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back to article Apple MacBook mid-2010

There’s no persuading a committed PC nerd of the unnerdy appeal of Apple’s consumer products, so I won’t bother. Whatever I write about Apple’s latest MacBook, they’ll hate it. They can buy computers for far less money that achieve better benchmark results, and serious computers are supposed to look hideous, so case closed. Move …

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Bronze badge

Cut but coy is codeword for ugly?

Well having seen this in the flesh I was quite surprised how ugly the polycarbonate (the non buzzword is plastic) Macbook.

So cure but coy is a damage limitation way of saying 'its looks are not up to Apples usual standards'?

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WTF?

Insert here

This review boils down to "I love it because it's Apple"

That is all.

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Thumb Up

title title title

You say that as though it is a bad thing

It's a computer. It works. It works very well.

The rest is a well-known back story - do you want to pay the premium for a non-pc product?

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Biased Article

Right so lets start with the fact that im one of those "rabid pc fans", though not because it gets me better benchmarks, just because it's what I am most comfortable using and it supports the things I use the most.

Reading this article, due to me also being a technie and interested in all technology, one thing I come across is how annoying the writer of this article is, again and again you come across statements that, while not saying it outright tells you "If you don't think like me, you are an idiot", such as the whole "if you don't like flat easytype keyboards like this, you are just building up to RSI and are certainly an idiot".

In general this article smells more of Mac Pro-Bias than of any real review and more than that it smacks of "personal opinion" rather than any attempt to distance yourself and give an unbiased impression with looks from both sides of the fence.

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Stop

RE: Biased Article

I'm glad you read it before giving us your biased response!

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FAIL

More Expensive ?

"It’s expensive, but I don’t care: if you want cheap, go buy a tombstone."

Typical rabid iTard, Really let down by this review, for instance does the new thicker shell stop the cracking that has plagued my old white Macbook (I'm on the 3rd top case in 2 years)

Will Apple collect and return under their warranty yet ?

I got pretty cheesed off having to drive 16 miles outside of Edinburgh (nearest Apple store is Glasgow) to leave my Macbook in for repair then drive back a week later to collect. Even my old £300 HP (never again) was collected from my door and repaired within 3 working days.

These are all the sticky little questions most Apple fans can't answer in a review because they are selling you the same cult like lifestyle they enjoy.

It's expensive alright and since I can buy an Asus laptop with Core i3, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD and a 2 year collect and return warranty @ £450 I would say this Macbook is DOUBLE the cost of a normal PC not just more expensive.

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Silver badge

Agreed, mostly

The trackpad IS fantastic, although it's kind of annoying its hinged to click only at the bottom, not all over, which is what I would have expected.

But yes, the biggest problem is that lack of ports. It's downright cynical of Apple to leave out basics like Firewire (for a Mac, you'd expect it) and an SD Card reader.

Also, video connection is a crapshoot because they always toss away anything but the latest (mini DisplayPort in this case).

The power management is nice too, admittedly. Still, I'd rather have a decent Dell for the array of ports and choice of configuration (and I could spec a Dell with a high res screen).

It is pretty, though.

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WTF?

Enhancements from the MBP?

Odd, my 2006-vintage Macbook also has a magsafe power connector and magnetic latch...

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Unhappy

and

The 2008 version (not sure about 2006) also has separate sockets for line-in and line-out (also headphone) that are combined optical/analog

http://support.apple.com/kb/sp5

It seems you now get better onboard graphics, possibly/probably battery life, same processor speed, DDR3 and a slightly bigger hard drive all for A$500 less than I paid in 2008. However there's no firewire port (great for sustained transfer rates and music industry peripherals), there's no separate line in and line out which is shit, and you have to unscrew the base rather than just remove the battery to get at things.

His Jobs-ness giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. Given it's $500 less (doubtless in part through fx-rate movements) could the ports not have stayed using perhaps one of the smaller firewire 800 ports rather than the chunky full-fat 400 one my machine has? No USB3 seems a bit of a let-down too.

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Poor build and internal design

On the outside this laptop looks great. However, after owning one and knowing someone else who owned one you shouldn't waste you money on it! It's far better to pay a little bit more for the aluminium case and know it will work fine.

My laptop drive broke, apparently I had bent the casing around the drive slot. There is a cheap and entirely weak frame around it. You basically can't touch the right hand side of the laptop for fear you might break it and pay out a £150 repair bill (they don't cover it with AppleCare!). I was told "not to hold it that way", which seems a line Apple decided to reuse recently! The other MacBook I know of had the plastic case break on it after just a few months, strangely they bothered to fix this one for free under warranty? Still, they took their sweet time over it.

