New MacBook Pros — 15″ or 17″ ?

My current MacBook Pro (17″) has been ridden hard and put away wet. The hard disk is laboring, the screen has a bad defect, the motherboard wifi seems to have given up the ghost. And I’ve been riding up against disk limits and ram limits from the day I got it.

So thank goodness the new machines are out. Now I am trying to decide — 15 or 17″ ?? I love the 17″ screen but it is a beast to carry around and I’d like to think that I can get by with 15″ for mobile use. Especially since I can bring up the iPad next to it and use that concurrently. The key things to consider:

* Weight. The 15″ is a pound less. That is significant.
* Processors. A wash, you can get the same processors with either.
* RAM and Disk. Also a wash, same 500G drive options available either way.
* Video. Same video card, the 17″ obviously has much higher resolution
* Ports. The 17″ has a 3rd USB port (useful) and an expresscard port (yawn). The 15″ has an SD card slot (this is way better than expressport).
* Battery life. Both claim 8-9 hours.
* Price — the 15″ will be about $300 less.

All things considered, I am leaning towards the 15″. I’ll miss the bigger display surface but I honestly only really need it occasionally. I’m also thinking that for my most intensive computing work (matlab, aperture) I may want to step up to a full desktop machine anyway and so can get the big screen there.