June 1, 2006

Thoughts on the MacBook

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 1:16 am

Ever since I saw the parallels demo I have been trying to buy a MacBook. The Apple store in San Antonio has been selling out of them as soon as they get them, and I was calling a couple times a day to see find out when they would get some in stock. Today I called and they said they had just gotten some in, but that there were not many left, so I took off for the store to get one.

I got the base model, and upgraded it to 1 GB of RAM because 1) Mac OS X is much nicer with 1 GB, and 2) I figured that trying to do anything in Parallels with 512 MB would pretty much suck.

Before doing anything I had to install all of my favorite Mac applications. One thing I noticed immediately was how much more powerful the wireless is on the MacBook than on my PowerBook. At my apartment I was suddenly seeing 8 access points, where the PowerBook only occasionally picks up 2.

After switching the power management to “Better Battery Life” my battery life shot up to 5 hours and 21 minutes as seen to the left.

After getting all of my music copied over I started playing with Parallels. I’ve only installed an instance of Debian Sarge so far (it was the only ISO I had at home), but I can tell you, this is one awesome app. I can see this one application alone driving up the sales for Intel Macs.

I’m not completely sold on the new keyboard style though. Once so far when I was typing the little square key went down on an angle and snapped back up. Of course, this sometimes happens on the PowerBook keyboard as well. (maybe I type with a lazy gangsta lean?)

Other observations:

  • The MagSafe power adapter is very nice and I can see how this will save many laptops from an untimely death.
  • The new magnetic lid is much easier to use than the clasp latch on the PowerBooks/iBooks/MacBook Pros.
  • The MacBook gets a bit hotter than the iBooks ever did. That’s not unreasonable given the difference in processing power.
  • The RAM (and hard drive) slots are accessible through the battery hole on the back. This is much easier to work with than having it under the keyboard as in the iBooks.
  • The default installation used over 18 GB. I read this and decided to immediately reinstall to free up some space. After unchecking all the demo software and stuff I didn’t need, I got the installation down to 11 GB, so I regained 7 GB of space.
  • The glossy screen isn’t a big deal, once its powered on I barely even notice any difference.

At this point, although I really like the MacBook, I think I still prefer the feel (and screen) of the 15″ PowerBook. Although, I have not heard too many great stories about the MacBook Pro’s yet, so I wouldn’t consider getting one of those until at least the second major revision is released. The MacBook fits nicely on my lap, and I think it will be much nicer to use when I am on an airplane. This picture will give you a good idea with how the 13″ MacBook physically sizes up with the 12″ and 14″ iBooks.

All in all, this is a very nice (and fast) little laptop. I have a feeling the MacBook will be many people’s first Apple computer.

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1 Comment »

  1. Where’s your youtube parallels video, buddy? :)

    Comment by Richard Y — June 1, 2006 @ 2:57 am

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