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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Ode to 17" MBP or why you would want one over any other MB(P).

Ode to 17" MBP or why you would want one over any other MB(P).
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NeverTriedApple
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Mar 27, 2008, 08:14 AM
 
Few weeks back I was in the market for a new laptop. My ol' good thinkpad was still strong and literally indestructible but it's 1.8 Pentium M CPU was barely coping with new apps. I bought my first Mac 12" PB back in 2005 and immediately loved it. I still believe it was one hell of a little machine and its a shame that it was discontinued.

Next year in September I picked up Intel Mac Pro and it was just perfect. As with PB I loved absolutely everything about it: silent, firmly built, fast and beautiful. So being a relatively new Apple fan I was almost certain I would go with Apple laptop this time, although for argument sake Thinkpad T60 also grew up on me very well.

Anyway, after visiting Apple store to familiarize myself with MacBooks and after reading numerous articles on MB vs MBP I ended up buying a white MacBook. It was lightweight and yet powerful, slim and good looking. As many out there I contemplated between 13" MB and 15.4" MBP, but since the price was right for me + I didn't do any graphics or video, I got myself 13" MacBook.

It was good. But turned not good enough for me. Perhaps, having a poor sight played the role because it made it difficult to get used to such a small screen. However, I do remember my beloved 12" PB and the experience was absolutely positive. 1024x768 was good for reading and typing except for occasional emails in Mail that had smaller font, but nothing dramatic. The new to me resolution of 13.3" MacBook was literally bad. It took 4 weeks before I returned the laptop back and I still can't say that I got used to it completely.

The problem I guess is 16:9 wide factor on smaller screen. It may look okay and acceptable by many, but my personal feeling was that working with text and email applications made it a challenge to fit all in the narrow horizontal strip of a display. I tried moving dock to the left and although it helped a little, I still had this bad taste in the mouth.

Being a perfectionist sort of guy I couldn't help but notice that overall build quality of my MacBook was nowhere near the quality of PB, Mac Pro or iPhone. Even for an untrained eye the screen lid was not closing evenly, the space bar button was poorly pressed by contract manufacturer and in addition to all, wireless connection between MacBook and AP Extreme was mysteriously disappearing when external monitor was plugged in. And yeah, sharp edges were quite noticeable and unpleasant too when using my MacBook every now and then.

I am not here to slag off the Apple product line, but to me MacBook appears more of a budget model rather than sub or mobile notebook and I am talking purely quality matters now. When I looked at both MB and 15" MBP, not size neither weight difference between the two was that significant. MB had this thick bezel around the screen area eating the potential space for possibly bigger TFT (14"?), MBP didn't. Both had similar specs for one who is not into graphics and design so why pay twice the price of MacBook when you can still get Apple quality, was what i thought.

Well it was wrong from all points of view for the reasons I stated above. In a nutshell you don't want unreadable screen laptop weighing and sizing as much as its bigger brother. Except for the price tag, I don't see any advantages for buying MacBook over MBP anymore. Quality - not as good as MBP, screen - no compare. I also upgraded to the faster hard drive and bigger memory right after I got my hands on it which by the end of the day made my MacBooks not as cheap.

So after almost a month of owning a MacBook, I was this time in the market for a replacement. Now my hesitation was between 15 and 17 inch MBPs as despite my recent MacBook perception, I still wanted to stay with Apple products, trying to believe my experience was an exception. Fortunately to me, it proved to be so.

17 inch model simply blew my mind away with massive extremely comfortable screen and perfectly matching resolution. The way I work now is I have Mail in the background and a few windows of Safari, Preview, MS Office and MS Remote Desktop on top and I can still clearly see when new mail comes in and if i need to switch my attention to it immediately. This is just lovely and saves me time from tabbing applications or having them opened on external screen.

I am happy that quality-wise Apple is back on track. It was a piece of cake to put in my ex-MacBook 7200 rpm 200GB Momentus hard drive in after carefully following guidance on replacing the hdd for MacBook pros. Having read some posts here and there I learned that 17 MBP keyboard was somewhat inconveniently put far away from the user so I BT'ed my mighty mouse and keyboard to gain some comfort in typing and browsing. My MBP is seated deep on the desk properly displaying text that are comfortable now to read and edit on the huge working area of the screen.

