Apple MacBook MID 2015 (Retina, 1.1GHz Intel Core M, 8GB DDR3, 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage)
Straight out of the box the MacBook looks and feels like a thing of beauty. Its ridiculously sleek design makes it the most portable laptop Apple have ever created, with its thinnest part being only 0.3cm. Although incredibly thin the laptop does not feel fragile or delicate and the build quality is the high standard you would expect from Apple.
So enough about how pretty it looks – is it any good?
Well the quick answer is yes. It is good. Is it incredible? Not quite. The overall performance is brilliant for all my day to day uses - it boots quickly, apps respond nicely and the whole experience is great.
So why do I hesitate in calling it incredible? Well mainly from comparison with my previous laptop. The new MacBook just does not feel as responsive! Or at the very least it isn’t any faster! My previous laptop was a 2011 MacBook Pro with 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel i5 2.4GHz processor and a 120GB Samsung SSD. Although being 6 years old it was running incredibly well until the day the logic board failed. I only upgraded due to hardware failure, not performance. With the SSD upgrade, i5 processor and 8GB of RAM it was a fantastic laptop.
So with 6 years of technological advancement why is the MacBook not 10 times the speed of my 2011 MacBook Pro?! In the new MacBook The RAM is marginally faster and the read and write speeds of the onboard 256GB flash storage is meant to be a few 100MB/s faster – so the obvious conclusion is that the Intel Core M processor does not keep up with the “i chip” series (i3, i5, i7). The core M chips were designed specifically for the thin beautiful laptops that placed design and portability over power. These “core M” chips need much less cooling and so the MacBook is completely fanless and the chips use around half of the power of the “i chips” meaning smaller batteries – all adding to the thin design.
This is not a powerhouse laptop for video editing - it is an everyday practical laptop that you can chuck in your bag and rely on when you need it. As an IT consultant this a perfect laptop for commuting to clients, sitting in meetings and troubleshooting networks in server rooms. For graphic designers – perhaps you should look for something a bit more powerful!
Would we recommend one?
Yes, why not! If you are a Mac user and you need a new laptop for day to day use and want something light and portable, then this is a perfect choice. The price tag is considerably high for a laptop with a slower processor than others on the market (starting price £1249 inc VAT) but often slender design comes at a premium.
However as mentioned above, newer is not always better, and sometimes the price for better is far too high. If you require power over design and already have a Mac we would recommend upgrading your RAM and replacing your traditional SATA spinning hard disk for a SSD. (contact Qdos for more info or quotes on upgrading your computer)
My only other comments would be the lack of ports and the need to purchase adapters for HDMI out, ethernet and traditional USB sockets – but day to day I do not use these very often and an adapter is small price to pay for a beautiful, sleek laptop.
So in conclusion, yes the MacBook is a good laptop, but just not quite incredible.