Macbook Retina 12 (m1) is underrated...my review compared to MBPr & MB Air

Lion007s

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2014
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So I have a 2012 Macbook Pro Retina (15 inch) which has an awesome quad core i7, 8gb RAM, Intel HD4000 graphics and also a Nvidia 650M. It's one hell of a machine that allows me to be productive (I do photography and video editing as a side business). It handles tasks with ease, it is a beast.

I also have had experience with my brother's Macbook Air Mid 2011 13 inch Intel 1.7Ghz Core i5. We tend to swap between machines depending on our needs from time to time.

He recently upgraded to the new Macbook 12 inch Retina which is the base 1.1Ghz. I've been using it for a couple of days, and all I can say is that this machine is underrated.

Whilst it may not have the power of my MBPr, it is actually faster than the Macbook Air at handling all your basic tasks and keeps up speed with my MBPr. Multiple youtube streams, Word, Powerpoint, Email, Photos app, Messages, iTunes...all simultaneously, with ease! There is no slow down, and battery life remains stellar - even more so than my MBPr and the Macbook Air when compared doing these tasks.

For your general uni student or average user who is going to do some light photo editing and maybe iMovie once in a while, this machine is fairly decent even though it is using a Core M processor clocked at 1.1Ghz. The portability, the retina display, battery life, performance for what it's designed to do, there are simply no complaints. They keyboard after a few hours actually feels better to me than my MBPr keyboard. The butterfly switches really do help with stability and I can actually type faster (I touch type) as there is no imbalance in the keys. The only thing that feels weird is that there isn't much travel in the keys, but after a little while you get used to it and you find the keyboard to be a more pleasing experience than even the standard MacBooks - that's my feeling on it anyway, everyone is different!

So if you've been considering whether to get the 2015 model or the new 2016 model and your tasks involve basic productivity or chilling, this machine is more than capable for your needs and should last a long time too. Hope this helps someone out in making their decision :)

EDIT: Thread title is meant to state M3, not M1
 
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izzyfanto

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Nov 22, 2011
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They keyboard after a few hours actually feels better to me than my MBPr keyboard. The butterfly switches really do help with stability and I can actually type faster (I touch type) as there is no imbalance in the keys. The only thing that feels weird is that there isn't much travel in the keys, but after a little while you get used to it and you find the keyboard to be a more pleasing experience than even the standard MacBooks
I agree
 
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DougFNJ

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Jan 22, 2008
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I couldn't agree more on your points, a little confusing though, are you reviewing the M1 or M3? You covered everything regarding M1 and 1.1GHz and then edited to say you meant the M3?
 

cwosigns

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Jul 8, 2008
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I couldn't agree more on your points, a little confusing though, are you reviewing the M1 or M3? You covered everything regarding M1 and 1.1GHz and then edited to say you meant the M3?
I think he means the M3 (versus the M5 or M7). I don't know that there is an M1 (unless we're talking about BMWs).
 
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throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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I'm glad the retina Macbook exists, it shows to the world that for the vast majority of people, CPU power is not the bottleneck. Most non-heavy usage people are bottlenecked by IO - storage and network.

The Macbook has first class performance (for a portable) in both of those areas.
 

DougFNJ

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Jan 22, 2008
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I think he means the M3 (versus the M5 or M7). I don't know that there is an M1 (unless we're talking about BMWs).
And excuse me as I place my foot firmly into my mouth as I keep screwing it up in my own mind. My brain keeps thinking 1.1= M1, 1.2=M2, 1.3=M3

Sorry about that OP
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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Aug 5, 2001
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So far I am also very impressed with the M3. The only thing where I see it come short, is scrolling through websites with loads of animation, but I assume that is more due to bad programming than lack of power, because it has handled everything else with a breeze. Granted I haven't taxed the CPU yet, but in day to day work, spreadsheet, R, writing, email, browsing, etc. it has been a fantastic experience.

Even the keyboard is something that I am coming around on. It was the thing I was scared of the most, but at this point, one week later, I enjoy writing on the rMB as much as with all other Apple keyboards, and I have a hunch that I might actually end up liking it more. After this week I write about 90% speed of the other keyboards, with about 5% more errors, but then again, I just got it. I kind of like the low travel I must say, and my current only issue with it is that it makes quite a bit of noise, but that is likely due to me hammering the keys as I am used to.
 

Mollan

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2013
108
70
The Netherlands/Italy
Just got the M3 yesterday.

The keyboard is fantastic, and my MBPr 15 Mid 2014 seems really old in that sense. I would like this new keyboard design and feeling on the MBPr too.

