My Review of the MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by soulreaver99, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. soulreaver99, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015

    soulreaver99 macrumors 68020

    soulreaver99

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    A little background: Director of B2B sales managing Account Executives and Sales Managers with a team of 65-70 employees. I travel quite a bit for work and am usually mobile. I've owned just about every Macbook since the iBook 12-inch and have been into mobile devices since owning my first Palm Pilot :)

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    For awhile, we’ve been waiting for a MacBook Air with a Retina Display so we could have the perfect traveling laptop. The MacBook Air itself is already a great device boasting really good overall performance, unmatched battery life, and a really good size for those who need something thin and light. It is still by far one of the best notebooks for the general consumer. The only problem with the Macbook Air is that the screen resolution of 1440 x 900 (on the 13 inch) seems really outdated with all retina displays that have been out for quite some time.

    Earlier this year, Apple re-introduced the 12-inch MacBook this time with a Retina display so we all sort of got what we wanted. Weighing in at only 2-lbs, (.92kg), the Macbook is Apple’s smallest and lightest mobile device running the desktop version of their OS X.

    I wasn’t even interested in the 12-inch Macbook and I was quite happy with the 13-inch Air but of course I had to purchase it out of curiosity thinking that it will go back to the store within the return period but that has long past and I have already traveled across the country with this thing. Let’s take a look.

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    The Macbook Retina comes in 3 colors: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray (just like the iPhone). I they all look good but I like the Space Gray best. Specs are 1.1/1.2/1.3 Intel Core M processor with 8GB RAM and 256/512GB. Base Model sells for $1299 and 1.2/512 model is priced at $1599. If you max out the system at 1.3/512, you will need to pay $1699. Yikes!

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    At only .52-inches thick at it’s thickest point, this thing is crazy thin. However ports are sacrificed and you only get ONE USB-C port for power, display output, and connectivity. Yes it’s really lame and I agree that they should have at least included two. Apple of course charges an arm and a leg for the dongles ranging from the single USB-C to USB-A for $19 all the way to $79 for their multi-port dongle if you want to connect to an external display and have a standard USB port and power input for charging. Ouch.

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention this was thin? On the other side of the Macbook we have one standard 3.5 audio port. Could have put in anther USB port in there somewhere.

    [​IMG]

    So here it is in all its glory. The best feature is the high resolution retina screen at 2304 x 1440 with 226 ppi which is by far the best display in its class. Text, videos, pictures look very sharp and it makes the Air’s screen hard to look at. This year, Apple has also introduced Force Touch into the track pad which simulates a “clicking effect” by haptic feedback. The trackpad can detect how hard you click which will open up new software features in the future. Gimmicky? Maybe. Work well? It absolutely does.

    Another new feature introduced to the MacBook is the butterfly mechanism keyboard. In order to stay as thin as possible, Apple had to remove and reduce the size of its moving parts as much as possible. There is now less space between the keyboard and the sensor so it feels really rough at first when typing which some people may have a hard time getting used to. You may hate it right away and give up on it, which is totally understandable and that was my first impression as well. However, after using it for an hour on day to day stuff, I got used to it and I type as accurate as if I were on any other keyboard.

    In terms of performance, the base model at 1.1Ghz does just fine on basic things such as web browsing, watching videos, etc and other type of non multimedia related work. Also I should point out that if you need to do a lot of multimedia work or need good hardware for gaming, this isn’t for you so let’s just get that out of the way. I actually started off with the silver base model and was quite happy with it for the most part. However, in running some VM in the background (I need Windows applications for work), and having Chrome and Outlook open, there was quite a bit of slowdown. I then exchanged it for the 1.2Ghz Space Gray and I have been quite happy with the performance. Some people debate that there is little to no difference between the 3 CPUs but I definitely noticed for my uses.

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    I took the Macbook from LAX airport to LGA in New York and having such a lightweight laptop makes a huge difference especially for those who travel and don’t need to bring a high performance machine on the go. Carrying the dongles wasn’t that big of an issue as I thought it would be and even carrying one USB-C to A adapter with the USB-C Multi-port adapter was still lighter than carrying a 13-inch MacBook Air. It didn’t take more footprint in my backpack at all.

