MacBook Pro 13-inch vs. 15-inch: Which is right for you?

“While the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 15-inch MacBook Pro look super-similar to one another, some huge differences separate these machines,” Henry T. Casey writes for LAPTOP Magazine.

“The two laptops feature similar keyboards and sets of ports, but their performance, battery life, and heft set them apart,” Casey writes. “One is also much pricier than the other, which may make up your mind for you.”

“When you’re typing, the experiences on these MacBook Pros are more similar than different. Both machines feature Apple’s third-generation butterfly switches, which the company claims enable quieter typing, and teardowns suggest that these switches offer greater reliability,” Casey writes. “While the keys on both laptops are relatively shallow, the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s keys have a higher 0.7mm of travel, which is 40 percent more the 0.5mm travel in the 13-inch model.”

Apple's new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models
Apple’s new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It depends on your criteria.

For our road Macs, small size and light weight are paramount, so we’re 11-inch MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook users. Our powerful Macs are on our desks. So, obviously, we’d go with the 13-inch if we had to choose between the Pros.

If you like using one Mac everywhere, the 15-inch likely wins.


  1. I would have purchased a new 13″ MBP if it had the option for 32gb of ram; especially now that it is quad core. Instead my new 15″ MBP with base 2.2 GHz six core processor, 32gb ram, and 1tb SSD arrived a couple of days ago replacing a 2014 15″ MBP. It is pretty sweet so far although I am still adjusting to the touch bar. I appreciate the four Thunderbolt ports. After having a 12″ MBP with one port (on the wrong side for my arrangement) it is nice to have the connectivity on both sides. Aside from using a MBP for standard things, I use it for music production and performance as well as running VMs, both of which should benefit from the increased ram and hopefully the additional cores won’t hurt either. I also didn’t realize how convenient the touch ID unlock was going to be. I thoroughly enjoy being in my Macintosh world after a day’s work supporting the MS Windows world.

    1. If you don’t have the AppleWatch give it a try because you can use it to open your Mac as well…………no touch ID needed…..hit the space bar and off you go…..

    1. Until bantam-weight boxers can compete on equal terms with heavyweights, they are not prizefighters. Different folks—different professionals—have different requirements.

      1. To be fair, Dell and HP have no problem keeping all the features in their laptops. It’s Apple that repeatedly and very intentionally removes features. Its a ploy to force users to buy adapters and docks. Also don’t forget that almost everyone would forgive a lower performance level in the smaller device, just don’t axe performance and connectors for the sake of fashion. Apple has been ripping off buyers for a long time now with this stuff

        1. … rip anyone off if they don’t buy it. So if one does buy it and then feels ripped off then one is a friggin’ idiot for not doing their homework. If Apple doesn’t fit your needs then by all means buy a Dell or HP and STFU.

          1. Not sure why you have to feel the need to berate someone harshly for their opinion. Especially one that adds value to the conversation. Being rude is inexcusable, along with being unnecessary. If you disagree, then make your case and leave it at that.

          1. Refreshing for once a reasonable question.

            The short answer is a 13-inch chassis does not require the same amount of material to produce. Hence, it should be less expensive and still carry the same 15-inch Pro specs for those who prefer a smaller form factor.

            Now I realize that maybe pie in the sky thinking, but I am certainly not the first person here to ask the same question …

    1. Yup! That would be one sweeeetttt PRO machine! I too, have been saying the same for years — bring it back in grand style. Mine lasted 15 years.

      Apple created the world’s first 17” laptop and then they killed it off. Guess it didn’t sell enough for Apple to waste their precious time away from the iPhones and iOS.

      Happens to every company when the bean counters take control, sad …

    2. The 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued in 2012 when the Retina 15 and 13 were introduced. You certainly aren’t the first to ask why. Some suggestions:

      First, it would have cost at least as much in startup costs (design, testing, and setting up assembly lines) for the 17 as for the smaller models, with significantly fewer unit sales to amortize the costs over.

      Second, the sort of machine you want (17-inch Retina screen, top specs, every legacy port possible, and acceptable battery life) would have substantially higher component and assembly costs than the more popular 15 or 13. The difference would be enhanced by the lack of economies of scale.

      Third, Apple would expect to sell its premium model at a premium price, certainly with at least the same profit margin as the lower-prestige models.

      Fourth, the high price would mean even fewer sales, driving costs per unit up and net revenue down.

      I don’t know the actual numbers (and neither do you), but Apple most certainly knows exactly. They obviously determined that they could devote their resources more fruitfully to other projects. I can’t reasonably second guess them (and neither can you).

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