I would go with the higher rez screen. More room the better, plus the pixels will be smaller so the screen will be sharper. A good way to see the difference in a store is to look at the 13" MacBook Pro at 1280x800 and compare it to the MacBook Air 13" at 1440x 900.
I don't mind the 1280/800 screen on my MBP when I'm sitting on the deck reading email and surfing but its way to small to work with which is why I have a 24" monitor on my desk that I dock to. I couldn't imagine doing 'real' work on any laptop screen now that I've lived with 24" monitors for the last few years at work and at home to dock my laptops to.
I guess I'm saying maybe consider the stock resolution and look at adding a decent external monitor rather then paying extra for a few more pixels that you'll still find too small.
When I ordered my 15" MBP I got the 1680x1050 matte option and I'm very happy that I did. For one, I was coming from a 20" iMac with the same resolution and I couldn't bear the thought of losing screen real estate. There's the added bonus that I am able to go full screen when screen sharing said iMac without down-rezzing the display.
Also, although the matte display is not as vivid as the glossy display on my wife's MBP I am able to use it in a wider variety of lighting conditions. Definitely worth the extra money for me.
I would definitely go with the hi-rez. I've used my cousin's machine, which is identical to mine except for the screen, and there is a noticeable difference. Especially when multitasking, or using video/audio/photo editing software.
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