I decided to buy Apple’s latest MacBook almost two weeks ago and, as my return window starts to close, I’ve decided not to keep it.
The device, which hit retail stores in June, is highly portable and a gorgeous machine, but it’s not powerful enough for what I need. Most shoppers will probably be better served by the entry-level MacBook Pro, which is the same price and has a more powerful processor and more USB-C ports.
The MacBook’s hardware hasn’t changed since it was introduced a couple of years ago. It’s still Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook and has a sharp and high-quality display, unlike the MacBook Air. But its starting price of $1,299 is too high for a computer with Intel’s relatively underpowered Core m3 processor.
I was surprised to find that I was able to use Photoshop, even though an employee at the Apple Store told me I’d be able to, at best, download the app. It wasn’t fast enough for me to batch edit photos quickly, but it was good enough to adjust the brightness and size of about a dozen images for another review.
There are a few other bright spots.
The battery life is pretty good, getting me through the workday just fine. I also really enjoyed the speakers, which sound far more powerful than you’d expect out of a machine this thin. And speaking of thin, I hardly noticed the MacBook while carrying it in my laptop bag to and from work.
The keyboard and trackpad are also excellent. The keys don’t have much give to them, but I adjusted and was typing out articles quickly within an hour or so. The trackpad is spacious, large and accurate for selecting objects on the screen and scrolling through long documents and lists.
The single USB-C port has garnered plenty of criticism, so I apologize for piling on top.
It just isn’t enough to have a single port on a computer. I needed a dongle for a standard-sized USB key press kit, for example, and yet another dongle for importing photos with my camera’s SD card. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except the laptop can’t charge while you’re using these dongles.
Also, while the display was certainly sharp enough for me, it felt cramped. To attach a monitor to the laptop, I needed yet another dongle.
As the dongle orders from Amazon piled up, I decided this just wasn’t a notebook I could keep – at least not after coughing up $1,299.
I’m considering giving the entry-level MacBook Pro a whirl, but I’m still worried about the dongle problem. I guess it’s back to carrying my chunky work laptop for the foreseeable future, or maybe it’s time to give the Surface Pro another spin.