MacBook Impressions Dreamed 4838 days ago | | 1272 words

Now that I’ve had my Macbook for a week and spent countless hours alone with it, late at night…


The MacBook. What’s good about it, from my admittedly biased viewpoint. A couple of gripes and musings about it. This will cover hardware only. Software is pretty stock unless you count the apps I’m finding and adding at a daily rate. Maybe I’ll write something up if there is interest.

Keyboard: Big Fat Keys! The big fat keys spaced apart from each other are ideal for those with giant hands and large fingers. I touch type. Well, my own brand of it which is to say I don’t look at the keyboard but my hands fly all around it like a pinwheel in a hurricane.
I love the keyboard. I don’t have to worry about hitting multiple keys and it’s laid out like a full size board would be so there’s no guess work or buttons not where they should be to my finger’s memory. Except the A key. I keep insisting on capitalizing words instead of hitting A. The keys have a nice feel and response when I hit them. I can tell I’m hitting a key even though they’re very low to the keyboard itself.

Glossy Screen: Yes, if you’re going to sit out in the park and compute, it will reflect the sun. Yes, if you’re lounging poolside it will reflect the sun. Yes, if you point it upwards and there are big powerful lights above you, it will reflect the light.
If you’re sitting at your desk with natural light coming it your windows to your left and enjoying the summer breezes creep through your apartment, it will not reflect the light.
Ever since I saw the Dell XPS’ screen I liked the look of the glossy finish. I like it the same way I like gloddy photo paper when I print. It looks bright and crisp, almost like the video is going to leap into my lap.
It’s not ideal for working outside, but I don’t work outside. I spend most of my time in my cave-like apartment or sitting in my car and even if there is some glare, it’s not crippling. A slight adjustment of the angle and you’re back in business.

Battery Life: Epic. When you’ve got the lid closed, it will sit there and idle away, keeping all your apps open and running in suspended animation for hours on end. In an attempt to calibrate the battery last night I left the machine running from 6pm asleep until 10:30 then used it from 10:30 until 1:30 and only then did it finally go to sleep and warn me to plug it in.
Average battery life for working on the machine has been between 2:75 and 4 hours depending on the task at hand. Overall I am highly impressed with the batter life of the box.

Heat: It runs warm, I’d not call it hot and certainly nowhere near as hot as the MacBook Pro runs. When I first got the machine, I took it out of the box and played with it for an hour in the parking lot of Short Pump Town Center (where the Apple Store is) with no ill effects. It gets hot when you’re doing anything processor intensive like trying to run iPhoto, Safari, Firefox, Adium, iTunes and Photo Booth. It’s little fans kick in and blow like there’s no tomorrow out the vents in the back.
The vents in the back will make it an excellent hand warmer come winter.

Night Mode If you hit Apple + Option + Ctrl + 8 you can switch into night mode. This basically inverts everything. White to black, black to white. It’s amazing the difference it makes on my eyes when I’m trying to read lengthy articles online in the evenings. It’s also the perfect solution for those lovely black background with tiny white text web sites. This is not unique to the MacBook as the Pro version also has this feature. It’s very nifty and I’ve gotten great use and enjoyment out of it.

RAM: Get a gig. Better yet, get two gigs. You can pick up 2 GB of the DDR2 667mhz at either Tigerdirect or Newegg for about $200. The memory is easy to install so it’s not worth it (in my book) to have apple do it and charge me extra for it since I am completely comfortable opening up the machine and giving it more juice. 512MB will walk OSX but not run it. It handles pretty well so far except when I try to load iPhoto for the first time with its 1600 images in it and when I’ve got a dozen or so tabs open in Safari. However, I fully realize this is me working my machine to death, not a fault of the machine itself. My advice, upgrade the RAM, that’s what I’m doing come next pay day.

Not All Good: I do have a couple of gripes about the machine, even though my excitement about owning such a beautiful piece of machinery shines through ten-fold.