The new MacBook is the perfect laptop for people who have gotten used to working on their iPad. You know, people like me. Because I never know when I need to connect and do work, I’m constantly lugging my tablet around. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make me unusual—a lot of people are still on the clock when they’re way from their office. Using an iPad is easier than doing work on a phone and it’s less cumbersome than a laptop.
But carrying the new MacBook feels like carrying an iPad. The MacBook is 13.1 millimeters thick and two pounds, while the original iPad was 13 millimeters thick and 1.5 pounds. To accomplish such minimalism, Apple obviously had to do some engineering wizardry; most apparent in the new keyboard. The keys are thinner and don’t press down as much, but still provide a gratifying click. There’s less key wobble and less space between the keys and board (you know, the crumb-catching void). It took a couple days, but now when I use other keyboards I feel like they require unnecessary exertion. The MacBook keyboard experience feels like typing perfected—I don’t think I’ve ever been able to type so fast. And the portion of aluminum where you rest your palms is so thin that you barely notice a bump up from the surface where you’re resting your arms.
Using the new trackpad is also a pleasant experience. Fingertips slide comfortably and there’s a Force Touch feature that allows you to push harder for other capabilities, like fast-forwarding videos or looking up words. It’s similar to double-tapping the trackpad on other MacBooks but I found the feature a little awkward. The tech community generally agrees that we’ll see more advanced touch-sensitivity technology like this in future Apple products. I imagine I’ll get use to it and eventually miss it when using laptops that don’t have the feature.
The new design also does away with some ports. There are just two holes in this machine—a headphone connector and a multi-purpose USB Type-C port that is used for both charging and data-transfer. This is both frustrating and refreshing. Frustrating because you’ll have to get an adapter for normal USB plugs ($20) and you can’t charge and plug something else in at the same time. Refreshing because it’s reversible (plugs can go in right-side-up or down), it can transfer data super fast (10-times faster than Google Fiber), and it’s small enough to be used on phones and tablets. This is almost certainly the future of ports, which means soon you might only need one type of cord—for charging, data transfer, video output, etc. Again, that’s one cord. A single cord. So long to the crap drawer full of crap cords. That is, until Apple switches on us again.
The 12-inch screen features the first Retina display (2560 x 1440 resolution) on a MacBook, and it’s stunning, as you can imagine. The 480p camera is disappointingly grainy, if you want to use it for video calls. The battery is fine—allowing me about five to six hours of work between charges. The Intel Core M processor is not as mighty as the Core i5 you’ll find in the new MacBook Air, but it was plenty speedy for me.
As I said, the MacBook suits my needs. I can easily carry it around and it’s a hell of a lot easier than working on an iPad. But my needs mostly revolve around reading and writing words, which aren’t as taxing as, say, Photoshop or games. I rely mostly on the cloud, so I don’t need any extra ports or software. If you require more processing power then you probably want to go for the slightly more affordable MacBook Air or Pro, and wait until all this new technology becomes more refined and powerful in the next version of the MacBook, which I predict will be a phenomenal device.
Specifics: 8GB Memory; 256GB, 1.1GHz model is $1,299 and 512GB, 1.2GHz model is $1,599; finish options: silver, gold, and space gray
How much you need this: 7.5 out of 10.