Inspector Gadget: MacBook a bit pricy, but lightweight and a beauty

13 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple sells out of gold, space gray models of MacBook.

The latest iteration of Apple’s full-size notebook computer weighs in at two pounds, is 13.1 mm thin, and has a 12-inch so-called Retina display with edge-to-edge glass. At its “Spring Forward” media event last month, Apple announced a new vision for its MacBook laptop: a thinner screen, brand-new trackpad, edge-to-edge keyboard (a feature which hasn’t been present on a Mac laptop since the PowerBook G4 released a decade ago), and a single port to handle charging and physical connections.

Early reviews of the new MacBook are in, and the consensus is that it’s probably the most beautiful laptop ever released, bar none – but that it’s somewhat ill-equipped to deal with the realities of the way most people use computers today. Much of that beauty has to do with just how insanely thin and light it is.” The MacBook weighs just two pounds, making it almost a pound lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air and about a pound and a half lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn wrote, “the essential friction and ‘clack’ that make up any great keyboard is still here, just different than what I was used to. I can bang away on this thing or type more softly, and both feel completely satisfying.” Reviewers also found the MacBook’s glass trackpad satisfying to use, although many wrote that its more subtle click feel took a day or two to get used to.

Reviewers were somewhat harsher in their assessment of the MacBook’s single port: a lone USB-C jack on the laptop’s left side, accompanied by a headphone jack on its right. “Here in 2015, the majority of us still require two or three ports for connecting our hard drives, displays, phones and other devices to our computer—not to mention a dedicated power plug,” wrote Ms. There aren’t very many USB-C devices on the market right now, and an adapter that allows the user to plug in HDMI, legacy USB, and USB-C devices to the MacBook costs $80 from Apple. “Apple’s real bet is that you won’t need that port for much of anything,” writes David Pierce at Wired. “Ditch your external hard drive, the USB-C port begs … forget about your second monitor, because look at this screen!” The MacBook featured a “tiered” battery that crams more power into a smaller space, with the goal of letting people use the laptop all day without needing to charge it.

In fact, that’s why the screen is 12 inches — it matches how much space the keyboard needs. (The screen, incidentally, is stunning — compared with MacBook Air’s lower-resolution screen. If you watch video or fire up intensive programs such as Photoshop, however, that number drops to six or seven hours – which means you shouldn’t leave your charging cable at home. It’s odd to have only a single USB-C port in 2015, but by next year USB-C devices will be much more popular and we’ll again be able to borrow charging cables from strangers. The MacBook follows largely in the footsteps of the MacBook Air, which also cut out some features considered “essential” when it debuted in 2008, but which is now a standard for laptops.

It’s likely outside parties will soon make adapters to connect multiple USB devices simultaneously, but if you use USB regularly, you might consider getting an Air or Pro model instead. Speaking of power, I got eight to 11 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is impressive given that the high-resolution screen requires more power than regular screens.

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