2015 MacBook First Impressions.
I’m trying out a 12” MacBook to see if it can replace my dying work Mac. After using it for 3 days i am ready to share some first impressions.
The MacBook is not like other Macs. The engineering approach and the design is borrowed heavily from the iPad line.
If an iPad and a MacBook Air had a baby, it would be the 12” MacBook. This is both good and bad.
On the good side:
- Extremely portable – even more portable (and comfortable!) than the 11” MacBook Air. It’s so light and thin it makes the retina MacBook Pro feel heavy
- Retina Screen – fantastic quality display
- Fanless – nothing moves on the inside at all.
- Charges from USB wall socket
- Really pleasing design and the colour matchs my phone.
And on the bad side:
- Just one port
- Super shallow keyboard.
- No upgradability at all, not even the SSD.
- No Magsafe power adator.
Over the course of the last three days i have used the Macbook on 2 different desks, on the sofa, in bed and in the back of a taxi.
It worked well in all places. It worked really well in the back of a taxi. It fits on my lap with space to get a comfy typing position.
When on my lap, the low weight is also a problem. It will bounce of my lap when i am typing fast. I have to keep a little finger out to hold it in place!
I have used it for writing, coding, chatting, light photo editing and for generating speech.
It’s worked, but for tasks like coding and light image editing it’s is a bit slow. I would be skeptical of how long this laptop would last as a coding machine. For work it needs to last 3 years, I think that might be a bit ambitous. It may just work as a personal machine, but it’s hard to tell.
It’s not as capable as i am use too, so i have to think about how i am using it and make sure i close tabs etc.
Even with careful managing of resources it still feels a little bit laggy in places.
Is this the future?
I can’t write about the MacBook without addressing the question about it’s place in “the future of computing”.
Apple tends to set trends, the MacBook Air started the last wave of ultraportables and it possible the MacBook will start a new wave of “ultra ultra portables”.
That makes it interesting. The real achievement is not in the performance but in the power used. It does with 6 watts of power what took 15 watts a few years ago and 45 watts 4 years ago.
I think one day we will see an ARM Mac (the iPad Pro is very close!) but i dont think thats going to happen too soon. The MacBook is impressive, for its size, but from my first impressions you do have to be a light user to live within its limits.
I think apple is on to a winner with the basic concept for the MacBook. For some users this Mac would be an all day capable machine, like the Air, it might be another generation or two before thats true for most users.
I am impressed with the MacBook but i think i can already rule it out as a work laptop. I can’t see it is lasting three years even for the lightest of coding tasks. A Retina MacBook Pro + iPod Touch is a better combination. Proper laptop when i need it and a super portable device for when i am on the move.
For personal use i can consider an upgrade earler in the cycle. To changes from my current MacBook would cost me about £150-200 and that’s not a huge price to pay for a laptop which may better fit my personal computing needs.
This is only a first impression, so i will see how it works out over the coming week before i make a decision.