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Apple MacBook Black review

Impressive dual-core laptop, able to run multiple OS

The MacBook is available with a choice of standard or Super-TFT coatings

Our Verdict

With dual-core power and great mobile credentials, this is an excellent laptop offering from Apple


  • Excellent battery life


    Impressive processing grunt


  • Only integrated graphics

    Single-button mouse not to everyone's taste

Apple's transition to Intel processors in 2006 made its technology more accessible than ever. Allowing users to run Apple's Mac OS X operating system side-by-side with Microsoft Windows, the Apple MacBook (£999 inc. VAT) is a powerful and versatile portable system.

For home and office use, Mac OS X provides impressive usability. Due to Apple's low market share, most PC viruses are designed to target Microsoft Windows. This makes the MacBook a safer system by default for online use. If you require access to Windows XP, it can easily be installed alongside OS X, using Apple's free Boot Camp software.

Using an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, impressive dual-core power is provided. Even when running multiple programs simultaneously, we noticed no drop in speed, making the Apple as reliable for word processing and email as it is for editing digital photos and videos.

With graphics provided by an integrated Intel chip, modern gaming is impossible. This low performance won't hinder home or office use. Available with a choice of standard or Super-TFT coatings, the 13.3-inch screen is stunning and ideal for viewing movies and photos.

While not the lightest laptop around, its 2.3kg weight is still ideal for travel use. The chassis is one of the slimmest we've seen, and fits neatly into small luggage. When working on the move, we recorded a highly impressive battery life of 271 minutes.

Great usability

Usability is impressive, but Windows users may struggle at first. Only one mouse button is provided, so there is no easy access to right-click menus. Both the touchpad and keyboard are wide, reliable and responsive.

With its 120GB hard drive, storage space is comprehensive. Ideal for storing even large multimedia files, you're unlikely to quickly run out of space. For backing up data to external discs, a built-in dual-format recordable DVD drive is fitted on the chassis' right-hand side.

For accessing multimedia files, Apple Front Row software is installed. A one-stop hub for your photos, videos, DVDs and music. An included mini-remote provides fast access. Usability is intuitive, and makes for a nice alternative to Microsoft's Windows Media Centre software.

For maximum connectivity, both wireless and fixed networks can be configured at the fastest speeds possible. This is perfect for sharing data over home and office networks, as well as accessing hotspots on the move.

With power and mobility the MacBook is one of the most impressive laptops so far released by Apple.