back to article Apple MacBook mid-2010

There’s no persuading a committed PC nerd of the unnerdy appeal of Apple’s consumer products, so I won’t bother. Whatever I write about Apple’s latest MacBook, they’ll hate it. They can buy computers for far less money that achieve better benchmark results, and serious computers are supposed to look hideous, so case closed. …

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  1. Alan Denman

    Cut but coy is codeword for ugly?

    Well having seen this in the flesh I was quite surprised how ugly the polycarbonate (the non buzzword is plastic) Macbook.

    So cure but coy is a damage limitation way of saying 'its looks are not up to Apples usual standards'?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Insert here

    This review boils down to "I love it because it's Apple"

    That is all.

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Up

      title title title

      You say that as though it is a bad thing

      It's a computer. It works. It works very well.

      The rest is a well-known back story - do you want to pay the premium for a non-pc product?

  3. Moogal
    WTF?

    Enhancements from the MBP?

    Odd, my 2006-vintage Macbook also has a magsafe power connector and magnetic latch...

    1. Mark 65
      Unhappy

      and

      The 2008 version (not sure about 2006) also has separate sockets for line-in and line-out (also headphone) that are combined optical/analog

      http://support.apple.com/kb/sp5

      It seems you now get better onboard graphics, possibly/probably battery life, same processor speed, DDR3 and a slightly bigger hard drive all for A$500 less than I paid in 2008. However there's no firewire port (great for sustained transfer rates and music industry peripherals), there's no separate line in and line out which is shit, and you have to unscrew the base rather than just remove the battery to get at things.

      His Jobs-ness giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. Given it's $500 less (doubtless in part through fx-rate movements) could the ports not have stayed using perhaps one of the smaller firewire 800 ports rather than the chunky full-fat 400 one my machine has? No USB3 seems a bit of a let-down too.

  4. aie93
    Thumb Down

    Poor build and internal design

    On the outside this laptop looks great. However, after owning one and knowing someone else who owned one you shouldn't waste you money on it! It's far better to pay a little bit more for the aluminium case and know it will work fine.

    My laptop drive broke, apparently I had bent the casing around the drive slot. There is a cheap and entirely weak frame around it. You basically can't touch the right hand side of the laptop for fear you might break it and pay out a £150 repair bill (they don't cover it with AppleCare!). I was told "not to hold it that way", which seems a line Apple decided to reuse recently! The other MacBook I know of had the plastic case break on it after just a few months, strangely they bothered to fix this one for free under warranty? Still, they took their sweet time over it.

    After two complaint letters I managed to get a refund for my MacBook and buy a MacBook Pro. I suggest you don't go through that and instead pay for a decent piece of kit in the first place.

  5. JDX Gold badge
    Terminator

    What's new?

    Since they release new versions every few months, this review would be better with a section focusing on what's different from a year ago. I have one of the aluminium MacBooks in the brief period before they returned to using plastic, and it looks otherwise identical. I _think_ the GPU and CPU are slightly different but otherwise has it changed? Is there any reason an 18 month old version is worth upgrading?

    Got to say though, the small things like the power connector and magnetic case make a big difference. The power connector especially is great.

    The display port though - JUST GIVE ME VGA!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Mini display port

      > The display port though - JUST GIVE ME VGA!!!

      Actually, the mini displayport is quite versatile, if a little annoying.

      It's versatile because you can get adapters to give you VGA, DVI _and_ HDMI. It's annoying because you have to shell out for them -- at Apple prices that would be an extra sixty quid. I got two of the three for less than £20 off ebay. Displayport (and mini-displayport) is a vesa standard so it's not as though you're trusting to some reverse-engineered knock-off.

      I don't know if the white macbook is the same as the new macbook pro, but the latter does audio over the HDMI as well.

  6. Piro

    Agreed, mostly

    The trackpad IS fantastic, although it's kind of annoying its hinged to click only at the bottom, not all over, which is what I would have expected.

    But yes, the biggest problem is that lack of ports. It's downright cynical of Apple to leave out basics like Firewire (for a Mac, you'd expect it) and an SD Card reader.

    Also, video connection is a crapshoot because they always toss away anything but the latest (mini DisplayPort in this case).

    The power management is nice too, admittedly. Still, I'd rather have a decent Dell for the array of ports and choice of configuration (and I could spec a Dell with a high res screen).

    It is pretty, though.

  7. Cameron Colley
    FAIL

    "committed PC nerd"

    So, if the MacBook isn't a Personal Computer, what is it? A fridge? Perhaps you require a dictionary?

    *awaits the irony of the grammar police*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      RE: "committed PC nerd"

      You and I know he meant "Wintards" (and maybe the odd few penguin-lovers that exist ;)

      1. Dale Richards
        FAIL

        PC

        I believe that in this context, "PC" refers specifically to IBM PC compatibles rather than all personal computers.

        There was once a time when the Mac really did run on a different architecture to IBM compatibles, so it was fair to differentiate between PCs and Macs. Since the move to Intel, however, the Apple Mac is simply a brand of PC with a custom OS.

        But don't tell anyone at Apple Marketing.

  8. tanj666
    Joke

    I guess I'm all alone now ...

    Is it just me, or this change to calculator style keyboards just some sad designers trying to relive their childhoods when used Sinclair Spectrums?

    Must these arty (read as pretentious [read as heads-up-their-own-a*^%s]) types that like them, after all they only use one finger at time anyway ;-)

    1. Volker Hett

      Although I learnt touch typing on a 1960s teletype ...

      I'm as fast on my Macbooks keyboard. It took some getting used to, but typing some 300 characters a minute is no problem.

  9. Carsten Holmskov
    Thumb Down

    Biased Article

    Right so lets start with the fact that im one of those "rabid pc fans", though not because it gets me better benchmarks, just because it's what I am most comfortable using and it supports the things I use the most.

