For some reason the MacBook and MacBook Pro ship with different builds of OS X 10.5.2:

The MacBook's OS X 10.5.2 build (9C2015)

The MacBook Pro's OS X 10.5.2 build (9C2018)

While my experience with the MacBook Pro was flawless, I did encounter two crashes with the base MacBook. Neither was repeatable but one was a kernel panic:

It only happened once and I couldn't get it to happen again, but it was strange given that both systems were configured and used identically. There's always new kinks to work out and I know OS X 10.5.1 was horribly unstable for me on my Mac Pro, so this could be an isolated software issue but I felt compelled to at least report it.

I’d never owned or even extensively used a MacBook before, so when I first met its screen I was shocked. This thing was terrible, no where near as good as what was on the Air or the Pro models. The problem wasn’t brightness, color reproduction or response time, it was the display’s poor off-angle viewing.

The MacBook (left) vs. MacBook Pro (right), at the right angle the two displays are identical

Start moving away from the perfect angle and the MacBook's display stats to look really washed out

And here's what you get in airplane mode, where you can't necessarily tilt the display as far back as you'd like. This setup may seem unnatural but the MacBook's display is clearly inferior.

The MacBook screen is terrible for off-angle viewing. Case in point, I’m writing this while on a plane on the MacBook. The seat in front of me is reclined too far back for me to tilt the screen back far enough to achieve a proper viewing angle. Instead, I’m looking at the screen off-axis and it’s unbelievably washed out.

The same isn’t true on the MacBook Pro, indicating that Apple is most likely using a TN panel on the standard MacBook and an IPS on the Pro.

With Penryn, thermals have improved on both of Apple's notebooks which translates into a cooler lap experience. The plastic enclosure of the MacBook doesn’t conduct heat as well as the aluminum MacBook Pro, meaning that it also feels better on your lap. Penryn doesn't produce as much heat as Merom so while the MacBook got warm, it never got hot during extended usage on my lap.

At 2.4GHz, the MacBook can offer some very respectable performance coupled with great battery life. It gets the job done as an entry-level Mac notebook, but the display really left me with a bad taste. Give me a better display and an ExpressCard slot and I don’t need the Pro, but then again I guess that’s Apple’s plan from the get-go.

The New MacBook The New MacBook Pro
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • tayhimself - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    You also called the 2299 version 2199
  • Doormat - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    A quick question - the yonah Core Duos had really really poor battery life in the review. Were those performed recently with new batteries? The MB itself is nearly 2 years old.

    Still, 4 hours is amazing on the DVD tests. I could stop watching movies on my iPhone and use my laptop on the entire transcon flight... though I think I'll wait for the Montevina platform. Hopefully the SFF chips, 25W CPUs and additional graphics horsepower will be worth the upgrade.
  • alpaye - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    Well it seems that these upgrades you call "tick upgrades" are mostly to keep up with the technology. They don't seem to be a must upgrade for people like me, as I own the last "tock version" of MBP. Nice review, good points.
    The Unofficial Mac (">
  • TestKing123 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    A comparison with non-Apple notebooks would be nice as well.
  • AMDJunkie - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    This is what I miss! Horribly cornball sex jokes (no point in calling it innuendo), genuine reporting of personal experience (shock at a kernel panic; admitting your exhausted because you've written a review at some godawful morning hour, for example), and snark (iWork is for converting your work into Office). And yet there's a half-decent review in there! It's like reading a blog, but with content!
  • PlasmaBomb - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    Tocks happen every two years not once a year...
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    woops, that's what I meant :)

    Yearly tocks and I'm pretty sure we'd be well on our way to skynet by now :-P

    Take care,
  • InternetGeek - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    Apple will introduce a new 'revolutionary' Macbook in every tock, and some improved models on every tick. I wonder if Intel might be interested in having Apple use the 'Intel inside' logo? That'll be interesting.

    It'll be interesting to see how these MacBooks perform once some PC games are also ported to the Mac (Unreal and so)...
  • joey2264 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    The Macbook has an absolutely horrible keyboard. You can't possibly, rationally, reasonably, believe that this is not the case, especially with all your experience reviewing computers. The absolute crap Dell keyboards that they used to use in their notebooks are far better.

    I hope you mention somewhere in your review the ridiculousness of Apple releasing a 5.3 pound notebook with a 13.3 inch screen and integrated graphics.
  • Dennis Travis - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    I have been using computers and almost every keyboard known to man from the Commodore 64 too todays keyboards find the keyboard on the Macbook and their external keyboard that is like the one in the Macbook two of the best I have ever typed on. I can fly on either of them.

    Keyboards are more of a personal thing as people are very different, but the Macbook has an excellent keyboard. Sorry I agree with Anand.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now