Macbook or Macbook Pro?

Which laptop is Scrivener better run on?

  • Macbook
  • Macbook Pro
  • Either - it doesn’t matter that much

0 voters

I’m thinking of getting a laptop soon (when Leopard comes out), and I was wondering which model Scrivener users prefer.

I’ll probably be using it for the standard things: writing, photos, some simple audio and video editing (not pro) – nothing which would require the Macbook Pro.

My main concern is screen real estate. Is Scrivener easier to use with the slightly larger screen of the Macbook Pro or is the Macbook’s screen size perfectly acceptable?

Any advice you may have would be welcome. Thanks.

Scrivener will run happily on either, and was originally designed on an iBook 12", so screen real estate isn’t a big deal (although more space is always nice, of course).

That said, I am a little biased towards the Pro model, simply because I bought a MacBook when they first came out last year and had no end of problems with it. My MBPro - which I’ve bought to replace the MacBook, which I really must get around to eBaying - on the other hand, is lovely and sleek and makes me happy just to look at it. Of course, my MBPro is second-gen, whereas my MacBook was first-gen, so the MacBooks are probably absolutely fine now. I was just unlucky enough to suffer the discolouration issue (even after three repairs) and the random shutdown issue (and a dodgy hard drive that had to be replaced, too). Well, I’ve moaned plenty about that on my blog… But basically, Scrivener doesn’t consume large amounts of processing power or anything, so either will be fine. :slight_smile:


I have a first-gen MacBook and love its portability factor, to me its the perfect size for that. However, there are times when I wish it had a bit more screen real estate - as in the MBP.

To me though the extra price of the MBP doesn’t reflect the added benefits - bigger screen, dedicated graphics card (I’ve been surprisingly happy with the integrated graphics in the MB), backlit keyboard (I have a USB LED light that works fine) and an express card slot.

I think dagaz has put the choice very well.

I recently bought a MacBook. Whilst I wouldn’t want to live in it for all computing purposes all the time, it’s a great writing machine and Scrivener box. Unless you’re someone who needs to keep multiple windows open at once, or will have to sit in front of it for many hours a day, the extra cost of an MBP would be hard to justify, in my view.

I’ve had a MacBook for 9 months, after using a 15’ PowerBook for three years. I can’t say I’ve missed the extra screen real estate, and the MacBook is blindingly fast, even though mine’s the original CoreDuo. You can’t go wrong. I plan to hand my MacBook off soon to one of my college-student sons, but I’m waiting for the next generation of laptops. I suspect that the next MacBook is going to be much more capable in its video capacity.

Hey, if you do eBay it, let me know when you put it up! Being a has-been Apple technician, I often enjoy buying old trouble computers and trying to see how much worse I can make them while trying to fix them.

Of course, it would all depend on how much you ask for it… :slight_smile:

I’ll hold on to my trusty iBook G4 until Apple actually releases the kind of subnotebook that some rumors report …

I am currently running Scr. (and everything else!) on an iBook, 12", 1.25 mhz. I will upgrade eventually, but since I love my iBook, I’m in no rush. I never feel cramped in Scr. When I plug in my 17" external monitor it feels like I am running around on a football field! But when I’m back on my little 12" monitor I really don’t notice any difficulties. I wrote the last third of my dissertation that way and many other Scr. projects without any issue at all.

HOpe that helps.

Having used both a 12" PB and now a 15" MBP for some time, I strongly suggest going for the larger screen real estate if you’ll be spending much time writing.

Either machine will be a blast to use.

Good luck.


For about 5 years I used a Rev 1 Titanium PowerBook 400Mhz, which I replaced with a 17" MacBook Pro last autumn … sadly I bought it shortly before the CoreDuo 2 version came out, but that’s life.

Although I never used Scrivener on the PowerBook, I bought the MBP because I was finding that newer apps needed much more screen space than it had … 1152 x 768. I really love the space this MBP gives me, and feel the extra money was worth it though I don’t need it all for Scrivener itself. I think I would find the MacBook screen a bit cramped after using this one, but I have a friend who is trying out Scrivener on a MacBook and who is perfectly happy with it.