    Reading this article, due to me also being a technie and interested in all technology, one thing I come across is how annoying the writer of this article is, again and again you come across statements that, while not saying it outright tells you "If you don't think like me, you are an idiot", such as the whole "if you don't like flat easytype keyboards like this, you are just building up to RSI and are certainly an idiot".

    In general this article smells more of Mac Pro-Bias than of any real review and more than that it smacks of "personal opinion" rather than any attempt to distance yourself and give an unbiased impression with looks from both sides of the fence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      RE: Biased Article

      I'm glad you read it before giving us your biased response!

    2. David Simpson 1
      FAIL

      More Expensive ?

      "It’s expensive, but I don’t care: if you want cheap, go buy a tombstone."

      Typical rabid iTard, Really let down by this review, for instance does the new thicker shell stop the cracking that has plagued my old white Macbook (I'm on the 3rd top case in 2 years)

      Will Apple collect and return under their warranty yet ?

      I got pretty cheesed off having to drive 16 miles outside of Edinburgh (nearest Apple store is Glasgow) to leave my Macbook in for repair then drive back a week later to collect. Even my old £300 HP (never again) was collected from my door and repaired within 3 working days.

      These are all the sticky little questions most Apple fans can't answer in a review because they are selling you the same cult like lifestyle they enjoy.

      It's expensive alright and since I can buy an Asus laptop with Core i3, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD and a 2 year collect and return warranty @ £450 I would say this Macbook is DOUBLE the cost of a normal PC not just more expensive.

  10. Robert Ramsay

    Apart from being a bit bigger

    It looks like a white version of my Asus.

    1. Monty Burns

      but thats not an Apple

      and so therefore cannot be good looking, even if it is almost an identical twin.

      Has this reviewer just given life to the old iMac fanboys?

  11. David Gosnell

    Screen aspect/resolution

    I may not be the world's biggest Apple fan, but kudos to them for sticking with the productivity-sane 1280 × 800 screen resolution when the rest of the world's gone apparently irretrievably super-widescreen crazy.

    1. karakalWitchOfTheWest

      what insane resolution?

      I just have to cope with the notebook from one of our customers which has 1280x720 (or something like that)... I am used to my 1920x1200 in my dell 15" latitude... THIS is what it should look like....

  12. Door Handle

    Numbers?

    The numbers don't seem to add up. The battery is rated at 63.5 Wh. With an average power consumption of 23W, it should run out of juice in less than 3 hours. Also, if recharging consumes merely 7 Watts then you'd expect the battery to recharge in more than 9 hours, which doesn't seem realistic.

  13. Ivan Headache

    I Like this unit ...but

    I've dealt with a number of these since they were launched but I have two serious issues with it.

    the main one is the lack of a firewire port (at the moment I'm not interested in USB3). Migrating from an older mac to one of these is a right pain in the bum. With FW it is straight forward and easy to move the entire content of an older mac to a newer, and it's relatively swift.

    The options that Apple offer to migrate your older mac to your new MacBook are quite frankly awful.

    The default mechanism is to use the WiFi connection. Four days later it may be finished - if one of the machines hasn't got bored and gone to sleep in the meantime. The alternative is to use an ethernet connection - well that probably will take half a day. But that is only part of the problem.

    In order to use the new migration system (either method) a piece of software has to be installed on the older Mac. It's on the CD that comes with the Macbook - but the installer is intel only so it won't work on a G3 or G4 mac. So you go to the Apple website to download the app from there - assuming that you can find it. Why is it so well hidden?

    Then you install it onto the older Mac - as long as it is running 10.4. Many (in fact I would say almost all of mine) clients are still running 10.3 on their G3 imacs and on their G4s.

    Therefore you have to upgrade the OS on a machine that is going to grass once the tranfer is done.

    In my experience it takes almost 6 hours to transfer an 80G mac because of this, compared to about an hour with a FW equipped mac. (And that is if all the upgrades and installs go well the first time!)

    The other issue is that the two USB ports are too close together. You cannot stick 2 USB sticks in at the same if they are not the slim variety.

    1. dylan 4

      Just run the migration tool against your external backup drive...

      ...you do have a backup don't you?<g>

      Alternatively, just pull the drive from your old macbook and put it in an external USB case, then migrate from that. Problem solved in minutes without arsing around with software installs.

      Although USB2 still suffers a theoretical disadvantage , in practice you will notice little difference compared to running migration assistant directly from another mac via FW400 (intel macbooks never got FW800).

      1. Ivan Headache

        read again

        I said I have done several of these. I am not doing the same one over again. They belong to clients. Clients who have never done back-ups.(or if they have they've done it on Sticks)

        Did I say these transfers were from Macbooks? I said G3 and G4. If you want to open up a G3 or G4 iBook, or a G4 iMac or an eMac to get the drives out you are welcome. But my clients are passing their old computers on (or selling them), they want them to stay intact.

      2. Mark 65

        @dylan 4

        "Although USB2 still suffers a theoretical disadvantage , in practice you will notice little difference compared to running migration assistant directly from another mac via FW400 "

        Really? Is that just a fact of the migration assistant? I ask because the transfer speed difference between USB2 and firewire 400 is blatantly apparent - firewire just blitzes it in sustained transfer rates so I can only assume that this is a migration assistant bottleneck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Actually, its really easy...

      Agree with you FW is essential for any laptop and that the USB are too close together (on all new Mac laptops), but there is an easy way to do the data transfer as long as both macs are on - plug a patch lead in both, it wil lauto crossover, and set to 1Gbs. Then bingo, very fast network transfers! Even at 100Mbs its quicker than USB.