After two complaint letters I managed to get a refund for my MacBook and buy a MacBook Pro. I suggest you don't go through that and instead pay for a decent piece of kit in the first place.

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Apart from being a bit bigger

It looks like a white version of my Asus.

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but thats not an Apple

and so therefore cannot be good looking, even if it is almost an identical twin.

Has this reviewer just given life to the old iMac fanboys?

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Joke

I guess I'm all alone now ...

Is it just me, or this change to calculator style keyboards just some sad designers trying to relive their childhoods when used Sinclair Spectrums?

Must these arty (read as pretentious [read as heads-up-their-own-a*^%s]) types that like them, after all they only use one finger at time anyway ;-)

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Although I learnt touch typing on a 1960s teletype ...

I'm as fast on my Macbooks keyboard. It took some getting used to, but typing some 300 characters a minute is no problem.

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FAIL

"committed PC nerd"

So, if the MacBook isn't a Personal Computer, what is it? A fridge? Perhaps you require a dictionary?

*awaits the irony of the grammar police*

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Stop

RE: "committed PC nerd"

You and I know he meant "Wintards" (and maybe the odd few penguin-lovers that exist ;)

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FAIL

PC

I believe that in this context, "PC" refers specifically to IBM PC compatibles rather than all personal computers.

There was once a time when the Mac really did run on a different architecture to IBM compatibles, so it was fair to differentiate between PCs and Macs. Since the move to Intel, however, the Apple Mac is simply a brand of PC with a custom OS.

But don't tell anyone at Apple Marketing.

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Numbers?

The numbers don't seem to add up. The battery is rated at 63.5 Wh. With an average power consumption of 23W, it should run out of juice in less than 3 hours. Also, if recharging consumes merely 7 Watts then you'd expect the battery to recharge in more than 9 hours, which doesn't seem realistic.

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Screen aspect/resolution

I may not be the world's biggest Apple fan, but kudos to them for sticking with the productivity-sane 1280 × 800 screen resolution when the rest of the world's gone apparently irretrievably super-widescreen crazy.

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what insane resolution?

I just have to cope with the notebook from one of our customers which has 1280x720 (or something like that)... I am used to my 1920x1200 in my dell 15" latitude... THIS is what it should look like....

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JDX
Gold badge
Terminator

What's new?

Since they release new versions every few months, this review would be better with a section focusing on what's different from a year ago. I have one of the aluminium MacBooks in the brief period before they returned to using plastic, and it looks otherwise identical. I _think_ the GPU and CPU are slightly different but otherwise has it changed? Is there any reason an 18 month old version is worth upgrading?

Got to say though, the small things like the power connector and magnetic case make a big difference. The power connector especially is great.

The display port though - JUST GIVE ME VGA!!!

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Linux

Mini display port

> The display port though - JUST GIVE ME VGA!!!

Actually, the mini displayport is quite versatile, if a little annoying.

It's versatile because you can get adapters to give you VGA, DVI _and_ HDMI. It's annoying because you have to shell out for them -- at Apple prices that would be an extra sixty quid. I got two of the three for less than £20 off ebay. Displayport (and mini-displayport) is a vesa standard so it's not as though you're trusting to some reverse-engineered knock-off.

I don't know if the white macbook is the same as the new macbook pro, but the latter does audio over the HDMI as well.

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title...

sorry, im as much of a mac fanboy as the next person... but 850?! for a Core2Duo??!! eh gads! id expect it to give me blowjobs for that!

no 3g, but it does have wifi! thats much like saying 'this laptop comes with a battery' is there any laptop (except barebone kits) that dont have wifi??

it is pretty, but no... just, no!!

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Keep up

It seems you're not as attuned to the Mac universe as you think you are: As it turns out, free blowjobs *are* a built-in function of the MacBook!

And, as far as WiFi is concerned, the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support. Contrary to your implication, that is definitely not a garden variety feature.

BTW, how many $850 notebooks also provide Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, optical audio I/O, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU (or equivalent), LED screen backlighting, 10 hour, long life battery, and multi-touch trackpad along with the usual benefits of buying a Mac (iLife, etc.)?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Keep up

"the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support... ...that is definitely not a garden variety feature"

Yeah actually, it pretty much is these days.

"how many $850 notebooks also provide blah blah blah..."

Well for a start it's not $850, it's £850 (i.e. $1,300) but since you ask there's quite a few...

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%241300+notebook

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lllllll

Well, this isnt a business laptop so the inclusion of 802.11a is a bit of a moot point... how many home users enjoy that frequency?? and isnt the whole focus of apple based on the adoption of the fastest network speeds - hell, if your a real apple fanboi you are even more limited as the airports and time machine dont support 'a' anyway!

