"This Best Selling Apple MacBook MB466LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
Machined from a solid piece of aluminum, the new MacBook is thinner, lighter, and more powerful than ever. The streamlined enclosure slides easily into backpacks and briefcases and is stunning in any setting. NVIDIA delivers discrete-level graphics with up to five times the performance,1 so you can immerse yourself in faster, smoother, more lifelike 3D gameplay. The brilliant, ultrathin LED-backlit display provides instant full screen brightness and enhances any media viewing experience. Click anywhere on the all-new glass Multi-Touch trackpad—the spacious, smooth surface doubles as the button. Multi-Touch gestures now come to the MacBook, so you can use your fingers to swipe through photos, rotate an image, and pinch to zoom in and out. With the new four-finger swipe gesture, access Exposé modes and toggle between open applications. And MacBook is greener than ever: It’s highly recyclable and more energy efficient. At just 0.95 inch thin and 4.5 pounds,2 MacBook is truly the next generation of notebooks. 1Testing conducted by Apple in October 2008 using preproduction 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo–based MacBook units with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M. MacBook systems with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and Intel GMA X3100 were shipping units. MacBook continuously monitors system thermal and power conditions, and may adjust processor speed as needed to maintain optimal system operation. 2Actual weight varies by configuration and manufacturing process. 31GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
It’s simply beautiful. I know it sounds like I drank the apple-flavored Kool-Aid, but the Macbook really is a marvel of elegant form and function. It feels solid and substantial, without being bulky and heavy. the aluminum design is a work of art, and I really appreciate all of the eco-friendly choices that were made regarding the components.
The LED screen is brighter and clearer than my old laptop’s LCD screen. Looking at them side by side, the difference is amazing (and my old laptop was marketed as a portable entertainment PC, with an upgraded screen). I don’t know what kind of LCD screens some of the other users have, but the Macbook screen is far superior to any notebook screen I’ve ever seen.
The back-lit keyboard is great – no more keyboard light needed. The keys have a solid feel to them, they’re not mushy or noisy like some keyboards can be, they’re just right, and the key layout is just like a full-size keyboard – no more hunting to figure out where the heck the backslash key is hidden or hitting the wrong key because your pinky slipped off of an undersized shift key.
I’ll admit that I couldn’t figure out the trackpad at first, but I felt like a dork once I realized how simple it is. I did change the settings so that I can tap to click in addition to pressing down on the trackpad (since that’s what I’m used to). It’s just incredibly easy once you get going. Swipe two fingers down the pad to scroll, swipe four for expose, tap with two fingers for secondary-click… it does more straight out of the box than my old highly-programed touch-pad. And after about an hour, the gestures become second-nature.
As far as the built-in speakers go, they’re nicer than I expected, especially since I can’t figure out how the heck they fit any speakers into such a tiny case. Seriously, it’s like the whole case is the speaker. As I type this review, I’m listening to the album Paradise Lost by Symphony X and It sounds pretty good to me. of course, it sounds even better played through my Klipsch Room Groove, but um.. hey… they’re integrated laptop speakers – though they are very nice ones.
There are only two USB ports, but since the keyboard and trackpad are so functional, you won’t need external input devices (though a number pad is a must for me when doing a lot of data-entry). I only use USB for external storage and synching my iPod, so it’s not a problem for me (my iPod touch has a program that lets it act like a number pad when I need one). If I ever need more devices at once, I’ll get a USB hub.
Now, it’s confession time: As a Windows-centric IT Professional, I never liked Apple much, and I spent many years making fun of Mac and Mac users. When OS X came out, I couldn’t justify further ridicule, so I just ignored Mac whenever the subject came up. After using Leopard for a short time, I can tell you that I don’t have the appetite to eat the big heaping serving of humble pie that I’m owed. Leopard is slick and smooth and oh so fast. I’m truly enamored with iLife and iWork, and Time Machine is just about perfect (better than shadow copies, for the Windows guys and gals). It’s packed with a lot of little things (like Spotlight and Preview) that are unobtrusive and helpful, which is a vast improvement over Vista’s annoying and unhelpful features.
