Due development of Apple OS X software and phasing out of my former 800MHz iBook a new laptop had to be selected. Since I never quite liked the design of the PowerBooks and the negative stories one can find about the MacBook Pro on the net, I decided to wait for the iBook a-like Mactels. Recently they got released and I finally had the ability to aquire a black Apple lap^Wnotebook.
The last sentence already reflects that Apple tries to sell it not as a laptop but a notebook because it gets quite hot. Though unlike some other, normal PC laptops not on the top, the keyboard but more on the bottom. That said although I’m a bit disappointed about the performance / heat ratio after the switch to Intel I rather like a touchable keyboard.
At least the black flavour is quite stylish and unlike PC laptops the fan is nearly off when idle. However after some days I had to notice a subliminal whining when the machine is running, idling on battery.
The list of pro’s and con’s boils down to:
- light, thinner
- outstanding keyboard
- fast CPU
- Mag-safe power connector
- magnetic display holding, nothing to break apart
- linear audio out without noise and spikes including optical in/out
- brigther display than former iBooks
- graphic chip with outstanding Open Source driver for Linux and friends
- hot like vulcano underneath
- glossy, very viewing angle dependant, overdriven display with worst white to black switch time I ever saw (thin black or gray text even disappears while scrolling!!!)
- end of life x86 CPU without 64 bit extension
- sharp border of the top-case where the former iBook was rounded. I guess a shortcumming of cut down production costs …
- touchy DVD drive, does not read many CD-RWs and skips when moved slightly
- still not perfectly processed, some unevenly placed plastic parts (as usual)
- whining while idleing on battery, most probably some DC-DC converter
What I wonder is why unlike the former iBooks the power-on fanfare is not mixed to the headphone when one is plugged in, there appears to be no way to silence the beast when you power up your machine in an audience … :-(
Also, personally I have no use for the IR remote and the built-in iSight which I btw. find a bit noisy. The later is also easily touched while opening the conver.
All in all the design is the logical continuation of the former product lines, however some more detail work such as choosing a display that is not as laggy when the display content changes, a rounded top-cover border and better heat dissipation would have been very much welcome and would have made it an outstanding machine.
As it is it is just about average: Good design but too many pitfalls that could have easily been avoided.
Later on I noticed due to whatever reason the hostname was amusingly set to blackrider :-)