If you have the space/budget etc, I would suggest you consider this.  

HTH
Charly
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jerryrock
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2007, 10:21:24 PM »
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I would definitely go with the 15" LED display. It  has a wider color gamut and longer battery life.

Check out the following review of the new display:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_p...cid=7-8741-9027
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Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2007, 10:57:07 AM »
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I use a 15" MPB in much the same way as you are planning to: stand-alone when I am on location and hooked up to 23" cinema display, bluetooth keyboard & mouse and firewire drives when I am in the office.

I find this to be the ideal combination for me...I do not miss the extra size and weight of the 17" when I am travelling (espacially as I will have 7-8kg of camera gear with me too). I find the resolution of the 15" is sufficient for Lightroom, and when I am in the office I have the 23" display in any case.

However I wish I had the new LED screen - it is significantly better for colour work from what I hear. I leave all exposure and colour corrections until I get home to the 23".

Julian
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mistybreeze
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 07:33:19 AM »
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When the 17" models arrived, I was psyched. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Then I did and was utterly shocked by my disillusionment. First, the keyboard was too far away from the front edge for my liking and comfort means everything to me when I'm working at a computer. Second, the 17" did not fit into my Tumi laptop knapsack, which I love for travel. I don't want a bigger bag.

I use a laptop for travel only and I never rely on it for anything to do with color.

Unless you fly in First or Business, you may find yourself unable to open it in Coach. Planes keep getting smaller and there's always some idiot who insists on reclining his seat as far back as he can, even when it's supposed to be in the "locked and upright position."

Since I love a two-monitor workstation, I was really looking forward to more workspace on the 17" screen. No longer. The 15" suits my comfort needs best and, when using it, I stay focused and keep the open windows on my desktop to bare minimum. The compromise works for me and I have new love and appreciation for my 15". Just goes to show, bigger is not always better.  
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 03:35:53 PM »
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Guess I'm opposite to most of the replies here.  I for one prefer the real estate of the big screen, and since neither is optimum for high end photoshop work, but both are quite adequate, real estate > all other reasons for me.

Unlike others I also feel the glossy screen is a major improvement over the matte screen, as do 3 or 4 of my friends who have changed to glossy after seeing mine. Yes you have to be careful because it can smudge but overall the increased saturation and sharpness is a plus and it is actually much more viewable in brighter conditions.  While logically it seems like "reflections" would be an issue, in reality are not noticeable.  A matte screen is reflecting as well, so anything hitting either screen is a problem.  The diffuse reflection of a matte screen to me is more of a problem.  Surprisingly, gloss makes reflections easier to deal with, not worse.

The LED backlight of the 15" is a nice improvement, but gamut size on laptops is limited more by the screen they use than the backlighting.  As the article pointed out, the gamut is improved but still vastly inferior to even an iMac. Until a full 8-bit low power consumption screen becomes available, laptops won't ever approach other screens for serious work. Laptops (not just Apples) use a  6-bit screen (thus only about 250,000 native colors) and thus depend on pixel dithering to simulate most of the viewable colors.  This is pretty much true of all laptops regardless of maker, and while they can display "millions" of colors, (meaning more than a few million different colors"), none of them can display the gamut of a full 8-bit screen.  This is the major reason a laptop (any laptop)  is not an ideal "final" editing machine.

I just bought the new 17" with High res glossy screen (second glossy screen).  fantastic. (not as cool as my iPhone though    )
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