The 13-inch MacBook Pro is thinner and lighter than the 15-inch models — and size and weight is a big deal when choosing between laptops.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is 0.59 inches thin, and 3.02 pounds.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is 0.61 inches thin, and 4.02 pounds.
While having a slightly thinner laptop is nice, having a lighter laptop is a big deal. That extra pound of weight makes a world of difference if you're carrying it around your office, holding it in a backpack or purse, or traveling with it. You'll be happy you went with the lighter model.
You can save over $1,000 by choosing the 13-inch MacBook Pro over the 15-inch models.
When you compare the rest of the specs, as we do below, you'll find that you're not getting a significantly better value by going with the bigger option, despite spending $1,000 more for it. You're paying for a slightly larger display, a little more built-in storage, a little more RAM, Touch ID, and two extra USB-C ports.
By saving your money, you're still getting an incredible Apple laptop in the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a comparable display to the 15-inch model.
Both laptops feature Retina displays that can achieve the same 500 nits brightness.
The only difference is that the 15-inch models have True Tone technology, which keeps the white balance on-screen the same regardless of the ambient light outside the computer. It's a nice feature, but not a must-have. (I don't miss it at all on my 13-inch MacBook Pro.)
The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models have identical battery life.
Battery life is a big deal for people, but bigger doesn't mean better in this case.
Apple says the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros, despite the differences in their battery capacity, will both get up to 10 hours of wireless web activity, or 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has an identical FaceTime HD camera to the 15-inch models.
Don't spring for the bigger laptop because you think you're getting a better camera. The FaceTime camera is identical across Apple's 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro lines.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has impressive specs that stack up well to the beefier eight-core, 15-inch models.
While the eight-core, 15-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel's Core i9 chip, you really don't need it.
I have Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar, with the baseline i5 chip, and it is plenty powerful for all of the work I need to do. (You can upgrade to a dual-core i7 processor if you're really worried about speed.)
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also comes standard with 8 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage. The 15-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with more RAM and way more internal storage, but the vast majority of people really don't need more than 16 GB of RAM in a laptop, and you shouldn't be buying into Apple's expensive internal storage options anyway.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro can be upgraded with better graphics chips compared to the single default option you have in the 13-inch model, but let's be real: You probably shouldn't be considering a MacBook Pro if you want to do PC gaming. The Mac's operating system, and the specs on these computers, aren't conducive to a great gaming experience. You should buy a desktop PC if you're looking for more power, or gaming applications. (Overheating is very much an issue on all Apple laptops.)
Both computers run the same operating system, MacOS.
You're getting an identical user experience regardless of which laptop you buy. You'll get the same ecosystem, the same App Store, and the same updates directly from Apple.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the perfect Apple laptop. If you really need more power for the work you're doing, you should consider a desktop computer instead.
Meanwhile, you could buy an iMac with an even bigger display (21.5 inches versus 15 inches), plus all the power you'll need, for as little as $1,099. You could even splurge on a higher-end iMac model and you're still paying as little as $1,499.
If you want a powerful Apple laptop, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the ideal combination of power and portability. Spending over $1,000 more to get a bigger and heavier laptop just so you can have a six-core or eight-core processor (which is probably overkill for most applications) is unnecessary, especially when there are more affordable desktop computers that are probably better suited for your needs.
Do you disagree? Are you excited about the eight-core MacBook Pro? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.