What is Your Favorite Notebook Screen Size?


In the past 4 years I’ve gone from the 17″ PowerBook, to a 15″ Powerbook, to a 13″ MacBook. Each time I’ve upgraded the system, but clearly downgraded the display size. I get by because of the 20″ LCD I connect to on my desk at home, so the shrinkage hasn’t been as difficult as it may seem.

The speculation from Insanely Great Mac, that 15″ MacBook Pros may be dropped from Apple’s Pro line of notebooks makes me wonder how people feel about the size options that Apple offers in their notebook line. They observe the drop in cost on 17″ LCDs as an indication that Apple may just go with the 17″ MacBook Pro rather than continuing the 15″ version.

My knee jerk reaction was to blow the idea off and call IGM crazy. But the more I think about it, the more it makes some sense to me. The features in the MacBook Pro (15″) are very similar to those found in the MacBook (only in 13″ currently). So a 15″ MacBook model at say, a $1799 price point could make a big difference for a lot of prospective buyers on the lower end. And based on Apple’s clear division (since the Intel move) of their notebook lines being split up by size, the likelihood of the 15″ version of the MacBook Pro slipping out of sight seems pretty legitimate.

But while I can see some possibility in a move like this, I can’t help but feel the 15″ MacBook Pro model is one that people would be a bit sore at losing. 17″ of notebook is a bit much, especially when you’re carting it around in your bag, walking all over a city for your job (been there, done that, have the traps to show for it…). Losing optional sizing in the Pro models could very well put many consumers off.

How would a shift of this nature fly with you?



I’m a Graphic Designer and long term Macolite. 15 inches is what I want, I hope they don’t drop it… I have had a couple opportunities to buy a 17 inch PowerBook / MacBook Pro and both times I have gone for the 15″ it has the perfect balance of portability and functionality.


ive been using a 12″ iBook for the last year and couldnt imagine using even a 13″ MacBook, i had a 15.4″ HP before i converted and the day i got my ibook i had both computers next to each other and couldnt imagine how much better the iBook looked and how much smaller it is


ive been using a 12″ iBook for the last year and couldnt imagine using even a 13″ MacBook, i had a 15.4″ HP before i converted and the day i got my ibook i had both computers next to each other and couldnt imagine how much better the iBook looked and how much smaller it is


I recently upgraded from a 12″ PowerBook to a 15″ MacBook Pro. Now that I have this computer, I know that I would never want to go any smaller or any larger in terms of screen size. Smaller might be great for portability, but the screen size becomes frustrating when you’re trying to use the laptop as your primary machine. And larger is fantastic for screen real-estate, but horrible for carrying around in a messenger bag all day. The 15″ strikes the perfect balance between the two, and it would be an incredibly bad move for Apple to drop it from the MacBook Pro line.


Hmmm, Final Cut, Aperture, heck even iPhoto with high quality images on a 12 or 13 inch screen? 15 is the minimum, 17 is better, but 15 is a sweet spot between real estate and portability. Anything smaller just won’t cut it with Graphic pros.


I have a 12 inch powerbook and would never trade it for a bigger screen. Even the 13 inch models are too big for my tastes. I have a 20inch cinema display for when I need a big screen at home. For me, this is the prefect combination of portability and screen size.


Um.. I really wonder what they’re doing there. I mean 17″ is really big to carry around. and now days you can get 19″ screen fairly cheap. I think dropping 15″ pro line would be a dumb move. But then again I just have sweared a lot because iPod’s. If I have understood right. at first when usb 2.0 came apple didn’t even include it into their machines ’cause of the firewire. And now iPod’s work only with usb 2.0. Now I have 4 year old iMac, no usb 2.0. I ben thinking of getting iPod finally, but How long it would take to upload 30G iPod full with usb 1.1? A LONG time, even 8G will take a day. And I’m sorry I really don’t have money to go on buying new computer every four years. So seems that I will not look into iPod’s. I know this is off topic but what ever.

