Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

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tipswatcher
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Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by tipswatcher » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:56 pm

I have a lot of thoughts on this, because I have putting more more thought into buying a new laptop than I ever did in allocating money in my 401(k) or buying a 10-year Treasury. What does that says about me? Not sure.

I was awaiting Apple's announcement of the new 'MacBook Air Retina' - and was pretty much ready to buy it - and then oops, Apple came out with a completely new model, the 'MacBook' - no Air, no Pro. This won't be my main computer, which is a Dell desktop (Windows 7), better to run Quicken. But I use a MacBook Pro at work and I am very familiar with Mac software, and really, really am turned off by Windows 8. I need a travel computer, mostly for writing, editing, running a Website's content management system, light- to medium photo editing, light video editing, email, watching movies, etc., etc. (I also have an iPad, but I find that very difficult to use for writing and editing.)

Thoughts on the new MacBook:

PROS

- extremely light, at 2 pounds, and thin, making it very portable
- Retina display - much needed over the 'Air' models and allowing for a larger workspace, multiple windows open, multiple programs
- plus-sized keyboard
- Apple's 'Force' touchpad, which could be incorporated into future Apple software
- 8 GB memory and 256 GB flash storage, both of which are upgrades from most ultrabooks
- the Yosemite OS, which includes a lot of very good software
- totally silent operation, with no fan and no disk drive, and fewer things to break
- 9 hours of battery life

CONS

- expensive at $1,299, even with the upgraded memory and flash storage. I was hoping for a price around $1,000
- Intel's Core M processor, which is new and pretty untested, and certainly weaker than the processor in the 'Air' and 'Pro' MacBooks
- Single USB-C port, which will require adapters for flash drives. Added expense for the adapters.
- 9 hours of battery life is less than MacBook Air 13's 12 hours

IMPRESSIONS AND ALTERNATIVES

My impression is that Apple really went to the edge with this MacBook, trying to create a new sort of product, a hybrid between a tablet and a laptop. And so it put in the single USB-C port to drive home the point that you use it for a day or two, then charge it at night. You don't leave it plugged in to use it, just like an iPad.

My highest priorities are 1) portability, 2) build quality and 3) usefulness for writing and editing.

For portability, the best alternative would be the MacBook Air 11, which is about the same size and weighs 2.3 pounds. It has a really lousy resolution of 1366 by 768 -- some cheap Netbooks do better. But otherwise it is a very good laptop, with a powerful processor and lots of ports, making it portable and flexible. And it is much cheaper at $899 for the base model, which might be adequate for me. If you boost it to 8 GB memory and 256 GB storage, the price rises to $1,099.

For computing power, the best alternative is the MacBook Pro 13 with Retina, which is also $1,299 with 8 GB memory and 128 GB storage. But this weighs 3.5 pounds, a full 1.5 pounds more than the new MacBook. That's a lot, although the Pro is a very nice, slim design. It is more bulky, no question.

The MacBook Air 13 has a better screen than the 11 - 1440 by 900 - and costs $999 for the base configuration and $1,199 to step up to 256 GB storage. It weighs 3 pounds and is a lot bigger than the Air 11 or new MacBook. It suffers on portability and if I sacrificed portability I would probably go with the MacBook Pro and 1/2 pound more, but a lot more powerful.

CONCLUSION

I am probably leaning toward the new MacBook for its portability and acceptable power. (I'll need to see some real-world testing before I buy). The single port is a hassle, but I think I can live with that. The Retina screen is highly desirable.

Go ahead, have at me. I can't buy the thing until April 10, so give me hell.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by ianferrel » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:10 pm

tipswatcher wrote:- Retina display - much needed over the 'Air' models and allowing for a larger workspace, multiple windows open, multiple programs
Retina displays don't really give you that much more functional screen real estate. They mostly just make images much more vibrant and text prettier/easier to read. Yeah, you can get a little bit more if you scale things down, but it's not like you actually get 4x the workspace, since if you shrunk things down to 1/4 their size, most of the controls would be very small, and the text would be very difficult to read.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by Pajamas » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:15 pm

- expensive at $1,299, even with the upgraded memory and flash storage. I was hoping for a price around $1,000. Apple products cost more up front but they tend to have a longer useful life. Pay up and enjoy it. Can you get an educational or employee discount? That would help.
- Intel's Core M processor, which is new and pretty untested, and certainly weaker than the processor in the 'Air' and 'Pro' MacBooks. Is the processor going to limit you?
- Single USB-C port, which will require adapters for flash drives. Added expense for the adapters. Do you use flash drives a lot? You may only need one adapter. This is the major drawback to me but I rarely use ports on my laptops except for charging or headphones. It still has a headphone jack.
- 9 hours of battery life is less than MacBook Air 13's 12 hours I don't think the 3 hour difference will make a practical difference unless your situation is unusual.

