Houston Chronicle reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook: sturdy, glossy, and alluring

Last week, Apple “unveiled its new MacBook and MacBook Pro models. I bought a black MacBook in early 2007, and suddenly my machine’s not the current model,” Dwight Silverman reports for The Houston Chronicle. “I love my MacBook dearly, but the new one is alluring. Is it compelling enough to make me want to shell out for a the latest and greatest?”

Apple’s new aluminum unibody construction “makes the notebook more rigid and, thus, sturdy. I never though the older MacBook didn’t feel sturdy, but the metal and the increased rigidity are noticeable in the new one,” Silverman reports.

Silverman reports, “The 13.3-inch screen is a backlit LED bordered by a black bezel, both of which sit behind a plate of glossy glass. The look is similar to the design of Apple’s iMac desktop. The LED is brighter than the older display on my MacBook, and the glossy surface heightens the contrast. I like this look, but not everyone will. Apple no longer offers the alternative – a matte display surface – on its MacBook Pro line, so it’s glossy or nothing. Some users are distracted by reflections and glare on glossy displays, but this one is so bright that it overpowers most visual distractions.”

MacDailyNews Note: You can easily make a glossy screen matte, but you simply cannot make a matte screen glossy. Apple MacBook, iMac screens too glossy? Apply inexpensive non-glare film – November 05, 2007

Silverman continues, “The MacBook is also notable for some of the things it’s missing. Gone from beneath the trackpad is the single click button. Now, the entire trackpad is the button.”

“Another thing that’s missing is not so welcome: There’s now no longer a Firewire port on the machine. Apple maintains that it’s not really needed on consumer-level machines, because USB 2.0 is now the primary way that consumer level hard drives and video cameras connect to computers,” Silverman reports. “But that doesn’t take into account the fact that there are a lot of Firewire camcorders out there, and folks who want a new Mac for video editing are either going to have get a new camera or buy the more expensive MacBook Pro, which still has Firewire.”

Full article here.

18 Comments

  1. I went to an Apple Store this weekend to see the new MacBook Pros and they really do feel much thinner. I don’t think the photos do these machines justice. When I saw the photos, I thought they were chunky, but in person they seem totally different.

  2. Apple’s new Screen Glare Security™ protects user’s sensitive data from anyone looking at the screens of their entire mobile computing line. This feature is free on every unit in contrast to the $700 built to order Firewire port option.

  3. People, it’s not whining to wish for Firewire.

    Apple started it and included it on a LOT of machines, plus there are numerous uses for it in AV.

    Some people, like me, prefer to own a Mac Pro for home/pro work and have a MacBook for the road, to help balance cost.

    When the time comes for me to upgrade my laptop I will now have to purchase a machine to turn into a hackintosh so I can keep cost in check and still have firewire on the road.

    It’s not whining, it’s a valid concern when deciding on a purchase.

  4. FireWire 400 outperforms USB 2.0 in every measurable metric.

    Why people insist on “moving forward” with USB 2.0 (which is the floppy drive in this comparison) is beyond me.

  5. cheers Sixvodkas, I’m with you on this one. When Apple axed the floppy, they had something better to offer, now the only reason to knife the baby is so they can save some bucks per machine. Our school isn’t about to buy new cameras, and we’re NOT going to invest in pros, so the only upgrade road left to the bean counters in the office is pc laptops, and that sucks!

  6. wandering joe said:
    “Our school isn’t about to buy new cameras, and we’re NOT going to invest in pros, so the only upgrade road left to the bean counters in the office is pc laptops, and that sucks!”

    What about the MacBook still being sold with FireWire? If money’s so tight with the bean counters, it’s cheaper than the aluminum MacBooks!

  7. firewire is super, but it’s not something that most users use on a daily basis. I only use FW for weekly backups, and my backup LaCie drive has a multi-interface.

    For those with Firewire peripherals, the investment in the MacBook Pro is definitely a better way to go. the increased specs will save you much time if you’re working with video. i don’t know ANY videographer who has ever regretted spending a couple hundred bucks up front to get the increased performance machine.

    Trying not to sound condescending, the price difference of the McBook and the MacBook Pro isn’t that big of a hurdle if you really need Firewire. if you’re truly price sensitive, then buy last year’s MacBook model while they’re on sale. If you’re just whining about the price, then consider blogging less and working more. a little behavior modification can fix your financial situation.

  8. Instead of giving us more value for our hard-earned dollars, Apple has deliberately *crippled* its low-end offering in order to herd more sheep into buying the high-dollar laptop.

    This is a fundamental reversal in Apple’s philosophy. Instead of “The Power To Be Your Best”, the new company slogan seems to be to “Extract the Maximum Amount of Cash by Removing Essential Features and Upselling the Schmuck.”

    Not a good customer relations move.

  9. MacDailyNews Note: You can easily make a glossy screen matte, but you simply cannot make a matte screen glossy. Apple MacBook, iMac screens too glossy? Apply inexpensive non-glare film – November 05, 2007

    Wrong!

    A matte film applied to a glass pane that’s significantly in front of the actual panel will lead to significant blurring of the image. A matte finish is only really feasible without a loss of resolution when applied directly to the exposed LCD panel.

    There is no realistic way back to matte for the new MacBooks, unfortunately.

    I just hope that until I need my next MacBook Pro either the glossy madness will have passed again or the anti-glare optical finish on the glossy screens will have become so good that matte screens will no longer be needed. Unfortunately that’s not the case yet.

  10. @1985
    True, but like someone else pointed out on another thread, the white books scream placeholder. They are just waiting to be sold out. It’s like new products come along and you can buy yesterdays tech at a discount. It’s not the cutting edge anymore. Pity really.

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