Tibor Mikula

I am still waiting to upgrade from PB12″ to MBP with smaller screen than 15″. I hope Apple will re-introduce smaller sizes in Pro versions soon. 12″ is easy to cary through airports, work on airplane or cary to the meetings. Even 15″ is rather big to put it into seat pocket on the airplanes during take-off and landing. With PB12″ I can carry in the same slot of my bag PB and a book to read (paperback), MBP”15 will occupy whole slot so I will have to stick my reading to another slot which will make my baggage bulky.


I have a 15″ Powerbook, and I think it’s the absolute perfect size for me. The 12″ would be too small to use as a primary computer all the time, unless I also had a larger monitor connected. 17″ would be too big, though, since I like to take it around with me. I’d be really upset if the 15″ option were removed.

Matt Downey

I love my 15″ MacBook Pro. It’s both my desktop and laptop computer. I use it every day for work with the ability to take it with me if I need to. It’s perfect, who could ask for anything more?


I have a MacBook Pro 15″ and the form factor is perfect. The 17″ is okay as a desktop replacement, however for me personally would be far too large to cart around. You can’t forget that in the notebook computer world, small is indeed beautiful (and practical).


I’m wondering whether I will be able to stay with Apple once my 12″ PB dies. I’m not carrying anything larger and would much prefer an ultraportable. I’ve noticed that recently some of the avant-garde geeks have started moving to Ubuntu on Levono, is the herd moving on?


in the last 6 years i’ve gone from:

– 15″ Powerbook G4 550MHz
– 12″ iBook
– 17″ Powerbook G4 1.5Ghz
– 15″ MacBook Pro Core Duo 1.83GHz

while i had the iBook and 17″ Powerbook i had a G5 2.0GHz tower with a 21.3″ LCD.

the best thing about this list is that every single one of these systems are still in use.

– the 15″ PB G4 550MHz is used by my cousin everyday
– the 12″ iBook is used by a colleague as a backup system and travel notebook
– the 17″ is my brothers primary system

when i try to convince people to get a mac i always tell them that the biggest reason is longevity, a system you get today will more likely than not still be useable 7 – 8 years from now. while even average users will need to upgrade or change their PCs every couple of years.


I have a 12″ PB and having had before a 15″, I definately say: notebooks have to be small. You can just stick them everywhere, and you can have a 19″ monitor at home and/or at work. They’re not that expensive anymore, if you don’t need a hot-shot graphics display device.

For me the 12″ non-wide is the greatest for a notebook. 15″ is acceptable. 17″ is more a desk space saver, than a portable computer.


Like some of the others here, I’m really starting to miss that 12″ screen. Before I got my 15″ MBP, I had a 12″ iBook. While the MBP is a very nice machine, it just doesn’t feel as luggable as the iBook was, so it ends up staying on my desk most of the time instead of moved around the house a lot like my iBook was. Plus, I’m not a very big person so it was really nice to have a laptop I could tuck under my arm and carry with me without needing a huge laptop bag.

If they ever reconsider having a 12″ MBP, I may actually decide to downgrade.

chris rhee

My girlfriend and her best friend are really into the 12″ PowerBook and think even the 13″ MacBook is too big. I think the 13″ MacBook is good for me right now, but I wouldn’t say no to a 15″ screen (I had a 15″ PowerBook before the MacBook, anyway). I don’t think I’d carry around a 17″ laptop, though.

Alex Morse

I don’t want 17″ MBP, it’s too big! I would get myself a 13″ macbook, but would really prefer the better graphics card and better upgradeability of the 15″ macbook pro.

A 13.3″ Pro would be dandy though!


I have and use 17 and 15-inch computers, both PC and Mac. They are fine machines, but you definately know they are with you. My son has a 12inch MacBook that I really like. Its small and if you always have a briefcase with you, its not noticeable.

The only problem I see with the small screen Macs is the lack of a card slot. Add a data card from one of the wireless carriers and trash the palm, the smartphone, blackberry, or whatever else you carry for connectivity. (The wireless carriers don’t seem to get it either by crippling bluetooth, VoIP, etc. on their phones.)

