2015 MacBook

MacBook 2015After an absence of several years, Apple has revived the MacBook line as an amazingly thin, energy efficient, extremely portable computer ideal for students and travelers. We both love and hate it.

While the MacBook line was on hiatus, the MacBook Air line was the light weight, portable computer for students and travelers. So far, the MacBook Air is still around, is still a good choice, and is available in both 11″ and 13″ screen sizes. The new MacBooks have a 12″ screen…a compromise that eliminates the need to make two sizes.

Love it

• Extremely thin and light weight.

• 12″ screen is a good compromise We barely noticed any screen size difference between MacBooks we’ve tested and 13″ MacBook Air screens.

• 512GB of storage should be plenty for students and business travelers.

• It doesn’t feel sluggish, even though its 1.1 or 1.2GHz dual core Intel M processors are half the speed of the slowest MacBook Pro processors, and even slower than those in the MacBook Air line.

How did Apple make it feel fast?

Of course the logic board and all internal components have been optimized for speed, but the amazingly fast flash storage is the secret sauce. The traditional hard drives we’ve all used for years depend on a motor spinning a magnetically coated disk and moving a read/write head across the surface of that disk…much like an old turntable. That mechanical/magnetic technology can’t perform nearly as fast as solid state chips doing the same job…so the drives Apple uses in the new MacBooks are solid state drives, made entirely of RAM chips. No moving parts, no magnetism, and dramatically faster.

Hate it

• There is only one connector on this computer, an Apple Micro USB-C connector. It’s the place you connect the charger. And, of course if the charger is connected, you can’t connect anything else. No USB drive maker is using this connector, yet it is possible to plug a USB device or an external monitor into a MacBook…with a USB-C Digital AV Multipart Adapter, available for only $79 from Apple, and strongly pushed when you buy the MacBook. It includes one USB port, one HDMI port, and a passthrough USB-C port for connecting the charger at the same time.

• Apple’s latest computers are not upgradable after-market like their older models. The RAM and drive it comes with are the RAM and drive it will have for its lifetime. When they aren’t sufficient, Apple wants to limit your solution to replacing the entire computer, not upgrading it.

Bottom Line

Students and business travelers buying the new MacBook won’t be disappointed with its performance…at least not while running OS X or XI and the programs available now and for the next two o three years. The slimness and portability of this computer are remarkable, but most of us would have to carry a selection of adapters with it. We think this computer rates 3.4 on a scale of 1-5.