You know you are going to get it. The question is what color? The space grey looks nice online but I would want to see it in person. I don't like the gold at all. :D

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by simplicity » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:55 pm

tipswatcher wrote: - Intel's Core M processor, which is new and pretty untested, and certainly weaker than the processor in the 'Air' and 'Pro' MacBooks
- Single USB-C port, which will require adapters for flash drives. Added expense for the adapters.
Hi tipswatcher

The Intel's Core M processor and Single USB-C port are my main concerns too.

I use a Macbook Air and it is satisfactory in terms of power.
I use it for coding, surfing, watching tv shows.

I guess you will have to test the new MacBook to make sure the processor can handle the tasks you want to perform on it.

Both the single Intel's Core M processor and USB-C port are the results of aiming at a very thin design.

Kind regards,

Simplicity
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by inbox788 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:38 pm

I didn't need another laptop, but after seeing the keynote, I want one too. It's like seeing the first MacBook Air for the first time. I hope they come out with updates to the Air and Pro in this form factor before next year.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by Tamales » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:49 pm

I know you said Macbook, but you might have a look at this review of the HP Spectre x360:
http://www.notebookreview.com/notebookr ... nce-apple/

A snip: "This 13-inch ultrathin laptop not only delivers premium performance with premium hardware wrapped in premium materials, but the Spectre x360 also surpasses the 13-inch MacBook Air in terms of battery life, Wi-Fi performance, and the ability to function as a tablet. Before we explain why we think this is the most impressive HP consumer laptop we’ve ever seen, let’s address the elephant in the room and provide some background on the old “Windows vs Mac” debate."

$899 for the base model (search for better prices) or about $1200 with a core i7

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by Silence Dogood » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:26 pm

Well, the real question is, what will you use it for? What kind of writing and editing?

You could get a very portable Chromebook for $300, or even less. If I had to replace my computer today, I would probably go with this:

http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Chromebook-C ... chromebook

Depending on what you'll use it for, the MacBook may or may not be a good purchase. I just think you should focus more on what you will actually use it for and focus less on the specifications of the computer (however impressive they may be).

Of course, you get to decide what is or isn't a "good" purchase.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by daffyd » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:45 pm

If you're set on a MacOS machine then I don't have much to add, the trade-offs you have outlined are the same as those I see (I'd be inclined towards the Macbook Pro 13 but my preferences may be different from yours).

I'd look at reviews of the ASUS Zenbook UX305FA. There's a $699 model which is beginning to be available, has a 1920 x 1080 display and all the mod cons, but weighs well under 3 lb. The value proposition of the Macbook vanishes when I compare the features and see the price of the ASUS (it has a Core M processor also but a 13.3" screen).

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by ChicagoJon » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:53 pm

I have both a 2012 13" MacBook Air (personal) and a 2014 13" Retina MBP (via work). The Air was the best all-around computer I've ever used...until the rMBP came along. The Air has since sat in a drawer, other than for occasional surfing and when I need to offload tasks to a second laptop. After using the Retina Display, it is hard to go back to the Air's display for reading, word processing, photo editing or even general use. The additional weight was slightly noticeable at first, but not much of a concern since transitioning to the rMBP for primary activities; I use a PC backpack for work travel.

I share your concern over the new Retina MacBook Air's price/specs offered compared to other MacBook offerings, esp. on its processor if you will be doing video or photo editing. If budget allows, I'd strongly consider the 13" rMBP - with 256GB of storage; 8GB RAM will be very good for most uses. They also refreshed the 13" rMBP to add Force Touch touchpad and some other upgrades. Appears to be a strong contender...If portability is your biggest priority, the new 12" rMBA deserves a detailed look - if that outweighs the price/performance offered by the 13" rMBP.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by epilnk » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:51 pm

I'm thinking about it. It's time for a new primary machine so I can downgrade this one (5 years old) to backup general use family laptop and photo storage, and retire the 2006 Macbook that is really starting to show it's age.

I don't really need a lot of power so the macbook air would normally be fine; however my rapidly fading vision wants a retina screen and at my age I don't need to compromise on that. The 13" Pro is more computer than I need. So I'll wait for the 12 inch to actually come out and at least consider it. I've seen some complaints about the keyboard and the processor, but since I don't need much power that may be fine.

