Living in the future: Apple’s super-thin MacBook reviewed

Have you ever looked at a laptop and said “sorry, but this isn’t thin enough”? Apple has, and with its latest laptop, has found a way to make one of the lightest, thinnest, and most futuristic computers yet. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Apple’s MacBook.

Features

Inside the MacBook, you’ll find some Intel inside, with a Core M processor from the Broadwell generation, also known as the fifth-generation of Intel’s CPUs for those who want to know how recent the chips are (hint: the answer is “very”).

These are clocked at either 1.1GHz for the base model or 1.2GHz for the one above it, the extra hundred megahertz difference also bringing different storage options, with either 256GB on-board flash storage in the 1.1GHz model or 512GB storage in the 1.2GHz version.

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Memory on both of these computers is set to 8GB RAM, and Apple is relying on Intel’s HD 5300 graphics to do any heavy lifting if needs me, with no discrete graphics in either of these models, just like with the MacBook Air.

Connections on the Apple MacBook are pretty slim, but just enough, with 802.11a/b/g/n provided as well as 802.11ac (because ac is backwards compatible), Bluetooth 4.0, with wired ports provided through the 3.5mm headset jack on the right side of the computer and the new USB Type-C port on the left.

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USB Type-C is a bit of a newbie, so we feel the need to give this one an introduction: essentially, it’s an all-in-one port, providing video out, power, and data all through the one port.

The USB Consortium has been eyeing this for a while now, and USB 3.1 or “Type-C” as most people will call it has been expected to work as a charging port, making it possible for you to charge your laptop through the special port, while also using this for data transfers, and even to connect to a monitor by way of a special adaptor.

Think of this as the improved iteration of Thunderbolt, only even more open, and with the possibility of charging your laptop through the port.

That said, being a first generation product, the MacBook only has the one USB Type-C port, and there are no special adaptors to give you HDMI out or regular USB 3.0 out of the box, so if you want to do more than charge your computer using this port, you will need to go out and buy an adaptor for the purpose.

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But that’s all the ports and connection options being offered, and these sit inside of Apple’s typically metal unibody case, made from aluminium. This casing is built to be slim, sitting at a maximum closed height of 13.1mm at its thickest point, and 3.5mm at its thinnest, with a weight of under a kilogram, weighing in at 920 grams, lighter than the smaller 11 inch MacBook Air.

A new style of keyboard sits in this casing, as does the relatively new Apple Force trackpad, which made its first appearance on the MacBook Pro 13 inch (2015), and there is also a new screen here, too.

Inside the MacBook, you’ll find a 12 inch Retina grade screen, the first time we’ve seen Apple’s “Retina” technology move below the 13 inch space. This display relies on a 2304×1440 resolution, providing a pixel clarity of roughly 226 pixels per inch, scaling the display to a native 1280×800 with a higher pixel count, though you can force this to scale to 1440×900 if you need more space and can see smaller fonts with ease.

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A FaceTime camera sits above the frame, providing 480p video and images (720×480) and not the 720p you get out of a FaceTime HD camera.

Three colour options are available for the MacBook, with the MacBook available in gold, space grey, or the traditional Apple silver.

The battery is built into the MacBook and is not removable.

The model used for the review of the Apple MacBook was the base model, with a 1.1GHz processor and 256GB storage.

If you have a space grey iPad and a space grey iPhone, you can now get a space grey laptop to match. Neato.

If you have a space grey iPad and a space grey iPhone, you can now get a space grey laptop to match. Neato.

Performance

The “MacBook” name has been left dormant for too long, it seems, and Apple is keen to bring it back, resurrecting it with something new that aims to impress and stun, and not just an entry level laptop.

That was what we saw with the original “MacBook”, the white and black plastic model that grabbed attention all over the world by providing enough of what people needed without needing to spend on the aluminium that made its way into the Pro models baring the same name. If you didn’t mind plastic, the MacBook was ideal, and we’ve known plenty of people who had these and were happy with what they had.

But times have changed and now Apple doesn’t really rely on plastic for any of its machines anymore. There’s really no major product in Apple’s product line that doesn’t utilise metal in some way, and so with a reincarnated and resurrected product name, you can bet the polycarbonate won’t be making an appearance.

Instead, Apple has taken the time to thoroughly reinvent what it’s doing in the computer space, going back to the drawing board to concoct a machine that pushes the boundaries, that challenges what we know, and finds a way to be absolutely freakin’ amazing.

The result is a computer with the name “MacBook”, a new computer to reinvent that name, which will likely reinvent the other Apple computer names later down the track.

Does it succeed?

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