Apple MacBook (2016) review

Apple's rosier MacBook brings nippier performance

New Macbook 2015

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The 2016 MacBook isn't going to win any new converts, but it leaves no excuse to pick one up if you're already swayed by what Apple's machine has to offer. Better yet, its new Rose Gold option is gorgeous.

We liked

Now that there's more horsepower under the MacBook's bonnet, you won't have to tweak OS X El Capitan's settings to get hold of a smooth experience. As the old Apple motto goes: it just works. The increase is marginal, but it undoubtedly makes a difference. That doesn't mean you're suddenly going to be swapping your MacBook Pro for one to undergo heavy computing lifting.

Apple didn't tweak the MacBook's chassis because it didn't need to. It still can't be matched even by its Windows-based counterparts, though I wouldn't be confident of saying that six months down the line. Its color-packed display is as vibrant as it was on the previous model, and you just try finding a 12- or 13-inch laptop with better speakers. It's a near-impossible task.

We disliked

That single USB-C port remains the biggest problem with the 12-inch MacBook. It's simply too much of a compromise to use it as your main machine, and even if you're on the move you're forced to make a decision between connecting a peripheral or charging a device if you don't have a dongle to hand. It would have been nice to have seen a price drop too, if only because it feels like the MacBook should have come with sufficient power to deliver a smooth experience in the first place. If new MacBook Air and Pro models appear this summer, you can count on it taking a price dip then.

Final verdict

Should you buy the 12-inch MacBook? The question is a little more complex with the possibility of new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models arriving at WWDC. One way of thinking of it is that neither are likely to be as thin and portable - it would take a near-impossible engineering feat for that to happen. On the other hand, if you're happy to wait for a machine with more power, hanging on may be the way to go.

If you do decide that Apple's mini marvel for you, buying this year's MacBook is less of a risk than getting the previous version. With faster internals, it's capable of zipping through lesser-demanding tasks without complaining and leaves you with more confidence when slinging it into a bag to take on the road.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.