TechRadar weighs in on Apple's new MacBook
Apple introduced the new MacBook (opens in new tab) earlier this week, claiming to have reinvented the notebook. The Cupertino company revealed a machine that's thinner and lighter than any Mac it had previously produced while featuring a high-resolution 2304 x 1440 Retina display. But to get there, Apple made more than a few compromises by going with a low-wattage processor and reducing the number of ports down to just one USB-C and a headphone jack.
Although the dust has settled after Apple's big reveal event, the internet is still debating whether the new laptop is a great idea or a terrible one. Does the new MacBook rewrite the script for laptops or is it destined for failure?
We asked our expert editors and staffers what they think about Apple's new MacBook. Read on for their reactions, and let us know in the comments what you think about Apple's divisive new laptop.
Juan Martinez - Senior Editor, TechRadar Pro
There's little doubt that the new MacBook is going to make consumers very happy. At just 2.0 pounds (0.90kg) and 0.5 inches (13.1mm) thick, the MacBook is delightfully portable, and it features Apple's signature sexy aluminum chassis in three different colors.
Unfortunately for Apple die-hards, the race to the top of the laptop market features more than one horse, and Apple may not be the frontrunner. The Dell XPS 13 (opens in new tab), for example, offers more screen on an 11-inch body, while Asus Zenbook UX305 (opens in new tab) is a masterpiece for almost half the price of the MacBook.
Apple may have introduced an absolute stunner this week, but by no means is it the undisputed champion of the laptops market.
Désiré Athow - Senior Editor, TechRadar Pro
What sets the MacBook 2015 apart from everything Apple has done so far is boldly getting rid of all the existing ports (bar the audio connector) for a single USB Type-C.
That is an unexpected move for a company that is known for pushing proprietary technology from the 30-pin connector in your old iPhone to MagSafe, Firewire and Lightning. Apple has always been known for shying away from universal adapters, so Tim Cook's team must have had an epiphany to drop both the MagSafe and Lightning connectors from the MacBook.
Remember though, the MacBook Air was one of the first notebooks to ditch the optical drive. Just as the Air forced the industry to embrace thin and light, which ultimately gave us the Ultrabook, I expect PC manufacturers to embrace USB Type-C much faster and that will, to paraphrase an Apple slogan, change everything. Again.
Chuong Nguyen - Staff Writer, TechRadar Pro
If you want to charge your new shiny MacBook while connecting a USB drive and output to a 4K monitor - all things that you can do presently without any adapters or dongles on the current MacBook Air - that privilege will cost you $79 (£55, AU$105) with a new multi-port cable.
Unless you're willing to live in Apple's ideal of a wire-free world where you can mirror your Mac to an Apple TV, afford the luxuries of wireless storage and AirPrint, and rejoice in iCloud nirvana, the MacBook is an island by itself. Even to connect the iPhone or iPad, you'll be reaching either for the multi-port cable or the $19 USB-C to USB adapter.
To buy into Apple's future, you'll need at least $1,299 (£875, AU$1,715) - a full $300 more than the base 13-inch MacBook Air - but you'll need $79 to take that machine into the present.
Kane Fulton - Staff Writer, Laptops
One of the most talked about (opens in new tab) aspects of Apple's new machine is the USB Type-C reversible connector since it only allows one peripheral (or a charger) to be connected at any time. Whereas most people see a potential problem, having too many ports is a hassle.
When I sit down at the laptop I have to plug all of those things in, and when I take it somewhere else I have to disconnect them. It isn't exactly a smooth transition. With a single-port MacBook I can leave all of those connections plugged into an adapter, meaning I only have to remove the adapter itself. Quick and easy.
I agree that carrying around an adapter is inconvenient compared to having ports on the MacBook itself. But just as Apple removed the optical drive from the MacBook Pro to make it much slimmer and more portable, I'm willing to make the trade-off.
Kevin Lee - Associate Editor, Laptops
When Apple unveiled the new MacBook I was enthralled from the sizzle reel that first revealed the thin edge of the laptop to the barrage of technological innovations behind it. By the end of Apple's presentation I was frothing at the mouth to get my own.
Three hours later though I cooled on the idea of pre-ordering the laptop of the future. There are just too many compromises between the single USB-C port and the low-power Intel Core M CPU. The 12 hours of battery life also seems less impressive when I can easily get 8 hours of use with my late 2013 13-inch MacBook Pro (opens in new tab).
That said, the technological advances of the new MacBook will invariably trickle down to its other devices. The fact that the Force Touch trackpad has come to the refreshed MacBook Pro is just one sign of this.
Joe Osborne - Senior Editor
Once again, it's time for Windows laptop makers to head back to the drawing board. Just like the first-ever MacBook Air in 2008, the new MacBook will undoubtedly spur a sea change in laptop design, albeit in the same direction.
This time around, it shouldn't take three years for the competition to retort with an increased focus on thinner battery tech and even more customized chassis designs. There are already plenty of Core M-equipped Ultrabooks out there, and USB-C isn't far off from mass adoption.
The new MacBook is clearly thinner and lighter than either of Apple's other laptop lines, but not as powerful as either … either. Then again, didn't we say that about the MacBook Air seven years ago?
- How does the new MacBook (opens in new tab) handle?