  14. dz-015
    Jobs Halo

    Nice review

    Perfectly sums up why people should go for one of these, and also why nobody should listen to the idiots whining on about how they can get a quad-core Xeon monstrosity for half the price.

  15. Matt 13

    title...

    sorry, im as much of a mac fanboy as the next person... but 850?! for a Core2Duo??!! eh gads! id expect it to give me blowjobs for that!

    no 3g, but it does have wifi! thats much like saying 'this laptop comes with a battery' is there any laptop (except barebone kits) that dont have wifi??

    it is pretty, but no... just, no!!

    1. baryonic

      Keep up

      It seems you're not as attuned to the Mac universe as you think you are: As it turns out, free blowjobs *are* a built-in function of the MacBook!

      And, as far as WiFi is concerned, the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support. Contrary to your implication, that is definitely not a garden variety feature.

      BTW, how many $850 notebooks also provide Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, optical audio I/O, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU (or equivalent), LED screen backlighting, 10 hour, long life battery, and multi-touch trackpad along with the usual benefits of buying a Mac (iLife, etc.)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Keep up

        "the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support... ...that is definitely not a garden variety feature"

        Yeah actually, it pretty much is these days.

        "how many $850 notebooks also provide blah blah blah..."

        Well for a start it's not $850, it's £850 (i.e. $1,300) but since you ask there's quite a few...

        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%241300+notebook

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          O RLY/

          '"the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support... ...that is definitely not a garden variety feature"

          Yeah actually, it pretty much is these days.'

          Is it bollocks!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: O RLY

            Should I get into a semantic argument about what "garden variety" actually means or should I just say you're wrong and let you figure it out for yourself?

      2. Matt 13

        lllllll

        Well, this isnt a business laptop so the inclusion of 802.11a is a bit of a moot point... how many home users enjoy that frequency?? and isnt the whole focus of apple based on the adoption of the fastest network speeds - hell, if your a real apple fanboi you are even more limited as the airports and time machine dont support 'a' anyway!

  16. spencer
    FAIL

    Shocking summary!

    "It’s expensive, but I don’t care"

    You should bloody care, and you should factor that against both your scoring and what your getting for your cash.

    Rubbish!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Puzzled

      What business of yours is it how other people choose to spend their money?

      Do you really care? Honestly?

      1. Monty Burns
        WTF?

        because its a REVIEW!

        To be fair, a review is also an opinion and his opinion can be that he doesn't care. On the other hand, its a review and reviews should compare against equaly priced or spec'd or both, other models. When it comes to a comparison, the fanboy reviewer clearly knows that it won't come close to anything in its price range....

        And actually, he's spending yours and mine money. I stronly suspect that this was paid for by advertising which is in turn paid for by us (in the long run). If not, then its a review unit and of course he won't care but then, what an incredibly strange thing for the reviewer to say!

      2. spencer
        Headmaster

        Because....

        Normally i don't care what anyone does with their cash. But this is a reviewer for a tech article, describing a product that i might be interested in.

        In this context i think it matters how how you get for your cash. £850 is a lot whatever way you look at it.

  17. PaddyPower

    WTF?

    A review of an apple, and not a single flaming response..

    My faith in the Internet's ability to shout an opinion where none is welcome is fading..

    Lets start the ball rolling...

    "I think it looks very nice, and seems to be ideal for studenty types"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    If You Want...

    "If, on the other hand, you quite like the idea of a notebook that’s fun rather than furious, comfortable and convenient rather than cold and calculating, and looks cute rather than cacky, the MacBook could be the computer for you."

    And if you've got £900 to blow rather than £300 - cos if you're an Apple user you don't care about benchmarks OR your bank balance, you just want to go on Facebook and Twitter...

    ...like the smug PC owner who's got £600 left to blow on a life.

    Paris, cos she's blown a few in her life too...

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Gadget Show

      So you didn't see the episode of the Gadget Show where a high end Sony Vaio refused to play HD smoothly but the low end Macbook did it no problem?

      Sometimes it's worth paying more for an easier life and for an OS and hardware combination that is optimal.

      With Windows you never really know which is the best driver, the one from Microsoft or the manufacturer. You can spend hours experimenting with drivers and settings to get stability and performance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gadget show...

        Are you referring to some sort of demo where they got a laptop that physically cannot display HD, and another that can, and showed that the (apple) laptop which could not display HD played the HD movie faster (at low res) than the laptop which actually diplayed the HD thing? Is that the test you're referring to? because I saw it, too. And I can tell you, my dirt-cheap handheld can play any HD movie faster than any apple device ever made can. At 320 x 240 resolution. If the Apple box attempts to read it at 1080p. As in the test.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      RE: If You Want...

      "if you're an Apple user you don't care about benchmarks OR your bank balance, you just want to go on Facebook and Twitter..."

      Umm, I'm an Apple user. Largely because the life expectancy of my PCs was so low. The drives needed defragged on a regular basis and the registery needed cleaned and, and, and

      Then games manufacturers started moving the goalposts all the time and I had to upgrade my X, Y or Z to play their game.

      Frankly, I fix enough computer problems at work (and fanny about inside them enough) to not want to do it at home as well. My home computer is supposed to be a tool, not a chore.

      So when my PC gave up the ghost (after 4 years) I got a second-hand Mac free from a friend. It's still working btw and it's made me buy more Apple gear too. The OS is a damn sight better than the ones I have to use at work!

      1. Mark 65

        @AC 16:45

        "Frankly, I fix enough computer problems at work (and fanny about inside them enough) to not want to do it at home as well. My home computer is supposed to be a tool, not a chore."

        Amen to that, same reason for switching here.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    OMG!

    Looks crap... crap screen resolution, crap components... and crap price, wow I really want one of those!!

