Here's the Truth About Apple's 12-Inch MacBook
Looking for a new ultraportable laptop? Then you’ve probably heard a lot about Apple’s new MacBook. This 12-incher is amazingly light at just 2 pounds, and it packs a gorgeous Retina display. But why is there only one port? And what’s the point of it when the MacBook Air already exists? Our friend Austin Evans tackles some of the most commonly believed MacBook myths to see what’s real and what's just a lot of hot air.
Myth No. 1: The MacBook Sucks Because it Only Has a Single Port
While the new Macbook may only have a single port, USB Type-C is the most versatile multi-purpose port ever used on a computer. Not only is it reversible, so it will always fit the first time, it supports the USB 3.1 spec, which means you can get transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. And because power flows on USB-C, you can use it to charge other devices like a smartphone or tablet, or charge the laptop from a wall socket or external battery. With the right adapter, USB-C can even send video to monitors with HDMI ports or DisplayPort. It would be nice if there were more than one of them, but a single USB-C port isn’t the deal breaker it’s been made out to be.
Myth No. 2: You Can’t Game on the MacBook
A low clock speed and fanless design doesn’t mean what it used to. The Macbook’s 1.1-GHz Intel Core M and HD Graphics 5300 GPU might not run Far Cry at 60 FPS, but it’s more than capable of handling some Minecraft or Counterstrike: Global Offensive at 1280 x 800. You can also install Steam, which gives you access to literally hundreds of Mac compatible games available for download.
Myth No. 3: The MacBook Webcam Sucks
In short, yes it does. At just 640 x 480, the MacBook’s webcam doesn’t even meet the requirement for HD video. People will still recognize you on Skype or FaceTime video chats, but if you care about quality at all, you’re going to want to get an external camera.
Myth No. 4: The MacBook is Overpriced
At first glance, there’s no reason to pay $1,299 for a MacBook when you can get an 11-inch MacBook Air for $899, which is about the same size and more powerful. But not so fast. That’s only the base MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. When you spec an Air with the same 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD found on the new MacBook, the i5-powered Air costs only $100 less. An equivalent Samsung ATIV Book 9 actually costs $100 more than the new MacBook. In the end, the 12-inch MacBook is pricey, but it’s not as bad as it seems.
Myth No. 5: You Can’t Do Real Work on the MacBook
Just because the MacBook doesn’t suck a lot of power, that doesn’t mean it can’t handle some heavy lifting. While the standard clock speed is just 1.1-GHz, it can boost up to 2.4-GHz in a pinch. You also get a full version of Mac OS X, so you can still use apps like Photoshop or Final Cut Pro to edit a picture of video. In fact, Austin only used a new MacBook to edit the video above. What has your laptop done lately?
Don’t let popular opinion dissuade you from a potentially powerful fit. Change always feels a little strange at first, and the new MacBook has a lot more to offer than what you may have heard.