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Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A) review

Andy Vandervell



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Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)
  • MacBook Pro Notebook (2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB DDR,  250GB HDD, DVD Super Multi-Drive, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, 13.3? LED)


Our Score:


Ever since Apple unleashed the stunning aluminium unibody MacBooks in 2008, its original MacBook looked a forlorn, awkward proposition - an impression confirmed when we reviewed it back in July. Thankfully Apple finally rectified the situation in releasing the now unibodied, polycarbonate MacBook. We're not given to agreeing with marketing spiel too often, but Apple's description of it being 'completely redesigned' and 'better-in-every-way' rings true. Still, at just £100 less than the identically proportioned MacBook Pro 13in, is this enough?

Save for the price difference and the materials used, the MacBook is the spitting image of its 13in MacBook Pro counterpart. In actuality the MacBook is slightly wider, deeper and thicker than the Pro, but we're talking a matter of millimetres here. Likewise, at 2.13kg, the MacBook is a shade heavier, but it remains very portable nonetheless. Vitally, while the plastic chassis doesn't feel as luxurious as aluminium, none of the minimalist style is lost in translation and it's a massive improvement on the old model.

Another key factor for potential buyers is the display, which is now the same LED backlit, 13.3in effort as found in the Pro line. Not only does this have the potential to improve battery life, it also means a brighter, more colourful image. Indeed this new display is one of the best things about the MacBook. Its outstanding viewing angles would put most laptops to shame, while the vibrant colours and inky blacks give videos and photos plenty of punch. No similarly priced Windows laptop can boast a screen half as good as this.

Other features that have made the trip across the divide include the outstanding glass multi-touch touchpad. HP's Envy 15 showed imitating this clickable pad isn't easy, only reinforcing exactly how good Apple's effort really is. Be it manipulating photos, scrolling web pages or simply navigating the OS, its smooth finish and massive surface area make it joy to use. At the risk of sounding repetitive, no similarly priced Windows laptop can boast anything half as good as this.

As ever with Apple you pay the price for these luxurious features in other departments. That said, the base spec of the MacBook (there's only one) is pretty decent. An Intel Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.26GHz and 2GB DDR3 RAM matches that of the entry-level MacBook Pro, as does the presence of nVidia's 9400M integrated graphics. Wireless-N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet are all standard, too, while you actually get a larger 250GB hard drive versus the 160GB one on the Pro.

That's a nice upgrade, but predictably it's there to compensate for the features you miss. Most notably this includes the backlit keyboard, but also FireWire and, worst of all, the SD card reader. We'll quite happily live without a backlit keyboard and FireWire (the latter of which has long been a niche connection outside Macs anyway), but in a world where digital camera ownership is more or less universal, the absence of an SD card reader is very hard to forgive.


January 15, 2010, 5:04 am

the first pic on the second page looks like one side of the macbook is dented..

illusion... illusion...


January 15, 2010, 5:18 am

These laptops are so awesome but I wish I could buy one without paying the premium for the OS...it's excellent to use for most things but I end up missing all the fun you get tinkering and dealing with the quirks of Windows OS's(/OS'/OSs or however you write it?).


January 15, 2010, 7:16 am

It does feel a little like the MacBook needs to be £100 cheaper again to become a truly compelling proposition. Perhaps volume (and maybe education) orders would see significant additional discounting, but for the man on the street the 13" MacBook Pro is surely where it's at.


January 15, 2010, 11:45 am

no way apple will let their plastic book outspec the base metal book.

they also removed the infra red, and the battery meter ;)


January 15, 2010, 1:36 pm

@ Ben. The Apple HE discount reduces the price difference between the 13"MBP and the MacBook, to £88.12. (£701.48 vs £789.60). Of course that could change with the expected refresh at the end of this month.

Also - The HDD on the MBP may be smaller but its a 5 minute job to change it for a £60 500Gb Unit.

Hamish Campbell

January 15, 2010, 1:58 pm

oooh these unibodies....I'm got the old polycarbonate which is rather prone to cracks. Mine has an edge snapped off and the common front edge snap off problem where the lid closing ridges put too much pressure below. Pity one can't buy a unibody and put the old macbooks innards in.


January 16, 2010, 1:49 am

@dev - Just install Bootcamp or, better yet, VMware Fusion, install Windows on your Mac and you can do all the tinkering you would want to (as there's limited tinkering for OS X).

Plus, you can install Ubuntu on it as well, thereby having the choice of three top class operating systems. The only downside being the extra cost of the software.


January 16, 2010, 12:53 pm

Surely you mean UNlimited tinkering of OS X! You know it's UNIX, right? The most powerful command shells, etc. Not to mention all the gazillions of utilities that modify the interface. And AppleScript. Did you forget about AppleScript? And Automator. . . Please.


January 16, 2010, 3:59 pm

considering you can buy an sd to usb adapter for a few pence not having a slot isnt such a disaster


January 16, 2010, 6:27 pm

Plus unlike the MBPs, the MacBook has no glass in front of the screen so it doesn't double as a mirror :D


January 19, 2010, 2:10 pm

Almost £800 for an entry-level Apple laptop? Clearly Cupertino have as low an opinion as i do of its customers. And betelgeus an additional USB to SD card would hardly be practical to carry along with it unless ofcourse its manufactured by Apple?


September 17, 2010, 7:17 pm

Personally I was lucky enough to buy one of the very short lived Aluminium MacBooks, which has the looks and feel of quality, a backlit keyboard and a 250Gb hard drive, yes it too is missing a firewire port and an SD slot, but I can't for the life of me see why they decided to replace the plastic Macbooks with aluminium ones like mine, to only then go back to plastic again, very strange!

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