Apple MacBook 13in White (MC240B/A) - Apple MacBook

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

Stepping back from the ins and outs of the feature-set for a moment, one thing that's easily overlooked is the chassis itself. Even though it's getting on in years, it does still retain a look and feel that is entirely Apple. However, whereas its all-white finish was a novelty in the early days, it doesn't have quite the same impact now. It's just not that exciting anymore.

It's still a very tidy looking system, though, particularly thanks to its seamless integration of ports and smooth underbelly. These are the facets that really set Apple laptops apart from the rest of the flock, though the likes of HP, Samsung and Dell have closed the gap a fair amount these days.

They also come out on top where build quality is concerned, which has always been a weakness for the MacBook. Apple has addressed many of its problems over the years, but there's still that pervading feeling that it won't take kindly to a little rough and tumble. This is particularly evident in the display, whose hinge still feels rather flimsy, while the back is poorly protected from any external pressure - distorting quite badly when flexed.

It's a fact Apple more or less admitted when releasing the unibody MacBooks, which were designed to eliminate many of the issues created by the composite manufacturing process of the MacBook. Their aluminium chassis also seem much better suited to dissipating heat. For instance, the 13in MacBook Pro rarely spins its fans or gets discernibly hot, even when playing a DVD, whereas the MacBook spins up its fan and gets noticeably warm. It's not a whole lot worse than most Windows-based laptops of the same size, but it's definitely less efficient than the MacBook Pro.

It also has less flexible connectivity. There's no SD card reader, which we regard as a pretty essential addition to the new system, while the FireWire port is only a 400Mbps one, not the 800Mbps of the MacBook Pro. A mini-DVI port is another legacy port, though arguably those with existing adapters will welcome the saving of not buying new mini-DisplayPort adapters. Things are rounded-off by two USB ports, line-in and line-out audio jacks and an Ethernet port.

Another area where the MacBook suffers in comparison to the MacBook Pro is with its audio, which is far tinnier and lacking in volume. Again, it's no worse than many competing laptops, particularly the Samsung Q320, but the HP Pavilion dv3 has both machines soundly beaten here and there's no denying it offers the more complete multimedia experience.

GoldenGuy

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.

GoldenGuy

July 10, 2009, 9:16 am

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

ilovethemonkeyhead

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.

Ben

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.

Keithe6e

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.

BOFH UK

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/computin...

smc8788

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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