The power...well I'm impressed. It is clearly slower that the quad-core (mainly in opening the programs), but it does everything without any problems. Heavy Excel files, heavy PDF, Powerpoint/Keynote presentations...

Maybe the battery could have been a little bit better (6.5-7 hours with a real life use), considering this is for mobile use mainly.
 

where is it

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2012
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England
So I have a 2012 Macbook Pro Retina (15 inch) which has an awesome quad core i7, 8gb RAM, Intel HD4000 graphics and also a Nvidia 650M. It's one hell of a machine that allows me to be productive (I do photography and video editing as a side business). It handles tasks with ease, it is a beast.

I also have had experience with my brother's Macbook Air Mid 2011 13 inch Intel 1.7Ghz Core i5. We tend to swap between machines depending on our needs from time to time.

He recently upgraded to the new Macbook 12 inch Retina which is the base 1.1Ghz. I've been using it for a couple of days, and all I can say is that this machine is underrated.

Whilst it may not have the power of my MBPr, it is actually faster than the Macbook Air at handling all your basic tasks and keeps up speed with my MBPr. Multiple youtube streams, Word, Powerpoint, Email, Photos app, Messages, iTunes...all simultaneously, with ease! There is no slow down, and battery life remains stellar - even more so than my MBPr and the Macbook Air when compared doing these tasks.

For your general uni student or average user who is going to do some light photo editing and maybe iMovie once in a while, this machine is fairly decent even though it is using a Core M processor clocked at 1.1Ghz. The portability, the retina display, battery life, performance for what it's designed to do, there are simply no complaints. They keyboard after a few hours actually feels better to me than my MBPr keyboard. The butterfly switches really do help with stability and I can actually type faster (I touch type) as there is no imbalance in the keys. The only thing that feels weird is that there isn't much travel in the keys, but after a little while you get used to it and you find the keyboard to be a more pleasing experience than even the standard MacBooks - that's my feeling on it anyway, everyone is different!

So if you've been considering whether to get the 2015 model or the new 2016 model and your tasks involve basic productivity or chilling, this machine is more than capable for your needs and should last a long time too. Hope this helps someone out in making their decision :)

EDIT: Thread title is meant to state M3, not M1

Totally agree. I'm on a M5 and so far I've done all my business accounting, browsing, emailing, a bit of Affinity Designer whilst waiting for Photoshop to install in the background and it has been perfect so far.

Really can't see what everyone was moaning at.
 

where is it

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2012
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England
Probably because of the high costs and the low performances for 2016. I'm just afraid that the new MBPr will be even more expensive.

Indeed - There is no pleasing the poor.

Regarding the price of the new MBP, I'm sure Apple wouldn't push the price up much more really.

If anything the price has stayed relatively the same for nearly 5 years.
 

Lion007s

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2014
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Australia
Indeed - There is no pleasing the poor.

Regarding the price of the new MBP, I'm sure Apple wouldn't push the price up much more really.

If anything the price has stayed relatively the same for nearly 5 years.

I guess we shall hopefully find out next month at WWDC if the new Macbook Pros will be released with any design changes and if pricing will differ much.

In Australia, when I first bought my Macbook Pro Retina 2012 15 inch base model (with a discrete graphics card), it was priced at AU$2600. The same laptop today, with the main difference being Ram (Mine has 8gb whereas the new base model has 16gb) and also graphics (No discrete graphics in the new model, Intel Iris Pro Graphics on board) is AU$3200.
 

SteveJUAE

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Aug 14, 2015
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I guess we shall hopefully find out next month at WWDC if the new Macbook Pros will be released with any design changes and if pricing will differ much.

In Australia, when I first bought my Macbook Pro Retina 2012 15 inch base model (with a discrete graphics card), it was priced at AU$2600. The same laptop today, with the main difference being Ram (Mine has 8gb whereas the new base model has 16gb) and also graphics (No discrete graphics in the new model, Intel Iris Pro Graphics on board) is AU$3200.
In 2012 if I recall correctly :) the AUS $ was worth more than the US $, it's now down 20% on the US $, I think your seeing currency fluctuations, not price increases.
 

duervo

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Feb 5, 2011
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I guess we shall hopefully find out next month at WWDC if the new Macbook Pros will be released with any design changes and if pricing will differ much.

