Portability over power

13-inch MacBook Pro (Touch Bar) (2019)

Biggest display possible

15-inch MacBook Pro (Touch Bar) (2019)

For most folks, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the one to buy. It's more portable and less expensive than its big brother but still packs a punch. After all, it's still a MacBook Pro!

from $1,799 at Apple

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • More portable thanks to size and weight

Cons

  • More limited storage choices
  • RAM max is 16GB

Serious photographers, videographers, and those who simply want the largest display available on their MacBook Pro will want this one. Just expect to spend lots of cash -- especially if you upgrade key internals.

from $2,399 at Apple

Pros

  • Graphics-intensive
  • Maximum RAM available for a MBP

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Less portable

The display size isn't the only thing that's different between these two MacBook Pro models. For many, however, it might be the most important reason for choosing one model over another.

Break it down now...

Before making a purchase, you should see the MacBook Pro models side-by-side and decide whether you really need the larger display found on the 15-inch model. You'll also need to determine how you're going to use your laptop regularly. Are you mostly a web-surfer who plans on using the device for writing and spreadsheet work, or are you more of the creative type who plans on using the laptop for graphics-intensive jobs? Do you plan on attaching external displays to your laptop? If so, how many?

13-inch MacBook Pro (2019) 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
Starting price $1,799 $2,399
Display 13.3-inch Retina Display with True Tone 15.4-inch Retina Display with True Tone
PPI 227 220
Processor 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5; upgradable to 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor; upgradable to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 8GB, 16GB 16GB, 32GB
Storage 256GB SSD (up to 2TB SSD) 256GB SSD (up to 4TB SSD)
Ports Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
Battery life Approx. 10 hours Approx. 10 hours
Weight 3.02 pounds 4.02 pounds

Ultimately, we believe the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best choice for most people. It offers a smaller footprint and weighs less, making it ideal for those who value portability. Plus, even its entry-level internals will get everyday computing jobs done without a hiccup. If you do a lot of photo-editing and video work and need the speediest MBP currently on the market, the larger model is your choice. It's the one that offers more or better options when it comes to RAM, processor speed, storage, and graphics card.

You can purchase up to 32GB in RAM on the bigger model, versus the maximum of 16GB on the smaller unit. The more memory your Mac has, the more apps you can run at the same time, and the better they will perform. When it comes to processors, the 15-inch model is upgradeable to a blazing-fast 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, compared to the 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 on the 13-inch model. Storage maxes out at 4GB on the 15-inch model and 2GB on the 13-inch model.

Creators take note the 15-inch model comes standard with an AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics processor and is upgradeable to the Radeon Pro 560X for even better performance. Both GPUs are paired with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory to meet the demands of graphics-intensive tasks in apps like Maya and Final Cut Pro X. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is only available with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 processor, which is excellent for everyday tasks, but less so when you need to use graphics-based apps more often.

It's also worth noting the MacBook Pro can support up to one 5120x2880 (5K) display for the 13-inch model, and up to two 5120x2880 (5K) displays for the 15-inch model. The 13-inch model can also support two 4096x2304 displays simultaneously, while the 15-inch model can do up to four 4096x2304 displays at once.

For nearly everyone

13-inch MacBook (Touch Bar) (2019)

A beautifully designed laptop at the perfect size for most users

If you value portability over power, are fine with fewer processor cores and lower-end memory and graphics options, and otherwise want a pro without paying top dollar for it, get a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The workhorse

15-inch MacBook Pro (Touch Bar) (2019)

When it's time to go big, you can't do any better than this MacBook Pro model

If you want power, the most significant display possible, the ability to drive ridiculous amounts of external displays, and options for the most memory, processor cores, and graphics chips available, you want the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

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