October 20th 2009 12:12 pm

final rating

reviewed on
this review has been viewed 903 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features No comments
  • Design and form factor No comments
  • Battery life No comments
  • Display No comments
  • Durability No comments
  • Expandability No comments
  • Noise No comments
  • Portability (size / weight) No comments
Detailed review
First of all, the Engadget review isn't a review, but more of a quick hands-on.
It does seem as if they haven't spent a lot of time with the unit.
It also seemed a little negative to me.

I had my MacBook now for 4 days in constant use and no scratches or smudges at all. So this problem probably comes down to user behavior.

As there are many reviews out there spending time on stating the obvious: Unibody construction, benchmarks, etc. I thought I take a more practical approach and focus on the real life usage.

Everyone that has spent time with any other Apple portable recently will of course compare certain factors of different unit in order to make the right choice for them.

I am often told "but come on, it's only 200 more to get a Pro".
Well, I had a Pro and I never liked the bi-color design. It looks like any HP unit.
I also don't like the glass on the LCD panel. It's just too heavy and glossy to me.
And comparing the MacBook with a Pro or Air makes no sense to me as it aims at a different user who requires different functionality.

I'd rather compare the MacBook to it's predecessor.

So the biggest improvement has been done on the display hinges. They are really tight now and won't move around when carrying the unit. The MacBook was always a little loose in that department.
The entire case is really compact and sturdy now. Which means: No more noise, when opening and closing the display, no wobbling or scratching.
That was always a deal breaker to me when it came to the MacBooks.

Another huge improvement that was immediately noticeable is the sound.
The old MacBook used to have really weak speakers (I mean REALLY weak), which were impossible to hear in a noisier environment.
This is seriously something that impacted my overall impression of the quality of the product.

The display itself is of course brighter and I keep it at half level most of the time.
Engadget mentions that it is too low brightness, but that's simply not true.
As this is a taste issue, I don't think this makes sense to go into.
The viewing angle is definitely better than before and allows for more movement in front of the screen. I can actually see the content when walking around in the room. The old MacBook was really bad in comparison.

As for battery life, it will take a few days and calibrating to get it to run at the max.

To give an example, I get 5 hours with half brightness, Airport enabled, Bluetooth off, running around 7 apps at the same time (Safari, Mail, iTunes, iChat, Spotify, Transmit, Twitteriffic and some menu bar apps).

After reading several reviews on Giz, Engadget, AppleInsider etc. I had really low expectations towards the MacBook. I owned several MacBooks in the past, which I really didn't like and only kept for a few months, so I am incredibly surprised about the quality of this unit.

The MacBook is powerful enough for what I do.
I need my Mac to run only a few things, but all at the same time.
(Again: Safari, iTunes, iChat, Mail.app, Twitteriffic, Spotify, Transmission and a few small helper apps).

My iTunes library is about 265 GB and it loads instantly, I am happy with the CoverFlow performance, no hanging there.
Transmission running about 5-7 torrents at the same time won't kill it while running the usual 7 applications.

Personally I believe the book is designed for people who do not require all that extra I/O and gadgetry but rather have a solid book as minimal but functional as possible.

The MacBook feels nice to hold and touch, which is a strong point when using any computer. It's just very comfortable and not exhausting to use.
This is often underestimated I think.

I don't need Firewire, never have, never will. The same goes for a backlit keyboard or ambient light sensors. The ALS was always annoying to me.
I hardly ever use USB connections or even a cable.
And I don't want to have features I will never use. Speaking of designing things out of the way. www.youtube.com­/watch­?v­=t0fe800C2CU

I do miss the Apple Remote, because it was simpler to use than the iPhone Remote. But considering the MacBook is a 13 incher, I never really keep it that far away anyway.

If you are a user like that, this Book will be perfect for you.

Comments (1) subscribe to this review's comments


Great review, this is the review I been looking for