May be buying a 12" Macbook...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ScottR, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. ScottR macrumors member

    May 11, 2007
    My MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) is getting, understandably, a bit long in the tooth.

    My laptops have always been second computers for me--my iMac is only about a year old--and I mainly use the laptops for Internet access (browsing, email), writing, and storing trip pictures (I download pictures each day and annotate them so that I don't forget details). As a result, my laptop needs to be portable much more than it does powerful.

    My Macbook's battery doesn't last at all anymore, even though it's a replacement (an Anker battery bought in February 2015 that seemed to revive battery life for a while, but nowadays it doesn't even last me close to an hour) so I don't know if the issue is with the replacement battery or with the MacBook itself.

    So I've been casually in the market for a replacement.

    I'd been waiting for the new MacBooks this fall but was disappointed by what was offered. With only the Pros being refreshed they're a lot of money for what I need, with the non-Strip 13" starting at $1500. If I was getting a primary computer that's not an issue, but for I described above it is.

    I was considering a 13" Air, but then I wondered about the 12" Macbook.

    I've read about its downsides--the lack of ports being the major one--but that's not so much an issue for me. The only thing I semi-regularly plug into my MacBook is a SD card (using an adapter, since my MacBook doesn't have the SD slot). A built-in SD slot would have been nice but not crucial (and the new Pros don't have one anyway) and I don't do it that often.

    The MagSafe adapter with the Air is something to consider, but the Retina display with the MacBook seemed compelling enough that it was a big part of why I was considering the 12", but I don't know if it's decisive. The Air has the longer battery life, but with what I'm using now 9 vs 12 hours seems almost more an abstraction than anything real. And how much will I notice two versus three pounds?

    Any factors I'm missing, considering the particular requirements I'm talking about?
  2. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    Yeah, you're missing perhaps an even greater complaint that the lack of ports: the MacBook's keyboard.

    You would be highly advised to go to an Apple Store or other retailer AND TRY TYPING ON THE KEYBOARD.
  3. ScottR thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2007
    I was, actually, going to... though I really hate going to retail stores this time of year and do my best to avoid it. I'll focus on they keyboard; it seems to attract lovers and haters. Thanks
  4. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    My wife has my old 12" rMB, and I bought one of the new 13" non-TB MBP at launch.

    Having said that - the 13" is much, much better. Battery life for hers has dropped to about 5-7 hours after not even a year (which seems to be a huge issue with the batteries on the 12" if you browse the forum), while the 13" is getting practically double that. While the keyboards are similar, after you adjust to the style, the 13" feels noticeably better. Also the display is better on the 13".

    I don't consider the size difference that noticeable, both are smaller than my iPad Pro 12".

    She ended up wanting to switch, so as soon as her 12" gets back from Apple, I'll be taking it (a few buttons on the keyboard stopped responding, which is another issue plaguing the 12").

    If you're going to spend the $1,300 on the rMB, I would seriously just spend a little more and get the new 13" non-TB.

    Or get the 12" and have your battery quickly deplete and keys eventually stop responding.
  5. ScottR, Dec 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016

    ScottR thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2007
    Why the new MacBook Pro vs. a 13" Air? I know I'm losing the Retina display, but again, it's a secondary computer and the Air would be $300 less.
  6. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    The 256GB 13" air is what, $1,200? For a few hundred more you get so much more, I think it's definitely worth it. The SSD is much faster, the display is much better, back lighting is better, will have longer lifespan support, etc etc..

    This may be extreme, but I think any money spent on an Air at this point is just throwing it away. The jump from an Air to the 13" non-TB is pretty huge and substantial, in my mind. I don't think I would spend anything more than $500 on a 256GB/8GB 13" air at this point..

    And I had an 11" air and loved it...
  7. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I agree with David58117. My partner's first generation Macbook has been troublesome -- both battery and keyboard have needed replacement. And the single port has turned out to be more of an issue that I thought it would. It's an annoyance, and the rest of the machine (except for the screen, which is very nice) doesn't make up for it. It's also laggy.

    I pushed for her to get the Macbook because I thought it would be perfect for her use case, and if it had been reliable and a bit faster, it would have been.

    The next time it craps out we'll get it fixed (if it's still under Applecare), put it on craigslist, and replace it with the entry-level 13" MBP.
  8. Born2bwild, Dec 18, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016

    Born2bwild macrumors member


    Mar 18, 2012
    I was in a similar situation as you. I'm mainly a desktop user (have the 5k 2015 iMac), but I also needed a laptop on the go and for short trips. My main choices were the Air or the 12''.

    I decided to go for the 12'' MacBook mainly because of the design and display. The MBA has a highly dated design with an even more dated screen... and in the end, I couldn't go for those - especially the display. I bought the 12'' refurbished from Apple, and at the time of purchase, I got a 12'' 2015 MacBook with double the storage (256 vs 128) compared to the similarly priced Air.

    As for my experience with the laptop, I've had it for 8 months now and no problems at all. I don't mind the keyboard, personally - I wouldn't say it's the best, but it's fine. The laptop itself runs seamlessly as long as you are just doing some light browsing, watching downloaded videos or word editing. However, the CPU on the 12'' is definitely noticeably slow if you do push the device.

    The battery life is probably the biggest weakness of the MacBook 12'' especially versus the stellar battery life of the Air. I get 5 hours of battery life, using 100% brightness, but low-medium workloads (Safari and a word processor) which is passable but being a Mac I definitely expected more of the device at first.

    As for the MacBook Pros, I personally didn't consider a Pro because I was unwilling to spend that much on a secondary machine. And in my experience, as a secondary machine, the MacBook does well.
  9. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    I switched from a 2012 11" MBA i7 2.0 GHz, 8/256 to 2016 12" rMB m7 8/500. Since I was afraid of the CPU performance, I ordered the m7 to be on the safe side.

    You know what? I have absolutely no complaints about the speed of the machine at all. I can even do iMovie edits, Photos edits and handbrake video conversion if I have to and the machine handles such tasks just fine. Maybe the m7 is really much faster than its slower counterparts.

    The keyboard on the other hand.... hmmmm. After 6months of living with it, I'm used to it but I can't say that I like it. I can type as fast as any other keyboard now but still not enjoying it. I tried the newer version of the butterfly keyboard on the new Mac Pro and it is indeed much better than the one on the 12".

    On the other hand, my experience with the battery is nothing but positive. I used to get 4 hours max on my Air, yet the 12" MacBook gets and honest 7 to 8 hours for normal usage and I can extend that to 9 hours if I do just browsing or word editing.
  10. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I think the M7 probably has a serious advantage over the 1st gen entry level CPU. My partner also came from an 11" i7 Air, and she never complained about sluggishness on that machine. Bottom line for her is that the Macbook does the job -- just not as well as we both had hoped it would. She's not gnashing her teeth but she's looking forward to something else, maybe within the year. You know that feeling -- "this isn't great, but it'll do." That's the Macbook.

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