Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Apple MacBook 12in (2016)

Apple MacBook 12in (2016)

Could you be converted to Apple’s laptop?

When we tested Apple’s brand new MacBook last year, with its super-slim case and edge-to-edge keyboard, we praised its lightweight design and high-resolution screen, but we weren’t so sure about its reliance on a single USB Type-C port for charging, wired networking, external displays and accessories. The same laptop now has more powerful processors inside and comes in a new colour (rose gold).

It can be awkward working with only one port, but now that USB Type-C is becoming more common in PCs, at least its format isn’t such an anomaly. If you like to use a mouse, though, it’s annoying (for most of us) that the port is on the left, but the MacBook’s smooth trackpad will satisfy most users. The only other questionable hardware choice is the FaceTime webcam, which is far from HD resolution, though fine for its intended purpose.

At £1,049, the MacBook comes with an improved 1.1GHz M3 processor alongside 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. Or you can have a 1.2GHz M5 processor and 512GB for £1,299. The best reason to choose the higher specification is the extra storage. We found the M3 processor 20 per cent faster than last year’s MacBook across a variety of tests, and the M5 12.5 per cent faster again. Either is good enough for everyday tasks and photo editing, which benefits from the colour-accurate 2304x1440-pixel screen.

Should you consider a MacBook, despite the price? Apple aficionados would argue that the software is simpler to use than Windows, and hassles you much less with security issues and updates. It comes with a very good set of office and creative apps free of charge. Macs are favoured by creative professionals and programmers, and the MacBook is undoubtedly the current laptop of choice for sitting in coffee shops doing exciting work for companies with silly names.

HP’s new Spectre 13 Windows 10 laptop is even thinner, but starts at £1,149, and that’s with an ordinary Full HD (1920x1080-pixel) screen. It has a more powerful Intel Core i5 processor, but its claimed 10-hour battery life can’t match the MacBook, which lasted us more than that playing videos – an hour longer than the 2015 version, which went as long as 14 hours in lighter use.

Then again, you could buy a very nice Asus ZenBook UX305CA for half the money, with a slower M3 processor and only 128GB of storage, but a similarly sharp screen. It remains our favourite Windows 10 laptop.

You don’t have to spend this much on a general-purpose laptop, but it’s fast and has a good screen.

1.1GHz Intel M3 dual-core processor • 8GB memory • 256GB SSD • Intel Graphics 515 • 12in 2,304x1,440-pixel screen • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.0 • FaceTime camera • USB Type-C port • OS X 10.11 El Capitan • 13.1x281x197mm (HxWxD) • One-year warranty