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.
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.