8 things I’ve learnt from using the new super slim MacBook

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    The new MacBook and its accessories

    ‘s new has been in the market for a couple of months now, and I’m sure many users are pretty miffed at its high price, considering how its specifications and performance are seemingly poor.

    This new super slim laptop targets users who don’t require their computers to do much heavy lifting, or working professionals who want a second machine to bring around for sending emails, light surfing and using applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

    I had the chance to test out this laptop for a period of time, so here are some of my thoughts after using this device on a daily basis over a one-month period.

    It’s soooooo light

    At 920 grams, this baby is light as a feather, and it makes my existing 1,580-gram 13″ MacBook Pro Retina feel clunky and overweight.

    To me, this really was the whole point of getting the MacBook. It really made a difference to my daily carrying load (I’m quite the weakling), and carrying it all day never weighed down on me, unlike the 13″ MBPr, which tended to give me a little discomfort after a prolonged period of lugging around.

    Force Touch is pretty nifty

    Features-wise, this is what I missed the most. The touch pad on the 13″ MBPr now feels stiff and immobile. Granted, I use the “tap” function on the touch pad so I won’t have to push it down, but the Force Touch pad makes everything feel so much more natural, regardless of whether I tap it, or press it like a button.

    And here I was, thinking initially that this was a gimmicky feature.

    Additionally, it also has the potential to do so much more, such as controlling the scrubbing function through audio/video files and controlling the acceleration of vehicles in racing simulators, based on how hard one presses the touch pad. Really excited to see what creative functions Apple develops for this technology.

    I don’t use the USB-A port all that often

    Having the USB-C as the computer's only port seemed daunting at first, but it turned out to be pretty ok.
    Having the USB-C as the computer’s only port seemed daunting at first, but it turned out to be pretty ok.

    I never realised how rarely I used the USB-A port until I actually had a laptop that didn’t have it. Although I had the USB-C to USB-A adapter, I actually used it less than 3 times in a whole month.

    Cloud services such as Dropbox and iCloud have made file storage and sharing a piece of cake, eliminating the need for portable drives. Add on the fact that this MacBook comes with 256GB of hard disk storage space and I had little reason to use that USB-A adapter.

    However, with useful portable docks available like the Hub+, it’s probably safe to say that those USB-A ports won’t be missed much.

    Additional adapters, additional cost and hassle

    Additional adapters don't come cheap


    Speaking of the Hub+, it still comes as part of an additional cost, which makes the high price of the swanky new MacBook not the only thing you’ll have to think about before pulling the trigger.

    These adapters are part of the “hidden cost” that comes with buying this computer with only a single USB-C port. Granted, it’s possible to use the MacBook without getting any of these, but that won’t be true for most.

    And not to mention the hassle of packing in extra adapters as well.

    Performance is pretty sluggish

    When Apple announced this new MacBook, many were convinced the Intel Core M processor wouldn’t be much good in terms of performance – and it’s actually quite true.

    Surfing the internet and replying emails were pretty smooth tasks, but if you’re like me, you’d have at least two dozen tabs opened on your browser. Performance then becomes really affected, but I guess that’s not too surprising. However, that’s the way I am and the laptop just didn’t work too well for me in this respect.

    Using Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint (with my browser closed) yielded quite a bit of lag as well.

    I found, though, that it was still lag-free when using Photoshop CC for simple image editing, so that’s a plus.

    I can’t tell whether my laptop is charging when closed

    The new USB-C connector doesn’t have that green/orange light on the connector to indicate whether it’s been connected or not. While not necessary when the laptop is in use (as I could tell from the battery icon in the menu bar), I was unable to tell if the laptop was charging when it’s not in use.

    It’s a minor inconvenience, though, and not really a deal breaker.

    The new keyboard is quite different, but getting used to it was a piece of cake

    The MacBook's keyboard feels comfortable enough to type, despite it's super short travel distance


    Of course there was a little bit of a learning curve – one day of normal usage, to be a little more specific. It was certainly quite different from the older keyboard, but not hard to get used to.

    The keys were slightly bigger than on the MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. The travel distance of the keys was really, really short, and it was the main thing that I had to get used to. However, the MacBook’s keys with the new butterfly mechanism, whereby the key could effectively be pressed from every corner, it wasn’t difficult getting used to the new typing dynamics.

    I will get it… but only as a second computer

    I simply love the design, weight and form factor of the new MacBook. Features such as Force Touch and new butterfly keyboard mechanism are also pretty cool. However, its sluggish performance really let me down.

    I would be willing to get it for business trips, or going out to cafés to write when I know the only tasks for me are to check my email and doing light work on the internet. Tasks such as research that involves many browsers opened, heavy processing in Excel and PowerPoint, or more advanced graphic design work on Photoshop wouldn’t really be suitable.

    Final thoughts

    Get this if:

    • You use your laptop for pretty lightweight tasks such as casual surfing and checking email
    • You want it as a second computer to complement a more powerful machine
    • You appreciate a light-weight, well-designed piece of hardware
    • You’re dying for a gold or space grey Apple laptop

    Avoid this if:

    • You can’t stand the fact that it’s got no USB-A port
    • You do a lot of design work
    • You crunch a lot of numbers on Excel
    • You leave many tabs opened while surfing the net
    • You do all of the above, and are getting this as your primary machine

    Check out some of our additional pictures of the new MacBook below:

    Apple's new MacBook


    Apple's new MacBook


    Apple's new MacBook's thickness, compared to an iPad Air
    Apple’s new MacBook’s thickness, compared to an iPad Air