And who said you can't grab this thing, put it in the backpack and carry around? That's easy. My thinkpad with 15" screen was over 6 pounds. 17" MBP scales just a little lesser than that. I drive so I don't mind taking it back and forth every day. It didn't fit in my Wenger Synergy backpack's laptop compartment so I put it in a bigger one (compartment, not backpack) and the problem was solved. With MacBook it was all different - the backpack felt heavier that MacBook so when put inside you can barely notice there was a laptop in it.

Although it was not my intention, I guess my topic will cause some negative feedback from MacBook users community. I hurry to reassure you that my subjective overview is purely based on my personal opinion from going small screen to big screen which is important advantage for the guy wearing glasses. You do pay a premium for 17" and so you can't compare apples with oranges (no pun intended), but then again - quality of my MacBook was disappointing. Hope it was only my MacBook and others are not affected.

Bottom line. 17" MBP is the best laptop for everything you can imagine. There's no area or category where it doesn't fit. Graphics, text or browsing - simply amazing. Weight? forget the weight if your laptop is more on the desk than in your bag and mine is (although as mentioned I do take it home every day). Needless to say it is stylish and slimmest like nothing else in the market.

For all guys in doubt: if you can afford it, GO SEVENTEEN!

PS: This seems like the longest post I have made in my life (so far). Hope it will serve someone as a food for thoughts
     
MacosNerd
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Mar 27, 2008, 09:56 AM
 
Dude you should try condensing that down a bit, my eyes just blurred after 10th paragraph
     
BoingoBongo
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Mar 27, 2008, 10:50 AM
 
Your post was very well thought out and clear. Thanks for taking the time to write it!
     
Duracell
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Mar 27, 2008, 11:09 AM
 
Hi, nice write up!

I'm afraid I originally got the 17" MBP but returned it because of the weight
Macbook Pro 15" Rev: Feb08
iPhone & iPod Touch

20" iMac G5, Mac Mini G4 and an iBook G4, all retired.
     
analogika
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Mar 27, 2008, 11:30 AM
 
Counter-perspective:

I had the fifteen-inch PowerBook, and I am SO GLAD I switched to the 13-inch MacBook.

A laptop that I don't have with me when I need it is completely and utterly useless.
     
mduell
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Mar 27, 2008, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by NeverTriedApple View Post
And who said you can't grab this thing, put it in the backpack and carry around? That's easy. My thinkpad with 15" screen was over 6 pounds. 17" MBP scales just a little lesser than that. I drive so I don't mind taking it back and forth every day. It didn't fit in my Wenger Synergy backpack's laptop compartment so I put it in a bigger one (compartment, not backpack) and the problem was solved. With MacBook it was all different - the backpack felt heavier that MacBook so when put inside you can barely notice there was a laptop in it.
The 17" MBP tips the scales at 6.8lb. Yes I could haul it around with me, but I wouldn't want to. If you buy a light laptop, you should buy a light bag to go with it.
     
tridentinecanon
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Mar 27, 2008, 08:34 PM
 
Hey OP-

When are you going to post chapter 2?

I agree with the best summation of what you said. The 17" rocks.
     
tridentinecanon
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Mar 27, 2008, 08:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Duracell View Post
Hi, nice write up!

I'm afraid I originally got the 17" MBP but returned it because of the weight
Some perspective. It (the 17") is under 10 lbs. My 6 mo. old weighs more than my 17" (even after a diaper change), and he doesn't sit quietly on a desk or have a screen saver.
     