So, now I’m a happy convert. I still have two programs that are Windows-only (until I find replacements), and I still go back to my old (1 year old) laptop occasionally (for just the two, I don’t want to bother with Boot Camp or Parallels). I hate going back to Vista after using my Macbook. Even though that laptop technically has higher RAM and processor specs than the Macbook, it’s slow and clunky in comparison. I always sigh in relief when I can put it away again.
Bottom line: I love my Macbook and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make the switch. If you’re worried about switching to Mac, visit an Apple Store – even if you have to make a day trip to get there, it will be worth it. Spend a little hands on time with the Macbook, and check out all the free classes the store offers. If you buy from the store, they will move your files from your old PC for you (for free). If all of that doesn’t convince you, then come see me, and I’ll offer you a tall, refreshing glass of Apple-flavored Kool-Aid.
The product physically is very sturdy, thanks to the unibody construction. Normally the chassis would normally consist of various small parts. So instead of taking a small piece of aluminum and adding more aluminum, Apple has taking a big piece of aluminum and subtracted from it. Thus creating a sturdy, yet light laptop. I have heard that the aluminum interferes with internet connectivity issues. I do have to say, unfortunately, it is true. I put the Macbook and my old PC laptop side by side, and the PC was able to pick up better frequency and more networks.
Now for the multi-touch trackpad. It is made from glass, but it feels like there is a covering on it that doesn’t nearly have the friction of glass. Clicking and moving the cursor is very easy and enjoyable, with the very large surface. Right-clicking can be done with by clicking with two fingers or by clicking one of the bottom corners after being manually set. It should also be noted that only the bottom 3/4 of the trackpad is clickable.
The multi-touch gestures are fun to use, but are truly unneeded gimmicks that could be done easier with a click.
I’ll just go through the gestures now.
There are 2 finger gestures:
The first is scrolling with using two fingers by swiping your fingers vertically or horizontally depending on the page.
Secondly you can rotate a picture using two fingers apart and rotating.
The third gesture is holding the control button and scrolling vertically to zoom in on a page.
And there is one 3-finger gesture:
Swipe with three fingers to navigate. You can do this to go forward or back on a page, or changing a picture.
Lastly there are 4-finger gestures:
Swiping vertically upwards allows you to clear everything off your desktop.
Swiping vertically down launches Expose.
Swiping horizontally in any direction lets you change and view your running applications, which can also be done with command+tab.
On the bottom of the MacBook there is a panel that allows for easy access to your battery and hard drive. This will be handy to many people.
The keyboard is just like the Air, with the spaces between the keys. This creates a very nice typing experience, and are backlit if you purchase the 2.4GHz model.
A major letdown by Apple is the omission of a FireWire port. This is very disappointing to many people, but doesn’t affect me at all. Nowadays the average users don’t use FireWire too much. Although I do see this as a major problem for professional applications.
There is also a battery life indicator on the side of the base that glows green to show the rounded percentage of your battery.
Software and Performance
Of course the MacBook has the great Mac OS X Leopard software.
It is very fast, and has good security.
The battery life is advertised to have 5 hours of battery life, but Apple obviously means not being connected to the Internet, and having no applications running. You’ll probably get about 4 and a half hours with Safari and other apps running. Unless you have a lot of apps on like me, then you’ll maybe have 3 and a half to 4 hours.
With the NVidia graphics card, the screen looks pretty good, as do games. I do have to admit, though, the new MacBook Pro screen looks better, especially with blacks. Still, games really pop on the gorgeous glossy screen, unless you are in a bright area. The glossy screen of course attracts bad glares and many noticeable fingerprints. Still, if you are indoors or someplace with low light, the glossy screen is perfect. I mostly use it inside, so I wouldn’t trade the beautiful glossy screen. Although for those coffee-shop typing folks, this could be a deal-breaker.
Other than these things, Mac OS X is the same, really.
