12" MB v. 13" rMBP - Which would you choose?

8 years ago from A P, Position @ Company

  • Emily SaforrianEmily Saforrian, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Hi there, I recently sized this consideration up and with with the 12" MB. Like you, I have a top of the line 15" rMBP through work and a 27" (older) iMac at home.

    While you didn't say it I'm assuming you want the 12" for an on-the-go, everyday carry to take between home and work. At least that was what I was seeking. I do a bit of design and development but really got it for research and writing papers (yaaaa grad school).

    All in all, it's a fine little machine but I would probably recommend you go with the 13" rMBP. Here's why:

    • Despite being called a laptop, a 12" retina screen becomes hard to read when sitting in your lap. Real estate aside, it's hard on the eyes at that distance. For instance, I typically have to bump google docs up to 125% or zoom in on pages. I didn't think this would be a problem as I used to have one of the old 12" macbooks (that was a decade ago, man I'm getting old) but it totally is.
    • It's bouncy in your lap. No seriously, it's so light that typing in your lap is wobbly.
    • It really struggles. I got the baseline model and things like google docs and PDFs in Chrome cause it to lag. You'll notice things like the interface stuttering when switching between full screen apps. I haven't done a lot of design or coding on mine (yaaaa grad school) but judging from my experience thus far, you will be frustrated.

    Now for the pros:

    • It's light, like super light. This makes for a great everyday carry.
    • It's small, if you have some big backpack (30+ liters) you could totally downsize to something around 20L and get by.
    • It's really sharp looking
    • I actually prefer the keyboard, it feels nice and oh yeah, force touch is a gimmick.
    • Ok, really, the pros are that it's small and light.

    Hope that helps you.

    Edit: just noticed you went to NEU, huskies represent! Also, I work right off of Alewife so Cambridge/Somerville represent too!

    5 points
    • A P, 8 years ago

      Appreciate all of the feedback. As much as I want that 12" beauty, I don't think it makes sense JUST for the lightness / portability. While it is an on-the-go machine, I will definitely end up doing some real design / dev work on it, so there's no reason to sell myself short for just a few pounds.

      Maybe someday I'll have one on my desk just to look at and touch, but for now, at the same price point, looks like the rMBP takes the ticket.

      Keep representin'

      1 point