Apple’s stunning MacBook is a few years old but, despite its age, this laptop still looks like it’s arrived from the future.
The ultimate portable PC packs a powerful performance in a device that’s not much thicker than a beer mat.
The svelte design makes it one of the most appealing MacBooks Apple has ever made.
Now the super-slim computer has had a refresh with faster performance and improved design. StarTech has been putting it to the test.
It’s no surprise that Apple hasn’t tinkered too much with the design.
When it first launched in 2015, the MacBook quickly became one of the most desirable laptops ever and it certainly hasn’t lost an ounce of its charm.
Its sleek aluminium shell oozes class, and the lightweight design means you’ll hardly notice when it’s tucked inside your bag.
Although there’s no obvious changes to the way the new 2017 MacBook looks, Apple has upgraded the keyboard.
These latest keys are a huge improvement over the original laptop with it feeling more precise and enjoyable to use.
You’ll also find Apple’s clever Force Touch trackpad which makes all of the Windows competition feel like they are stuck firmly in the past.
With no moving parts, the high- tech surface sends a subtle haptic buzz through the trackpad, which feels almost indistinguishable from a traditional click.
It means you can tap anywhere on the trackpad and get the same top-notch experience. The new MacBook also keeps its 12-inch Retina Display which continues to offer pin-sharp viewing.
Although things don’t look hugely different from the outside there is one major difference tucked under the hood of the new laptop.
Powering this machine is the latest Kaby Lake processor, which really helps improve the whole MacBook experience.
We had no problems editing video and photos, with the MacBook powering through tasks without any signs of a stutter. Battery life is also impressive with it lasting for about 10 hours without needing a refill. When things do run low, charging is performed via the one USB-C port you’ll find on the side.
USB-C is fast becoming the preferred way to charge and transfer data but it’s a shame Apple still hasn’t managed to squeeze two ports into the latest laptop.
Finally, we have to mention the price, and this is possibly where we have the biggest issue with the MacBook.
There’s no doubting that this is an incredible piece of kit, but it lands on your lap with a starting price of £1,249 – that’s the same price as the entry-level but more powerful, MacBook Pro.
VERDICT – 4/5
We’ve always been a huge fan of the MacBook and this update improves the experience even further.
It is a stunning piece of technology but owning one does come at a high price and we can’t help thinking that £1,249 is simply too steep.
But if you want the ultimate portable PC you really won’t find anything better.
Whats Everyone Else Saying?
Tech Radar – 4.5/5
To be honest, given its exorbitant price for what’s on offer hardware-wise, we’re a bit annoyed that we like the 2017 12-inch MacBook as much as we do. Simply put, the laptop is rather easily out-classed in terms of pricing by many rivals in terms of brass tacks components, from storage capacity to ports to screen sharpness.
However, the feel of using this laptop on a daily basis is where it manages to hold its ground in the competition. Apple’s latest MacBook design has proven to be inimitable over the past couple years, delivering an experience that’s both performant and lightweight in ways that most other laptops can’t.
Simply working on something or browsing the web from the couch with our legs crossed feels better on this laptop than it does most others we’ve tested. Throwing this MacBook into a backpack – and perhaps even forgetting the charger – feels as if nothing is in there. Yet, what comes out is a laptop that wakes up instantly and won’t slow down short of gaming or intense graphical editing work.
If you can get past a price tag that’s high even for Mac fans, then prepare to enjoy what’s surprisingly the best MacBook in years – Pro or otherwise.
STUFF – 5/5
This isn’t a perfect notebook, then, nor probably even a perfect MacBook. But this laptop is nonetheless ridiculously lovely to use. Yes, I’d like a webcam beyond 480p, and for the keyboard to be a bit quieter, but the unit feels solid, the screen is great, and the battery lasts for ages.
Last year, Stuff suggested perhaps trawling for refurbs, but that advice no longer holds up, given the improvements Apple’s made to performance and usability. The real question is whether you should instead plump for a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The latter has crossover with the MacBook, in terms of pricing, and for not too much additional outlay, you get more power and ports, but also more heft. It’s a better bet if you need the extra clout and connectivity.
The MacBook Air’s time is over, though. It looked the business when Steve Jobs pulled one out of an envelope in 2008, but is surely now only hanging around to have Mac laptops start at under a grand. Unless you really can’t stretch to the MacBook’s price tag, it’s time to consign the MacBook Air to history.