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The MacBook Review

February12

I’d been waiting a while to finally get my hands on a Mac. I had decided that a MacBook would be my next laptop shortly after I got my last one. I was really considering getting one at the end of 2008 or start of 2009. Then as that time approached Apple came along and updated them with nice new models. This was a great time to pick one up. Finally the day came at the end of 2008 when I finally acquired my very own Aluminium MacBook.

To start off, the packaging is pretty small. When I was looking at the box, I was thinking to myself that maybe getting a 13″ notebook wasn’t such a good idea since it’s really small. The box width was a similar size to my current laptop which did worry me. But when opening it for the first time, the size of the thing wasn’t an issue. The computer fills most of the box right up to the edges. Most other computers have about a good 10-20cm from the edge of the box but this left only a few centimeters. The rest of the the parts like the power adapter and cord as well as a few booklets and discs took up the rest of the box but the packaging itself is pretty amazing.

When you first pick up the it’s quite light compared to other laptops and also remarkably thin, especially compared to my old 14″, which is about twice the size and weight of my beautiful MacBook. The unibody aluminium design makes it look really clean and polished. It also makes it seem more durable and stronger than most plastic notebooks. They also make it easy to get into this thing with a simple latch to open the door to access the hard drive and battery. The whole thing looks quite nice, even the base of the thing.

One of the complaints people had with this model was that it was no available in matte. This didn’t impact my decision at all to get this thing. My last computer had a glossy screen and I never had any issues with it. It was usable in all conditions, even outside. It wasn’t as easy to see but it was never bad enough that it wasn’t usable. The glass screen on this is another really nice finishing touch on this laptop which fill up the edges of the case making it really clean like the rest of this thing. The screen was a little bit smaller than my old 14″ (obviously) but I got use to the small size difference pretty quick and it is a non issue now. I am pretty happy which the size and if it makes this thing smaller, lighter and more portable, that is an easy compromise.

Probably the BEST thing about this laptop is the multitouch trackpad. It is much larger than most traditional trackpads, probably twice as big as most, but that gives you a lot of room to work with, which is more than welcome for the gestures. There are no buttons on the trackpad, instead it is one big button. I personally think its horrible, it take a bit of force to push it down and it makes quite a sound when you press it. Luckily the software has touch to click, something which I have been using on trackpads since I started using them, which makes the button problem a non issue. The trackpad also comes with a variety of gestures which make using the software so much easier to interact with. It doesn’t take long to learn either. I myself got it pretty much figured out with a few hours of playing, and now these have become second nature for me. Whenever using another laptop, I do miss the big touchpad and the multitouch. It really does add to the Mac experience.

One of the reasons that I decided to get the higher end model was for the backlit keyboard. The keyboard on it is great. The keys are nicely spaced out which makes it harder for my sloppy fingers to accidentally catch the edge of another key, something that I am thankful for. The backlight is amazing too. It makes the keyboard so much easier to see and use in the dark. Not having to use the light from the screen is great. Also the ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the screen brightness and keyboard backlight brightness to levels that suit the conditions of the lighting in the room. That is a great feature in a computer and not having to worry about the levels myself is great.

Now just to mention some of the other things. The system does seem to get pretty hot for me. That is because I run a lot of applications at one time and a few CPU intensive ones. My friends MacBook of the same model gets no where near as hot as mine and he has a couple of apps open so depending on how you use it will definitely impact how hot this computer gets. One of the things the MacBook’s have had for a while at the Magsafe adaptors. I love these things. Not having it physically plugged onto the system makes it easier to use and also give you that added security if someone trips over the cord as it’s not going to send your laptop flying. It comes with 2 heads in the box, one with a long cord and one that plugs straight into the power brick. On the subject of power, the battery life in this thing is really good. I get about 3 hours of normal use “for me” but I can also push that to 4 to 4.5 hours with light use. That is a huge improvement from the 45 to 60 minutes of my last laptop.

I’ve been using the smaller one as I don’t need the added length which is something I’ve come to appreciate about the power adapter. The lack of firewire doesn’t really bother me as I’ve never had firewire to begin with. Maybe if I had used it and had firewire peripherals would have been an issue. The lack of USB ports hasn’t been a big issue yet but I can see how it can be a problem. I would certainly welcome another USB port or two. I haven’t had a chance to use the Mini DisplayPort, mostly because of the huge price just to get an adapter for the thing. Hopefully this standard becomes more widely adopted so prices go down. I think it would have been nice if they actually included an adapter with the thing but Apple being Apple, that would never happen.

The MacBook I got was the 2.4Ghz model which was a bit extra but I think it was worth it for the little extras it includes. It will also mean it won’t need upgrades for quite a while and will also last a long time. I’ve only really used one other laptop but this is far the best laptop I’ve ever used. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a laptop computer that doesn’t need to be Windows. Yes, I’m sure it does make a great Windows computer but for the premium price point of this hardware, I couldn’t justify to anyone getting it since for the same price you could get a much better Windows based PC. Now, for my next laptop… I’m thinking maybe a 15″ MacBook Pro. :-P

posted under Computer, Technology

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