If you have purchased a MacBook anytime soon, then I would not suggest you purchase this one. Most of the differences are the physical attributes, and the software is pretty much the same.
If you are new to Macs like me, then I would DEFINITELY suggest this phenomenal notebook computer. Of course it does have it’s faults, truly I have never used such a simple, enjoyable computer.
My first college laptop was a Dell Latitude D610. It was a fantastic machine for its price, doing everything I needed it to do. But recently I heard that PC laptops are only expected to last around 4 years before giving out, so I decided to take advantage of my school’s discount program and buy a new laptop before I graduated. A tech supervisor I talked to sold me on the superior quality and durability of the Macbook, and when I saw the new line of Aluminum Macbooks on the Apple site I decided after a lot of research and thought to go for it. It arrived December 1 and I’ve been using it ever since.
All I can say is that switching from PC to Mac has been a revelation. The new Macbook is the most impressive laptop I have ever seen. It is supremely easy to use, with a much more attractive, centralized software handling experience than Windows. Below I give a brief summary of how my computing experience has changed for the better since making the switch to Mac.
-Portability: my Dell laptop was portable, but it was also bulky, heavy, and seemed fragile when I carried it in one hand. The new Macbook is slim, light and incredibly sturdy. For the first time I feel comfortable with taking my laptop everywhere, from taking notes in class to working on a paper at the library or dining hall. I bought a Kensington Contour Cargo Notebook Messenger to carry it in and it has enough space for everything I need to carry during my school day, including my laptop. I now have the complete portable college computing experience.
-Speed: I didn’t take my Dell laptop out of my room very often because it was very slow to ‘wake up’ from sleep mode. The new Macbook both sleeps and wakes on the drop of a dime, making it a true notebook, i.e. a machine that you can jot something down on whenever you feel the need. That combined with its portability makes it the perfect mobile computing platform.
-Operating System: the Mac OS X Version 10.5.4 Leopardis a much, more more attractive, efficient operating system than Windows. The user interface is more intuitive, more customizable and more centralized. Even though I’ve used Windows all my life (I can remember all the way back to Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000 and XP) I already much prefer the Dock to the Start icon, the Finder to Windows Explorer and the automatic appearance of peripherals on the Desktop instead of the bubble ‘New Hardware Found’ option in Windows. Everything about the Mac OS X just works better. And now that the Mac is becoming increasingly compatible with Windows suites such as Office and Adobe, there’s no excuse to hold on to Windows.
-Trackpad: I don’t own an iPhone or iPod touch, so I only just discovered the magic of multi-finger gestures with the new Macbook’s trackpad, and I am hooked. I just love the two-finger scroll option, and the four-finger Eclipse function is something from the future. I use it all the time when working on a paper and I need to quickly look up an article or dictionary online, while at the same time checking my email or playing albums on Youtube or iTunes. I don’t use a conventional mouse anymore, except for playing RPGs. Trust me. The new trackpad is just that awesome.
-Screen: my Dell had a matte screen with good resolution for what it had to do. But the new Macbook glossy screen is absolutely gorgeous for watching movies or any other multi-media function. The picture is brighter, sharper and clearer. Users perhaps have a point that the viewing angle is small, but the only problem I’ve had when watching movies or using other applications is when I put my face down on the desk as I’m working, and I doubt many people use a laptop from that position. The picture is sharp and clear even from ‘over-the-shoulder’ angles from quite far away. Where the screen really shines, though, is with HD video. I watched remastered Star Trek episodes on CBS and it was a dream, along with HD trailers from the Apple website. If you’re thinking of getting a Macbook, don’t listen to people who say that the screen is terrible. It’s not terrible. It might not satisfy the ultra-purists but for ordinary users the difference in quality is probably not noticeable. What IS noticeable is the difference in quality between a PC matte screen and the new Apple LED-backlit glossy screen that adjusts for ambient light. A final word about reflectiveness: the glossy screen is quite reflective, it’s true. But the screen is bright enough to overshadow the reflections in all circumstances I’ve used it in, including outdoors in bright sunlight. Also, for me at least the reflections are like gestalt psychology: I can focus on the screen or on the reflections but not both at the same time.
