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Apple MacBook review

Thin and slender, and with all the usual Apple style

The 13.3-inch screen is small, and strikes the ideal balance between portability and usability

Our Verdict

Style and build quality come together in this portable machine


  • Comfortable to use

    Excellent display

    Great battery life


  • Limited hard drive

If you're not convinced that Windows Vista is an improvement over other operating systems, Apple's MacBook may appeal to you. Using the Mac OS, it's fast, efficient and stable - even when running lots of applications.

The 13.3-inch screen is small, and strikes the ideal balance between portability and usability. With the same resolution as most of its bigger rivals, at 1280 x 800 pixels (WXGA) you'll be able to view two documents side by side.

As well as being sharp, the Apple also has a very vibrant display, with contrast and brightness perfectly measured. The MacBook uses an integrated Intel graphics card. Although this helps to keep costs down, it does limit 3D capabilities.

This isn't a major problem unless you want to play games, and we had no trouble running regular applications such as an office suite, editing photographs or watching movies.

Clean design

The compact screen and integrated GPU help to keep the dimensions small, and at 27mm in depth the MacBook is pretty slim. With a clean design, and no ports jutting out, it will slip into most bags with ease.

At 2.3kg, it's not the lightest 13.3-inch machine we've seen. Part of this is down to its large battery, which helps to give an outstanding battery life of around five and a half hours.

The keyboard offers plenty of width, and the keys protrude through the chassis individually. It's unusual, but the space between the keys helps to prevent typing mistakes. With a useful amount of travel to the keys, this is also a very comfortable machine to work on.

Unlike some of its rivals, the Apple doesn't use the latest version of Intel's Centrino chipset. This means you'll find the slightly older 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 processor in place, which uses a 667MHz FSB (Front Side Bus), along with 1024MB of memory in support. However, with the Mac OS taking up less system resources, we found this was still one of the quickest machines in day-to-day use.

The 80GB hard drive isn't the most generous - you'll still be able to store plenty of files, but it will soon fill up if you start saving large files. Our biggest complaint lies with the lack of ports. With only two USB 2.0 ports on the side of the machine, the amount of peripherals you can connect are limited, and an adapter also needs to be bought before an external monitor can be connected.

The Apple MacBook may not have cutting-edge components, but its small size and all-day usability make it a great machine to take on the road.