My MacBook review

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ryannel2003, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000

    ryannel2003

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    #1
    Apple MacBook
    Specs: 2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA HD, DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive, 13.3” Glossy Widescreen Display, Intel GMA X3100 shared graphics

    Ok, I’ll admit one thing: I’m completely smitten with this thing. Since I received my MacBook a few days ago, it’s completely engulfed me. Sure, I have a nicer 17” iMac with 3GB of RAM sitting on my desk, but I don’t think it can match the sheer joy of this MacBook. The cool lit Apple logo on the back, the awesome keyboard, the great looking screen, the iSight, hell even the MagSafe power adapter is just amazing to me. You have to understand, this thing is replacing a six month old Compaq laptop that was perfectly fine, if a bit ugly and heavy. Plus, it ran Vista Basic which has to be one of the most unintuitive and ugly operating systems ever put out by Microsoft. The next Windows Me? Not so much, but XP is a much better. Ok, enough Windows talk! Let’s take a look at Apple’s gem of a laptop.

    Specifications

    If you think the MacBook is a Paris Hilton one note: sexy, but really can’t perform its way out a paper bag… well think again. It’s a lot more like Cameron Diaz: sexy, yet has the brains and power to back it up. The MacBook I’m testing is a refurbished base model, which sells for $849 on the Apple Store’s refurbished page. My MacBook uses Intel’s Core2 Duo processor, running at a cool 2Ghz with an 800Mhz front side bus and 4MB of L2 Cache. Along with that is a paltry 1GB of DDR2 RAM, an SATA II 80GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM, a 13.3” WXGA widescreen display with a resolution of 1280x800, a DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive, and Intel’s GMA X3100 with 144 of shared graphics memory. All of this makes for a very decent laptop, capable of keeping up with the higher end MacBook models, and in some respects, the MacBook Pro.

    Design

    The first thing is obvious, it’s beautiful! Having owned an iBook G4 about a year ago, I was expecting a similar feel and design. To my surprise, the design of the MacBook is even cooler and more exciting. It’s a more thought out design, especially with the iSight and new keyboard. The smooth white exterior can also be ordered in a black model, which I find less sleek and a little more PC-like. Sure some people prefer it and wouldn’t have any other color, but the white seems more Apple-esque and has an happier undertone. The black is almost somber in a way, but also much more business like compared to the almost girly white. Yup I said it, girly! Proud of it too!

    Keyboard

    One of the first things you will notice when opening up the lid is the keyboard. It’s not your usual iBook G4 or MacBook Pro keyboard, where all the keys are combined together and almost rectangular in shape. Instead, you get keys raised up slightly off the surface of the base with a square design. The result is an excellent laptop keyboard, with great tactile feedback and a great sound while you’re typing away. Comparing the MacBook keyboard to my iMac’s Apple Keyboard, well it is a different experience. I, for one, love the old white Apple Keyboard. People have criticized it for being overly mushy, but I’ve always liked that. After using the MacBook keyboard, well it isn’t easy switching between the two. I’ll get over it.

    Another noteworthy feature about the new keyboard is the new media keys located along the top row. These allow you to adjust brightness, view dashboard, skip tracks, pause/play your music, mute, volume, and of course there is the eject button. These really can come in handy if you are constantly listening to music.

    Display

    What else is their to talk about? I’ve already mentioned the beautiful design and excellent keyboard. What about the display? Let’s just say I’ve used better displays in my life. The MacBook utilizes a 13.3” widescreen glossy display. There have been quite a few complaints over the glossy coating, but I prefer it. It’s a huge improvement over the iBook’s small and dim display. However, the viewing angle isn’t that great, and at the max brightness it’s a little too bright. Another thing worth mentioning is that you might want to calibrate the display. I find the standard profile way to yellow, and that can easily be remedied using the built in display tools.

    Performance

    I was a little anxious to see how this MacBook can perform. I mean after all, laptops are known to be slower than their similar desktop counterparts. With a Core2 Duo processor underneath, I was expecting a speedy little laptop. I’m happy to report this laptop is extremely quick for everyday web browsing, organizing pictures in iPhoto, even the occasional movie edit with iMovie. However, I do recommend upgrading RAM to 2GB. Leopard, like all other versions of OS X, really purrs with the extra RAM. My iMac with 3GB is absolutely perfect, and flies through everything I throw at it. The MacBook does it similar gusto, but bogs down after having lots of applications running in the background.

    Features

    Features… What about them? The MacBook comes with almost all the features of it’s bigger brother, including the iSight, slot loading Combo or SuperDrive, Magsafe power adapter, large trackpad, and slim profile. How about what is missing? Well for one, it misses out on the awesome multi-touch trackpad introduced in the MacBook Air. Another feature that is noticeable absent is a latch. That’s a good thing though, as the MacBook uses magnets located at the top of display. Simply close the lid and it strongly latches down the lid. To open it back up, just pull up where the indention is. What a great feature, very similar to the earliest mutli-colored iBooks. Also missing is a discrete graphics chip. The MacBook instead uses shared graphics with Intel’s GMA X3100. This solution steals up to 144MB of your RAM. Henceforth, this is not a gaming laptop. If you want gaming, go for the Pro.

    Downsides

    Aren’t you sick of how much I like the thing? I sure am, so I’m going to present you with some downsides. For one, the edges of the laptop are not rounded. That means if you are typing with your hands on the palm rests, your wrists feel like they are getting cut into. Kind of an overthought on Apple’s part, especially since the iBook had nicely rounded edges. Another issue I’ve noticed is the build quality seems to be more lackluster than any Apple product I’ve owned. With the lid closed, I can wiggle the display a bit. One of the edges looks to be buckling, and the edges on the display are a little ragged. Sure I’m nitpicky, but I expect nothing less than perfection from Apple. However, the quality of the plastic is much nicer than the earlier MacBook’s, and the casing feels sturdier than that of my old iBook.

    Apple has hit a homerun; they’ve won the championship, and there was really no competition. The MacBook is an amazing laptop, with every feature the average consumer could thing of. It has a timeless design, loads of features, lots of power, and is extremely portable. It’s the best laptop on the market for under $1500. It’s also the most beautiful. I’m not sure how Apple could make this thing look any better. Heh, I’m sure they’ll figure something out.

    Pros:
    • Gorgeous design
    • Features galore
    • Tons of grunt
    • Great price

    Cons
    • Sharp edges hinder typing
    • Built quality not up to Apple standards
    • Integrated graphics
     
  2. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #2
    I purchased a new Blackbook last week from the Apple store and had it overnighted.

    I agree with your review except for the case design. The edges of the case on the palm rests. That was one of the first things I though of when I began using it.

    I love the display, it's crystal clear though not as bright as my iMac or MBP. I did compare the same identical website on my MBP and Blackbook this morning and it appeared that they each had a slightly different colors on each. The webpage had a graphic of a car which was blue. The MBPs blue color was a bit darker and the MB showed the cars color a bit lighter. I didn't bother comparing the screen on the MB to my iMac because the brightness of the iMac is brighter than both laptops.

    I hope you enjoy your new MB, I surely am with mine!
     
  3. ryannel2003 thread starter macrumors 68000

    ryannel2003

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    #3
    Thanks for the comment! I haven't been able to stop using the thing since I got it Thursday night. It's really the perfect computer for me, especially considering this was supposed to be a second computer.

    As for the display, the MacBook is a much brighter display vs. my older iMac, but the quality of the iMac is much, much better.
     
  4. Bobioden macrumors 68000

    Bobioden

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denver

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