-Keyboard: this will vary with people’s preference, but I just love Apple’s chicklet keyboard. I’m a fast typer and the easy depression and the crisp ‘click’ sound the keys make somehow just feels right. I feel more productive when I’m using a chicklet, don’t ask me why. For me at least the advertisements were right: it is a better typing experience than the standard PC keyboard.
-Peripherals: I don’t use any Firewire devices so the lack of a Firewire port has never been a problem for me. I never use more than two USB devices at a time anyway so the Macbook’s two USB ports is just right for me. The only problem I have with the new Macbook as far as peripherals are concerned (and one of the only problems I have with the new Macbook period) is the lack of any way to connect with a standard AV/Composite input TV. The only media output peripheral is the new MiniDisplay port which with the right adapter can link with DVI, HDMI or digital VGA but not S-video. There’s NO way to get around this, believe me I’ve tried. No combination of adapters will do the trick. This is kind of a bummer because I’ve become accustomed to watching Netflix Instant Viewing titles on an old Acer 27″ TV I bought for 50 bucks. Those days are gone. But I’m selling the TV when I graduate in the spring, and by the time I get a new one it will probably an HDTV like Samsung LNS3251D 32-Inch LCD HDTV, so it won’t matter anyway.
-Software: I can pretty much guarantee you that for any kind of application available in Windows, the Apple version is better. Safari is a far better web browser than Internet Explorer (although the free Mozilla Firefox is better than Safari), Apple Mail along with iCal beats Outlook by a country mile, iTunes is much better than Windows Media Player, etc. I even prefer the Apple version of Microsoft Office to the Windows version for its ease of use, appealing graphic user interface, etc. That combined with the overall superior Mac operating system makes for a much more sophisticated, delightful computing experience. It’s fast and reliable. And when you think of other Apple applications with no obvious counterpart in Windows like iWeb, there’s really no good reason not to switch to the Macbook.
-Compatibility: so far the only compatibility issue I’ve had with PC vs Mac is Netflix Instant Viewing. For a long time you had to have Internet Explorer to watch their catalog online. All that has changed now with Netflix’s adoption of their new Silverlight based Instant Viewing player. Now Intel Mac users (and the new Macbook has an Intel Duo processor, see the tech specs) can watch the whole Netflix catalog online, and it’s faster and more efficient than before. The picture seems to be a bit grainier than with the other player, but I imagine that will change. Printers, USB cameras, flash drives, etc. all work just fine with the new Macbook.
I could go on about all the reasons I love my new Macbook, such as the ability to link up with the iTunes playlists of other Macbooks and listen to other people’s music, the long battery life, etc. but for now I’ll conclude by saying that I am completely satisfied with my new toy. It does everything I need it to do and more. Ignore the naysayers, there’s no such thing as a perfect product. Everyone will find something to gripe about. I think it was worth every penny and will serve you very well for years to come.
P.S. If you’re making the switch from PC to Mac I strongly suggest buying or borrowing David Pogue’s Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition. It will make the transition smooth and quick and you’ll instantly have all the formidable potential of your new Macbook at your fingertips.
I read the reviews on Amazon and it seemed to me either the reviewer loved it and made no mention of “firewire” – something I had never heard of – or the reviewer gave negative reviews and was mentioning “firewire” or the lack thereof in the new MacBook.
After my online research we went to our local Apple store to talk to a MacNerd in person and see the MacBook live and in action. The techy was super knowledgeable, didn’t talk techy, and helped me figure out exactly what I needed from my computer. He didn’t upsell me at all. I asked him about this “firewire” and essentially it boiled down to the fact that I didn’t care or need firewire as all it was is that previous Macs had it so that you could hook your computer up to another Mac with this technology and basically move files/applications from one computer to another without a hitch. Given that I didn’t have another Mac nor had I ever executed such a task, I wasn’t worried about the lack of firewire.