  20. Marc 25
    FAIL

    so...

    so... now that apple allow you (the consumer) to pop the bottom case off... you didn't think to take a screwdriver to it and take a picture of the inside for us?

    damn it

  21. Andy Fraser

    Have Apple lost the plot?

    When I bought my first MacBook nearly 4 years ago it was a good buy. It was priced in with similarly speced PC laptops. Now it's not worth the money when I can get so much more for a lot less. I love OS X but not that much that I'd pay £850 for this thing when Windows 7 isn't actually that bad.

    Let's say I was interested though. The first thing I'd want to do is upgrade the RAM to 4GB. I only usually use 1GB - 1.5GB with both OS X and Windows 7 but there are times when I need the extra memory. My old MacBook, now maxed out at 2GB, just won't cut it any more. An upgrade to 4GB for this MacBook is £80 - £85 (Apple and Crucial prices) so I'd rather pay the extra £150 for the 13" MacBook Pro and get FireWire, a SD card reader, aluminium case and backlit keyboard.

    It won't surprise me when, in a few years time maybe, Apple decouple the iPad from iTunes and sell iPads as their casual/home user portable device and drop the MacBook altogether. They're having much more luck in that space than they are in the laptop space after all.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Not in my experience

      In the last 6 months I've had three times as many MacBook/macBook Pro installations as I have had imacs. I've 1 Mac Mini and no Mac Pros.

      If you stand in the Apple store in Regent street (or at westfield) you'll see a steady stream of macbook purchasers.

      Mind You, I haven't been in the the new phone came out, But I did speak to a blueshirt at Westfield the week after the iPad came out. She said they were selling one (iPad) every two minutes.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What a piece of junk!

    So let me get this straight...for the same price, you can get a Sony Vaio with higher res. screen, an i5 in it, twice the RAM and HDD, and has a Blu-Ray drive, not the crApple components from 5 years ago, has a mountain of sockets and will give you about £150 change, and also comes in a very nifty looking design?!

    So this machine is what? typical Apple old crap they've found in the bargin bin and slapped in a fashionable case and then applied the Apple tax while they sit back looking smug at any idiots who are stupid enough to buy it. It's laughable. This machine should be £599 and not a penny more.

    This machine might of been ok a couple of years ago. Today, not a chance. Apple should improve, but then again doesn't really have a desire to due to the mentality of the userbase/fanboibase sadly.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Don't forget

      The software you have to buy for the Sony to give you same user experience that the macbook will give straight out of the box.

      Also, straight out of the box and on the internet in about 2 minutes or so (depends on your typing speed.

      Also, what's so good about having blu-ray? (truthfully!)

      1. Monty Burns

        er....

        blu-ray movies? (and yes, I do have a lot thanks very much - and I mean originals, on blu ray disks)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Horns

        RE: Don't forget

        "The software you have to buy for the Sony to give you same user experience that the macbook will give straight out of the box."

        Ha! You can't possibly mean Windows?

        If operating systems were cars, Windows would be a toy hobby-horse with a splinter than sticks into your nuts.

    2. Neill Mitchell

      Mark up

      Unfortunately too many people are daft enough to pay Apple's 43% mark up for pretty design.

      Apple doesn't have to be price competitive whilst this situation persists.

      Yes the machines are very nice to use. Yes the OS is very good. However, these arguments are no excuse for a such a stupendously greedy pricing policy. Apple even made a smug comment about their mark up when they published their last results. Like they were so clever and cool that they had achieved 43%. It's not cool, it's kicking their loyal customers in the teeth whilst stealing their wallet.

      It's also a major barrier for potential customers.

      Only two USB ports, no HDMI and bloody DisplayPort? Imagine the score and the comments if this was an HP being reviewed at this price point and spec.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        If it was an HP

        With these specs and price, I bet it wouldn't have made the 40% bar. Maybe 45% for the design. But Apple lives in a different world, folks. Get used to it. Whatever the score is, don't calculate it, double the estimate, devide by the maket share of apple relative to Microsoft, multiply by the I Want To Have Steve Jobs Babies factor, multiply again by the Apple News Tidewave Factor, add 20 just for the fun. Here you are, 80% or such. And everyone who doesn't agree just prefer chunky old IBM Thinkpads. and thus should be dismissed.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wifi Reception

    This new MacBook is going to have a new wifi antenna designed to give a longer ranger. However, If you put it on your lap, then the reception will drop out and you'll lose your connection

    1. Player_16

      That's because you're holding it wrong!

      The antennas are in the lid and around the display. (iFixit.com)

  24. anoff

    Worst review ever?

    I mean, not only is it not objective, but it doesn't really say anything, mostly just fluff about how much the reviewer is a fanboi...I don't like Apple, but I know they make quality laptops, but this review basically boils down to:

    1) I like Macs because they're made by Apple

    2) If you care at all about your computer, you should skip this review

    3) If you have no idea about anything to do with computers, you should read this review

    (though if you know that little, maybe you should find a friend to help you out instead of a fanboi)

    4) I like the keyboard

    5) It needs more ports

    6) Battery life is OK

    Why did this review take 3 pages of the reviewer gushing like a 17 yr old girl over the latest fashion accessory trend?

  25. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    Pfft

    My N95 has been able to do all of this for years, and I got it free in a box of cereal from Tesco's.

    Oh wait, this isn't an iPhone article? Bugger.

  26. Underachiever

    Hidden benefits

    We just got burgled and, incredibly, they missed the macbook sitting on the table and the ipad. We can only assume numpty thieves did not recognise macbook as a laptop because it was ..er..white and looks nice, and the ipad is perfectly disguised amongst a few books in a book shelf.

    Am astonished Steve Jobs has not pressed this as a USP, and why have reviewers not picked up on this?

