MacBook Pro 13 or 16 - Thoughts welcome

I know, I know, there are too many of these topics already. I also know that I should be able to just choose based on my needs and preference, but I have greatly appreciated most of the advice I have seen here. I am thankful for your opinions. My choices are:

13-inch with 32 GB RAM, 1 TB HD, i7 or
16-inch 16 GB RAM, 1 TB HD, i9 8-Core 5500M Graphics 4GB

Both of these would cost me about the same right now. My hope was for a smaller footprint as I have an older 15-inch, but my eyes are not getting any younger. My hope was to go cheaper, but there are some decent discounts on the 16-inch.

I do edit videos, but not as much as I used to. I do edit photos, but not professionally. I create large files in Affinity Design, Affinity Publisher, PowerPoint, and Word for training courses and our small publishing company. I also analyze large datasets in Excel and Tableau. I do have to run a VMWare Virtual machine every couple of days for work.

Most tasks are usually done in a home office with a 38" Dell curved monitor and 27" Asus (1080p) monitor. However, when the world returns back to normal, I travel a couple times a month or so and use a larger iPad Pro as an additional screen.

My current machine will be passed down to others in the house and I would like the machine to last past the 3-year Apple care protection…:slight_smile:

Thoughts are welcome. I believe I’ll purchase in the next couple of days, but as my wife shares, it doesn’t seem like I need to be in a hurry…:slight_smile:

Thank you for your support…

Coming from an MBP 13", I bought the 16" and tried to love it. I travel a lot and couldn’t handle the size and weight of the 16". More the size than weight. It felt gigantic relative to the 13" so I brought it back and waited for the 13" refresh.


What is most important to you? Try to write that down top to bottom. Unless you are looking at something way outside your wallet’s comfort zone, i think cost should virtually always be at the bottom of the list (a low cost purchase you hate everyday is more costly than extra bucks you spend last year but enjoy every minute of).

A big screen gives your eyes a rest but comes wih bigger footprint and more weight. Are you ok with upping your reading glasses or would you rather accept the size because you hardly travel anyway?

If you operate on pictures or movies even occasionally, would the smaller size screen be a hindrance or just a small bother?

Do you run many apps without closing and you like/need it that way? More RAM is better.



Thank you @evanfuchs. I have been living with the larger one for a few years now and am finding the size the biggest challenge.

Thank you @Joost. I have a spreadsheet that I have been using with just that type of information. There has been no clear winner yet…:). The more RAM piece is where I started to lean.

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16 inch hands down. I take the point that some find it ‘too big’. I don’t I used to have a 13 inch and I find no greater convenience regarding size. I can’t analyze every feature of your work flows of course, I feel you probably would be ok with a 13 inch. Why stint yourself? Get this beautiful 16 machine. I still have my 2014 15 inch by the way and, time will tell, it is my all time favorite machine still. The 16 migh come in joint if it holds up though.


Thank you @TudorEynon.

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Well it was the answer you wanted! only jokin’ :smiley: I went through the same thing for weeks, months maybe. I just maxed out on everything for a new 16 inch for the first time in my life: I really have not regreted it for one second.


I appreciate that the size difference matters to people. I am not going to argue. I have found it over stressed though really? How thin and light do we really need?
In fact one of my beefs with Apple over all in recent years has been an obsession with thin and light at the expense of other features. I often wonder if that was the underlying issue with the butterfly keyboard.

I am still in that back and forth phase @TudorEynon:slight_smile: :sweat_smile:

My wife tells me I am over thinking it as usual. I suppose I am, but I think I spent too much on the last MacBook, so I am a little hesitant this time around and hope to stay within the budget I set…you know what they say about hope and turtles…:slight_smile: :roll_eyes:


I have a few computing devices, but if I had to choose just one computer it would be the 16" MBP without a moment of hesitation. I would, however, not get it with under 32GB RAM.


Thank you @ACautionaryTale…that RAM thing keeps bringing me back to the 13-inch. Adding it to the 16-inch would be over budget…:slight_smile: :smiley:

If you run a VM memory will be your friend. When I ran Parallels years ago the upgrade from 8 to 16 made a huge difference in performance. This was on a 2011 MBP. As to size I’m leaning towards the 13” myself for better portability. I use the laptop with an external monitor at home.

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I’m curious if those who are good with the size of the 16" are using it as a “laptop.” I used it for a month and never got used to how big it was on my lap, in an airplane seat, in the car, on the couch, in my backpack. It was great on a table, in a coffee shop, on my desk. I’m not arguing against the machine, just curious.

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Thank you @glenthompson. It would be great to not worry about the memory on the VM. Right now, I have 16 GB and it doesn’t seem like it is enough.

For me screen size matters much more than light weight or super thin. I purchased a 16” when it came out, replacing my 2012 rMBP. It’s a great machine, except perhaps Bluetooth is the only questionable part. I have a suspicion there is some weakness with its BT hardware-macOS interaction.

It is interesting that you ask this. The 15-inch stays on my desk when I work out of the house. If I didn’t travel, a desktop would probably be a consideration.

Over 90% of the time my 16" MBP is docked to a Thunderbolt 3 dock either at work or at my home office. It’s driving 2 external displays in either location, but I do use it on my lap in my living room from time to time. As a workstation that I carry back and forth between home and work every day (though now more working form home), it’s ideal. If I were traveling a whole bunch with it, I might opt for the 13", but I’d miss the 64GB RAM and GPU.

I’m fortunate that I have an Air for travel and an 11" iPad Pro, so for high mobility I’m covered. As I said above though, if I had to choose just one it would be the MBP hands down.

Yeah! mine tells me the exact same thing. I really would go ‘over budget’ though. It is a hard thing to advise on really. I am not a big spender on ‘stuff’, vacations and so on, so an ‘overspend’ on IT is well justified for me: if I need to to myself. I know what is like to live hand to mouth too as it happens; I prefer the way I live now, there is a kind of frugality that sticks to one though?

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I wouldn’t buy only 16GB right now if you do a lot with the laptop. Just like with the jumps to 1/2/4/8/16/etc. GB, as the new amounts become more predominant, the amounts used by the OS and software will rise. Having 16GB will eventually cause the same problems 8GB does now.

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