13" or 15" macbook pro retina for travelling/video editing?

Hi! I'm planning to buy a new macbook pro retina with 16 gb ram and i7 processor. I just can't decide between the 13" or 15".

I want something portable for travelling...so I lean toward the 13", but I'm concerned the screen will be too small to comfortably edit video in Final Cut Pro and After Effects. However, most 'serious' editing will be done at home on my iMac and the macbook pro would be more for browsing, movie watching and storage when travelling and maybe a bit of basic video shortlisting.
BUT...I also feel why spend so much on a 13" when for a bit more I could have everything with a 15" (except the portability). I know the 15" is still portable but I'd be less likely to pop it in my handbag in case I come across an internet cafe.

I'd love to hear from people with experience editing video on a 13" retina display and to know if you think it's adequate.


1 Answer from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    Hi (i've only just read your post so you've probably solved your question by now, but for what it's worth...) I shoot and edit for a living and use a 2011 13" MBP (non-retina) with an i5 processor and 8GB ram. I find it fine for FCP6 and FCPX editing, and occasional Motion work. Admittedly the screen is small but full-screen playback mode is plenty big enough for the client to view.
    The 15" isn't drastically bigger so there isn't much visual benefit. The main advantage with the 15" are the beefed-up graphics options, which are only necessary if you're going to grade and add multiple effects, since it'll cut down on render times etc.

    All in all the basic 13" is a deceptively powerful little beast that'll chew through broadcast-quality, full HD for hours on end without faltering, even with a second screen attached. I can only assume the Retina versions are even faster?

    If portability is an issue: several of my clients use FCPX on a Macbook Air! and it seems to run really well as long as you don't go overboard with effects etc. it's worth a look if you know anyone who has a new Air and are happy for you to tinker with it?
    For all options you'll need external, fast storage so you don't clog your system.

    this is only my opinion, based on experience. I'm sure other people will have some valuable input too.

    • Answered by Mark L
    • Mar 21, 2014