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Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A) review

Andy Vandervell



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Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A)
  • MacBook MC240B/A 33.8 cm 13.3" Notebook - Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz (1280 x 800 WXGA Display - 2 GB RAM - 160 GB HDD - DVD-Writer - nVIDIA GeForce 9400M - Bluetooth - Webcam - Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - 5 Hour Battery - DisplayPort)


Our Score:


With Apple's unibody MacBook Pro stealing the limelight it's sometimes easy to forget that the white MacBook, which first went on sale way back in 2006, is still around. It's a testament to the strength of the original design that Apple still sees it as a viable option and while the unibody machines feel very different, they still share more than a little DNA with this one. Indeed, this DNA goes both ways since the MacBook now comes with nVidia's 9400M chipset - a marked improvement over Intel's integrated graphics offering - which first appeared in the unibody range.

Fundamentally the white MacBook still exists because Apple feels it needs an entry-level system, though not one priced so cheaply that people flock to it and not the new MacBook Pro - that would be very silly! Apple's official £749 asking price is £150 less than the MacBook Pro, but with the latter severely discounted at the moment and former less so, the difference is closer to £100. This puts the MacBook at a slight disadvantage when there are so many keenly priced Windows based alternatives out there, like the Samsung Q320 and HP Pavilion dv3, that on paper offer a lot more.

This is especially true given the MacBook also lacks many of the features that make the MacBook Pro so enticing. These include the backlit keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, LED backlit display and the SD card reader, but also some of the smaller touches like the light sensor for controlling display brightness. The MacBook Pro can therefore fall back on these features, as well as its sumptuous design and usability, to argue a case for offering extra value. The MacBook has no such solace.

However, one advantage it can lay claim to is a replaceable battery, which might be of some benefit for those Apple devotees that haven't already abandoned ship in consternation. This system also comes with a reasonable basic spec. Its processor, for instance, is the Intel Core 2 Duo P7450, which shares the same 1,066MHz front-side bus and 3MB L2 cache of the MacBook Pro processor and is clocked only slightly lower at 2.13GHz.

This is actually faster than last year's unibody MacBook, which used a 2.0GHz variant. Unfortunately Apple spoils things (probably intentionally) by using slower DDR2 RAM instead of DDR3 RAM, though you do get just as much: 2GB. There's no change to the hard drive either, with a 160GB, 5,400rpm unit doing the duties.

Other standard features include Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, as a well as Gigabit Ethernet. You also get Apple's iLife 09 multimedia suite, as has been the case with MacBooks for a long time now, which combined with OS X makes for a thorough and great to use software suite. With this MacBook lacking many of the hardware intricacies of the MacBook Pro, its strength in software suddenly becomes a lot more important.


July 10, 2009, 9:14 am

Hmm, tad harsh - though £709 was more palatable, wasn't it. Bear in mind however, that the top end 17-incher doesn't sport an SD slot (yet). I feel ambivalent about this, as I wouldn't mind one so long as it was made to be flush. It's a bit clumsy the now.


July 10, 2009, 9:16 am

*Sorry, it was £719 before, right? And just saying it now, it's still an annoying price!


July 10, 2009, 12:23 pm

insurance wrote off my dv3507 and gave me this instead.

nice - but actually the biggest downer is the box doesn't include any video adapters anymore.

Barry Ward

July 10, 2009, 12:48 pm

My wife and I both bought one of these white Macbooks, and I simply cannot recommend them at all. Firstly, I agree with the review that the audio volume is just far too low to watch/listen to media on it. I use to have to connect external speakers to mine when watching films/tv shows- that's how bad they are. Also, the white does stain after a period of use- yes, stain. Especially where you rest your wrists next to the touchpad. And there's hardly anything that works, having tried various products advised on the net. The top piece of plastic where you rest your wrist can even crack along the edge, like it did with mine. Okay, I used mine every single day, but they should be built for constant heavy use, surely.

I bought a Macbook Pro and haven't looked back. MUCH better quality design. No stains, no cracks, LOUD volume which still surprises me sometimes.

In closing- anyone after a Macbook should skip this, and save up for a Pro- plain and simple.


July 10, 2009, 2:00 pm

The Macbook does need to be cheaper. But then I suppose a lot of people buying them will qualify for student discount of somewhere up to 15%. I think they're pretty amazing machines, but damn do they look tatty after a few years when bits of plastic start cracking and falling off around the wrist areas! Anyone considering one of these should very seriously consider the 13" MBP instead.

Hamish Campbell

July 10, 2009, 2:10 pm

Second button is not really so important, I just use two finger tap on the touch pad.

I've got one from before uni body came along and you are spot on with this review. Heating up and fan when doing video, otherwise quiet. Screen angles poor and struggles with light. Plus mine has already a good dent in the corner and lines of plastic have cracked off where the lid closes and rests.

Other than that its perky as you say and has been a revolation for me and the wife moving from Windows. The cost was a fair bit to stomach but I must say for the experience and joy of using it we've been very happy.

I'd love one of the unibody ones now, only wish I could justify it to my cheap scottish inner ancestor.


July 10, 2009, 3:54 pm

Yeah, save up for the unibody. I dropped my unibody version from about 4 foot onto hard laminate flooring, not a scratch, I've a feeling if I'd done the same with the white one there would be a big long crack in the case now.


July 10, 2009, 4:06 pm

I had a white MB a couple of years ago and suffered from the cracking problem. It was repaired under Applecare but the reason really surprised me. Apparently the issue is with the lid - the small plastic ridges that hold the lid away from the base when the laptop is closed are right over a section of the wrist rest that isn't braced internally. Over time it simply smashes the wrist rest to pieces and you can't close it gently enough owing to the magnetic latch. A design fault according to the genius that sorted mine and one that hasn't been addressed several years later.

Andy Vandervell

July 10, 2009, 6:57 pm

Somebody posted on the MacBook Pro that Laskys is selling the Pro for £799.99 now. That is a stonking price: http://www.laskys.com/compu...


July 10, 2009, 10:26 pm

@ Andy - In that case it's perhaps also worth noting the same spec 13" Pro is only £772.80 direct from Apple's HE store.

And I still wouldn't buy one.

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