Macbook Pro 13 inch v 15 inch

April 12, 2015

After facing a decision about 6 months ago myself if I should get either a 13 inch macbook pro or a 15 inch macbook pro and finding it difficult to find any decent information on the internet on what would be best to get. I thought I would write my own review on the matter.

About 8 months ago I decided to upgrade my 2009 Mac Mini, after it served me well for 4 great years. I decided that I wanted to upgrade to a macbook pro as it gave me the portability I wanted and also the enough power to run what I needed to run.

The next issue was do I go for a 15 inch or a 13 inch? I took to the internet and talking to friends to find out what would be best, most reviews weren’t exactly clear what would be best to go for depending on a situation…. I was stuck!

After watching some youtube videos I decided to go for the 13 inch model initially as it would give me greater portability… For the first few days I loved it, but after really putting to its paces it just couldn’t keep to with what I was looking todo and also I was constantly wanting just slightly a bigger real estate of a screen size.

I ended up about 1 week later, returning the 13 inch for a 15 inch and I have never been happier with a machine than I am with this 15 inch I am typing on right now! I will explain my situation as I really do think there are characters that fit into both models depending on what you are after.

What I run on my mac:

  • Standard web browsing
  • Coda for web development / php development
  • Parallels for running windows
  • Visual studio for C# web development
  • XCode for iOS development
  • Photoshop for design

I do run other programs, but these are the heavy programs.

I would say for any type of development a 15 inch is much better, but it can depend also how much you are going to be carrying the laptop around with you outside of your home. I don’t usually carry the laptop with me and just use the portability to cary it around my home… as it is for my liking slightly too heavy and big to carry around with you every single day. So if you are going to be traveling a lot I would recommend the 13 inch as it is lighter and fits into almost any bag you can get these days.

Who should buy a 15 inch?

If you are after raw power, and will find the extra screen size to be of an advantage… but only if you arn’t going to be lugging the laptop around with you all of the time, as you probably will get tired in carrying this around all of the time. Personally I don’t need to carry it around whilst walking so this is fine for me.

Also if you are going to be using this machine as your main computer for web development, I would recommend a 15 inch.

Who should by a 13 inch?

Someone after a decent machine, but also who wants to be able to carry it around with them on a daily basis. If you are going to go for a 13 inch I would HIGHLY recommend upgrading the ram to 16 GB though and putting in a bigger hard disk in it as the base model at the moment doesn’t cut it for full web development.

Just to add to this I use a 13 inch in work and it does the job, but I would still recommend the 15 inch if you can.

Please fill in a comment with your thoughts on the matter below…

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  • Reply Rizza February 15, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Hi Neil,

    I just want to ask how’s your development in Macbook pro after how many months of using? Do you experience any issues? I’m also a .net developer and I’m planning to buy a Macbook Pro 15inch but I’m having second thoughts because some .net developers switch from MacbookPro to Dell xps.

    Now I’m having a hard time choosing between dell xps or Macbook Pro.

    Kindly share your web development experience in Macbook Pro.


    • Reply Neil Redfern January 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm


      Nearly 2 years on I am still using my 15 inch MBP for home development as I also use it for developing other languages in OSX etc. I am running the latest version of parallels and Windows 10, all seems to run smoothly on this laptop.

      Honestly it is a fine machine for .net web development, but you will need a big HDD for a dual OS and probably end up spending more than a windows machine.

      If you are a pure .net dev and never really need to run OSX, there are some very good windows laptops out there now and I would probably stick to one of them. E.g. in a past job I used a Lenovo X1 carbon and this was very nice. As you mentioned i have heard the xps is a decent windows machine also.

      Another machine I am interested in is the surface book pro for windows.


  • Reply Rizza February 15, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Hi Neil,

    It’s me again I forgot to ask, you mentioned that you are using 13inch in your work. What is the specs of your 13inch MBPro?


    • Reply Neil Redfern January 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm


      Sorry for the very late reply… most comments are spam and I never see the non-spam comments here.

      I was using the lowest level MBP 13 inch, with 8GB ram 128 gb HDD, i5 etc.

      I ended up having to switch it to a windows laptop (Lenovo X1 Carbon) as I had problems with running out of space with a small ish HDD as I was using bootcamp for using windows on a mac.


  • Reply Shin Pei February 23, 2016 at 9:43 am

    thx very much~
    It was very helpful to me 🙂

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