This subject has been beaten to death in the various Mac-specific forums, but I wanted to get the input of other Max users rather than the general computing population.
I'm currently debating between the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro for Max/MSP/Jitter, Finale and various other standard tools of the soon-to-be composition graduate student, and wanted to hear peoples experience with the two sizes.
I'll be getting a large-ish LCD for when I'm at home, but having had two 19" CRT screens for so long, I'm now very used to having two primary windows going at any one time. As my girlfriend has recently started calling me, I'm a Screensize Queen (note: I am male).
Now, for at least the next academic year, I'll primarily be keeping the laptop at home for work, and porting it around maybe once or twice a week on average; more when I'm getting ready for a live performance. I live near school, to where the system would most often be moved. I'm not a heavy traveler, so I'm not terribly concerned with space on planes and trains, but I'd like to be able to use it wherever possible.
So, I'm caught between the added portability of the 15" versus the awesomeness of the 17" display. Since I'll be using the laptop's display to dual-screen at home, more screen real estate is useful even with an external display. My concern is mostly the added weight and size of the 17", and whether I can deal with it during those times I'm out and about with it. Using both in store, the 17" seemed to make more sense in terms of maintaining my current workflow, but it sure felt heavier and bulkier than the 15" - there's only 1.5 pounds difference between the two, but for some reason it feels like much more. Neither have spent time in my backpack, so I'm not sure how comfortable I'd feel with either in terms of moving it around.
There's also the factor of the two extra speakers in the 17", which would be great to have when I don't have access to external loudspeakers for rehearsals.
My practical side is saying "Get the 15," but my functional, screen space needing side is saying the opposite. I want to reconcile them, but they don't get along. Perhaps some alcohol would help smooth things out, but then they'd both just start crying over having to spend this much money in the first place.
So, please share your thoughts, if you can.