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
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  • tayhimself - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    I really like the chicklet keyboards. I like the Vaios that have the chicklets too. Different strokes and all that....
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    Ward...Wash the Beaver's mouth out with soap, would you?
  • mmntech - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    Lol. Only morons need to swear to get their point across. I do partially agree though. I didn't like the MacBooks keyboard compared to my old iBook G4's.

    Looks like the Penryn offers a small but decent improvement in battery life. When you're on the go, every little increase counts. These are very respectable numbers. With DVD playback, you can actually watch movies like the Godfather and Lord of the Rings on a single charge and still have some to spare. Apple has always been good with battery life, which is the primary reason I bough my iBook. Looks like there are also some small performance increases too. I suppose the iMac line will be receiving an update soon to include these processors. It will be curious to see if the add DDR3 as an option for them.
  • Phlargo - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    What a horrible thing to say. He is certainly permitted his preference. I think you might be the tool for blankly assuming that his opinion is unjust.

    A good article, Anand. I'm not a Mac guy, but I know they lead the way in design and feature integration. I really agree with the comment below about it being more of an impression than a review. I always like your articles for that reason!
  • Kitsune - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    MacBooks have a very limited multitouch capability. They can do some of the tricks that the Pros and Air can do (right-click by putting two fingers on the pad, scroll around by rubbing two fingers in the desired direction, zoom the screen in and out by holding the control key while moving fingers on the pad) and can't do some of the other things (rotate and zoom selected objects). Or if they can, Anand found some trick that I'm not aware of, as I have the new 2.1 gHz MacBook sitting next to me now and can't get it to perform the latter functions.
  • Devo2007 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    That is correct (I was just about to update my comment stating this). I believe the two-finger scroll feature and such aren't new though -- I believe my friend's Merom-based Macbook has that feature as well.
  • tayhimself - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    This is the case yes.
  • Devo2007 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    You caught the one later in the article, but currently page 3 still shows this:

    2) Multi-touch Track Pads: Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro now get the same multi-touch functionality as the MacBook Air.
  • Gary Key - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    That is corrected now.
  • Devo2007 - Friday, February 29, 2008 - link

    On Page 3, you indicate that both the Macbook and Macbook Pro have the multi-touch trackpad. Isn't it just the Pro model that has multi-touch? (all the news articles I read about the launch of these portables indicated it was just the Pro model).

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