Home / Computing / Laptop / Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A) / Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)

Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A) - Apple MacBook - 2009 Edition (MC207B/A)

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

As the MacBook makes more headlines for the connections it lacks, it's no surprise those it has are fairly unremarkable. A meagre two USB ports are joined by a Gigabit Ethernet port, a single audio jack combining both input and output duties and the now Apple standard mini-DisplayPort output. There's the always excellent Mag-Safe power connection as well, of course, but on the whole the MacBook is severely limited here.

It's a shame given that it excels in so many other areas. We've already touched upon the design, which is excellent, but it's enhanced by the rather nice soft-touch underside that makes it particularly comfortable on your lap. That the MacBook, like its brethren, remains incredibly cool and quiet only enhances its credentials as a proper laptop, as opposed to one that will roast you alive.

This is matched by excellent performance. Boot and shutdown times, always a strength in Macs, are lightning quick and general performance is equally strong. Unfortunately, due to some software issues, we weren't able to run our previous set of benchmark tests, but given the spec the MacBook should perform similarly the MacBook Pro we reviewed last year - we hope to introduce some new Mac benchmarks in the future.

It's a similar story in battery life, since the new MacBook utilises the same non-user removable Lithium-Polymer battery that the 2009 MacBook Pro introduced. This has one obvious downside (if you're struggling, it's that it's not user removable!), but it does deliver excellent longevity - Apple quotes 'up to seven hours' and we managed a decent five and half hours with Wi-Fi enabled and screen brightness at 60 per cent.

Depending on your preference, the MacBook has a slightly superior keyboard, too. While the Pro has a lighter, shallower feel to it, the MacBook's keyboard sports a chunkier, deeper action that offers a shade more feedback, albeit with more pressure required for each strike.

All of which makes the MacBook a product we'd almost recommend outright. It's only held back by Apple's obvious preference that people should opt for the MacBook Pro. For just a £100 more at current pricing, it offers so much extra (aluminium chassis, backlit keyboard, FireWire, SD card reader), making the MacBook look somewhat stingy by comparison. We'd probably feel differently were it not for the omission of an SD card reader, but Apple knows this just as well as us, which is why it's not there.

Verdict

If you really can’t afford the 13in MacBook Pro, the rehabilitated MacBook is an excellent alternative. Given the choice, however, we'd still recommend the Pro since its benefits outweigh the meagre price difference.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 8
  • Value 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 9
  • Battery Life 9

xbrumster

January 15, 2010, 5:04 am

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





illusion... illusion...

dev

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?).

Ben

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.

ilovethemonkeyhead

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 ;)

BeardedHawk

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.

Pbryanw

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.

ex2bot

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.

betelgeus

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

Jayboy

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

ffrankmccaffery

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?

Applemad

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!

comments powered by Disqus