    One big advantage of being able to charge through the USB port is that if you get a USB-C to USB-A cable, you can charge the Macbook with an external battery (that needs to at least output 2.4A) giving you power in emergency situations or topping off your battery while it’s in the bag. This makes up for the battery life difference from the 13-inch Macbook Air which lasts over 12 hours. The Macbook Retina claims to go for 9 hours, but on my uses, it barely makes it passed 6.

    The Macbook Retina seems to be full of compromises which seemingly takes a few steps backwards with the lack of ports, lower battery life, and weaker performance than even the 2013 MacBook Air. However, if consider what Apple has done in cramming all that hardware and innovation into such a tiny casing to run a desktop based OS, then you are get a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. I personally like the beautiful design of the Macbook and am quite pleased on how well it works for MY uses but if I were to speak on behalf of the general consensus, I would say that the 2015 MacBook Air and even the MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina would be a MUCH better value in terms of performance, battery life and connectivity.

    Pros:
    • Beautiful, lightweight design
    • Stunning display
    • Excellent trackpad
    • Great device for travelers who are willing to pay a premium
    Cons:
    • It’s ******* expensive
    • One USB-C Port
    • Expensive adapters
    • Lower battery life and performance than MacBook Air
    • 480p webcam
     
  2. Robsan3, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015

    Robsan3 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    #2
    Its good for basic browsing/email/video but it is slow or slower. And great for lap and travel. Here are mine both 2015 models. 12" 1.2/512 v 15" 16/512
    I sold my iPad air 2 when i got it, its a great iPad replacement but with bigger screen, good keyboard/trackpad and more storage.

    DiskSpeedTest.jpg IMG_0518.JPG DiskSpeedTest.jpg
     
  3. emilioestevez Suspended

    emilioestevez

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    #3
    Is the grey model a fingerprint magnet like the black/grey iPhones?
     
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #4
    I wouldn't say it is. The issue for me is it draws a lot of attention
     
  5. PeterKG, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015

    PeterKG macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    #5
    Excellent review. I was wondering if you would also review your Staad backpack. Is it a stout or slim? If its a slim, is it roomy? Did you get ballistic instead of wax canvas due to weight? Can it carry a water bottle? I purchased a Muzetto and with sleeve, it doesn't hold much else. I'm considering the Staad. Your color combination for it looks great. Thanks!
     
  6. JackieInCo macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Location:
    Colorado
    #6
    What's the point of quoting someone without a reply?

    I'm going to see what happens with next years model.
     
  7. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #7
    I really feel like a 2nd usb c port will alleviate many people's concerns. Nobody can convince me they couldn't fit one more on the other side.
     
  8. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #8
    Stop.

    Anyone who can afford a $1700 notebook can afford a $75 adapter. The reason Apple didn't put a second port on there is because it isn't needed.

    BJ
     
  9. soulreaver99 thread starter macrumors 68020

    soulreaver99

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Location:
    Southern California
  10. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #11
    I understand your sentiment but I disagree. A 2nd usb c port wouldn't change the portability whatsoever. I'll bet you'll see it come soon just like the MacBook Air. And a better webcam than 480p for 1700 dollars.
     
  11. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #12
    Cool. If the next-gen Retina doesn't gain any size or weight and picks up an extra port and a better camera we'll buy one, it's not like we don't have the money.

    We Air and Retina owners value the form factor over the features and performance, so as long as the Retina doesn't get larger and heavier as it inevitably gets more features it's fine with us.

    BJ
     
  12. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #13
    Of course Apple could have, but they chose not to. They wanted max volume for the battery, apparently.
     
  13. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #14
    Yes, it is needed. Apple simply underestimated customer needs.

    Dongles are not a solution but a PITA. From Apple's perspective they are another revenue stream. That's the ONLY reason Apple did not add the second port. But it will be added in the next version. I guarantee it.
     
  14. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #15
    This was your concern?

    Pretty obvious that the second port would not change the form-factor.
     
  15. kfscoll macrumors 65816

    kfscoll

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #16
    An additional USB-C port wouldn't eliminate dongles in the short term anyway. There are so few USB-C devices right now that you'd still need to haul around a dongle to actually connect any current device other than the charger.

