Apple MacBook review

Apple has given its entry level laptop a spruce up. We take a look at the enhancements in this review.

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Reviews
6 Nov, 2009
3
Price 
£695
ex. VAT
Verdict 
Apple's new unibody polycarbonate construction brings a near, but not quite, premium feel to the MacBook, which is most definitely needed. The only real issue is that it's not much cheaper than the even better starter MacBook Pro.

Apple demonstrated that it didn't need a full-on international media event to launch new products recently, when it quietly and unfussily unveiled a range of new hardware. The two major additions were a new MacBook and updated iMacs, and it's the former that we're looking at here.

Since the release of Snow Leopard, Apple has become more attractive to businesses thanks to Exchange support being baked directly into the operating system itself. Macs are expensive propositions compared to PC laptops, so it's always a little galling that the entry level machine offered frankly poor build quality. This was very much brought into focus when Apple introduced its aluminium uni-body MacBook Pro - leaving the white MacBook as something of a poor relation.

Clearly the aluminium unibody was too expensive an option to extend down the line, or Apple wanted to keep things separate purely for marketing reasons. Either way, the aluminium MacBook made only a brief appearance, leaving the much inferior, but cheaper, white model to fend for itself.

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Apple was clearly conscious of the need to improve the quality of this machine and we can say with confidence that it has succeeded in this regard. The refreshed machine now features a similar unibody construction to the MacBook Pro, only instead of aluminium, Apple has used polycarbonate - the same material used in CDs and DVDs.

The benefits of the new design are immediately apparent as it feels much sturdier and stronger than the previous version. It’s also a tad more rounded off at the corners, and as it's in one piece, there are no nasty gaps around the edges, which were prone to grime and breakage.

Things have also been simplified at the base as there are no rubber feet to come off. Instead, there's just one large rubber base. However, this means that the battery is no longer removable, so should it ever lose its staying power you'll need to send the whole thing away for repair.

Specifications 

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz

Memory: 2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB

Hard disk: 250GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive

OS: Mac OS X v10.6

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

Display: 13.3in, 12,80x800

Ports: 2x USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps), MagSafe power port, Gigabit Ethernet port, Mini DisplayPort, Audio in/out, Kensington lock slot

Connectivity:

Dimensions: 650 x 207 x 517mm (WDH)

Warranty: 1yr