    ( And yes, I know I am opening myself up to replies saying thieves have got taste etc etc hardihurhur but face it, if they can flog it they'll nick it).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      errr

      "( And yes, I know I am opening myself up to replies saying thieves have got taste etc etc hardihurhur but face it, if they can flog it they'll nick it)."

      So you're just saying that they reckonned they couldn't possibly flog the dead horsebook nor the dead horsepad. I bet they took the old stereo though. Some things never lose value.

  27. Mike Flex
    WTF?

    There’s no persuading a committed PC nerd...

    Er, no. At £849 this is an entry-level notebook at a gnat's whisker off 3 x the price of a PC one.

    At a recent Uni open day we were handed a voucher for 15% "academic discount" off an apple. Try 67%.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows PCs are cheaper and higher spec

    They don't, however, come with ilife.

    Users don't care about the OS. The question is how good is the photo and mp3 management software. Is it easy to write a letter to my bank manager?

    From Apple's sales figures, many people are willing to swap performance for ease of use.

  29. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    Unnerdy...

    Unnerdy of course means you are far more conscious of what your computer looks like than what it costs. Willing to spend well over the odds for what is essentially yesterday's technology. Willing to squeal over irrelevant details like magsafe in order to justify to yourself that the price was worth it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Oh Mr Woo, what can we do?

      Magsafe is irrelevant until you accidentally try to yank your expensive new laptop off the desk. Then it's very relevant indeed.

      And btw Mr Woo, the MacBook may indeed be 'yesterday's technology' (although I disagree with that), but it functions beautifully. Perhaps you'd like it more if it had bangin' LEDs all over the case, a 6 button trackpad, 30 minute battery life, sounded sounded like a 747 at take-off and weighed 3kg more?

      1. Player_16
        Thumb Up

        And let's not forget...

        ...a totally sick paint job-n-stickers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        747 territory

        "sounded sounded like a 747 at take-off and weighed 3kg more?"

        Erm, given that its performances (appart from its weight and size, obviously) place it firmly into netbook territory (and not even to-of-the line netbook, mind you), I think you'll find that 747 analogy more accurate than you intended it to be.

  30. blackworx
    FAIL

    Wannabe

    "Real" fanboys will look down on you,

    Everyone else will look down on you.

    Why /wouldn't/ you want to buy one?

    For £850.

    Snigger.

  31. bex

    Fine but slight issues

    SAying the magsafe plug is indestructible is just incorrect I am on my third the socket though is a work of genius. 2 GB is just not enough if you want to do anything more than one tab browsing

    1. Nicholas Smith

      2GB is just not enough?

      Really? As I've ran an older model Macbook for about 18 months with 2GB, and that's been with a code environment, Terminal, two Safari windows loaded with multiple tabs, Mail.app, iTunes, Launchbar, TextEdit, TextWrangler and so on, and so on. Never got slow down, everything was snappy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Actually...

      2GB is rather plenty for opening a whole bunch of tabs. The Core 2 Duo however... No. That's the weakest link right there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Fine but slight issues

      " 2 GB is just not enough if you want to do anything more than one tab browsing"

      It's fine on my creaky old MacBook, so why wouldn't it be on a newer one?

  32. Magnus_Pym

    Some people...

    ... buy Landrovers. They are more expensive than many other vehicles and on the usual car mag specs (0-60, top speed, etc) do not appear to be good value. They are however very usable and those that own them appreciate that.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Again, mark up

      Yes, but Landrover aren't sticking their customers with a 43% mark up. They'd go bust if they did.

      There's also a helluva difference between the price of a car and the price of a laptop. If you can afford a Landrover (assuming you don't mean a 1978 rust bucket) then you aren't exactly strapped for cash. However, a Joe Public purchaser of a laptop might stretch themselves a couple of hundred quid. So the analogy doesn't really stack up.

      What is it with Apple users and dodgy car analogies? You see at least one every time.

    2. spencer
      Stop

      lol car analogy

      Your analogy fails because the land rover can do something that many other cars can't (off road, and it's one of the best cars for doing so), which is why you pay the extra. On the other hand a mac is basically a Intel laptop built using the same components as any other machine with a pretty OS (that also isn't particularly amazing at anything, apart from looking nice... admittedly it is user friendly).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Not just a pretty OS

        My MacBook Pro (aluminium) is now two years old.

        It still looks new, it still boots up in under two minutes, the OS responds as quickly now as it did when it was first installed, even though I have a large number of third party applications installed on it.

        I have never had to rebuild it.

        I had a fault with the power supply when it was under warranty, I took the faulty bit into my local Apple store and walked out ~15 minutes later with a replacement, which was much easier than when I had a similar fault on a Sony laptop and had to ship everything back to them "to check out", meaning I had no laptop for about four weeks.

        As a result of all of that I have no immediate plans to replace it, unlike the series of Wintel machines I owned before it, which needed to be rebuilt at least once a year and usually replaced every 18 months to two years because they started to fall apart.

        Net result? I appeared to pay much more up front for this machine, but I'll pay at lot less in the long run, both in the case of physical hardware and time spent maintaining my machine or getting support from the manufacturer.

        Sure, I could have bought something with the same spec for less money, but I bet no-one here it driving a Tata Nano instead of (say) a BMW 3 Series. They're essentially the same thing, right?

        It's never *just* about money.

  33. traineecanuck
    Pint

    Benchmark tests

    I'm confused about many of the above comments about benchmark tests. Having recently done some research to find a good thin and light with all day battery life, it seems (in this category anyway) the mac is pretty much equivalent to a windows one, in terms of performance.

    Laptop mag, for example ( http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/apple-macbook-2010.aspx ) if you do a comparison with similarly priced (and yes i know this is a US site, and UK prices don't usually compare directly) Asus / Lenovo / HP, the benchmarks almost all reflect the price bracket. The Macbook slightly outperforms the Asus U30Jc, and is slightly more expensive. The 320m graphics outperforms many discrete graphics cards, and you don't have to worry about switching technology. Several reviews say the U30Jc's keyboard and trackpad are not as good as others.

