I walked into the Apple Store in San Francisco tonight fully expecting to walk out with a brand-new MacBook Pro — the 2.53 GHz model, if at all possible. After 30 minutes playing with all of Apple’s latest laptops, I was stunned to find myself instead walking out the door with a 2.4 GHz MacBook and a smile on my face.
The Top Line: The Aluminum MacBook is the perfect heir to the 12″ PowerBook G4. It’s light, rugged, and meant to be used as a true laptop — it actually runs cooler than my 12″ PowerBook from 2003. Apple hit it out of the park with this thing, and I couldn’t be more delighted. To learn why, click through.
A Lust Object With Strength to Spare
If you were wondering just why Steve Jobs was so obsessed with the manufacturing process on the new MacBooks, five seconds with the new line should clear up any confusion. The new MacBooks are beautiful, strong, and lighter than I could have guessed. I would say my new lappy is impossibly thin, but I have played with a MacBook Air, so I won’t pretend that’s the case. In every regard, it’s stronger, less flexible, and more rugged than any consumer laptop in history. Seriously. You could throw this thing against a wall, and you would break the wall, not your MacBook. And it’s so nice to have a magnetic latch on an aluminum Mac the interaction is just phenomenal. This is a road warrior’s dream.
Stunning Screen and Magnificent Keyboard
Switching over from a 12″ PowerBook was a snap. If I didn’t know better, I would say that Apple has positioned the top of the trackpad at the same distance from the keyboard, which has meant I’ve started typing more rapidly on this thing than on any new Mac I have ever picked up. The LED glossy screen is also significantly prettier than I was expecting. Reflections are less than I anticipated, and movies look really pretty here — nice dark blacks and incredibly popping colors.
Setting iPhoto (And Everything Else) to Overdrive
I know this will make me sound like someone who’s moving on from a six-year-old computer, but I can’t believe how much better iPhoto performance is now. I can scroll through thousands of photos in seconds and have all of them render. The graphics performance is so much better than the previous generation that it feels like a completely different kind of machine. HD video performance is absolutely flawless — dramatically better than what I’ve seen on the past White MacBooks. I’m in the process of downloading the Doom 3 demo to test 3-D performance, and I’ll report back once I’ve gotten a chance to mess around with it.
A steal at well, OK, at its own price
As many others have mentioned, this computer is not cheap — it’s a bit more expensive than the previous generation black MacBook, but it also delivers so much more, it’s hard to be bothered by the price difference. In addition to everything previously mentioned, hard drive upgrades are a snap — all you do is flip it over, pop a hatch, and swap. It’s really great. RAM upgrades are trickier, but I’ve got 4GB on the way from Crucial right now, so I’ll let you know how that goes, too. For now, the performance with only 2GB is excellent.
Mini DisplayPort is Still Stupid
Yeah, I’m not going to let this go.