I ended up with what I called the “entry level” Macbook…the one with 160GB, as I already have a 500 GB external hard drive that is fortunately compatible with both my PC desktop and my new Mac (a MyBook). I got a free printer/scanner all-in-one (after rebate), and I also purchased the Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel software as I just couldn’t let go of that. I felt that the iPhoto software that comes with the MacBook was sufficient and if for some reason I needed more I could just use the photo imaging software that I have on my desktop (or always upgrade to Aperature if I felt the need). I also got a cool, snazzy little laptop bag. I was nervous that I would not acclimate to the touchpad, so we also purchased a wireless mouse. After everything was said in done, we spent $1800, but will be getting a $100 rebate check in the mail for the printer/scanner, so it will end up being $1700.
Since yesterday I’ve fiddled around and played with the new features and have been exploring in my MacBook. I haven’t even opened my wireless mouse packaging yet — my first frustration was not properly figuring out how to scroll with my touchpad or “right click” – a quick search on Apple’s website under the Support menu helped me figure those out. I might end up returning the wireless mouse after all.
The battery so far is good and the first charge went pretty fast!
I’ve had zero problems with the display being too reflective. I’ve used it with a dark wall behind me as well as a big sliding glass door with lots of natural light and again, there was no problem at all. I haven’t had to adjust my color/contrast settings at all, so whatever it was set to “out of the box” has been perfect. The only time there is a glare from the natural light was when I stopped using the MacBook a few minutes and it went “idle” as the screen darkens a bit which reflected the light a lot. As soon as I began using it again, though, the brightness went right back to normal and I saw perfectly.
My guilty pleasure right now is playing with the built in camera and putting funky backgrounds behind me where I get to pretend I’m at a beach, in Paris, or up floating with some clouds in the sky! My kids get a kick out of sitting on my lap in front of the MacBook and turning the background into a roller coaster. The background actually moves so it appears we’re sitting in a roller coaster seat!
Granted I’ve had my new toy for less than 24 hours, but I couldn’t be happier with the purchase!
I have read the unenthusiastic reviews despairing the removal of a Firewire port in the aluminum MacBook. I certainly understand that to some people Firewire connectivity is essential. I am not one of those people. I have never used the Firewire port in my white plastic MacBook. I guess I’m just behind the times; I don’t even own a video camera.
I have also read the negative comments about the glossy screen. I like the glossy screen because everything looks a little sharper as compared to the matte screen of my white plastic MacBook.
The new MacBook has a glorious aluminum case and the computer is significantly faster than my 1.83Ghz 2gb RAM white plastic MacBook.
This machine is a winner.
the only thing i would like to add to the the current reviews is that the firewire port was dropped on the macbook models (not the pros though). this is the only thing that worries me because of the inability for the computer to take advantage of target disk mode. you may never have used it before, but it’s one of those features that set apart macs from everything else. booting the mac holding the letter ‘t’ will make it boot to target disk (a large firewire symbol will float on the screen). then connecting to another mac with a firewire cable will make it show up on the other mac’s desktop just like any external drive would. this is perfect for transferring files quickly and easily, also a great troubleshooting step if the mac will not boot, as it may boot to target disk, allowing you to recover files to another mac before replacing the hard drive if it’s on it’s way out – it may not boot normally, but may boot to target disk (note, if the mac will not boot but you are sure it’s not a hardware issue, you can just do an archive and install, reinstalling your operating system while keeping your files).
another reason many people have used it is for account migrating if upgrading from another mac. migration assistant now uses ethernet, so you are still set here.
if you own a camcorder – please make sure it supports usb 2.0, too, unless you are in the market for a new one of those too.
oh – and i have a feeling all this firewire business might have something to do with usb 3.0 – which it looks like we will be seeing crop up in devices next year.
just wanted to make sure you are aware of this before you make your decision!