    The PCMark Vantage test shows the mac's hardware disadvantage, but only because that test has to run Windows 7 in bootcamp. The conclusion being that OSX can perform as well or better than Windows 7 on inferior hardware. So if you feel you are being ripped off by older processors and less RAM, then get a PC. But if you want a portable laptop with good performance and long battery life then it's just a case of which OS and/ or brand you prefer, and how much do you want to spend (bearing in mind no thin & lights are cheap).

    I went for the macbook in the end (having been a desktop PC user until now), and am not regretting it so far (2 months later). Keyboard and trackpad are worth the price of admission alone - BIG considerations for a laptop, having tried a few others with wretched trackpads. You get about 7/8 hours of normal use from the battery, without having to resort to a ULV processor.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thanks but no thanks...

    I recently got a new Samsung R530 and it spanks this thing silly in every department, except for 1080p playback. Is that worth 50% more? Put very simply, no it's not.

    My lappy came with the following:

    > Bezel mounted webcam

    > 500Gb SATA HD

    > 4Gb RAM

    > VGA out AND HDMI out

    > 3 X USB 2.0 ports

    > Built-in N-Series wireless networking

    > Dual-core 2.2Ghz processor

    > Cracking little SATA DVD Writer built in

    > Sub-15 second boot time on Win7

    Tell me again why I should get a Mac?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why you should get a Mac

      OK, I'll bite.

      Does your Samsung have an LED-backlit display? What's the battery life like? Size and weight?

      What's the graphics hardware? Better than a GeForce 320M I hope. Does it have a multi-touch, swipe compatible trackpad? Can you boot OS X on it? Magsafe connector?

      I'm guessing the answer is 'no' to several of those questions.

    2. Mark 65

      @Will 22

      "Tell me again why I should get a Mac?"

      1080p playback?

      The fact that your machine only outshines in the RAM (OSX performs better at lower RAM than Windows), and hard disk. Really don't see the point of large hard disks in laptops as they are either semi-performant and waste the battery or just plain slow.

    3. Dana W
      Happy

      why?

      It comes complete without Windows. And that is reason enough.

  35. Volker Hett

    Ok, one question.

    Why didn't the lot of you stopped reading after the warning?

  36. Jerry H. Appel

    Curves - Real laptops have them!

    I own one of these older MacBooks. I believe it predates the new chiseled pro models. It is much squarer than the new ones. These new models have much rounder sides and softer, rounder bottoms. No little nubs needed to keep them from slipping about. My unit is old enough to still have firewire which makes a file transfer much faster although I've used Cat-5 cable.

    I agree with most PC nerds that it is overpriced, but not as much as some say. I paid $900 for mine and $700 would be better . . . much better.

    When you gauge the look and feel of the machine, the clear screen and haptic touch pad, this machine oozes femininity. Let's not forget that at the rate women are entering the professional ranks and dominating college attendance rolls, that computers will have to cater to the tastes of the much fairer sex, and this little white number certainly does. Afterall, when was the last time you saw the same young woman, curling her eyelashes, or getting a manicure, that quibbled over hardware benchmarks?

  37. A 20

    Re: Gadget Show

    > So you didn't see the episode of the Gadget Show where a high end Sony Vaio refused to play

    > HD smoothly but the low end Macbook did it no problem?

    Would that be the HD video encoded using an Apple codec? Would that also be the same Gadget Show that gets wet everytime the word Apple is mentioned? Nah, they couldn't be biased, surely?

    Would this be the all singing media computer that *still* doesn't have Blu-ray support in 2010? Obsolete media computer ahoy!

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. BonezOz
    FAIL

    Nerdless unintuitiveness

    First, it is a nice white laptop.

    Second, you cannot lump a Mac into a non-nerdy container. Take my little lady, she is the most non-nerdy person you'll ever meet. She doesn't like computers, but can use them as needed. But don't put her in front of a Mac, she hates it, the OS that is, she can't find anything, doesn't know how to launch programs, can't stand Safari, etc...

    She's a teachers aid at a school that has nothing but Macs, and she refuses to assist the students during their ICT classes because of the Mac OS.

    At least now you can install Windows on a Mac.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So you are going to tell us

      that your wife sat in front of a windows computer for the firts time and was able to use it without any help.

      For unintuitiveness nothing beats windows - not even linux.

      As piece of research, can you please ask her to explain why she can't stand safari? As a non-nerdy person, ask her to expain what is the difference between safari and any other browser?

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @Nerdless unintuitiveness

      "she can't find anything, doesn't know how to launch programs" really? How did she cope with the big changes from XP to Vista/7 etc?

      I don't use Macs (cost really) but my own experience of average user + Windows is they get shafted regularly. You pay your AV "protection money" and find it just does not work against Joe (or Jane) average who sooner or later tries to install something off t'Internet.

      So wile I am a LINUX lover, I would say to anyone who has the money and wants a hassle-free computing life to consider a Mac.

      Oh, and as for the reviewed machine only having 2GB of RAM, I run 2GB on my LINUX box without swap space and develop software, run VMs, etc and have not run out so far. Big deal?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Let me get this straight...

      "She's a teachers aid at a school that has nothing but Macs, and she refuses to assist the students during their ICT classes because of the Mac OS."

      Are you saying she *refuses* to do her *job* because she needs maybe 30 minutes training to familiarise her with the different OS?

      Wow, that's a great stance to take in the current economic climate.

      Tell me, does she refuse to drive different cars because some of the controls are different?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Let me get this straightER

        "Are you saying she *refuses* to do her *job* because she needs maybe 30 minutes training to familiarise her with the different OS?"