You have the benefits of a real computer for answering email, working with native files, and programs that just aren’t available handheld. You wouldn’t have the “near-sych” problems of another OS and form factor. I hope Apple will take a more holistic look at their feature sets on the next generation portables.


I’d love to see the 15″ Pro dropped in favor of a 13.3″ Pro, myself. I have a MacBook and love it, but wouldn’t mind losing the integrated video and getting the sexy aluminum enclosure.

Of course, I’d like to see Apple produce an ultraportable MacBook – maybe a 9″ or 10″ screen, optional external FireWire optical drive, but perhaps built-in memory card slots.

Jason Sturgeon

I would say it would be a real bad move to lose it. It is the one laptop that every truely wants when they see it. The also have a better weight, power, display ratio than the mb. I just bought a mb from a 15″powerbook, and I like it, but I must say I miss having the extra 2 inches and I usually run dual head and the display is noticably smaller next to my 20″ lcd. The weight is almost exactly the same for less display and no integrated video. I will say, it is a lot of bang for the buck, but not having the option to buy the mbp would be dumb. I really can’t image apple doing it. I have the core duo black one and it is twice as fast as my iMac G5 2.1Ghz and even apeture is fast and there is not dedicated video on this thing.

Marc-Oliver Teschke

At the moment I own a 15″ MacBook Pro, and as a stand-alone machine it is really nice. But actually even 15 inches is pretty much when it come to carrying that thing around with you every day. I’m also deeply in love with the 13″ MacBooks, so as soon as I can actually afford all this stuff, I’ll have an iMac and a MacBook.

Dan Robbins

With mobile broadband cards picking up in popularity, this is an area in which Apple seems to lag behind. They switched to the expresscard format instead of the older pcmia standard which cut the new MacBook Pro’s out of consideration for these cards (until the become available in the next few months) If they switch the 15″ to the Macbook line, they should look to keep the expresscard slot built in, and even consider adding it to the 13″ model as well. But if they do “downgrade” the 15″ model, why even have two notebook categories – just call them all a Macbook….

Richard Neal

I just got a second-hand Core Duo 15″ MacBook Pro to replace a 20″ iMac, and it’s the perfect combination of portability and screen size. 17″ is far too big to lug around, and the 13″ MacBook’s screen is just way too small for my usage.


I’d be very upset if they dropped the 15″ laptops from the Pro line. I was up in arms when I heard they weren’t keeping the 12″ size for the Pros. Some of us want power in a small form. I’ve been holding out on purchasing a new laptop and hanging onto my 12″ iBook just because it fits in my backpack when I head to the library or lab to do projects and research.

Lars-Erik Dahle

For me, mobility is king – and I’m in love with my 12″ PowerBook. When I switched from a 15″ 1400×1050 PC laptop last summer, I kind of freaked out for a few weeks, but I gradually fell into a new workflow that allows me to make the most of my limited screen real estate. Creative use of Exposé, Quicksilver and Growl (and a lot of cmd-tab) gets me through the day.


I’m using a PBG4 15″ right now, and I would be upset to lose that option. I’m holding out for jaguar (and some time to save up money) to buy a new intel based macbook pro next year. If I’m not given the 15″ option I’ll have to go with the 13″ (17″ is just not portable). This machine is my primary computer, and I just don’t expect 13″ to cut it for constant use.


I have a 15″ Macbook Pro, and I’m really loving the size of it as a desktop like replacement. But if the Macbook was out at the time of my purchase, I would’ve chosen the smaller 13″ ones purely because of the mobility that I could gain. I don’t lug around my MBP too often anymore, and I don’t think I would move a 17″ around at all.

Jason Alexander

Personally, I have a 17″ PC for work, but I prefer my 13″ macbook. While I started off wanting the real estate that the bigger screens provide, I found that I loved the convenience of having the smaller, easier to tote, screen. After this 17″ dies, I’ll try to downgrade my laptop monitor once again.

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