I run everything on a 12" PowerBook G4 - bought a week after the 1st gen MacBooks were announced. The reason I didn’t go with a macbook is that they were only available in the 15" size, and I’d gotten to like the small, light form factor from using a 12" iBook. The screen space has never been an issue, and I don’t even feel the need to plug in my 17" monitor most of the time.

Thanks for the advice, all. I’ll be facing this dilemma after Leopard and iLife 07 come out, because a friend wants to buy my 15" 2005 PowerBook, which I happily use for all my work – so much so that I sold my external monitor.

I really don’t need any of the MacBook Pro-only features, so I’m hoping a MacBook will be sufficient for me. I sure wouldn’t mind slightly less bulk (and a bit more sturdiness) when I’m on the road. But I worry about staring at a slightly smaller screen all day, and I don’t want to go back to an external display. Mostly I need to be able to read two docs side by side on the screen without eyestrain. Thus far using big font sizes has proved sufficient with my PB; I hope it’ll work with the MacBook. Or maybe that 15" MacBook rumor (which sounds dubious to me) will prove out after all…

Hi Brett,

What is the 15" Macbook rumor? I may be looking at one myself.


Personally, I don’t believe it – why would Apple undermine its MBP sales with a same-size MacBook? I don’t have time to look up the exact cite, but a month or two ago, a couple of Mac news sites wrote that one of Apple’s manufacturers said they’d gotten a contract to build a 15" MacBook. But those kinds of rumors have been wrong as often as they’re right. So I wouldn’t plan around it. Even if one did come out, I’d have to, er, weigh the issue of portability vs. screen size. If 13" will work for extended daily use, I’d prefer the lower cost and easier carryability.

Thanks, Brett. I agree about the 13" MB. That is likely what I’ll go for. I’m going to try them all out first. After my 12" screen, 13.3" will probably seem huge! :slight_smile:

The day after I wrote that the electronics store in town had a sale on a 19" monitor for only $99. It is just huge and definitely a lot less of an eye strain. Even after only a couple of days I don’t know how I got on so long without it. Today (going off to work) will be the first time I’ve used the built-in screen on the MacBook since I bought the monitor.

That’s one of the reasons I went for the 17" MBP. Yes it weighs more in my backpack, but my wife having bought a MacBook, I knew I was going to need a second monitor if I got one of those. I thought hard about it … but decided that all-in-all I would get on best with the built in big screen; I have my big screen with me wherever I go.
Even though it has a resolution of 1680 x 1050, I find I am now running Scrivener filling the whole screen: narrowish binder on the left; translation being edited in left-hand vertical split a full page-width; the original text at its full width in the right-hand split, and the inspector filling the rest … about half a page in width. Great workspace.


You can never have too much screen real estate. You don’t realize how cramped a small screen is until you experience a large one. Jumping up to my iMac’s 24" screen completely changed the way I use my computer.

However, I wouldn’t recommend a MacBook Pro for anyone who plans to use it on airplanes. A MacBook is about the biggest screen that will fit on an economy class tray table. If that’s a consideration for you, go with the MacBook and spend the money you save to get a big monitor for your desk.

(Those of you who always fly first class can ignore the above, but please don’t tell us about it.)


Thanks for the recommendations. I just don’t know about about getting an external display, even though I stare at the screen for 8 hours a day. I work in a recliner (easier on my back and neck) with the PowerBook on a lap desk. The screen’s close enough to my eyes that it feels large enough. If I used an external display, I’d have to put it on a tray table and that just sounds like too much hassle, what with cables etc. When I switched from a 12" PB + 17" monitor to a 15" PowerBook, I didn’t feel cramped. As long as it’s a widescreen ratio (which the 12" PB wasn’t), I can have my two scrivener windows and the binder all side by side with adequate space. So the question for me is whether the MacBook can serve as a desktop replacement for a Scrivener user. Since the 15" PB works, I’m hoping the MacBook will too.

Just a bit of nostalgia…The computer I wrote my first book on (Mac LC) had a 512x384 screen. Compared to that, my 12" iBook looks huge.