Apple MacBook review

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

As it stands though battery life is a strength of the new machine. In our light use tests we got just under nine hours, which is very impressive. Running Windows 7 under boot camp we obtained just shy of six hours - still a good return, considering it doesn't support the native power saving features. Apple states seven hours, so from what we've seen, that seems a fair assessment.

In terms of new design, the single trackpad of the MacBook Pro has now arrived on the MacBook, doing away with the separate pad and button affair. It's been a while since we've used this and we have to say we like it a lot. We know from personal experience that the mouse button has a tendency to stick, so removing it ensures there's one less thing to go wrong. Using gestures to scroll is straightforward, and tapping to select feels comfortable.

Another area of improvement is the display. The 1,280x800, 13.3in screen is now LED backlit, and it's genuinely better than the older model. Bright, clear and vibrant are words that spring to mind. Meanwhile, the keyboard is decidedly less rattley than its predecessor and is better to type on.

Under the hood the MacBook is now powered by a 2.26GHz Core 2 duo, 2GB of RAM comes as standard and there's a decent 250GB of hard disk space. In our benchmarks under Windows 7, the result of 1.13 is respectable, and Mac OS X always feels nippier.

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Overall, this is a machine that we think will fit comfortably into any small business looking at Macs. The extra durability from the chassis, the improved display and the introduction of the button-free pad are all welcome additions.

It's a shame that it's 50 more than the older model though. And while Apple puts this down to the weak pound, it also puts it dangerously close to the price of the entry level MacBook Pro, which has an even better chassis, and adds an SD card and FireWire. That's the model we'd ultimately recommend, but if you're penny pinching - a relative concept at this price - this is still a fine way to enter the world of Mac.

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.

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

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