Slim and sexy: Apple’s 2016 MacBook reviewed

This writer has actually grown to like the keyboard, but it does take time.

We write almost all the time, spinning out thousands of words at work, and then going home to do it again working on books and scripts and the occasional bit of code. Throughout this, we’ve found the keyboard can grow on you, but you have to give it a chance.

You also have to realise that the lack of travel in this keyboard design paired with the thin metal casing means the MacBook tends to almost pull in the feeling of the surface you’re typing on.


That means if you type on a wooden or glass desk, the keyboard will feel hard by association, as if you’re punching keys on a solid block.

Take it to your lap and the fleshy limbs almost act as a pillow, lightening the load and making everything a bit comfier. And on your bed, it’s almost like typing on air, because the soft puffy doona and mattress top is just so spongey, the metal has nothing to push back against with and send back to your fingers.

With characteristics like this, the MacBook butterfly-mechanism keyboard (that’s what it’s called!) is one that you need to get used to, but if you give it longer than ten minutes of your life and type a solid page or two, you may find you can.

Just do that in store instead of surfing one or two web pages.



Value is about the hardest part to judge, though, because with a starting price of $1999, you’re not getting a lot for your dollar, though that’s intentional which makes judging a little troublesome.

The thinner the gadget, the more research needed to get it at that point, which in turn means companies can charge more, and that’s precisely what Apple can do here, so even if the specs aren’t going to set fire to the performance world, the design, build, ands weight are part and parcel of the premium Apple can pull.

Match that with Apple’s tendency to build products that some would consider more “luxurious” and “premium”, and you have the price more or less worked out.


But Australia is also subject to a local tax, what the residents tend too call the “Australia Tax” simply because if you take the $1299 USD starting price of the MacBook — indeed the very one we’re reviewing — you’ll find it clocks in closer to $1700. That’s without state tax, of course, so if you threw in GST or some other sales tax, you’d find the converted price closer to $1800 to $1850.

Given this laptop starts at $1999 locally, that’s a relatively sizeable tax, meaning Aussies do have to fork out for this machine.

Even with the tax, we can see why the price is what it is, and the value isn’t as bad as you might think.

The MacBook feels like it delivers a piece of the future today, and you have to pay a little more than you normally would for that opportunity. We can get that.



When it comes to picking a laptop, like it is with smartphone, we are all spoiled for choice. Even in the area of good or great or downright fantastic devices, there is still an abundance of choice.

And that’s a good thing. All of this is good news for anyone keen to buy something excellent.

But what if you’re after something that screams the future?

In this category, your choices are limited to all but the very best, with amazing amalgamations of glass, metal, connectivity, and colour. They appeal to so many, but are often overlooked because the future is far off enough that people want it perfect before it comes.

Apple’s MacBook is a little like that, with a view of a fantastic future that is almost perfect, but just needs a little finessing.


We actually liked last year’s model a lot, and it grew on us more as time went on. While its form-factor and inside technology wasn’t quite good enough to take on the likes of the Microsoft Surface Pro or Surface Book, it had a slimmer profile and a more reliable keyboard that didn’t break 200,000 keystrokes in.

While we still stand by last year’s 4 star rating, this year we’re bumping it up a bit, because the update to a new processor — indeed to three — means the performance is a little more configurable, and that if you still want a light computer, you can get it with some speed, too.

It won’t be for everyone, and we advise anyone curious about the MacBook to spend 15 minutes with it in a store, writing on the keys to decide whether you really can mesh with the laptop. But if you can, you won’t want to go back to a standard laptop, because there’s just something brilliant about this slim and sexy laptop, even if it costs a bit to get there. Recommended.


Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Beautifully made; Just about the slimmest and lightest laptop computer out there; Updated processors are configurable, ranging from an m3 to an m7; 8GB RAM is standard; Great trackpad and keyboard (when you get used to both); Backlit keyboard; Still a brilliant and super clear screen;
Still only one USB Type C port; Keyboard can still be hard for some to get used to; No FaceTime HD camera; Expensive;