If there’s only one word that can describe the sentiment from many reviewers about Apple's latest MacBook, it would be “compromise.” Like many of Apple’s products, the MacBook received praises for its design aesthetic and other exterior elements.
But beyond that, it was hard for many reviewers to get past some of the new MacBook’s biggest drawbacks, whether it was its single USB-C port or mediocre battery life. Here’s a look at some of their thoughts.
Less Battery Than MacBook Air
While the MacBook is certainly thinner and lighter than the MacBook air, Apple achieved that by sacrificing some battery life in the process, as the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern found:
“In a streaming video test, with all the laptops set to comparable brightness (around 75 percent), the MacBook conked out after 7 hours, while my 13-inch Air braved on for over 11 hours. Even the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina got 9 hours.”
Struggles With Heavy Tasks
If you’re planning to do processor strenuous tasks such as video editing or rendering, the new MacBook's Intel Core M processor may not be to your liking, as the Verge’s Dieter Bohn discovered:
“The MacBook benchmarks at about the same level as a four-year-old MacBook Air. That sounds dire, but in my experience it doesn't feel anywhere near that slow -- mostly. Basically, if you do anything that’s going to really tax the processor, this laptop probably isn't going to cut it for you."
For all its faults, one of the biggest issues that Wired’s David Pierce found in the MacBook was its $1299 starting price, which doesn't get you as much power or performance of its sibling Macs.
“That’s the part I can’t quite wrap my head around. If the new MacBook lasted a day and a half, I’d happily forgive the muscular deficiencies. If it were more powerful, nine or ten hours of battery would be a killer number. But when the MacBook is more expensive and less powerful than the Air, and even doesn’t last as long, what’s it for?”
Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue shared a similar sentiment, despite his praises for its design: “Unless you’re a well-heeled executive who doesn’t do much besides write, email, and surf the Web, the price you pay -- in speed, utility, and, yes, price -- is just too high.”
One USB Port
The MacBook may be Apple’s vision for the future of its notebooks, but we're not quite there just yet. And for laptop users that still rely on USB for certain tasks, the one USB-C port can be an inconvenience, as Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham pointed out:
“Plugging in a standard-size USB drive or other accessory requires either that $79 dongle or a separate $19 one that converts the Type-C port to a Type-A port but leaves it unavailable for charging, if you’re the kind of person who leaves her laptop plugged in most of the time by default.”
Engadget's Dana Wollman shared similar sentiments:
"I expect USB Type-C will one day be the norm, and it's possible that your needs are simple enough that you can already live without the full-sized USB ports. For now, though, it feels like either Apple is ahead of its time, or it had to settle on a single, not-that-common port for the sake of building a super-skinny machine."
New Keyboard Isn’t For Everyone
To make the MacBook thinner, Apple had to make the keyboard thinner as well, and to do that it had to reduce the distance required for a key to travel when you press on it, which may not appeal to heavy keyboard users, said Macworld’s Jason Snell:
“The keyboard is more of a hit-or-miss affair; if you’re someone who is particular about your keyboards and spends a whole lot of time typing, it may be a deal-breaker.”