ok, so the ‘another paragraph or two on other first impressions’ – firstly, don’t think that anyone could give you a reasonable review of a product that just came out a few days ago. customer reviews are by far the most important thing i look at when deciding to buy something, but please bear in mind that you don’t have the awesome posts by people who have actually owned the product more than five minutes yet. anyway – so the screen – personally i like it, and yes, sometimes i can see the light fixture’s reflection behind me when i’m powering up. the blacks also look a little faded as per some reviews, but then again, the screen border is jet black, and i wonder if that makes it appear worse than it actually is. also, when looking at an angle, mine looks ok left to right – even at the tightest angle, although not so much if i am looking at the screen from above. i say ‘ok’ because it’s not perfect (colours seem to darken a little), but then again, i’m really not going to be watching a movie from 10 feet away at a 45 degree angle on a 13.3 inch screen. but that’s just me – it’s the way i roll, evidently.
i’d recommend trying it out if you can at an apple store – see for yourself, understand that people can be really upset if they spend a lot of money and it doesn’t work as *perfectly* as they expect it to, and that also the opposite is true – that people need their decisions reinforced and may tend to leave shinier than normal reviews. my own 5 star rating? four for the product and an extra one as it’s apple makes five. honestly though i love it but there could be improvements. the pronounced edges make my wrists a little sore. also it’s about getting used to a smaller screen than my last notebook had (not apple’s fault, but i am sure many people might have this issue). no firewire may suck in the future, but right now it’s not an issue. deciding how to replace roboform with something mac compatible is my biggest nightmare (again that’s not on apple).
that’s it! hope it helps!
Owning a new aluminum MacBook is a lot more like owning one of the old 12″ Powerbooks. I used to have one and it was wonderful. It’s probably the one discontinued Apple computer that’s coveted by its owners. Their resale value is still fairly high, considering how comparatively slow they are. If you’re a blogger or a writer and you don’t use the machine for much else, it’s sort of a best of breed. However, with these new aluminum MacBooks I think things have changed. You get a backlit keyboard in the higher end model (which is the one I’m reviewing), an aluminum body (of course), and a multitouch trackpad. I think the backlit keyboard is the nicest addition. It’s really something you appreciate more once you’ve used it. I’ve never had any difficulty typing in the dark but I can’t see myself ever buying a machine without a backlit keyboard again. It’s incredibly helpful when you need to type a special character or press a function button. If you don’t have the usual key positions memorized, I imagine it’s even better. This makes the high end MacBook feel a lot more like a MacBook Pro.
Regarding the aluminum unibody Apple likes to talk about so highly, it’s very nice. While they did this with the Macbook Air, it seems much more refined with the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros. My one complaint, which I feel will fade over time, is that it sometimes looks too perfect. I don’t mean this as a backhanded compliment, but that there is such a thing as being so perfect it lacks a human touch. Think about listening to a computer play a song versus a human. It’s just not as good. Well, technically the computer is better but that human touch is relevant to us. This machine is so exact and precise that it sometimes feels inhuman. At the same time, it is rather stunning. I think I’ll get past the lack of human imperfections as I get used to looking at it each day.
The multitouch trackpad is something I’m not foreign to, as I used a MacBook Air for awhile. The new trackpad space is identical. I found this very fortunate as I don’t like buying new machines without being able to get a Marware Protection Pack as well. Luckily I bought a MacBook Air pack and it fit perfectly. Even the trackpad film fit. While multitouch gestures didn’t make their way into my regular routine too often, I did use them here and there and am glad they now exist throughout Apple’s line of laptops. The disadvantage of the new trackpad is the lack of a button. Yes, the whole trackpad is a button and yes it’s very clickable. The problem is that sometimes the click doesn’t register. I turned on single and double taps for left click and right click (respectively), but sometimes those don’t register as well. If this were my first Apple laptop, I’d panic and run to the Genius Bar for help. Since I’ve been through a few of these, I’ve found that it takes a month or two before you really break in the button. I’ve had the laptop for about ten days now and it’s already working better. Still, I wish it just clicked as expected out of the box. For those that are wondering how you click and drag if there’s no actual button, you just kind of pretend there is a button. While Apple gives you the entire trackpad for tracking, and you can click pretty much anywhere (with resistance building more and more as you move upwards), you can expect this trackpad to work just like the MacBook Air’s trackpad. The space where the Air’s button would be is where you can safely rest a thumb (or whatever) for clicking. It will not register as a second finger as easily. If you pretend there is a button at the bottom of the trackpad, you’ll quickly forget there isn’t one.
