MacBook vs. MacBook Pro

I generally buy one computer a year. I got my 17″ PowerBook back in April 2004 and my Quad in October 20051. This year I plan to get a laptop, and there is no doubt it will either be a MacBook (MB) or a MacBook Pro (MBP).

The ability of either machine to run Mac OS X and Windows will accomplish one very nice feat – I won’t have to travel with two laptops when I do consulting work. In fact, I hope this machine will functionally replace both my 17″ PowerBook and my 12″ Dell, becoming my main/only portable while I continue to use the Quad as my main development machine.

As I plan to have this be my road warrior machine, and I’ve had numerous issues with the bulk of my 17″ PowerBook on airplanes, I’m only considering the 15″ MBP at this time.

The main differences between the MB and the 15″ MBP for my consideration are as follows:

  1. Battery life – the reports I hear are that the MBP has decent battery life, but nothing great. I’m hoping that the MB will have improved battery life, if only because of the smaller screen.
  2. Hard drive speed – the MB doesn’t seem to have a 7200rpm drive option like the MBP. A fast drive is a must for any real development on a laptop.
  3. Screen/pixel size – remember, pixel size matters. The MBP has a 15.4″ 1440 by 900 screen (110.25 pixels / diagonal inch) while the MB packs 1280 x 800 into a 13.3″ screen (113.5 pixels / diagonal inch). It will be easier to read and work on the MBP.
  4. Size and weight – Though the MB is 2 diagonal inches shorter in the screen2, it isn’t that much :scare: smaller :/scare: in other areas. The weight descrepancy is only .4 pounds and the MB is thicker by .08 inches.
  5. Ability to drive a 30″ display – the MBP can, the MB can’t.
  6. Price – a $1000 difference when each has 2 GB of RAM and a 100GB HD.

I’m thinking that the MB is probably the right machine to buy now – to replace the PowerBook and Dell as my travel machine and primary mobile kit. Then next year, when the MBP has had another full rev and a nice speed bump, I can pick one up to use as my main development machine.

It’s always fun to think about buying new toys. :)

Side note: I find it interesting that “black” is a $150 feature on the MacBooks.

  1. I’d wanted to order back in July, but waited for the rumored faster boxes. [back]
  2. The bezel is fatter on the MB for example. [back]