It would burn me up, though, if I bought one and a new version with significantly improved specs followed soon thereafter - that tends to be what happens with new designs. After all, I only buy a new computer every 4-5 years so I prefer to wait for the bugs to shake out.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by angelescrest » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:11 am

You have my blessing!

I have a MacBook pro retina, and I want the MacBook that you mention. The portability factor is great and for the uses that you indicate, you don't need a much faster processor unless you are using a high end NLE for video editing.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by stratton » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:36 am

13-inch Broadwell MacBook showdown: Should you go Pro or get an Air?
Review: The 2015 Broadwell refreshes are similar, but not identical.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by tipswatcher » Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:20 pm

So, I pulled the trigger Saturday, but I bought the MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina, not the new MacBook.

Why? I took a really long look at the 13-inch MacBook Pro at Best Buy and I loved the build quality and the size seemed fine. The screen is gorgeous. Once the reviews for the new MacBook started coming out on Thursday, I realized that its Core M processor might be underpowered for me, especially in the four-year lifespan I plan for this laptop. There's little doubt the speedy MacBook Pro will be capable in four years. And so that was my key decision factor.

Also ... price. On Friday, I was still longing for that 12-inch MacBook, sight unseen. I went into the Apple store online, put the base model in my cart, added a $19 adapter for USB and the price rose to $1,413.55 with state income tax. I was able to find the 2015 MacBook Pro 13 on sale for $1,210 on MacMall, and Best Buy matched that price, making the total $1,297.72 after state taxes. That's $115.83 less for a more powerful computer, with lots of ports and a bigger, gorgeous screen.

I set the MacBook Pro up in a few minutes. It is a really fine laptop. Blazing Internet connections, even all the way across the house from my router. The new 'force' trackpad - shared with the 12-inch MacBook - is super slick.

If anyone opted for the new 12-inch MacBook, I totally respect that choice and I'd love to hear your impressions.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by anojones » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:13 pm

I just went through the same thought process and also settled on the MBP retina. For me it was the realization that the Macbook is really somewhat of a hybrid between tablet and laptop. I also realized I'd be using it at home much more than hauling it around. Pretty smart of Apple to introduce a new laptop that got me interested, and then after some research and deciding it wasn't for me, still buying a new laptop!

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by papiper » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:36 pm

Make that three... I opted for the macbook pro retina. It's lived up to the hype.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by tipswatcher » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:47 pm

I also realized I'd be using it at home much more than hauling it around.
This was my final decision point, too. Although I travel often and need a real computer, not an iPad, at times, I realized that for the other 40+ weeks, when I am at home, wouldn't I rather have a laptop that is simple to use, simple to back up, powerful? Yes, when I am traveling for those 10+ weeks, I would rather have the new ultralight MacBook. But the convenience and power of the MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch, which is also considered a lightweight laptop, ended up settling the issue, for 52 weeks of the year, for 4+ years into the future.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by TheTimeLord » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:00 pm

papiper wrote:Make that three... I opted for the macbook pro retina. It's lived up to the hype.
I am coveting that box right now.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by davebo » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:39 am

tipswatcher wrote:So, I pulled the trigger Saturday, but I bought the MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina, not the new MacBook.

Why? I took a really long look at the 13-inch MacBook Pro at Best Buy and I loved the build quality and the size seemed fine. The screen is gorgeous. Once the reviews for the new MacBook started coming out on Thursday, I realized that its Core M processor might be underpowered for me, especially in the four-year lifespan I plan for this laptop. There's little doubt the speedy MacBook Pro will be capable in four years. And so that was my key decision factor.

Also ... price. On Friday, I was still longing for that 12-inch MacBook, sight unseen. I went into the Apple store online, put the base model in my cart, added a $19 adapter for USB and the price rose to $1,413.55 with state income tax. I was able to find the 2015 MacBook Pro 13 on sale for $1,210 on MacMall, and Best Buy matched that price, making the total $1,297.72 after state taxes. That's $115.83 less for a more powerful computer, with lots of ports and a bigger, gorgeous screen.

I set the MacBook Pro up in a few minutes. It is a really fine laptop. Blazing Internet connections, even all the way across the house from my router. The new 'force' trackpad - shared with the 12-inch MacBook - is super slick.

If anyone opted for the new 12-inch MacBook, I totally respect that choice and I'd love to hear your impressions.
I was also going to get the new Macbook, but basically came to the same conclusion for the same reasons. I am not going to be taking it out the house and, even if I was, the Macbook Air is still pretty small.

