Macbook Review

I purchased a 12″ MacBook to setup for a relative. I got the low end 2016 model (m3, 8GB, 256GB) on sale for $1050. They will be using the laptop for light computing tasks: browsing, email, some office work. No video processing, maybe some photo editing. TL;DR: The MacBook is surprisingly good

The quality of the hardware is as good as we expect from Apple. They deserve to earn a premium for the high-end parts and the solid construction. The screen is excellent. The sound is pretty good. The touchpad is absolutely terrific. It really feels like it’s moving! The MacBook is very lightweight and feels good in my hands. I don’t mind that there’s only 1 USB-C port, but 2 would be better. Battery life has been awesome. The computer never gets warm doing light tasks. It’s basically a very fast iPad in a laptop form factor.

And then there’s the keyboard. Apple has a history of being the first to remove essential features from computers. This time it’s key travel. When I tried the MacBook at the Apple store last year, I really hated the keyboard. After using it for a month, I can now say I don’t hate it. It’s tolerable, but not great. The key travel is 0.5 mm. Compare that to the excellent keyboard on a Thinkpad Carbon X1 at 1.86 mm travel. The new 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard uses the same design but increases travel slightly to 0.55 mm.

I really like everything about the MacBook except the key travel. Compared to the Surface Pro 4 with i5 processor, the MacBook feels more responsive and faster. I haven’t run any developer stuff on it, but for regular tasks the m3 chip is surprisingly good. I’d really like to try the MacBook with an i7.Fortunately, Asus copied Apple with the Asus Zenbook 3. The Asus supports a more powerful i7 processor, 16GB RAM and the key travel is 0.8 mm. The only downside is the screen is 1080p. I haven’t seen this in a store yet, but the specs look great.

If you can learn to like the keyboard, the MacBook is a great laptop for everyone except those needing high-performance.