Apple turned the tech world on its ear when it introduced its sleek, sexy MacBook last year.
Then as now, the MacBook was a piece of work – it’s beautifully styled, extremely thin, and very lightweight. The MacBook also served as a showcase for some of Apple’s latest technologies, including a gorgeous Retina display; a full-size and exceedingly compact ‘butterfly’ keyboard; the powerful and versatile Force Touch trackpad; and a design that optimized every bit of space available inside its thin chassis.
But in the eyes of some, the original MacBook fell somewhat short of its potential. Its groundbreaking design notwithstanding, it was found to have been a tad lacking in the horsepower department. Additionally, its single USB Type-C port was found to have been something of a constraint.
Earlier this year, Apple saw fit to update the MacBook. Have its updates managed to address the issues that supposedly hobbled the model it replaces? Check out our review of the new MacBook right here!
A mite faster
The first thing to know about the 2016 MacBook is that it’s been updated with a somewhat more powerful version of the Intel Core M processor than its predecessor came with.
The base model rocks a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor with Turbo Boost (the Intel feature that bumps up the processor speed as required) up to 2.2GHz. The higher-end model comes with a modestly faster 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz. Additionally, Apple has gifted this new unit with faster flash memory than before.
This processor and flash memory upgrade helps bump performance up a couple of notches – or maybe even more. A combination of plenty of browser tabs and memory-intensive apps – the sort of thing that would have given the original MacBook fits and which would have locked it up rather easily – was dealt with adroitly by our test unit.
In addition, although we haven’t put it through its paces in this department, we hear that this new MacBook is able to manage some video editing – not something its predecessor was really capable of doing.
A little bit more frugal
This increase in power notwithstanding, the 2016 MacBook is a bit more efficient and sips power a little less greedily than the model it replaces.
Users can now enjoy one more hour of battery life with this new model than with the last one. Our test unit lasted us most of a work day and would need to be plugged in by late afternoon, a little better than the older unit.
An extra hour’s worth of work time doesn’t seem like too much of an improvement, but any boost in battery life is always welcome, of course. Most especially given how much more capable this new laptop is vis-a-vis the previous unit.
New model, new color
Another crucial change is a cosmetic one: the new MacBook model has become the first (and to date, only) Apple laptop available in a rose gold finish.
To date, while the number of smartphones and other devices sold in this hue seems to be increasing, there don’t seem to be too many laptops available in it – yet.
While this might very well change in the near future, for now, those who choose to go with rose gold finishes for their MacBooks can rest assured that they’ll really stand out wherever they choose to haul out their laptops and use them.
Same old stuff
So what hasn’t changed from first-gen MacBook to this current one?
The MacBook continues to be Apple’s most vanishingly thin laptop, being all of 13.1mm thick and weighing a little over two pounds. And it continues to turn heads and draw glances thanks to its outstanding screen, gorgeous looks, and stylish finishes.
Sure, the competition has caught up to it in some respects – HP’s Spectre 13.3 ultrabook is thinner, for one – but few other laptops can match its heady combination of lightness and substantial construction. Not even Apple’s own MacBook Air can do it better.
The MacBook feels, as one of our colleagues puts it, “more ‘air’ than the Air.”
On that note, the MacBook continues to ooze quality and durability. Apple makes all its laptops to last, and this new MacBook is no different from any other modern Apple laptop in this respect. This one is hewn from solid aluminum, and it feels like lasting quality.
Some people may be put off by the fact that the MacBook’s keyboard feels the same as it did in last year’s version, as well as the fact that it continues to come with just one USB Type-C port.
But we argue that for its target market – those for whom lightness, a small footprint, and portability take precedence above all else – these things hardly matter, if at all.
The bottom line
So there you have it – the 2016 Apple MacBook has been tweaked to offer more power, among other features, but it’s still very much an ultralight, ultraportable laptop par excellence.
The true minimalists among us who crave a pure thin-and-light solution can continue to look to Apple to meet their needs.
The MacBook might be facing more competition than ever, but it remains one of those laptops that, having redefined the ultraportable space, continues to epitomize it for many of today’s techies.