SierraDragon
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Mar 27, 2008, 11:23 PM
 
I have had many laptops starting with the Duos. 13 months ago I went from a 15" PB to a 17" MBP. I am a graphics user and the benefits of the much larger screen real estate and additional pixels are huge. And the extra speed of the 17" is a bonus. I doubt if I will own a smaller laptop again. The 1.4 additional pounds is irrelevant compared to the much, much more screen real estate of the 17" unless one is a constant air traveler, in which case a Macbook Air is appropriate.
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
...If you buy a light laptop, you should buy a light bag to go with it.
Agreed. If you need a light laptop you should buy a MB Air and a superlight case. However, at 5.4 pounds 15" MBPs are not particularly light laptops, so the step up to the much more productive 17" is not a big deal.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Mar 27, 2008 at 11:34 PM. )
     
hedmisten
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Mar 27, 2008, 11:43 PM
 
i bought a 13 for mobility as i do onsite graphics(psd, tiffs, raw, illustrator files) for commercial and consumers. I needed something i could run to there display on site and call it a day, while keeping my back in shape. I have owned 12 notebooks lup till now and I am satisfied with the 13 for now, considering my eyes are still good. I've have worked on a 17mbp at work and love it also. Guess it came down to small and ultraportable for me. The finace's Dell XPS m2010 will always provide the big 20.1 mobile screen. Good story.
08 Whitebook 2.2 2.0.120.
     
Kyros
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Mar 28, 2008, 03:36 PM
 
The weight might be fine to you, but for me, even the small difference (about a pound) between my 12 inch pb and my girlfriend's 15 inch MBP is enough that I really don't want to take the MBP anywhere, while I often take the PB along because it happens to be in my backpack, even if I won't necessarily get the chance to use it. I couldn't imagine carrying around a 17 inch.

Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Counter-perspective:

I had the fifteen-inch PowerBook, and I am SO GLAD I switched to the 13-inch MacBook.

A laptop that I don't have with me when I need it is completely and utterly useless.
I assume this is because of the size, not the weight? The difference in weight between the MB and 15 inch MBP is about 0.2 pounds, I think.
g4/1.5 GHz 12 inch powerbook / 1.25 RAM / 80 gig / Superdrive / 10.5.6
g3/400 MHz Pismo / 640 RAM / 40 gig / Combo Drive / 10.3.9
     
analogika
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Mar 29, 2008, 06:34 AM
 
More the size than the weight, yes.
     
benz
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Mar 29, 2008, 10:46 AM
 
i ve 2 i book G4 , and 1 15inch C2D mac book pro in my office, but my favourite is the 17inch MBP, as i use to spend hrs. in vewing the computer, so i think the bigger screen the better, i don't travel with my MBP frequently, but just carry it to office daily, 5 days a week, with a samsonite backpack.
well, pros and cons really depend on one's pattern of use, but personally, i never go back to smaller labtop again
     
fisherKing
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Mar 29, 2008, 11:19 AM
 
i carry my 12" (1.5g g4) powerbook everywhere, in a padded sleeve in a slim backpack.

living in nyc, i do a lot of walking (do not own a car anyway). the weight of the 12" is perfect. i considered the mb air, but way underpowered for my needs.

some of us need small and light; my biz partner has the 17", it is a thing of beauty. he carries it in a padded aluminium briefcase. he also lives in NJ, and drives everywhere.

i'm still holding my breath (lol) for a 12" mb pro.

meanwhile, whatever works!
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
0157988944
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Mar 29, 2008, 12:25 PM
 
I love my 15.4" MBP. The MacBooks, IMO, are a piece of crap on Apple's great product line.
     
analogika
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Mar 29, 2008, 08:39 PM
 
I am very, very pleased with my black MacBook.
     
0157988944
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Mar 29, 2008, 08:59 PM
 
I should say the white MacBooks... though I don't care too much for the black ones either.
     
Full-Auto
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Mar 31, 2008, 09:07 AM
 
I own a MacBook and Macbook Pro 17". I just bought the Macbook Pro last week, so I've only lugged to to work (about 40 miles) a couple of times... my commute consists of car, train and walking. So far, while the MBP is heavier it's not cumbersome by any means. The extra weight is well worth the massive screen and amazing resolution at 1920x1200. I couldn't be happier with the 17" so far.

From a size perspective, I don't feel the 17" is gigantic compared to the MB... bigger, yes... but not as big as some people carry on.




Ask me again in a month or so, but right now I have no problem with carrying my MBP around and I wouldn't trade it for a 15" if you paid me. Another guy at work had a 17" which he carried for about 2 weeks then traded it in for a 15". Now that he's been without the 17" for a couple of months, he wants his 17" back.
     
   
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