4.0
final rating

reviewed on
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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features With a RAM upgrade to 8GB it performs quite nicely for basic functions, but the GPU is a bit lacking for gaming. so-so
  • Design and form factor The palm rest has a sharp edge that digs into my wrist, and the bottom burns my lap if I use it too long. On a coffee table you're hunched over. awful!
  • Battery life I have it plugged in to the AC adapter most of the time, if I don't, the battery warning crops up fairly quickly. The battery itself dies too. poor
  • Display I wish it were matte rather than glossy, but otherwise it works fine. good
  • Durability On the one hand it survived a nasty drop and keeps working. On the other hand the case is now warped and it's almost impossible for me to use the LAN port. so-so
  • Expandability RAM upgrade, that's it. And it only has 2 USB ports. awful!
  • Noise I can always hear the fan going a bit in the background, the hard drive usually keeps quiet, but when there's heavy read/write action it's noisy. so-so
  • Portability (size / weight) The size is actually quite good, but it's damn heavy. I don't like taking it with me anywhere. Might as well get a bigger screen for the encumbrance. poor
Detailed review
This is one of the more disappointing laptops I've owned. Even though it has outlasted some others, it was never enjoyable to use. There's simply no way to use it comfortably, unless you have it propped up on a stand and are using an external keyboard, but at that point you might as well get a desktop, and you can choose a better monitor. Like every Apple laptop, the battery eventually dies, and replacements usually have poor battery life as well. So to the extent that it still works, it has lost any semblance of portability. Since it uses Display Port instead of VGA or HDMI, there's no easily hooking it up to a TV or monitor that I have around.

A number of the design flaws are still present in current MacBooks - it's really not worth getting any of them.
review history
2013-02-04
Battery life rating changed from 3 to 2
Edited comment on Battery life
Edited comment on Design and form factor
Updated detailed review