Apple MacBook (2015)

Incredibly Thin Laptop that Relies Heavily on Wireless

Apple MacBook (2015)
Apple MacBook (2015). ©Apple

The Bottom Line

May 8 2015 - Apple's new MacBook is an impressive machine considering how thin it is and it certainly makes up for the non-retina MacBook Air models. The problem is that the thin design also introduces a number of issues. It is almost too small to use at times. Connecting it to peripherals is a very big hassle right now that could be corrected as the USB Type C connector gets adopted by more people. Overall, if you wanted a retina MacBook Air, this may be the system to get, otherwise you might find something more flexible elsewhere.


  • Extremely Thin
  • Excellent Display
  • Fast Storage Performance


  • Limited Peripheral Connectivity
  • Performance Below MacBook Air
  • Low Resolution Webcam


  • Intel Core M-5Y51 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 256GB PCIe Solid State Drive
  • 12" WQHD (2304x1440) Display with 480p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics 53400 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • USB 3.1 (Type C)
  • 11.04" x 7.74" x .52" @ 2.03 lbs.
  • Mac OS X

Review - Apple MacBook (2015)

May 8 2015 - For many people, the new Apple MacBook is really the sucessor to the MacBook Air as the system provides an even thinner profile at just half an inch thick and has dropped the weight down to just over two pounds. This makes the system smaller and more portable than the MacBook Air but with the higher resolution display everyone has been longing for. To do this, a number of changes were made that are fairly significant. One cosmetic difference is that the system now comes in gold or space gray finishes like their iPhone lineup.

First off, Apple needed to use the new Intel Core M-5Y51 dual core processor. This processor uses much less power than the Core i processors of the MacBook Air and produces much less heat meaning that the system can be thinner. The one downside here is that it does offer a bit less power than the Core i5 processors in the MacBook Air. It should be note that for most people, the system will be used for productivity applications, media watching and web browsing. You probably would not want to use this with video editing work or other high demand applications as it will be slower than the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which allows for a smooth overall experience with multitasking.

Storage for the 2015 MacBook is handled by a new PCI-Express based solid state drive. With 256GB of storage, it offers a decent amount of space for storing applications and data and is consistent with Apple's other offerings or many other laptops using SSD for this class of system. The difference is the speed with the PCI-Express interface providing a much better read and write times than your standard SATA based drives. Adding extra storage is a bit of an issue as the system now only features a single port on the side of the system.

Unlike previous Apple laptops that used the MagSafe power connector and offering a standard USB 3.0 ports, the MacBook breaks from traditional and now uses a new USB 3.1 Type C connector. Now this connector has some major advantages such as doubles as a power interface and is completely reversible like the Apple Lightning connector. The downside is that there is just one, so if you are powering your system, you can't use any external peripherals. To make matters worse, hardly anything uses the Type C connector right now. In order to plug in a current UCB drive or use an external monitor, you have to use a adapter or dongle. Hopefully this issue might be address via third part docking stations.

Of course the display is what many people are going to look at getting the Macbook over a MacBook Air. The 12-inch display is listed as a Retina display but it uses a slightly non-standard resolution of 2304x1440. This makes it slightly less than quadruple of the 1366x768 MacBook Air and less than the 2560x1440 of a WQHD display. In terms of quality, it is a great display with wide viewing angles, great contrast and a wide color gamut. It certainly is a huge jump over the MacBook Air's but not quite as high as a MacBook Pro. The graphics are driven by the Intel HD Graphics 5300 which is aa bit slower than the HD Graphics 5500 of the newer Core i series processors. This is fine for most work but it does lack significant performance for 3D applications.

Apple's MacBook Air is often cited as having one of the bets keyboards on the market. In order to make the new Macbook thinner, they had to modify the keyboard to be even more shallow than the previous one. Surprisingly, they have done an excellent job at making the keyboard nearly as comfortable and accurate as the Air. The trackpad also needed to be adjusted as the tin profile meant that it could not have the same click function. Instead, it uses a pressure sensitive pad with a haptic feedback to let users know when it has registered a click. It is functional but some users may find it not as nice as the old design.

With such a thin profile, the battery design for the laptop is obviously is limited. It offers a 39.7WHr capacity that Apple claims can run between nine and ten hours. In digital video playback testing, these numbers fell a bit short with the system lasting just eight and a half hours. This puts it on par with the 11-inch MacBook Air but less than the MacBook Air 13 which lasts several hours longer.


Pricing for the Apple MacBook is $1299. This is $100 more than the current MacBook Air 13 or $200 more than the 11-inch. Overall, it is an improvement over the 11-inch other than the loss of peripheral connectivity. The MacBook Air 13 offers longer running times and better performance but with a lower resolution screen. In terms of competitors, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 NP930NX is the closest. It is $100 less but comes with half the memory and storage but a slightly higher resolution display and more peripheral connectivity. Lenovo's LaVie Z is also very thin at .67" and weighs less than two pounds but packs a Core i7 processor for more performance but less battery life but it costs $200 more.