I’m not immune from the excitement surrounding Apple’s new Macbook.
So, I trekked 8 miles down to the Apple store at the local Westfield Mall and waited my turn to touch and look at Apple’s beautiful new portable.
Fortunately, when I came home, a boyhood chum who also lives in the San Diego area called me, mentioning he had the new MacBook and invited me down to his place for a “test drive.”
Fishtailing down four lanes of I-15, I pulled into my buddy’s driveway 20 minutes after I hung up. I sat down in front of his new shiny MacBook and opened a Works document file.
I like the fit and finish of the new macbook with the 13-inch screen a great deal. The case appears solid enough to withstand earthquakes, repeated trips around campus in a back pack as well as hurried runs through hallways to ad hoc staff meetings. Solid construction is vital to any portable, since it’s yet another guarantee of product reliability On it’s shiny aluminum surfaces, Apple’s new Mac Books look tough, as in Panzer tough.
My one minor concern about this machine’s construction is based on what I know about metals and alloys. If I bought one of the new machines, I would make damn sure I also purchased a padded sleeve for it. One of the downsides of aluminum construction is that aluminum is easily scratched.
The screen on this machine may be one it’s most important feature. It’s incredibly bright and produce displays that should make most users quite happy.
In fact Video is the one application that sets the new unibody Macbook at the top of a very short list of portable computers that may be ideal for enthusiast video editing. Its nVidia graphics controller flat out delivers screamer performance and the backlit glass panel display yields stunning grsphics. I was extremely surprised to see how good displays looked on the new MacBook when I took it outside. The display gets high passing grades from me indoors or outdoors.
One downside: Apple’s use of an nVidia video controller designed for desktops may cut into battery life, but appropriate power management should address this slight shortcoming.
Another element of the new Apple unibody portables that’s apparent is this: Apple’s learned from its past mistakes. For example: the new machines come standard with an optical drive (not included in the Macbook Air) and important user interface hardware such as the keyboards and trackpad have also been changed.
I like the new raised keys used on this revamped portable line. They have above average tactile feedback. In fact, I believe the Macbook’s new keyboard is as good as anything used by Lenovo on ThinkPad machines.
I have mixed feelings on Apple’s new (glass-covered) track pad. On one hand the lack of surface tension is nice and honestly compliments using gestures for image and data manipulation. Sadly, I inadvertently sent the cursor to unexpected places on the screen two or three times during my brief test of this new portable (caused I suspect by the fact I have very large hands and am somewhat handicapped in my left hand). I quickly, however, mastered and came to admire the clickable trackpad, which seems to me to be a natural, but long-overdue extension of track pad technologies
In summary, the new MacBook’s design is nice and helps to make it standout in a crowded market. Its construction, fit and finish compliment the image of this portable’s durability. The graphics controller and screen technologies deliver an experience that’s well above average. I really do like the trackpad and keyboard on the new unibody Macbook and MacBook Pros but sincerely wish Apple had used lighted keys on this new product line’s entry level machines. I think Apple’s pricing for the unibody Macbook’s is artificially high but believe there are users who will buy them anyway.
In the grand scheme of things, aluminum unibody construction is nice, but I doubt it’s a tipping point in anyone’s purchase decision. This seems particularly true in a market where consumers are increasingly influenced foremost by price. If you buy a new unibody Macbook go the extra distance and buy a padded sleeve to cradle this notebook in your backpack, book bag or attaché case. And, unless you want to spend hours rubbing and polishing out scratches, never ever put your keys in the same luggage real estate as your new MacBook.
TGhe new Macbooks don't make it to the short list of "poroduct's I'd like to buy" because iu think it's priced to high—Jim Forbes on 11/01/2008