The Good The new 12-inch MacBook adds an advanced keyboard mechanism from the MacBook Pro line. New processor and RAM options mean better performance.
The Bad Little else has changed, including the absence of ports beyond a single USB-C connection. You still can’t get more powerful Intel core processors.
The Bottom Line This slim favorite mini-MacBook suddenly feels like it could be your everyday laptop.
Full disclosure: I have had a strong commitment to the 12-inch MacBook since it was first introduced in 2015. I’m sure he was underrated and had a disgustingly flat keyboard. And it had only one USB-C port – still an exotic novelty – both for power and data. But I liked how thin and light it was, its great high resolution display, and how I could get all the useful features of OS X (now called macOS) in something so simple to take away and carry with me.
However, this was not for everyone. Longform printers would be shut down due to the lack of tactile feedback from the shallow keyboard, its Core M processor could hear even when only a bunch of web browser tabs were running, and everything from USB keys to HDMI cables now needed to use many keys.
Still, I persist. At the beginning of 2016, I realized how grown up I was as this unusual laptop. I wrote:
“Despite testing and using just about every new laptop or 2-in-1 hybrid released in the last year, I find myself going back to the 12-inch MacBook again and again, which was my default for those times when I needed a laptop which is quick and easy to pick up and use.The MacBook has the same magical quality as the iPad did, which is that it provides the perfect living room sofa because it is lightweight, comes to life when I lift the lid, and is small enough so as not to disturb “.
The second generation since early 2016 added slightly more than a slightly faster processor, essentially the same handset. Still a good, but still niche product for those who might live within its mechanical limitations.
Now, in the third version of the 12-inch MacBook presented at the Apple WWDC 2017 conference, the MacBook is confidently moving from a favorite cult to the main machine. A series of internal updates make a world of difference and should make it easier to choose a MacBook compared to the larger MacBook Pro or the still outdated MacBook Air.
Apple MacBook (2017)
|Price as reviewed||$1,300|
|Display size/resolution||12-inch 2,304 x 1,440 display|
|PC CPU||1.2GHz Intel Core m3-7Y32|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz|
|Graphics||1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 615|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||MacOS 10.12.5 Sierra|
The more things change
Let’s first get out of things a few things. The MacBook case doesn’t change, along with the size and resolution of the display. If it didn’t work for you before, it won’t work now. A more in-depth study of the design of the MacBook can be found in my review of the 2016 version, which is physically identical to this one.
A little bigger elephant in the room: The only port is still one USB-C (and it’s not Thunderbolt-enabled), so if you regularly plug in USB keys, an external display, or any other gear, it will still a hassle. There are USB-C keys and adapters for each event, but they are inconvenient and often expensive. A simple USB-C to USB-A adapter costs $ 20, while Apple’s large multi-port key, which gives you HDMI, USB-A, and USB-C (the latest in charge), is $ 70.
But USB-C is now much more mainstream than it was a couple of years ago when Dell, HP, Samsung and other PC makers took it, though not to this extreme. Apple’s MacBook Pro models are also USB-C only, but they offer between two and four ports of everything.
More clicks for your keys
The biggest complaint I’ve heard over and over again about the 12-inch MacBook in its first two incarnations was that its superclass keyboard just never felt quite right. It lacked tactile feedback and the keys were too different from the standard island style keys found on just about any other laptop that existed.
When the 2016 MacBook Pro adopted such a flat keyboard, it at least improved the butterfly mechanism (an x-like launcher under separate keys on the keyboard), making typing feel more substantial, even if some people still gave in an advantage of the old-style traditional MacBook Pro keyboard.
Now the 12-inch MacBook has adopted an advanced second-generation butterfly mechanism from the Pro line. Even though the keyboard looks the same, I can fully determine the difference – there is a noticeable click and a spring to the keyboard that was previously missing.
As someone who has typed hundreds of thousands of words in both previous generations of a 12-inch MacBook, I am very surprised at how well this keyboard feels. My favorite latex laptop keyboard is probably the traditional island style on a new surface laptop ($ 630 at Walmart) , and it’s still not so welcoming to long-form text input. But if you turned off your MacBook earlier via a keyboard, it more than deserved a second look.
What is new here is the transition to modern Intel processors – Intel calls this generation Kaby Lake, but it is indeed the seventh generation of Core-Series processors. The default is still the Intel Core m3, a low-power chip designed for thin devices that take a long time to run, but are not designed for extreme multitasking or high-end video editing. It’s not as versatile as the most basic Core i CPU U i processors found in most premium laptops, but frankly, it’s fast enough for everyday tasks like writing, web browsing, streaming video and social media.
Immerse yourself in the configuration options offered by Apple, and you may be surprised to see the low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 Intel processors now available as (expensive) additional options.
The 1.2 GHz Core m3 base model is still $ 1299, while the 1.3GHz dual core Intel Core i5 is $ 1599 and the Core i7 dual core is $ 1749. Now, RAM can be increased from 8GB to 16GB for an additional $ 200, and Apple says SSD storage is now 50 percent faster.
Now, before you get excited about browsing the Core i5 / i7 processor options, remember that these are Intel Y Series processors. Faster than the default Core m3, but still very efficient parts designed to charge your battery for high performance. In previous generations, Intel would have called them Core-m chips, but current versions were “advanced” to the Core-i name.
The Core m3 model is tested here. In daily multitasking and test performance, it performed as expected faster than the previous generation of 12-inch MacBook, but still did not fit something with the standard Core i5 U-series. More important to most, I suspect, is battery life. There has been little movement here since last year when the new MacBook runs at 10:26 am while testing video streaming battery. This is still at the top of the list for notebook battery life many Windows laptops now play in the same ballroom . Laptops have been around longer and are good for everyone.
Ready for prime time
The 12-inch MacBook has remained fairly stable over its three generations, with the same slim 2.03-pound body and high-resolution Retina display. You’re still stuck in the same great 480p webcam, and it’s the only USB-C port for all your power and connectivity needs, which will be a deal breaker for many.
With these limitations in mind, the advanced keyboard and faster processor settings feel like a real step forward. Simply put, the best version is a 12-inch MacBook so far. The only thing that doesn’t allow me to call this new default MacBook that you have to keep in mind is that the more powerful, more flexible 13-inch MacBook Pro (with the exception of an additional touchpad) has reduced the price to the same $ 1299 – though it only includes half the memory (128GB) 12-inch for the same price. One is energy, the other is the exercise of strict minimalism. If I had to choose between having a frequent laptop in a cafe, I would put my thumb on the scale of this 12-inch MacBook (and yes, I’m typing those words on the new 12-inch MacBook at Manhattan Coffee Shop right now).
|Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2017)||Apple MacOS 10.12.5 Sierra; 1.2GHz Intel Core m3-7Y32; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)||Apple El Capitan OSX 10.11.4; 1.2GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 515; 512GB SSD|
|Microsoft Surface Laptop||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD|
|LG Gram 13||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 13 2 in 1||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-7Y75; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD|