MacBook Pro 13 or 16 - Thoughts welcome

I have owned 13”, 15”, and the 16” laptop. I do not disagree with you. But if it’s plugged in to an external display the majority of the time anyway, what’s the difference? If you’re on the go, why not optimize for that with a smaller and lighter laptop?

The difference in physical area a closed 16” laptop takes up on the desk is also substantially larger.

I guess, to quote The Big Lebowski, you’re not wrong. It’s just that I am not sure this has anything to do with @JEMIII’s situation. He sits at his desk on a big screen, or he goes out with both a laptop and and iPad to use as a second screen. 3” of space doesn’t help much if you need an entire second display to get your work done. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just saying.)

If you are at your desk most of the time, I’d get a Mac Mini w/eGPU and also get a portable ( 13" ) Macbook Air or Pro for those times you need to travel. you probably aren’t doing CPU/GPU intensive work at the airport lounge or Starbucks. I call this the split configuration where you have a device that’s tailored to fit it’s purpose. This is my use case.

If instead, you are perhaps a consultant that is constantly traveling from customer site to customer site, and you need to do serious work in that hotel room or coffee shop before the presentation to the customer, then get the beefy Macbook Pro so that you can do resource-intensive work wherever you are.

I think that these fit most people, though there are podcasters out there who can magically do their recording and editing work on an iPad with keyboard/mouse + other peripherals. If you are one of these people, you don’t need my advice, I need yours :slight_smile:

As general advice that others have also given, don’t skimp now because you’ll regret it later. My rules is to always get more CPU/RAM/Storage/GPU capacity than I think I need. I’m frugal so I always try to talk myself down to the cheaper options.

Don’t skimp! You’ll regret it and Apple will regret it when they give their quarterly earning report.


I agree really. My main point is that 3 inches is more like 9 square inches: I should have put it that way maybe. Same thing could be said about an iMac of course. it is way more ‘real estate’ than just the horizontal and vertical dimensions suggest. Pixel count is another way of doing the same thing really in my view. I know density matters there too though. As you say it cuts all ways though and the area when it is closed is also much bigger, in my own case I don’t keep a closed laptop on any desk I use: still I didn’t think of that.

You are right too that if you need an external display;, well you need a lot of real estate.
I spent a lot of time pondering my own needs and had more or less settled on a desktop and iPad or air-book Pro. I chose the 16 inch at the end though and am glad I did. I sit in the chair a lot to do my IT. I know you shouldn’t but…
I think I would have been quite happy with a different set up and even a 13 inch to be honest. I maxed out on specs on this one because I can afford it now and well , why not? I am very pleased with my choice actually. I appreciate it can vary depending on how much money one has, or how much one thinks one has: these decisions are not as rational as we believe they are? I will say my fingerprint ID has not worked since I set up, and I am not pleased about that though I don’t use it anyway. Touchbar is a waste of time too. Still I am glad I spent 4K on this laptop. I think by next time much of my work will be over and I might retreat to a 13 inch or a desktop.

I say that too. I maxed out everything this time, for the first time ever I think. I am glad I did, though I am not sure exactly what I am getting: the speed and utility is amazing. I can’t argue as I don’t know whether if I had lower specs the machine would feel the same to me. I suspect it would. I love my new 16 inch but I will say my all time favorite is turning out to be the mid 2014 15 inch what I still have and still do some things on.

1 Like

This is my life in a nutshell. Especially because I am trying to settle the same question for myself right now, so I am reading this thread with great interest as I waffle.


So far, I am happy with the decision to go with the larger size. We’ll see when I travel again if I still feel the same way. However, the screen does help with the weight and the pure size. Best wishes on your purchase @davidrepmo…I think if I went another week, I would have been sleeping in my office…:slight_smile: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


I will add that I am glad I did wait for the new keyboard. It was a deciding factor on getting a 16 inch.


You can SLEEP when you’re considering a purchase like this?!?! :wink:


+1 on maxing out. For my 16" I maxed out RAM , got 4GB VRAM, and only got 2TB storage. I regret the storage decision the most as I’m lugging around a 2 TB Samsung T5 with me everywhere because internal 2TB wasn’t enough. I should have taken the hit and gotten at least 4TB.

Don’t be me. Get more than you need. 4-5 years down the road , you’ll be glad that you did.

1 Like

I second the advice, but curious what you’re doing that takes so much space, and why you thought you’d only need 2TB. Were you using more than that before?

1 Like

I get this advice with processor and RAM. Not sure I agree on storage. The options are getting so fast and so small and so cheap that I don’t think it’s necessarily worth the up-front cost for Apple’s built-in storage.


Just out of interest: for me, maxing my storage is 1TB, I should have added that caveat. I am so unlikely to change my storage needs now that I feel safe with it. I only have about 300 photos in total for example. Nearly everything I do is text base and that takes up no space. I know some professions need big storage and ‘maxing out’ is a bit of movable feast… I also have the 50GB cloud for 1$ a month, way above anything I am ever likely to need but above the 5GB Apple gives free which is a bit tight even for me. My life’s work plus all the online papers I have used would fit into 2GB I once counted, with room to spare. It is very strange. And casual users of IT who tend to have photos of every meal they take that I know need way more space than I do.

The storage I would agree with you and add that as a caveat to what I say. A lot of the lectures and legacy podcasts I listen to now I feel safe streaming. Don’t even need to store most of it. I have about a GB of ripped CDs of some very special lectures. I find I need less storage on my Mac than ever to my surprise really. Things change in ways one didn’t anticipate? By Max out I really mean what you do. I like to feel very safe with storage though, so I got 1TB, not sure if that was default with my set up though. I have the 50GB cloud option too. Talk about belt and braces, worth a screenshot. Less than 1GB on the cloud too by the way.

I am curious too @majorgear as to what you do. Just sheer curiosity It is interesting to know how different our uses are sometimes. Mine, I realize is very idiosyncratic. Sometimes folk ask, why do you need a powerful Mac and even if I am really a ‘power user’. I think I am actually. Because everything for me, on IT is now optimal. I have no real IT bottlenecks. The handful of Keyboard Maestro expansions I use are, nonetheless, essential and save me hours over a month.

That’s sort of where I am. I find that Apple’s minimum (default) storage is usually too low to be comfortable, so I would usually step it up from that, but I don’t tend to go for the maximum available storage.

I’m looking at various configurations for a machine that can handle livestreaming, and it seems the i7 processor is the way to go. But I don’t really want the 16" size, so I’m looking at upgrading a 13" to include the i7, saving money on the display but bumping up the internals.

EDIT: And immediately after posting this, I think I changed my mind and decided to just bite the bullet and go with the 16". This is probably likely to change 2-3 times before noon.


For a Macbook Pro ? I have yet to find a good way to upgrade the internal ssd for 2016 and later Macbook Pro’s. Perhaps you can share your method?

Sorry to disappoint you. I’m just talking about attaching a fast external drive for Photo and video storage, in my case.