In Australia, when I first bought my Macbook Pro Retina 2012 15 inch base model (with a discrete graphics card), it was priced at AU$2600. The same laptop today, with the main difference being Ram (Mine has 8gb whereas the new base model has 16gb) and also graphics (No discrete graphics in the new model, Intel Iris Pro Graphics on board) is AU$3200.
It will either be announced with a price difference big enough to justify going "pro", or it will be released at a similar price to existing with the current rMB getting a price drop. Personally, I expect the former, and that we will see people on these forums complaining to no end about how the "pro' has just been priced out of their budget for whatever reason.
 

Mollan

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2013
108
70
The Netherlands/Italy
It will either be announced with a price difference big enough to justify going "pro", or it will be released at a similar price to existing with the current rMB getting a price drop. Personally, I expect the former, and that we will see people on these forums complaining to no end about how the "pro' has just been priced out of their budget for whatever reason.

Unfortunately I expect the latter too...and I'm terribly afraid of return to Apple the rMB 12 to wait for a more expensive (than now) MBPr 13/14.
 

SchodMC

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2013
76
12
Germany
Thanks for that "review" :p I remembered the day when I bought my MBA 13 i5 2013. I compared it to the i7 modell, thinking that the i5 wasn't fast enough. I read a lot of benchmarks and reviews from different pages (what finally confuses me more than helped out), tested the UI, searched for every single lag, was thinking back and forth and finally took the i5, because I didn't have enought time to wait for an i7 that wasn't in stock that time at my reseller of trust. And guess what? At the end I stopped searching for lags and comparing to benchmarks. I just started to use the book for office work and a little bit of software development, video streaming, itunes, casual gaming etc. And until today I was totally happy with that MBA, until a galss of water gave the last peace to to it. But for me it never feels slow, underpowerd or something else. I just got my work done stressless.

That said, according to your description it seems to me that it will be the same with the MacBook. Will get mine in two weeks, then I will have a closer look. For now I have the hope and feeling, that everything will be fine. Of course, not everything is perfect (even if Apple every time wants us to think that about their products). But I think there will be nothing that prevents me from getting my work done in a fine, productive and stressless way (as long as that depends on the MacBook). The one machine that works for all and everything (a long battery life, a lot of power, the ability to run all games with high settings, staying cool whatever all the time, be ultra portable) doesn't exist - sadly. And making a big problem because of 2% of my use cases won't be that perfect with a computer means, that I forget that in 98% of my use cases the computer is just fine for me.

Well, I think you get the point. ;)
 
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Lion007s

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Sep 16, 2014
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In 2012 if I recall correctly :) the AUS $ was worth more than the US $, it's now down 20% on the US $, I think your seeing currency fluctuations, not price increases.
Yes I think I forgot about the currency fluctuations, cheers for the reminder! Regardless, the price is quite high considering the base model doesn't even have a separate graphics card. Do you (or anyone else) know how Intel Iris Pro graphics compares to the Nvidia 650M?

Thanks for that "review" :p I remembered the day when I bought my MBA 13 i5 2013. I compared it to the i7 modell, thinking that the i5 wasn't fast enough. I read a lot of benchmarks and reviews from different pages (what finally confuses me more than helped out), tested the UI, searched for every single lag, was thinking back and forth and finally took the i5, because I didn't have enought time to wait for an i7 that wasn't in stock that time at my reseller of trust. And guess what? At the end I stopped searching for lags and comparing to benchmarks. I just started to use the book for office work and a little bit of software development, video streaming, itunes, casual gaming etc. And until today I was totally happy with that MBA, until a galss of water gave the last peace to to it. But for me it never feels slow, underpowerd or something else. I just got my work done stressless.

That said, according to your description it seems to me that it will be the same with the MacBook. Will get mine in two weeks, then I will have a closer look. For now I have the hope and feeling, that everything will be fine. Of course, not everything is perfect (even if Apple every time wants us to think that about their products). But I think there will be nothing that prevents me from getting my work done in a fine, productive and stressless way (as long as that depends on the MacBook). The one machine that works for all and everything (a long battery life, a lot of power, the ability to run all games with high settings, staying cool whatever all the time, be ultra portable) doesn't exist - sadly. And making a big problem because of 2% of my use cases won't be that perfect with a computer means, that I forget that in 98% of my use cases the computer is just fine for me.

Well, I think you get the point. ;)
Hahaha you are right! Unfortunately we all get caught up in the talk of specs. I am sure you'll enjoy the MacBook! For me, it will always have to be a Pro for the other things I do and I can't go past the bigger screen! But when it comes to portability and most use cases, the MacBook Retina is the perfect machine for now. Enjoy yours :)
 
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