Apple MacBook £749

31st Jul 2006 | 23:00

Apple MacBook

Stylish and powerful, it's an impressive step forward

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

A big improvement over the iBook, the MacBook offers a useful alternative

Like:

<p>Excellent battery life</p>

Dislike:

<p>Heats up to uncomfortable levels</p>

Apple's mobile range has seen a rebirth following its adoption of Intel technology.

The Apple MacBook (£749 inc. VAT) reviewed here is the most affordable in the range. Keeping the trademark white appearance of the previous iBook range, Apple has added some significant changes with this update. The chassis footprint has been reduced by 20 per cent, reducing the weight to just 2.4kg.

The old TFT screen has been replaced by a 13.3-inch Super-TFT widescreen panel. Brightness has increased by 79 per cent, and the result is one of the best laptop screens we've seen.

A new keyboard has also been added, which will divide opinion for Apple lovers. We found it highly usable and well-spaced, but the short key travel may be too hard for some. The 100 x 47mm touchpad is spacious, and can be used with two- fingers to scroll pages onscreen.

Double the power

The key change the MacBook brings is the use of Intel Core Duo processors. Powered by an Intel Core Duo T2400 processor, 512MB of memory holds data ready for the CPU. The 60GB hard drive spins at 5400rpm for fast access to data.

Due to the use of the Apple Mac OS X operating system, we were unable to get MobileMark 2005 or 3DMark 2003 benchmark scores from the MacBook. However, using Cinebench software, we were able to measure ability in comparison with previous Apple laptops.

Offering a huge 250 per cent performance increase over the Apple iBook, power is impressive and highly capable. However, the downside to this performance boost is that the chassis heats up quickly and gets very hot, making laptop use uncomfortable.

Supporting the mobile chassis, a 243-minute battery life will keep you working on the move. Another nice touch is that battery power can be checked by pressing a button on the battery. Displayed by a series of lights, you can assess power without switching the laptop on.

For networking, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-fi networks can both be configured for high-speed data transfers at home or on the move. A 1.3-megapixel Apple iSight camera is also fitted above the screen, to be used for instant messaging and taking photos.

With impressive power and usability, the Apple MacBook puts the iBook firmly in the past. With the ability to dual-boot its Mac OS X operating system with Windows XP, this makes it one of the only laptops that can provide the best of both worlds and do it with style and performance.

Apple warranty Protecting the MacBook is a one-year collect and return warranty, including coverage for parts and labour to ensure no additional expense in the event of damages. To ease the transition for new users, 90-days of free phone support is also included for the initial usage period.

AppleComputingLaptopMobile computing
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