        Does her contract specify that she has to abide to the school's OS religion? Because otherwise, as a teacher's aid, I would guess that she only has to answer general cursus-related questions... and if the job description included "being familiar with the intricacies of whatever OS we like best" instead of just "being able to help the students on general matters", the school would probably have to shell out much more. Hell, she'd probably be an ICT prof, not a teacher aid.

    4. ElReg!comments!Pierre
      Go

      Intuitiveness is a red herring

      Nothing is intrinsequely intuitive, it's down to education. Something will FEEL intuitive if it obeys the same laws as something you already know. I always fire up my desktop calculator in reverse polish notation mode because I've learnt to thing effectively in stack-like mode. Your garden-variety user will feel that very counter-intuitive because they learnt basic math as <operand1> <operator> <operand2>. No method is more intuitive per se, it's just the way you're used to thinking at it that makes one or the other more intuitive.

      When it comes to PCs (including Macs, as it should), there's another layer that comes into play: the line between "so intuitive that it does what you want without you having to learn COBOL" and "so intuitive that there is absolutely no way to tell what will be the output for a given input". I call the latter "luser-intuitive", and sadly that's how most "intuitive" UIs work nowadays. Then there is the "windows-intuitive" way, which sounds a bit like "so intuitive that you can crap your system completely without ever knowing how you got there". Sadly, that last level gains ground even on "serious" systems, as the Linux consumer-oriented commercial outfits see it as a way get into Wintards' pants.

      So the really important thing is not "intuitiveness", it's giving the right tools to the right people.

      If you are going to be your own sysadmin and you need to squeeze every drop of performance juice from your system (which means that you're on a tight budget, as otherwise you'd get a better system, obviously) then both Windows systems and anything from Apple are out of the question. Get an ugly thing from wherever and install a *NIX system on it (avoid the like of Ubuntu, PCBSD etc like the plague. Build your own tailored system with only the tools and services you need. When you choose your desktop environment don't even dare thinking about Gnome or KDE). For desktop-like use I would advise a Gentoo, or a Slackware. A Debian if you are prepared to fend off all the bells and whistles that will be thrown your way, but it can be difficult for a geek. The idea is that you will have to learn how your system works (how it really works, not how you can sometimes trick it into doing some stuff). so that you will be both able to use it efficiently AND to maintain it whithout doing too many stupid things.

      If you have a sysadmin (Note for the retards: that means NOT you and NOT that guy next door who spends half his days on /. but is really supposed to type numbers in spreadsheets), then use whatever they tell you to and shut your trap. They DO know better. Actually, they're PAID to know better. And even if they did NOT know better, they WILL be the ones fixing your stupid mistakes so you REALLY want to be using a system that they know well. Even if it's a piece of shit.

      If you never got around to learn how computers work, and you won't have anyone holding your hand through the configuration process, and you know that the only three pieces of software you could ever possibly need are available for Mac, and you've got more money than need for real computing power, then get a Mac. What could possibly go wrong? It's premium quality, lovingly assembled by asian workers from generic parts, and it's not like they ever got cracks or DOA problems or anything. At least the OS won't let you do anything blatantly stupid if you don't specifically ask it to. Actually some say that the OS won't let you do anything AT ALL, EVEN if you specifically ask it to, but these are lies. Or slight exagerations, at least.

      If you're a cowboy at heart and would sooner die than read a manual, forget everything and install Windows. Preferably the alpha-test version (The one which is often cheekily labelled "Beta"). You can do it. Yes you're THAT good, don't listen to them. Knock'em dead tiger!

  40. The_Police!
    FAIL

    Blah

    What a biased article!

  41. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Cosmo?

    This cannot be an El Reg Hardware review, I must've landed on cosmopolitan.com by mistake.

    Don't read this wrong, I have nothing against people shelling out large sums of cash for devices that I would not touch with a barge pole, but surely "It's pretty and the touchpad works well" cannot be considered an exhaustive review by a techie rag?

    And no, "Oh look I can open it" and "It even has a DVD writer" don't count as noteworthy enough to warrant a pic. Not for the past 10 years, at least.

    The repeated assertions of it being a "consumer" only hold as long as you "consume" almost exclusively web-based content as the display resolution, the HDD size and the available ports won't let you do much more (not in a satisfactory manner anyway). This is clearly an internet-and-family-pics device. Which is fine by my book; it might have been mentioned in the article though.

    Oh and I hate to spoil it for you but Sony and others make very stylish laptops with the same kind of specs or better, for about the same price, for those who prefer their devices with more style than grunt. So you can probably stop feeling like a pretty pretty princess.

  42. Dave Fox
    Thumb Up

    The best thing about MacBooks and OS/X is...

    ... they wake from sleep almost instantly and the battery lasts for ages when it is sleeping.

    That's worth the price of entry in my book, as my MacBook sits on a table in my lounge, and when I want to quickly get on the net I pick it up and open it up. Seconds later, it is ready and connected to my WiFi. Not one of my Windows machines wakes from sleep anywhere near as quickly and not one lasts anywhere near as long on battery when sleeping.

  43. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    In 15+ years of computing...

    I have never once tripped over a laptop chord because you know, us nerds are careful. That alone makes magsafe worthless. LED backscreens too are mostly useless for the average user since all they will be doing is surfing the web and typing up a few emails.

    Another typical Mac fanatic tactic is to exaggerate the sound difference and the number of LEDs. I haven't had a laptop yet that was noisier than my Macbook. My Macbook unfortunately has Intel graphics and playing a Flash movie turns it into a helicopter. And until a recent Flash update that was true for nvidia Macs as well. No sorry, don't go lumping the blame on Adobe. If fanbois can blame Microsoft for Blue Screens of Death instead of poorly written third party drivers, I am going to go ahead and apply the same rules to Apple. Oh and a typical laptop has 3 LEDs, and they are all perform some sort of function. Only the most effeminate of computer users would resent an LED that tells them that their computer is doing something. Macs have their own share of LEDs anyway, on the battery and on the Magsafe.

