[Review] Apple MacBook

Discussion in 'Macintosh' started by muzikool, May 22, 2006.

  1. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    MacBook Specs:
    • 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo Processor
    • 512MB RAM
    • 60GB HD
    • 13.3" TFT widescreen display
    • 64MB Intel GMA950 graphics processor
    • CD-RW/DVD optical drive
    • Color: White

    Hardware
    As expected, the MacBook is a beautiful machine. I chose the white finish because I expect it to hide scratches better, plus the black finish is more expensive. It's pretty light-weight and very slim -- totally acceptable to me for portability. It feels like a very solid piece of hardware.

    The AC adapter is the new Mag safe technology that uses a magnet to hold the adapter into place. The connection is easy to make and a small LED glows amber as the laptop charges, then green when the charge is complete. There are also 5 green LEDs on the bottom where the battery is, and they light up as well as the battery charges.

    The MacBook's latch is also magnetic, so there are no physical latches and no button that might be prone to wear over time. The built-in iSight is mounted above the screen with a status LED and a microphone. The Apple remote is included for use with the Front Row software, and there is an IR port on the front right corner. The speakers are actually installed at the two back corners at the base of the screen, so you can't even see them unless you look. It seems to work as the sound bounces off and up the screen.

    The screen itself seems to have drawn some strong opinions. It is glossy coated so there is some glare. My opinion on this so far is that I don't have a strong feeling about it either way. The glossy makes for a great picture, and the glare can be avoided for the most part. Besides, most TVs have glass screens and you learn to look past the glare -- this is the case with the MacBook as well. I have not tried to use it in direct sunlight, but in all other cases I've been able to avoid the glare.

    The keyboard is also designed differently from previous Apple laptops. Each key is raised above the surface independently, so hitting one doesn't effect the rest. This prevents any bending of the keyboard when you type. So far I've seen no evidence of the keys leaving an impression on the screen when the laptop is closed.

    Finally, the trackpad and mouse button are very wide, making for plenty of room to work with. The two-button scroll works flawlessly, and I haven't had a single case where my mouse jumped to a different position as I typed.

    Software
    The MacBook is pre-loaded with OS X 10.4.6, iLife '06, Photobooth, Front Row, Comic Life, Big Bang Board Games, OmniOutliner and the iWork '06 Trial.

    iLife '06 was made as a universal binary so it runs perfectly on the Intel processors. Comic Life was a pleasant surprise and it is a lot of fun to use. Photobooth is hours of fun -- literally. I wasn't sure how often I'd use Front Row, but I already have several times to show pictures that I've taken in Photobooth. The combination of Photobooth and Front Row is almost enough to sell a PC-user on the MacBook -- I can back that up, too. :)

    Performance
    So far, most everything runs very fast on the Core Duo processor. The boot time is 5-10 seconds, and the iLife apps seem to run quicker than on my PowerMac 1.8GHz with 1.5GB of RAM. It seems that most of the apps I use are already written in universal binary, though Photoshop is a big one that won't be released until probably next year (CS3). RapidWeaver has yet to be either, but 3.5 will be and it's due for release in a week or two.

    For the most part the MacBook has run completely silent. MacBook Pro users complained of a "whine" -- I may have heard this once or twice on my MacBook, but only in a completely quiet environment. I read that running Photobooth on the MacBook Pro silented the whine, and it seems that the case is the same on the MacBook.

    Heat is the other major issue that has been addressed with the MacBook Pro. I notice that the back left corner does get pretty warm over time, but I don't know that it is something I should be worried about yet. I downloaded a mini app called Core Duo Temp, and so far the highest reading has been about 63?C. I'll be checking around other forums to see what the consensus is on what is too hot.

    Conclusion
    I love my MacBook! I see no reason why anyone would buy an iBook G4 now that this has been released. I thought the price was reasonable and I read that a similarly configured Sony laptop was $500 more.

    4.5/5 OSNN Stars -- Highly recommended. :up:


    *Feel free to post any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.*
     
  2. Techno Child

    Techno Child web{designer} Folding Team

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    wow... i'm just wondering if you had a chance to see the black ones at the apple store.. if so, was the finish the same as the black ipods?


    {why not 5 star? :p }
     
  3. albybum

    albybum Penguin Rancher

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    The black MacBooks with that 150 dollar extra fee are not a glossy black, they have more a matte finish.
     
  4. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    The MacBooks weren't actually on the floor yet when I bought mine, so I haven't seen the black ones in-person yet.

    I didn't give it 5 stars because of the (very subtle) "whine" and the potential heat issue. Even if the heat turns out not to be an issue, I'd prefer it to be a bit cooler anyway. ;)
     
  5. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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  6. Luna

    Luna OSNN Senior Addict Folding Team

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    It's interesting to read that you also have a slight whine. I have been searching for a long time for a possible fix and found one in disabling the second core on the core duo.

    There is a tool on the install disk called CPUPalatte which I installed along with all the other xcode tools. It also adds a Processor section to the system settings.

    Anyway, by turning off the second core, my 'whine' is gone. Kind of irks me though that this is the best way I have found to stop the problem short of just running an application in the background.
     
  7. madmatt

    madmatt Bow Down to the King Political User

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    [​IMG]

    ...and just because........ Ryan [=
     
  8. NetRyder

    NetRyder Tech Junkie Folding Team

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    You should try this: Fast OS Switching ;)
    You'd need to pop in some more RAM first though. The machine in the video is loaded with 2GB. :D
     
  9. Tuffgong4

    Tuffgong4 The Donger Need Food!!!! Political User

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    thanks for the great review...debating right now on whether to bite or wait for the Core Duo 2.

    It's very hard for me not to get this right now!!!
     
  10. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    Hehe, virtualization thanks to the new intel chips is a breeze. I am expecting to a see a lot more of this happening in VPS solutions and things like FreeBSD's jail systems to allow even more seperation of the host
     
  11. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    :laugh: I'll get some pics up tomorrow.
     
  12. Tuffgong4

    Tuffgong4 The Donger Need Food!!!! Political User

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    please talk about how much you hate your macbook and how much you regret buying it so I don't blow my money on one now when I have my wedding in just over two months...

    :):):):):)
     
  13. SPeedY_B

    SPeedY_B I may actually be insane.

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    Seems some people are getting the machine up to 82c, which is (obviously) considered insane. I'd say if you're topping out at 63c at full use, you should be ok. :)

    Also, I've not seen this mentioned anywhere on all the reviews that have splurged onto the net... where the hell are the speakers ? I know they'll sound arse, notebook speakers always do, however no one has mentioned where they are yet :D
     
  14. Henyman

    Henyman Secret Goat Fetish Political User



    :lick:
     
  15. SPeedY_B

    SPeedY_B I may actually be insane.

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    Har, that's what I get for scanning through when I've just woke up. :D


    *goes to get some coffee*
     
  16. Electronic Punk

    Electronic Punk Administrator Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    The use of magnets is interesting,
    how long does it last on battery power (with and without wireless if applicable)
     
  17. SPeedY_B

    SPeedY_B I may actually be insane.

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    From other reviews, seems around 5.5 hours with minimum use, and 3.5 hours with "normal" use, with wifi enabled.
     
  18. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    That seems pretty accurate, though I haven't tested it with wireless disabled. I start out somewhere between 3.5-4 hours on a full charge, with wireless enabled.
     
  19. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    I still get around 4 hours on my iBook with screen at half power.
     
  20. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    That's great. I've been extra careful to let the battery rundown completely and then do a full charge for at least the first few times. Not sure if it's necessary with these batteries, but better safe than sorry.