Although I have to admit that as much as I love the apple tv, iphone, and ipads that I've owned, the price of Macbook gives me a little sticker shock.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by roflwaffle » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:00 am

You can get a 13.3" base Air (4/128) for ~$685+tax at worst buy if you are patient and get the movers coupon/mac student coupon.

Oddly enough, the processor in the Air benches higher than either of the new processors in the MB, but benchmarks should be taken with a grain of salt.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu ... 40+1.40GHz

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cp ... Hz&id=2465
https://cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=In ... Hz&id=2382

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by SpringMan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:02 am

MacBook Pro Retina is a good choice. I bought one from B&H and saved quite a bit compared to Apple. Mine has the older type trackpad, not the new "force" trackpad. Now I am trying to learn Apple numbers and am having difficulty getting it to do some of the things excel does. Love the computer though and it came with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage with a dual core i7 for the price of the entry level 12" MacBook and a USB-C adaptor. I have read some retina owners are having problems with the non-glare coating on the screen flaking off. Possibly they used the wrong type of cleaner. So far no issues with that here. I did have a spinning beach ball once but rebooted and everything was fine.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by Leif » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:15 am

With your priorities I would go with the Air. I don't think Retina is a big deal. A couple of years ago I took my old iPad to an Apple store to compare it with the new Retina iPad. I compared several sites, including the NY Times with a lot of small fonts. I just could not tell the difference. You should go to the store and check if the Retina display really is important to you.

I don't like the new Macbook. One port. Really? Apple made such a big deal over there magnetic charging port, in case you tripped over the cord. What happened to that? A bit smaller screen. An even though they shrunk the electronics to increase the battery size it does not last long. Processor is weak. Price is high. I think the current keyboard is fine, although I've not tried the new "enhanced" keys.

For writing and editing I would want the largest screen available within my weight limit requirements.

FYI - I have a rMBP. Portability is not a big issue for me. Of the three the new Macbook would be last on my list.
Last edited by Leif on Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by SpringMan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:25 am

Leif wrote:With your priorities I would go with the Air.
You did read the OP already pulled the trigger and bought a MacBook Pro Retina?
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by Leif » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:26 am

SpringMan wrote:
Leif wrote:With your priorities I would go with the Air.
You did read the OP already pulled the trigger and bought a MacBook Pro Retina?
No, I read some of the posts, but not all. Interesting. Portability was his #1 priority and he chose the least portable. Price is often the deciding factor when you have similar products. The 2015 MBP does give him the force touch. Perhaps that will become an important feature.

I hope dropping all the ports on the Macbook turns out to be a failed experiment at Apple.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by epilnk » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:12 pm

Thanks for the update. I'm also leaning in the same direction.

While the form factor is enticing and 2 pounds would be amazing, I think I can handle a 3.5 pounder. After all, I'm typing this on a 4.5 pound macbook pro and don't recall ever wishing it were smaller. And I think the pro will age better. I generally buy a new mac every 4-5 years, downgrade the older one, and retire the oldest one, so I don't want anything so underpowered I'll regret it 8-10 years from now.

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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by abuss368 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:45 pm

15 inch MacBook Pro. Love it.
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by SpringMan » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:18 am

abuss368 wrote:15 inch MacBook Pro. Love it.
I was surprised that the Apple store was selling refurbished 15" MacBook Pros starting at $1099. The $1099 model would be the non retina version with all the ports, quad core i7, Nvidia graphics card, spinning hard drive and optical drive. Apple refurbished has same warranty as brand new. Great desktop replacement and that model the user can upgrade the RAM.
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s ... ook_pro/15
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Re: Considering the new MacBook 12-inch Retina ...

Post by tipswatcher » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:49 pm

SpringMan wrote:
abuss368 wrote:15 inch MacBook Pro. Love it.
I was surprised that the Apple store was selling refurbished 15" MacBook Pros starting at $1099. The $1099 model would be the non retina version with all the ports, quad core i7, Nvidia graphics card, spinning hard drive and optical drive. Apple refurbished has same warranty as brand new. Great desktop replacement and that model the user can upgrade the RAM.
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s ... ook_pro/15
As a desktop replacement, possibly, but this weighs a hefty 5.6 pounds. This is the MacBook I use at work. Great screen, by the way, not retina but very bright and clear, and it drives a 1080p external monitor with no effort. Just too hefty -- it is really hefty - to lug through airports.
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