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Manufacturer- Apple Features Processor- 2GHz Pentium Intel Core 2 Duo, 3MB cache Memory/RAM- 2GB – 2 x 1 GB sticks 1067 MHz DD3 Hard-drive Space- 160GB Graphics chipset- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, 256 MB DVD Superdrive Screen size- 13.3 inches TFT, Widescreen USB- 2.0 x 2 Ethernet Adaptor Airport Bluetooth Audio input socket Inbuilt microphone Inbuilt camera Mini display adaptor- unfortunately it doesn’t come with a lead Mag-safe 60w lead Operating System- Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
This model doesn’t come with a remote as standard- which annoyed me because I had to sell my other one as it was part of my other laptop’s original accessories.
People ‘s main complaint with Apple is that their products are way too expensive, and that having a Mac is far inferior to a PC- but this is mainly down to the fact that they were poorly powered yet overpriced. Over the last few years that has started to change, in fact Apple is making advances in laptops that most PC’s of a similar price still don’t have. They already include built in microphones, cameras, wifi and Bluetooth. They also tend not to suffer from the common PC problem of viruses- something to do with the operating system I think. Unfortunately even though you get more for your money now, they are still quite an expensive purchase.
I am a graphic design student and 3 years ago I decided to purchase my first Macbook. I had to pay for it in instalments though, but for me it was liberating to have not only my own laptop but also to be able to practice working. I finally finished paying for it early last year. By then I had had problems with it, such as the laptop not communicating with the battery, the hard drive burning out and the casing on the keyboard breaking off. The laptop itself also got quite hot after it had been on a while. When a part came off from the side I was like enough’s enough, you’re going to the shop my friend. My decision may also been influenced by the fact I had seen the new aluminium bodied Macbook that had just been released advertised that week. Now my Mac wasn’t that out of date, especially as some computers in Uni were using G4’s still, but I was still using Tiger operating system. Now it was going to cost me up to £100 just to upgrade my current Mac to Leopard anyway, and the fact that I could purchase a brand new Macbook made from aluminium, with improved battery and processor power, a new year’s warranty and with Leopard included. With student discount I would only have to pay £800 and I could get the new model of iPod for only £14. That was substantially cheaper than the £1200 I paid for the previous Mac two years ago- although I did pay for it monthly.
I was one of the first people in my group to own the new generation of Mac and had people coming up to me and asking about it. I felt a bit smug really. Then people started showing up with 15 and 17 inch versions and I was like CRAP! How could they afford them?
Design Aside from being made aluminium, they have vastly reduced the thickness of the laptop itself, the screen in now a lot thinner. This makes the laptop itself a lot lighter than it should be consider it’s metal. Even the box it came in is smaller. This is probably Apple’s attempt at being ecological.
Data transfer During set-up I was given the option of transferring data from my older Mac over its wireless connection. It took several hours to complete, during which time I had no access to either Mac. Unfortunately it didn’t transfer a lot of the programs properly and I ended up having to reinstall them. Despite that, it still surpassed the insanely difficult time I had when I attempted to do the same with two windows computers. Bluetooth transfer is also a lot easier than with a PC. I regularly use it to transfer stuff too and from my phone.
Battery Now I had problems with my previous laptop, in that it wouldn’t communicate with it’s battery, and would often shut down even if fully charged. I eventually got this fixed, but it took such a long time. I also didn’t like the fact the battery indicator was on the base of the actually laptop, which meant to double-check how much power you had you had to turn the laptop upside down. Apple have since fixed this problem but putting the indicator on the side- much more accessible. The battery itself is not more compact and built inside the actually case rather than as part of it. This does leave me with the problem of keep having to remove the case part to get inside, which is quite dodgy, especially since I dented the side and it doesn’t seem to fit evenly now. The plus side is, smaller battery, lighter laptop and considering it is more compact, it packs a lot more of a punch. Fully charged I can get about just over 4 hours- compared to just over 2 in my old model. It still doesn’t give out the right battery times though- sighs. Apple have been recently praised over the fact their laptops a lot more energy efficient than most others on the market. Apparently now they run on less energy than a light-bulb- 60W. This I am inclined to believe due to the fact the computer no longer gets boiling hot after an hour and nor does it’s fan make an insanely loud noise either, in fact this makes barely makes any noise. The magnetic lead has been devised as a way to prevent accidents because in the event of someone tripping over the lead, it will come off rather than pull the Mac on the floor. I admire their effort to improve safety, but it does get annoying when the lead falls out all the time when I’m trying to charge.