But those are the bells and whistles. As far as performance goes, there’s not much excitement in regards to speed. The computer’s architecture has changed, but the Core 2 Duo processors aren’t really much faster (or any faster as the case may be here). The big jump is in the new graphics processor from NVIDIA. I’m not going to pretend to be a hardcore gamer. I don’t play many games, and especially not when it comes to those that are GPU-intensive. I can’t give you frame rates from World of Warcraft or anything like that. What I can tell you is that the new NVIDIA graphics make for smoother performance around the operating system and seem to contribute to 1) better battery life and 2) a cooler system.
One of my favorite things about this laptop is that it doesn’t really get hot. I ran an H.264 video encode today so I could put a video on my iPhone and it didn’t feel hot at all. The MacBook Air heats up in about five seconds and then cripples the GPU first, before throttling anything else, and gets pretty warm. You could iron a shirt with the old MacBooks and I won’t even start with the MacBook Pros. I can’t believe how cool this machine has been. I’m not punishing it with endless work, but for it to make it through a twelve minute video encode without breaking a sweat is pretty amazing. It’s the first time I’ve used an Apple laptop and didn’t worry about becoming sterile. I don’t know what they did, but it’s wonderful.
I get about four hours of battery life under normal usage. While this still doesn’t quite match what Apple promises, it’s the highest I’ve ever, realistically, gotten out of an Apple laptop. I’m more than happy with four hours. I rarely use my laptop off of the power adapter anyhow.
Another neat feature of the new MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) is that you can use your iPhone/iPod touch stereo headset with microphone to record (crappy) audio and have basic control over iTunes. Since I swap my iPhone headphones out of the iPhone and into the laptop very frequently, this is fantastic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been interrupted and clicked the microphone on the headset to pause the song, only to remember that I can’t. Now I can. This is wonderful.
So far I’ve only had good things to say and that’s because, overall, this is an excellent machine. I want to talk about a few bad things, however. In my opinion, the biggest flaw is the display. This is why I’ve rated it a four and not a five. The display is an embarrassment. If you have any intention of doing any visual work that actually matters, this machine will be completely useless to you. The viewing angle is so terrible that no matter where you are, you will not get even contrast. I don’t notice it quite as much when I’m surfing the web or just writing, but when I watch a video it’s very apparent. If you do visual work and it’s not just for fun, do not buy this machine. Get a MacBook Pro where it’s not an issue. Even the old MacBooks have better displays. I don’t do visual work on this machine for that reason. If it’s not critical, I might, but for the most part I work on my desktop machine instead.
Another downside about the display is that it’s glossy. These look cool and all, but the reflections are obnoxious when you can’t easily avoid them and you don’t get very accurate color or contrast. This is a fault of the panel itself, too, but the glossiness just ruins it further. For general use, this isn’t a big deal. If you want to color correct or design, Apple has pretty much opted to screw you over regardless of how much you decide to spend on their hardware. Matte screens are just not going to be an option anymore. I think this is a stupid choice, because the people who kept Apple alive are the designers who chose Macs early on in Apple’s history. The loyalists are generally not fond of glossy screens and have been vocal about it. I think having an option is fine, but forcing people to use glossy screens is awful. Being a loyalist and needing a matte screen, I’ve just started using my laptop for everything but color critical work. It’s allowed me to prefer working on a smaller screen, which is nice because it means less computer to cart around. I’ve been able to work around this problem, but my situation allowed for it. It’s still a big problem for a lot of people who can’t defer to a desktop.
