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Which? tests find new MacBook falls short of Apple’s best

New £1,000 MacBook may not be your best choice


The MacBook is Apple’s signature laptop, and this year’s redesigned 12-inch MacBook model is the slimmest, lightest laptop Apple has ever produced. But our tests have found it may simply not be worth the £1,049 asking price.

We’ve tested the new 12-inch MacBook and, while it’s a phenomenal piece of design, we can reveal that it’s probably not the best choice for you to spend your hard-earned money on.

Find the best laptop for you with our expert Which? reviews of the best laptops

MacBook range expands

Apple’s super-slim laptops have been a hit in recent years thanks to the popularity of the MacBook Air range, which have 11-inch and 13-inch models. Expanding on this existing range, the 12-inch MacBook is the slimmest and lightest laptop Apple has ever produced. It’s truly stunning, and sure to wow anyone you show it off to.

However, with that cutting-edge design came a few technical sacrifices – not least a processor that’s the slowest in the MacBook range. It only has one USB-C port, a new standard of USB which uses a new shape and size. Your old USB accessories won’t be able to fit into it, so you’ll need to drop a sizeable sum on an Apple-branded adaptor.

12-inch MacBook price

Speaking of sizeable sums, the 12-inch MacBook isn’t cheap. It’ll set you back at least £1,049 for the lowest-spec model – that’s £300 more than the 11-inch MacBook Air.

That £300 seems like especially poor value when you learn that the MacBook Air even has a more powerful processor.

You could even get a MacBook Pro Retina – Apple’s high-end, high-performance laptop – for £50 less than the 12-inch MacBook 2015! It may not be as portable but it’s just as gorgeous to look at.


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Video transcript

With this latest range of MacBooks, Apple hasn’t just done the usual trick of making them bit thinner and upping the specs. It’s also introduced an intriguing new track pad but what makes it so different and why all the fuss? Keep watching to find out.

Along side a host of other
changes, the MacBook and MacBook Pro have all been give the new Force Click track pad instead of the usual two buttons or even the hinged clickable track pad you get on some newer laptops.

The one on the new MacBook doesn’t move at all, it uses haptic feedback instead. If you have ever used a smart phone you will be familiar with this short concentrated vibration you get when tapping. On the MacBook the sensation is really quite hard to describe, it really feels like the track pad is moving but it isn’t though and frankly the sensation is quite unusual.

We got some members of the Which? Technology team to use the force click track pad for the first time see what they thought.

As a like a
man and boy PC, Windows PC user it is pretty different really.

Initially it feels very similar to
previous, I’ve used Macs for quite a long time it feels the same, all the same gestures are there, but the difference for me is that it’s the feedback you get.

The first impression it’s exactly the same, I couldn’t tell any difference at all.

I guess I’m used to a
mouse, but this felt like a track pad which was a good alternative to a mouse which is a rarity because usually when you’re using a PC track pad. I’m all over the place, keep catching it and it’s pretty amazing that you’re not really even clicking it, it’s just kind of telling you that you’re clicking it in a weird way by feeding that back to you.

It’s the best trackpad I’ve used, you never know it’s the one of the future, who knows what they’ll bring around in the future?

You get a kind of middle
click feature where you can pop up extra boxes and information highlight words, get definitions on those words and it’s just an extra feature being able to push down, feel that feedback and then pop up some information.

It just adds to your browser experience, change it massively but it feels quite good in what it does.

You will realize that
you could press down for longer to use the extra functionality but I thought that I could really tell the difference between the regular track pad and the new one for this MacBook.

So, it’s a little weird, and it may not be to everyone’s tastes. Still, this is a completely new technology we’re dealing with here. Do you remember how you felt using the original iPod scroll wheel for the first time? There’s a good chance that in 10 years there may not be any conventional track pads left.

Members can log in to read our full in-depth first look of the new Apple MacBook or if you’re not a member, why not sign up for a ?1 trial to get full access to all our reviews.

We can confidently say that all three Apple MacBook ranges are great products, but which one is best for you? Check out our full reviews of each of the Apple MacBooks to find out.

More on this

Apple MacBook (12-inch) review – read our full take on the latest MacBook
Apple MacBook Air (11-inch) review – the super-slim, portable Apple laptop
Apple MacBook Pro Retina  (13-inch) review – is this the best MacBook to choose?

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