Speakers Now most people will tell you that the previous Macbooks had a little trouble with sound- in that they practically had none. Honestly it was ridiculous, most of the time I had to stick earphones in just to hear anything. No such problem with this model. The speakers are much louder. You might still struggle to host a part with them but I am a lot happier with them, plus I have speakers anyway. The speakers on the 15 and 17-inch models seem huge, as they are visible on the sides of the keyboards. I’m not sure how good they are due to my lack of familiarity with these models.
Gaming Two words really- forget it. My Mac is purely for work and Internet usage. Don’t get me wrong I would love to play games on here, but the fact that it is so expensive to get a Mac based equivalent of PC games. It’s a shame really because with these specs, especially 256MB graphics, I could easily run most of my games on a Windows based laptop with the same specs.
Track-pad They have altered the track-pad for this model, basically by making the button inbuilt. It makes the laptop look tidier but to be honest I preferred having a button. I don’t know who ever decided to exclude a right click button from Macs but they were a bit stupid if you ask me- right click makes my job so much simpler. I still prefer to use a mouse to work with anyway.
Running Fortunately I have had no real problems with this Mac compared to the previous model. As I said, it never gets hot. Macs are designed to be a lot simpler to run than PCs. The Mac comes with most of it’s programs installed Leopard has some improvements over Tiger such as the new menu options. What I do hate though is the rather annoying zoom option that starts ups when you press the wrong button, and there is no way to turn the option permanently off.
Damaged Now even though it is made from aluminium, it is still vulnerable to damage, in fact one person did warn me not to buy a metal laptop because it could get dented or scratched. Sure enough he was right. Within the first weeks it slid of my bed and now there is quite a noticeable dent in the side and a chip on the front. Several other dents have appeared throughout the year, one may be from when Laila accidentally trod on it. The worst thing is scratches- I would not advise dragging it across a table cause the bottom tends to get scratched fairly easily. Having a case/skin would be a good idea, but unfortunately they have only just been bought our and they are £40 each.
Would I recommend this? There is nothing really wrong with this Mac, other than that it is slightly underpowered compared to the more recent models. That may be a reason why you can’t actually get this model anymore.
In retrospect it probably wasn’t the best decision to purchase it so early on, because Apple usually alter the models after a few months, and sure enough they did. The newest model for the same price comes with an even more improved battery of up to 7 hours, a faster processor, an inbuilt SD slot and a backlit keyboard. They even put the fire-wire port back in to the 13inch model. They no longer go under the term Macbooks though; they are all not part of the Pro family because they all pretty much pack the same power, just different screen sizes. It also left me fairly short for the next few months despite it being cheaper than my old one.
Given the choice I would like to purchase at least the 15-inch pro, because I feel I would benefit from more processor speed and RAM. One of my tutors also told me that the size of the screen on this Mac is appalling and how could I work with such thing. I would also like a little more hard-drive space. I have heard that you can run windows on a Mac simultaneously with Leopard, but it would require a drive partition. Erasing my hard-drive is not something I really want to do, but I would like to be able to play my games on my laptop at some point. As a Macbook is a pretty essential tool for me, I will no doubt have to upgrade in the future. I just hope I have as few problems with newer models in the future as I have had with this current one.
Apple have been praised as being one of the few laptop providers that are mending their ways when it comes to eco-friendly manufacturing. I say kudos Apple, keep up the good work.
To Ciao Members- As usually if you find any problems with my opinion, or there is anything you would like me to include that I didn't, as usually your comments are well appreciated.
Really informative and very well written, great review x
CrazyJamie 09.08.2009 22:29
Good review. Regarding the gaming, just find yourself a copy of Windows XP (you can still get them on Ebay new) and install it using Bootcamp. Then like magic your Mac will be able to run Windows when you want it to, satisfying your gaming needs in one fell swoop.