The other disadvantage is a lack of Firewire. While I rarely employed Firewire in my laptops, especially after using the MacBook Air (which has none), I still liked having it around. I don’t really miss that it’s gone. Again, this is primarily due to having a desktop companion that can connect with just about anything. Whether or not this is a major issue is really up to the individual. If you know you need it, you have your answer. Personally, I wish Apple would’ve kept it until they had something better to replace it with. Maybe they couldn’t fit it into the new, slimmer casing. I would just like to see a USB 2.0 alternative, since USB 2.0 doesn’t quite live up to its claims.
When it comes to upgrades and replacements, this machine gets a little better and a little worse. If you’re upgrading from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook Pro, you’re getting easier upgrades all around. If you’re used to upgrades in a MacBook, however, I’d say things are better and worse. If you want to replace RAM, you have to remove the bottom case. It’s not that hard to do but it means keeping track of quite a few screws and exposing the entirety of your machine’s innards. If you’re simply replacing the hard drive, however, you can pretty much just yank it out. One of the first things I did is replace the hard drive with a solid state disk. They’re getting cheaper and you can get a 120GB or 128GB drive for much less than what Apple offers. But on the plus side, if you do want your computer to come with an SSD you now have that option as a custom order. While in tests SSD hasn’t really proven to have too many benefits, in real world practice it makes the machine feel much snappier. For that reason, having an SSD is worth it.
Apple’s RAM upgrade prices are also not as terrible as they used to be. At least, it seems that way. A RAM upgrade through a third party only saves $10-20. When spending a lot of money on a new machine, I think many people would choose the convenience over the comparatively small savings that come with doing it yourself.
Anyway, that pretty much covers the majority of the relevant pros and cons of the new MacBook. So far I love it. I think it’s a wonderfully made machine. It’s sturdy, it’s attractive and it works really well. I’ve very pleased with it and as long as you can handle the poor display, I highly recommend this MacBook.
Take the screen issue for instance. I spent an hour at the apple store before purchasing this laptop comparing the display to that of the MacBook Pro. Back and forth I went, playing sample video after sample video, looking from different viewing angles, trying to see what the complaint was. I’m sorry, maybe my eyes are not so good for that sort of thing, but I just didn’t see that big a difference. I’m not saying there is no difference and I do think the MacBook Pro looked a little better. But I would in no way characterize the display as bad or washed out.
As far as the glossy display…it is reflective as are most new laptops these days. However, the LED display is so bright that even in the sunlight (as is the case as I type this ) I can see the screen perfectly well. I know many people prefer the matte screen, especially photo buffs. Perhaps Apple will bring the matte back as an option. I think the display is VERY good and much improved over my last macbook…much brighter.
The fit and finish of this laptop is outstanding! It really does feel like a solid block of metal with absolutely no “flexing” when holding in one hand. I have never had a laptop, PC or Mac, that felt like it was put together so well. It is just a beautifully designed notebook with clean, simple lines as opposed to some notebooks I’ve seen that are almost garish with the colors and flashing lights.
I chose the 2.4 Ghz Model over the 2.0 GHz Macbook. While this increased the price by $ 300 +/- , the faster processor, larger hardrive, and backlit keyboard was worth it to me. I really like the backlit keyboard as I am often working with the lights down. If those things are not important to you, save yourself $ 300 and get the 2.0 GHz. You really won’t notice much difference in speed.
On the other hand, if a somewhat better and larger 15.4 “display, and a discreet graphics card for more demanding tasks ( such as gaming ) are important, you may prefer the MacBook Pro. I may have gone this way myself but I personally prefer the smaller screen as it is easier to travel with and use on a plane.
The price? Too high? Perhaps so if you do not feel that the Mac OS is for you. One can certainly buy a VERY fast and feature rich PC for less than the price of the MacBook. However, for a marginally higher investment, I feel I have a very well made and extremely functional notebook that I don’t need to worry about.