Apple Macbook 2016 review – a slim and beautiful laptop you can finally justify – Mirror.co.uk
When I first saw the 2015 MacBook , it was clear that this form factor was going to be the future of the laptop.
Thin and light, yet strong with all-day battery life and a high-resolution screen, this was the kind of laptop that you could carry anywhere and barely even notice you were doing it. The minor drawback was that its low-power processor was a little too slow.
This year’s MacBook has addressed that concern with a faster processor, quicker memory and faster storage.
I’m pleased to say that nothing has changed on the outside, bar the introduction of a Rose Gold model to accompany the existing Space Grey, Silver and Gold models.
The MacBook’s 13.1mm thick aluminium chassis is a thing of beauty and, one year on, this laptop has lost none of its initial impact.
As soon as you pick it up, you realise how thin and light it really is. Weighing just 920g, this is a laptop I can comfortably hold by one corner without fear of dropping it.
It’s tough, too: even though the screen is just 1.8mm thick, the strong, aluminium back means there’s very little flex, so tapping on the back won’t send any ripples through the LCD, either.
When the MacBook was first introduced last year, the one thing that really stood out was it only had two ports: a 3.5mm headphone port and a USB-C port. So, one year on, does this really matter?
Not really. USB-C is a clever and versatile connector that both charges and, via adaptors, supports regular USB devices and even displays.
The connector is reversible, too (unlike regular USB), making it easier to plug in the cable. And, you can buy third-party adaptors for a fraction of the price Apple charges, which is the beauty of USB-C being an open standard.
To fit the keyboard inside the incredibly thin chassis, Apple uses a butterfly mechanism under the keys. This gives the keys a shallower stroke but removes key wobble.
Typing can feel a little strange, because the keys barely move; however, Apple has made sure that there’s plenty of feedback, so once you get used to the keyboard, typing quickly is no problem.
In fact, I wrote this entire review on the MacBook and not once did I wish to switch keyboards.
Apple introduced the Force Touch Trackpad last year and it’s rapidly turned into Apple’s best Trackpad yet.
Rather than using a pad that moves with each physical click, this Trackpad is static and instead uses haptic feedback to mimic that familiar clicking sensation. It’s rather remarkable, and I would swear that the trackpad moved if I didn’t know better.
As well as being extremely responsive and working perfectly with all OS X’s multi-touch gestures, there’s an additional trick, too: Force Touch.
Activated by clicking and then pushing a little harder to operate a secondary click, Force Touch gives you another way to interact with OS X. This can be to pop up a preview window or to quickly rename a file; in all cases, it’s just a neat way to do something quickly.
Even though the 12in screen is comparatively small, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Thanks to the almost edge-to-edge display, all you see when you open the lid is that screen.
With its high resolution of 2,304×1,440 and pixel density of 227ppi, everything looks beautifully sharp and crisp.
This year, Apple has also added wider aperture pixels, which let in more light while using less power. Image quality is similar to last year, too, with the MacBook continuing to have one of best screens out there.
If there was one thing I wanted from last year’s Macbook, it was more performance, and Apple’s new choice of Core M processors deliver.
The entry-level model has a dual-core Core m3 processor, which runs at 1.1GHz, but can Turbo Boost to 2.2GHz.
I also tested the faster dual-core Core m5 processor, which also has Hyper-Threading. This runs at 1.2GHz, but can Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz.
The models are 20% and 35% faster, respectively, than last year’s processor. That’s enough that for most people, myself included, there’s enough power on tap for most daily tasks.
Advanced photo and video editors will still prefer the power of the MacBook Pro, but I could comfortably use the MacBook as my everyday computer.
Better batteries, which fill the case, a screen that uses less power and a more efficient processor all add up to the point where this MacBook lasts one hour longer than the previous model.
In the Expert Reviews battery test, which plays a video back with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2, the MacBook lasted an impressive 10h 12m.
That shows it’s got more than enough charge to get you through a day’s work, and the choice of processor won’t affect things either, as the Core m3 and Core m5 models lasted just as long during our tests.
Again, there’s a choice of a 256GB model or the faster Core m5 model with a 512GB SSD. Both SSDs are faster PCIe models and they’re seriously quick, making the MacBook feel more responsive.
As good as last year’s model was, I felt like I really needed a good excuse to justify buying one.
This year’s model, however, with its better battery life, faster storage and quicker CPU is a laptop that needs no such vindication.
If portability is the most important thing to you, there’s simply nothing else like it; if you need more raw power, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still a lot quicker.
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