    Then there's the heat of Macs. Groin scaldingly hot. Or how about when I was trying to watch the World Cup and all the peer to peer TV software was Windows only? Or the way Apple were happy to shit on their old PPC customers by making Snow Leopard Intel only? Too bad those G5 64bit workstations can't take advantage of the first proper 64bit OSX.

    Never try to reason with a Mac user because they simply don't use reason. They are ruled entirely by their foppish ideas of style and design. It is almost offensive to them to suggest that their Mac is a computer. It is blasphemy to suggest that perhaps Steve Jobs may not have their best interests at heart when he denies them Blu-Ray or Flash on their phones.

  44. George 24

    Forget the brand

    As always the war between the Mactards, Wintards and Tuxtards is raging. Thanks Reg for inciting. So lets forget the OS, because at the end of the day, this is a hardware review.... correct?

    CPU, RAM, HDD, chipset etc. Nothing to report, it is stock standard stuff.

    Connectivity = too limited. Need HDMI, need 4 USB. Can do without e-sata only because it is USB3

    Case = cheap plastic, too fragile

    Styling = Not one of Apple's best, but not too bad

    Price = too high

    Battery life = good

    Display = Sharp and crisp, nice format, not too wide

    I believe there is much better hardware available for the price.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:In 15+ years of computing...

    >>My Macbook unfortunately has Intel graphics and playing a Flash movie turns it into a helicopter

    but the vibrations while watching flash porn are worth the extra price for the kit!

  46. wibble 1
    Unhappy

    poor build quality

    first off

    I have one of these through work and 2 things i have noticed are rather annoying.

    the plastic scratches so easily, i had it in a padded case and after 1 week small marks and scratches appeared.

    Second, no firewire means that A, i cant use target mode, and B, my camcorder isn't compatible.

    Apple should completely move away from plastic, i would rather have steel and deal with the extra weight.

    Another gripe i have is the optical drive is actually noisier than my macbook pro.

    All in all i give this machine 6/10.

  47. Katt
    Welcome

    How about an impartial review?

    Emporer's new clothes still pleasing the fanbois and annoying the haters then. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Come on Reg, I come to you for impartial reviews. "Ignore the fact that it's not very good and is massively over priced.. if you are cool you'll like this"... is not really what I'm after. Surely someone at Chez Reg can give this another go and do a better job.

  48. Big Bear

    Flame wars!

    Was the reviewer stuck in the first half of the decade?? His stereotyping of both PCs and Macs are a bit out of date...

    Firstly, for looks, because "PCs" (using your definition of them being Wintel boxen) these days happen to sometimes look a hell of a lot like Macs, plus with a lot more variety too. My first thought at that pic was it looked like the Samsung netbook with the rounded edges (NC310 I think?), but also, since the reviewer has an opinion of looks, which are subjective, then why is he berating other folk for liking the different looks of other machines? An Alienware might not be everyone's idea of beauty but I personally quite fancy the look of it as it stands out from the crowd!

    Secondly, price, because Macs are not sold as "entry level" (even though this is the cheapest one) they should not be compared with the cheap rubbish that PC manufacturers crank out for the unwashed masses. When you start looking at the better offerings the prices soon ramp up to overtake the Mac costs, but then again, that is the strength of PC, where people can get what they want and what suits them. My next personal machine will probably be a Z series Vaio which will be about the same spec and cost as a Macbook Pro, but about a third the size and 1.6kg (not sure where you get the "about 3kg more" @AC "Oh Mr Woo, what can we do?"!). The difference is that I can use it for 9 hours on a flight and it is small enough to actually use in relative comfort in those cramped conditions (though I doubt I'll reach its max runtime playing Crysis 2).

    Finally, tech. Yeah, this is C2D and is last year's tech, but when you look at what PC has, they are still releasing models like this, but aimed at the sub-£500 budget market, whereas the i3 cost about £600, i5 about £800 and i7 £1000+ (all inclusive of the f***ing WIndows tax). I don't get you folk who always seem to be reinstalling windows and playing with drivers. I've never done that in a decade and umpteen machines, except when trying to install games or databases on machines that are lower spec than the so-called minimum. The absolute beauty of Mac is the time to turn them on though - that is impressive, and I do like the maglock as I've drunken tripped over a couple of my machines' power leads.

    Also, like the comments usually read in other machine reviews - what about running various flavours of Linux out of the box? How does this hardware handle that or does Holy St Jobs declare Thou Shalt Not Use Any Other OS Over Me?

  49. SteelVenom
    WTF?

    Rather offended...

    I have to admit the first opening paragraph of this review is quite offensive. I am not all for PC's nor am I all for macs. I think both have their uses depending on the job type. I use Windows for its gaming capabilities.

    I would however purchase a Mac for its excellent battery life if I traveled a lot.

    To assume that all PC users all think "Macs are evil and stupid" is really quite stupid. Several people I work with use macs for video editing but uses windows for anything else.

    I admit, I do tend to say that most (not all) mac users are arrogant and this article really does not help dissuade me from that opinion.

    My laptop is an Alienware M9750 that is fully spec'd out with a 1900x1200 CCFL display. My desktop has an Asus 23in LED monitor...I honestly can not tell the difference in display quality.

    I have never tripped or pulled my laptop's cord out badly either so mag safe is not a selling point. What I would like to see is a plug that connects flush with the chassis of a laptop so I can tilt my laptop on its side or on its back and not worry about squishing the connector in.

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