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FAIL

O RLY/

'"the MacBook provides full 4-protocol (a/b/g/n) support... ...that is definitely not a garden variety feature"

Yeah actually, it pretty much is these days.'

Is it bollocks!

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FAIL

Re: O RLY

Should I get into a semantic argument about what "garden variety" actually means or should I just say you're wrong and let you figure it out for yourself?

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I Like this unit ...but

I've dealt with a number of these since they were launched but I have two serious issues with it.

the main one is the lack of a firewire port (at the moment I'm not interested in USB3). Migrating from an older mac to one of these is a right pain in the bum. With FW it is straight forward and easy to move the entire content of an older mac to a newer, and it's relatively swift.

The options that Apple offer to migrate your older mac to your new MacBook are quite frankly awful.

The default mechanism is to use the WiFi connection. Four days later it may be finished - if one of the machines hasn't got bored and gone to sleep in the meantime. The alternative is to use an ethernet connection - well that probably will take half a day. But that is only part of the problem.

In order to use the new migration system (either method) a piece of software has to be installed on the older Mac. It's on the CD that comes with the Macbook - but the installer is intel only so it won't work on a G3 or G4 mac. So you go to the Apple website to download the app from there - assuming that you can find it. Why is it so well hidden?

Then you install it onto the older Mac - as long as it is running 10.4. Many (in fact I would say almost all of mine) clients are still running 10.3 on their G3 imacs and on their G4s.

Therefore you have to upgrade the OS on a machine that is going to grass once the tranfer is done.

In my experience it takes almost 6 hours to transfer an 80G mac because of this, compared to about an hour with a FW equipped mac. (And that is if all the upgrades and installs go well the first time!)

The other issue is that the two USB ports are too close together. You cannot stick 2 USB sticks in at the same if they are not the slim variety.

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Just run the migration tool against your external backup drive...

...you do have a backup don't you?<g>

Alternatively, just pull the drive from your old macbook and put it in an external USB case, then migrate from that. Problem solved in minutes without arsing around with software installs.

Although USB2 still suffers a theoretical disadvantage , in practice you will notice little difference compared to running migration assistant directly from another mac via FW400 (intel macbooks never got FW800).

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read again

I said I have done several of these. I am not doing the same one over again. They belong to clients. Clients who have never done back-ups.(or if they have they've done it on Sticks)

Did I say these transfers were from Macbooks? I said G3 and G4. If you want to open up a G3 or G4 iBook, or a G4 iMac or an eMac to get the drives out you are welcome. But my clients are passing their old computers on (or selling them), they want them to stay intact.

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@dylan 4

"Although USB2 still suffers a theoretical disadvantage , in practice you will notice little difference compared to running migration assistant directly from another mac via FW400 "

Really? Is that just a fact of the migration assistant? I ask because the transfer speed difference between USB2 and firewire 400 is blatantly apparent - firewire just blitzes it in sustained transfer rates so I can only assume that this is a migration assistant bottleneck.

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Thumb Up

Actually, its really easy...

Agree with you FW is essential for any laptop and that the USB are too close together (on all new Mac laptops), but there is an easy way to do the data transfer as long as both macs are on - plug a patch lead in both, it wil lauto crossover, and set to 1Gbs. Then bingo, very fast network transfers! Even at 100Mbs its quicker than USB.

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FAIL

so...

so... now that apple allow you (the consumer) to pop the bottom case off... you didn't think to take a screwdriver to it and take a picture of the inside for us?

damn it

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WTF?

A review of an apple, and not a single flaming response..

My faith in the Internet's ability to shout an opinion where none is welcome is fading..

Lets start the ball rolling...

"I think it looks very nice, and seems to be ideal for studenty types"

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Paris Hilton

If You Want...

"If, on the other hand, you quite like the idea of a notebook that’s fun rather than furious, comfortable and convenient rather than cold and calculating, and looks cute rather than cacky, the MacBook could be the computer for you."

And if you've got £900 to blow rather than £300 - cos if you're an Apple user you don't care about benchmarks OR your bank balance, you just want to go on Facebook and Twitter...

...like the smug PC owner who's got £600 left to blow on a life.

Paris, cos she's blown a few in her life too...

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Gold badge

Gadget Show

So you didn't see the episode of the Gadget Show where a high end Sony Vaio refused to play HD smoothly but the low end Macbook did it no problem?

Sometimes it's worth paying more for an easier life and for an OS and hardware combination that is optimal.

