2019 - 2020 New Macbook Pro 16"

Hello Forum Members. I’m looking at replacing my 2011 15" Mac Book Pro with a new model and being Blocs is a Mac only program I thought I’d ask for some advice.

I’m having a hard time deciding on which size I should buy. I like the lager 15" for the screen resolution but I’ve purchased two 13" Mac Book Pro for granddaughters going to college (yes they have a better computer than me) and I really like the small foot print.

I will be using this for everything, including photography. Just wondering what some of you would recommend and if anyone has gone from 15" down to 13"?


15" every time for me, especially for photography work.


Casey, I had a 13" MacBook and really hated it because of the screen size. I eventually traded up to a MacBook Pro 15" (i5 2011) and was very happy with that, but now I have a MacBook Pro 15" (early 2013) and I absolutely love it. It has a retina screen so I can use it as intended ( 1440x900 ) or go for the panel resolution ( 2880 x 1200 ) if I need a “large” screen. My MacBook pro also has an i7 and an SSD, so it’s easily the fastest machine I’ve ever owned.

I would never go for a small screen for any form of development.



Hello @casey1823,

I did a little comparison of the two models about a year ago, maybe it will help you decide.



Thanks, nice comparison. I’ll probably stay with the 15". I think I’d regret the smaller size in the end.


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Thanks Pauland, I appreciate your take on the two. Do you find the text two small using the 2800 x 1200 mode?


Definitely, but… there are times when I’m really grateful that it’s an option. I make IOS apps and the simulator needs quite a lot of real-estate when trying to pretend to be a big iPad.

[ edit: I can also say that I have a customer that requires interactive software that works on very large screens - something like 5K pixels wide - that are wall projections. If I use the standard resolution on my screen (with the design scaled) the result looks like a thin strip and everything is tiny. With the Retina large display I get an idea of how the interaction will work on a wall. Even then we sometimes take a few tries. Before I switched to Apple I used to have a 17" windows laptop! ]

Most of the time I use the “normal” setting, but I have five settings to choose from. I think there are also software plugins that can arbitrarily size the screen - haven’t seen the need to investigate those options. The Retina screen is a big step up from my earlier macBook Pro that didn’t have one.

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Thanks Pauland.


Casey I was intrigued after answering your question because I had always thought that at 1440x900 my display was using four real pixels for every virtual pixel ( why do that? because text can be rendered using all four pixels and images can be presented at a higher resolution too ). On my display adjustment panel it says that my screen looks like “2880x1200” at the highest resolution but the display info for my panel says it’s resolution is “2880x1800”, so I reckon the display info is wrong for the scaling display.

Now and again I look at websites and see blurred images and it’s because with the higher resolution the images look worse if they don’t have enough pixels for the are that they offer.

Text is much crisper with the Retina screen.

I’ve thought about your response also. One would think that my current display running at 1440 x 900, so how does the Retina display improve on that. Is it pixels per inch or some other reason. My iPad has Retina so I know there’s a big difference.

I also notice some websites that have blurry images/graphics. I don’t alway use 1x, 2x, and 3x but am aware of using a higher resolution files, I also take in effect the file size. I point this out to my clients as I try to aways show crisp graphics.


I think the real question is how you plan on using the computer. My daughter picked up a 13" MBP last year, but she went for a top spec i7 3.5GHZ with a 500gig SSD drive and 16 gigs or ram. The key point is that most of the time it’s plugged into a 27" 4K display, but if she needs to take it somewhere it’s really portable and the size is fine for web browsing or email.

For actual development work, I wouldn’t really want to work on any display under 23" and when Norm’s new preview app comes along I may even bring in a second display for working in Blocs. At the moment I’m still working with an 8 Core Mac Pro tower, that is aged but still significantly faster than the MBP in Photoshop etc.

I’ve run Blocs quite happily on a 2007 iMac, so Blocs is very accommodating in terms of not needing terrific horse power to get things done. Compare that to Rapidweaver, which is the only app on my computer capable of provoking spinning ball on a regular basis.

On a different note, I’d be interested to hear from others how you find Apple laptops for general usage and especially for processor intensive work? When my daughter’s MBP arrived I ran a couple tests in Handbrake etc and the speed was generally good, but the fans kicked in immediately, which made me wonder if they are really built for intensive work.

There is a bug in Webkit browsers that renders retina resolution images rather blurry on non retina displays and I use a bit of CSS to fix that. The problem of standard res images looking soft on retina displays is fairly predictable and I try to ensure that images are at least 2x resolution to cater for that.


Effectively (on my display anyway) four real pixels are being used for every virtual pixel in the 1440x900. The text rendering is aware of the real resolution and will use the extra resolution afforded by having 4x the number of pixels when rendering text within the 1440x900 page. This makes text sharper.

If you have a web page with (say) a graphic sized in the page at 100x100 pixels, it actually occupies 200x200 pixels on the hardware. The browser will stretch the image across those real pixels. So, if you supply a 100x100 pixel graphic it will be stretched one graphic pixel across every 2x2 block. If your web designer has provided a larger image for the page than 100x100 pixels it too will be stretched across that 200x200 area. If the graphic image was actually 200x200 itw would be as crisp as possible using the full resolution even though as far as the web page is concerned it’s only showing a 100x100 image. On a non-retina screen the 200x200 image is downscaled to fit, losing resolution. If an image named with a @2x suffix is available, that is chosen for display on a retina screen rather than the standard resolution graphic.

So web pages look crisper on a retina screen because the text is drawn with higher resolution and images are rendered with greater resolution if the source image has enough resolution.

I know it takes some thinking about. Google Retina Display.

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On curiosity is that retina images can be compressed far more aggressively and still look sharp, so it’s actually possible to have retina images with increased sharpness and smaller file sizes than standard res images.

I have only used Apple macbooks for several years now and before that I used windows notebooks, so I’m not really bothered about performance graphs or anything else. They do everything I need them to do. Mostly the fan doesn’t spin.

I’m not doing heavy image analysis, transformation, or continual 3D rendering. If I was I’d have a desktop probably.

Most laptops are overpowered these days for what people use them for.

That doesn’t make sense to me. Why would that be? There’s nothing special about retina images.

I know it’s weird, but I’ve put it to the test many times, largely because I didn’t believe it myself at first.

If you were saving for web in Photoshop you might typically save a standard res image at around 70 for quality, depending on the image. Any lower will start to look mushy in some cases.

You could take the same image at retina size and still achieve better visual quality, despite dropping the quality down to around 40 or less and that generally results in a lower file size than the smaller dimensioned standard res file. In short, a retina sized image will still look good on retina displays, despite aggressive compression.

All the Retina models are great but remember one huge thing.

YOU CAN"T UPGRADE RAM!!! Its soldered in. So spend the extra bucks for 16gb. The SSD can be upgraded. They are expensive but time will change that.

I have an i7 16gb 1TB (2015). I am not really a fan of the new ones because I hate carrying dongles. USB-C or no USB-C. I also hate the lost of the Mag Safe.

Thats my 2 cents.

It’s sad that Apple taps the ram at 16 gigs. Thats a good amount but some could use more.


@pauland and @Flashman Here’s a test page I set up with four images at different sizes and compressed at different levels. http://hicontentdesign.com/test.html


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