    I'm on a trip right now and connected the charger, an external HDMI, and my iPhone 6 all to my MacBook all at once with the single dongle I brought along. All connected devices functioned/charged perfectly and, again, I only had to carry a single dongle. Having an additional USB-C port wouldn't have changed anything in that regard.
     
  16. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    #17
    Excellent review. I was wondering if you would also review your Staad backpack. Is it a stout or slim? If its a slim, is it roomy? Did you get ballistic instead of wax canvas due to weight? Can it carry a water bottle? I purchased a Muzetto and with sleeve, it doesn't hold much else. I'm considering the Staad. Your color combination for it looks great. Thanks!
     
  17. soulreaver99 thread starter macrumors 68020

    soulreaver99

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Location:
    Southern California
    #18
    My Staad Backpack review here: http://www.thegeeksoffice.com/?p=2062

    I got the slim version. Very roomy.
     
  18. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #19
    The reason there is only 1 port is because that's all that's needed. Nothing was 'underestimated' by Apple, to my knowledge the RMB is selling well, there haven't been any reports of disappointment on the part of Apple or their suppliers, they have successfully created yet another best-in-class product, there is no issue.

    Of course accessories are a revenue stream. The USB-C adapters are there for those who have special needs of their notebooks that others don't. I don't use a monitor, I don't use thumb drives, I don't use external drives, I use a Bluetooth mouse. On a rare occasion I use my notebook for Slingboxing a football game and for that I need an HDMI adapter. So on those 2 days, I carry the HDMI adapter. The other 363 days a year, I don't need it and am grateful that Apple didn't force me to have it. I don't need its weight, I don't need its height, and neither do most other people.

    Why is it so hard for some to accept the fact that Apple designed a notebook that represents the utmost in portability and sleek form factor for those who value that above all else? You disappointed that the Retina doesn't have a bunch of sloppy, heavy, bulky ports? Great, go buy a damn Air or Pro. That's what they're designed for.

    BJ
     
  19. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    #20
    Thanks again for another excellent review. I might get the stout in order to carry a water bottle.

    I've been ordering Waterfield products for years and love the company and Gary's passion for design. They just keep getting better and better.
     
  20. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    #21
    The _only_ reason they didn't add a second port was to create a revenue stream? Sounds a bit tin foil hat to me.
     
  21. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #22
    His theory is that Apple deliberately released a de-featured Macbook with an obscure single port so as to drive down demand on the notebook and increase demand on the adapter. This has happened before, of course. Someday an analogous example will come to me.

    Look, I get the fact that people need to take shots at the new technology, some hate Apple, some are obsolete Air owners, some are anti-OSX, whatever. Just listen to the Retina owners, all who are unanimously happy with their purchase, and disregard the rest.

    BJ
     
  22. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #23
    The utmost in portability and sleekness? Ok. Again a 2nd USB port wouldn't change any of this. Neither would a better webcam. Not asking for a bunch of ports. Just one more. One that will most likely be added in near future rmb which would again illustrate the point that this iteration would be better served with that 2nd usb c port. And an actual hd webcam to go with that high resolution display. None of this would negatively affect the portability or sleekness.
     
  23. kfscoll macrumors 65816

    kfscoll

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #24
    While I think it's likely that Apple could've added a second USB-C port without affecting portability (I think they were trying to make a point with this iteration), I doubt they could've gone with a higher-resolution webcam. If you watch the design video on their website, they make a big deal out of all of the things they had to do to get the display as thin as it is. Given that, I think the resolution of the webcam was limited by the design of the display. In other words, if they could've gone with a 720p webcam, why wouldn't they? 480p is pretty crummy this day and age, so I think they would've gone to 720p if it were at all possible.
     
  24. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #25
    A 2nd usb port would require that they could be used interchangeably - for power, for data, for driving a display. Doing this would have required significant additional wiring, and probably additional silicon to support it, before you even worry about finding space for the physical port. Same with a better webcam. The screen half of this laptop is incredibly thin - that's less than half the thickness of the iPhone 6. Apple put the camera that fit without compromising the device's overall design.

    By the time you make just those two changes, you have a laptop that is significantly different than the one they built. I'll take it as-is thanks.
     

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