Wi-Fi Reception on Aluminum Macbooks?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ThomasJL, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Apple's plastic laptops (iBooks and plastic MacBooks) have always had better Wi-Fi reception than Apple's aluminum laptops (PowerBooks and MacBook Pros). This is a well known fact, and has been written about numerous times by people who have performed side-by-side comparisons.

    My question is this:

    Which has better Wi-Fi reception: The plastic MacBooks or the new aluminum MacBooks?

    The reason I ask is because I am considering getting either a new black plastic MacBook or a new aluminum MacBook. Price is not an issue for me, but Wi-Fi signal strength definitely is.

    Thanks for any help. :)
  2. Ardency macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    I have the aluminum macbook and my reception is great. I haven't had any issues with the signal. Keep in mind I did just get it yesterday though. I use to have the black macbook and it could never keep a signal but I also think that it was having other issues hence the reason apple replaced it.

    I don't think you'll have to worry about signal strength on either machine. Just get which one you like more. :)
  3. ryanwarsaw macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2007
  4. JoeDRC macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    the hinge looks like its made of some sort of plastic material, and isn't the airport antenna built into the screen now, my guess is it works this way

    i could be wrong
  5. jon4lakers macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Wifi reception seems to be extremely strong. I would say on par with the plastic models.
  6. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I notice no difference between the plastic and the aluminum macbooks.
  7. jade macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2003
    Wifi seems to be equivalent to my ibook. i see the same list of networks in my apartment. So I will say the aluminum is looking good.
  8. dnguyen macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2008
    upgraded from my ibook g4 (which i thought had good reception), and everything seems good at home and on campus.
  9. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
  10. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Thank you for the link. That review (which features a side-by-side Wi-Fi reception test) offers proof to what many have suspected: That the new aluminum MacBooks have worse Wi-Fi reception than plastic MacBooks.

    I would appreciate more comments to be posted here based on real-life comparisons between the two.
  11. isleofjib macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2007
    it looked like they were actually pretty comparable. yeah, the old mb did a bit better, but not a lot. it'd be interesting to see that done with istumbler to see what the strengths of the signals were...
  12. pufftissue macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2006
    Prior to reading this thread, I already felt that my mbp's reception was worse than other laptops (windows ones). In fact, I bought a wireless router for my dorm room because I could not get reception! But on my windows pc, it was fine and I would not have bought a wireless router.

    I've noticed this in the student center as well, b/c I can't connect reliably and I look around to see if other students on windows computers are alright, and sure enough, they are all connecting fine.

    I for one definitely believe that wireless reception is real-world poorer and you will notice it.
  13. Steve686 macrumors 68040


    Nov 13, 2007
    US>FL>Miami/Dade>Sunny Isles Beach>Condo
    I actually have a new MBP.

    My 1 year old white MacBook connects to N Airport Extreme at around -65db.
    The new MBP connects at -43 in the same spot.
  14. Quillz macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Quite obviously, a notebook computer made of aluminum will never receiver stronger Wi-Fi signals than a polycarbonate notebook computer. However, don't be confused by "blind facts." In other words, you need to consider practicality vs. actual fact. Yes, in actual fact, the new MacBook has slightly inferior reception. However, for all practical purposes, you will notice little difference, as you will still be near enough the router to pick up a signal. Unless you have a habit of trying to connect to networks a mile away or something.
  15. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008

    That doesn't prove anything tbh, that can be caused due to the routers and such. Also it does not say if the pictures was taken at the same time or they tested 1 first and then the other, this will also have an impact.
  16. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
    No problem.

    Obviously wi-fi reception depends on the router but we're comparing how both MacBooks respond to the same router(s). So if a router is crappy, both laptops will still be connecting to that same crappy router and if one performs better than the other the only difference is the computer, not the router so...

    Actually, the screenshots indicate the time of the test:
    Notice the day and time? Both Thu at 8:29 AM and 8:30 (presumed to be AM). I mean, which is more likely? The computer user taking a screenshot at 8:29 AM on one computer and then one minute or less later at 8:30 AM on the other or 8:29 AM on one and the other at 8:30 PM, 12 hours 1 min later?

    Unless you're gonna assert that that the 1 minute discrepancy is enough reason to doubt the veracity of the comparison.

    Take it what you will, but I believe this is much more helpful than "I think the reception is just as good if not better" etc.

    Obviously some of you who have just got your new toys or those hoping to get one wouldn't want to think that their product is inferior, even at the slightest, to the preceding model but try not to let that get in the way of the results of actual empirical testing.

    Quillz, I get what you're saying, but the issue of practicality is very real if the network you're trying to connect to is just out of reach. Sure, it might not happen often if at all, but for some people in some cases it's a case of so close yet so far.
  17. djellison macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    The plastic one still beats it.

    In the real world - my current MBP is dramatically inferior to my old MB, and indeed - is inferior to crappy laptops the neighbours kids have got.

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