With Windows you never really know which is the best driver, the one from Microsoft or the manufacturer. You can spend hours experimenting with drivers and settings to get stability and performance.

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Stop

RE: If You Want...

"if you're an Apple user you don't care about benchmarks OR your bank balance, you just want to go on Facebook and Twitter..."

Umm, I'm an Apple user. Largely because the life expectancy of my PCs was so low. The drives needed defragged on a regular basis and the registery needed cleaned and, and, and

Then games manufacturers started moving the goalposts all the time and I had to upgrade my X, Y or Z to play their game.

Frankly, I fix enough computer problems at work (and fanny about inside them enough) to not want to do it at home as well. My home computer is supposed to be a tool, not a chore.

So when my PC gave up the ghost (after 4 years) I got a second-hand Mac free from a friend. It's still working btw and it's made me buy more Apple gear too. The OS is a damn sight better than the ones I have to use at work!

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@AC 16:45

"Frankly, I fix enough computer problems at work (and fanny about inside them enough) to not want to do it at home as well. My home computer is supposed to be a tool, not a chore."

Amen to that, same reason for switching here.

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Anonymous Coward

Gadget show...

Are you referring to some sort of demo where they got a laptop that physically cannot display HD, and another that can, and showed that the (apple) laptop which could not display HD played the HD movie faster (at low res) than the laptop which actually diplayed the HD thing? Is that the test you're referring to? because I saw it, too. And I can tell you, my dirt-cheap handheld can play any HD movie faster than any apple device ever made can. At 320 x 240 resolution. If the Apple box attempts to read it at 1080p. As in the test.

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FAIL

Shocking summary!

"It’s expensive, but I don’t care"

You should bloody care, and you should factor that against both your scoring and what your getting for your cash.

Rubbish!

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Anonymous Coward

Puzzled

What business of yours is it how other people choose to spend their money?

Do you really care? Honestly?

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WTF?

because its a REVIEW!

To be fair, a review is also an opinion and his opinion can be that he doesn't care. On the other hand, its a review and reviews should compare against equaly priced or spec'd or both, other models. When it comes to a comparison, the fanboy reviewer clearly knows that it won't come close to anything in its price range....

And actually, he's spending yours and mine money. I stronly suspect that this was paid for by advertising which is in turn paid for by us (in the long run). If not, then its a review unit and of course he won't care but then, what an incredibly strange thing for the reviewer to say!

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Headmaster

Because....

Normally i don't care what anyone does with their cash. But this is a reviewer for a tech article, describing a product that i might be interested in.

In this context i think it matters how how you get for your cash. £850 is a lot whatever way you look at it.

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Jobs Halo

Nice review

Perfectly sums up why people should go for one of these, and also why nobody should listen to the idiots whining on about how they can get a quad-core Xeon monstrosity for half the price.

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FAIL

OMG!

Looks crap... crap screen resolution, crap components... and crap price, wow I really want one of those!!

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Flame

What a piece of junk!

So let me get this straight...for the same price, you can get a Sony Vaio with higher res. screen, an i5 in it, twice the RAM and HDD, and has a Blu-Ray drive, not the crApple components from 5 years ago, has a mountain of sockets and will give you about £150 change, and also comes in a very nifty looking design?!

So this machine is what? typical Apple old crap they've found in the bargin bin and slapped in a fashionable case and then applied the Apple tax while they sit back looking smug at any idiots who are stupid enough to buy it. It's laughable. This machine should be £599 and not a penny more.

This machine might of been ok a couple of years ago. Today, not a chance. Apple should improve, but then again doesn't really have a desire to due to the mentality of the userbase/fanboibase sadly.

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Don't forget

The software you have to buy for the Sony to give you same user experience that the macbook will give straight out of the box.

Also, straight out of the box and on the internet in about 2 minutes or so (depends on your typing speed.

Also, what's so good about having blu-ray? (truthfully!)

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er....

blu-ray movies? (and yes, I do have a lot thanks very much - and I mean originals, on blu ray disks)

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Mark up

Unfortunately too many people are daft enough to pay Apple's 43% mark up for pretty design.

Apple doesn't have to be price competitive whilst this situation persists.

Yes the machines are very nice to use. Yes the OS is very good. However, these arguments are no excuse for a such a stupendously greedy pricing policy. Apple even made a smug comment about their mark up when they published their last results. Like they were so clever and cool that they had achieved 43%. It's not cool, it's kicking their loyal customers in the teeth whilst stealing their wallet.

It's also a major barrier for potential customers.

Only two USB ports, no HDMI and bloody DisplayPort? Imagine the score and the comments if this was an HP being reviewed at this price point and spec.

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