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Dr. Shqipe

Tech Advice

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Hey everyone just wanted to see if anyone could give me some guidance on what I should do in terms of a tech upgrade since I can't really find any advice on online reviews for my type of usage for my laptop.

Essentially, I am upgrading from a 2015 macbook pro 13 inch with retina because the RAM is just not enough on it and I still have El Capitan as the OS (which I don't want to risk upgrading in case it bricks the computer). My sister will be receiving this laptop once I get my upgrade.

Since I never have any accidents with my tech, I want this upgrade to be "future-proof" the best it can given that I am ok with investing a lot of money for a device that can hopefully last me another 5 years or so. I actually bought the 2020 macbook pro 13 inch (32 GB RAM, 4 core i7 processor, 1TB storage) and for its price, I was told that I might as well throw in another 500-700 and get the 2019 16 inch (32 GB RAM, 8 core i9 processor, 1TB storage). My question more so leans on the battery consumption of a more powerful 16 inch (which also has a stronger battery), the portability, the way the laptop looks, ability to handle the work load without overheating, and future proofing. 

Just to place my usage into context, I tend to always be out of the house (under non-pandemic circumstances), going from coffee shop to coffee shop when meeting with people, or working in libraries or on campus. Also, at home, I prefer to use my laptop on my lap or while laying down rather than on a table. My usual usage comprises of microsoft office apps, web browsing a bit of coding and stats programs, and when doing research or applications, many many tabs open in Chrome. I don't engage in any video or photo editing or gaming, though I want to maybe keep some options open in case I develop any hobbies or need to use it for any job. Just for context my regular RAM usage fluctuates from 7-18 GB of RAM on a regular day, so we can expect this to rise beyond 16 GB during peak productivity.

With this in mind, anyone have any experience with the 16 inch (I heard it has amazing speakers, power capability, and the larger thinner-bezeled screen is nice to have for multitasking). Though I also want to hear out any concerns or comparisons to the 2020 13 inch when it comes to on-the-go usability (is it awkward to use in public or on your lap), the battery life (does the higher power mess up battery even though it's so large; though 10th gen processor on 13inch can also be argued as powerful), thermal control, design, etc. when keeping my usage information in mind.

Would love to read some of your thoughts and discussions.

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Do you drive? or do you mostly commute? It sounds like most of your computing needs would be perfectly satisfied by the 13-inch. The 16-inch is 4.5 pounds. It does have great battery life because it is thicker and can handle a bit more of stressful tasks without overheating, but it's still a Macbook so thermal performance is not the best. But it is heavier and if you don't drive and have to have your laptop on your person all the time, I don't know if the 16-inch will start to become a burden. You can always hook the laptop to an external monitor for more real estate when you're at home and such. And unless you plan to graphics-intensive work (like video editing, gaming...), both CPUs in the 13- and 16-inch models are perfectly capable of compiling codes and handling apps. The 16-inch will only benefit you with its external GPU if you work on tasks that require it. Overall, battery life shouldn't be an issue for either of these models.

If you do drive, however, then I think it will be up to your personal preference.

Keep in mind, however, that Apple is transitioning away from Intel processors and toward using their own in-house chips (the same thing they're doing with iPhones and iPads), which promises even higher performance:power consumption ratio and efficiency, and the first models (highly probably a Macbook Air or Pro 13 because these don't require external GPU compatibility) would be rolling out as end of 2020 and early 2021! I know you would want to future-proof your laptops given the huge investment they necessitate but just know that either of these Intel-based model will likely become "outdated" (not in an unusable way or anything, but Apple chips will have vastly more capability if their work with the iPad Pro was anything to go by) in a year or two once they've completely transitioned away from Intel.

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I bought the 16in MacBook Pro earlier this year to replace my 2015 13in MacBook Pro and I would highly recommend it. When it comes to normal usage though, for the tasks you mentioned, there will be little to no difference in computing speed and overall efficiency unless you start doing very intensive tasks. I'll list out some of the pros and cons.

Pros

- Larger screen: I can't stress enough how big of a difference this makes especially if you like using split screen to make notes. My eyes are a LOT happier now that I don't have to squint or resize to read small text when split screening on the 13 in. The extra three inches also makes watching movies or YouTube much better.

- Battery life/overheating: the 16in has a more powerful battery but the extra screen also uses more energy. I'm not sure how they would compare but in my experience I can use my 16in all day without charging unless I stream videos all day. Also, if you're running programs that cause your laptop to overheat, the 16 in has a much better airflow system - I can literally feel the air getting pulled into and out of the laptop when the fan gets going. Protip - chrome is great but drains your battery much more quickly than safari.

- Speakers: Epic. Literally the best speakers you could every find in a laptop that fully immerses you in sound with just the right balance of highs, mids, and lows. I have a speaker system and honestly the 16in can hold its own.

 

Cons

- Larger and heavier - I didn't find it to be a huge difference but it could drag on your shoulders a bit more if you're always on the go and moving from place to place. When using it, it'll obviously take up a bit more space but it has fit on every lecture hall seat table I've used and it feels fine on my lap even for long periods of time.

-  More expensive

 

Design - I don't think you can really go wrong with either 13 or 16in. Both will look great.

 

Overall I think the 16in is an amazing computer and I would highly recommend it. If your budget is tight though, the 13 in will definitely meet all your computing needs.

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