Mini Macbook review

MacbookSo, I suppose it’s about time I actually posted a wee review of my lovely early Christmas present eh!

I ordered a 2GHZ Core 2 Duo Macbook in black. The only change I made was to up the RAM to 2GB, which with any modern OS is a good move: the more memory the better. If you buy in-store, you pay more (what a poet) as you have to pay for the standard configuration of RAM (two 512MB sticks) plus the new memory (two 1-gig sticks). So, I purchased Kinky on-line as you get exactly what you want.

My order was placed on a Friday lunchtime, with an ETA for the following Tuesday or Wednesday. My machine actually arrived Monday lunchtime, so that was a nice surprise, and kicked off the whole “new Mac” experience well.

Opening the box is a treat of course—there’s no extraneous packaging, just a nice slim box with the Macbook image all over it. You can see the poorly-shot Flickr set for more of that. I was impressed with two things upon opening the box: the Macbook itself of course, but also the power supply. The Macbook is sleek, very slim indeed. It’s not the lightest laptop I’ve ever hefted, but it’s the lightest one I’ve tried that still has all its faculties (optical drive, large screen, etc.) As for the power supply, that’s nifty. Most people know about the Magsafe technology now—the feature that means you can’t easily yank your laptop off the table by its cable—but what I also like about the power pack is that you don’t have to have oodles of cable coming out of it: you can plug the pack directly into the wall with a small adaptor, or you can have the extra cable. Very neat.

And so to use. Using the oft-praised (and with good reason) “FireWire Target mode” I was able to transfer my account and settings from Ethelred, the old iMac, in no time. Everything comes over: passwords in Safari, application preferences, additional applications (i.e. whatever is installed over and above what comes with the Macbook), my bash shell profile—the works. Brilliant. I cannot emphasise how cool this is.

Everyday use (and I use this thing every day for sure!) is a joy. I wasn’t sure about the trackpad at first, but now I love it. The keyboard looks odd (very Z88 for those that remember that machine), but is in actual fact very responsive and tactile.

Finally, the machine is fast. Very fast. OK, so I was used to an 800MHz G4 Mac, but even so, the Macbook flies along. Fire up application after application, it won’t choke. After more than a few apps, my ThinkPad (2gig of RAM also) drops the ball, and starts paging like crazy. Not the Macbook—even when it’s also running Windows. I have not noticed any noise or excess heat in the machine, so looks like those areas are well and truly sorted out, at least in the new Macbook range. Battery life is also good: I am getting around three hours, but haven’t really tested this out yet.

Windows you say? Yes, WinXP Pro, courtesy of the VMWare Fusion beta. Installation was very quick and simple, and the OS is surprisingly fast. Well on a par with a typical medium-spec Chavbook. I would say that the virtualisation space is really going to come into its own in 2007 on the Mac, and I’m keen to compare Parallels with VMWare for sure.

More soon, but in the meantime: get one of these babies. You will love it.


  1. Nice write up…I got one for my wife for christmas (for grad school) and I am equally as impressed with it. This is my first experience with a MAC so I have a lot to learn (i have no idea what a BASH shell profile is) but the overall experience seems a lot more enjoyable. Setting up printers and syncing with her bluetooth phone's addressbook was a breeze….
    Happy Holidays
    GerGerry Shappell#
  2. I must admit that it's a beautiful machine. And the fact that you can run Windows on it almost makes me willing to buy one… if I could just get past the anti-Mac-cult mindset.

    FYI, the first thing I thought when I saw your Flickr photo here is how much you look like Alton Brown! Strom#

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