With the release of the 2011 MacBook Pro models last week, it can be awfully tempting to pick one up, but which is going to be right for you?

It can be a difficult decision buying a computer on any given day, but when you’re discussing Apple computers and their considerable up front cost, it can be an even more gut wrenching decision.  While Windows-based machines have dropped to prices where you don’t even have to really think twice, with any of the Apple computers you need to think not just about your needs today, but also what you think you may need a couple of years from now because these systems are known for their longevity.

We’ve compiled a chart of the five available models of the MacBook Pros that were released last week, and put them side-by-side to ease your pain a little bit.  (Click on the image to open it in a new tab and see a much larger version)


From a personal level, I really think the decision here comes down to what size screen you want, especially when you get to the high-end 15-inch model vs. the 17-inch model.  When you look at the $2199 15-inch, you see that it is actually 15.4-inches, so is it worth another $300 for what amounts to an extra 1.6-inches of screen?  Yes, if you’re a video or graphics-centric user, I can totally see the larger model being what you need, but if you’re a college student, a professional, a blogger or just about anything else, save yourself the $300 is my thinking.

If you’re looking to get your first Mac, the low-end 13-inch model at $1199 is not a bad deal.  Initially I would have been scared off by the screen size as I’m used to 15.4-inch Windows laptop screens, but having used a 13-inch MacBook Air for going on two months now, you really do grow accustomed to the screen size, and it’s a lot more spacious than you would think.  However, I would highly recommend spending the extra $300 and going for the higher-end 13-inch model as you get a better processor and an extra 180 GBs of hard drive space, making it completely worth the extra cash.  While we may say it’s not worth it for extra screen space, it is definitely worth it when you are talking extra power and storage.

Overall, I think the 15-inch models are where everyone should be looking.  Yes, if you’re on a budget than the 13-inch models are where you need to be, but if you can afford it, or can pay over time, than 15-inch models offer you the most balanced systems.  You get screen size, the Intel Core i7 chips, better graphics support and more.  The 17-inch are nice, but they’re behemoths, and really not worth the extra money.

What do you think?  What MacBook Pro 2011 do you think is the best choice?