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2008 MacBook Review

 

Intro:

After some months of waiting for the new revision, I have finally been able to obtain one with my Dad’s financial help (he paid for it). After spending a good week with it, I feel compelled to write an initial impression of my experience. 

 

Unboxing:

Of course Apple is very well known for the quality of their packaging and the new MacBook are up to the same standard. Opening a box for the first time is probably the most exciting of buying anything new. This is probably the most expensive thing I have ever unboxed. Apple even pads the inside of the box. Everything is in its own compartment and it’s very minimalist. 

 

First Impressions on the Look and Feel:

The new aluminum casing is amazing. The metal is smooth and the edges of the laptop are very clean and defined. I found myself constantly running my hands around the top of the laptop and the edges of the keyboard because its seriously the best texture ever. The fact that the body is cut from a single piece of aluminum still astounds me; there are no seams or real “edges” so to speak. The only time the body really breaks form is on the bottom where the battery and HDD compartment is.

 

The size of the laptop is perfect. The screen is just big enough to display everything- but not so small that everything feels cramped. It feels bigger than the previous generation MacBook, but after a quick size comparison- its the exact same size, but thinner. Awesome.

 

Screen:

Although the screen keeps the same form factor from the original MacBook (13.3 inches) the quality over the previous generation has vastly improved. The fact that the screen now has LED backlit display is a HUGE change! When I’m in a dark room and I turn up the brightness, it actually hurts to look at the display. Its ridiculous! The colors pop better, the “warm-up” time of the screen is non existent, and the lighting is even. I did a side-by side comparison of my Mom’s old MacBook and you can see the difference. One is both of the screens at lowest brightness, and then the other is both at the highest setting.

Apple also changed the screens from having a glossy finish, to having a single piece of glass that covers the screen. This improves the clarity of the screen but it makes it really reflective. As I type this review in my living room, I can see pretty much everything behind me, so I guess this would be a good way to spot an serial killer or something. It can be pretty distracting, so I either have to actually angle the screen to the point where it doesn’t reflect, or just move into a darker room. The glare problem sucks, but you learn to block it out. The quality of the screen makes up for the bad reflection problems. 

 

Also another thing that will bug people is the fact that since the glass on the screen goes to the edge of the laptop, I found that every time I opened my laptop, my thumb would leave a print on the glass. This can get annoying, and I find it to be bad design because the iSight camera is right where you would put your thumb to open up the laptop. At least they give you a cloth to clean the screen. 

 

Touchpad:

This is probably one of my favorite new features on the new MacBook. The trackpad is now one big square on the surface. No visible buttons. It took about a day to get used to, but I found myself actually using the gestures (tap to click, double tap and hold to drag etc). The trackpad itself is actually button. You press it and it makes an audible click sound (a little too audible for me). The pad can be assigned to right click depending on where you click on the pad, which is pretty useful. For those who still like the idea of having a button to left-click, you can have the bottom of the trackpad assigned to do that. 

 

Apple now put a layer of glass over the trackpad so that it reduced friction. Its not the kind of glass you would find on a window- its more like a cloudy matte glass that’s used for privacy. The feel of it is very nice and smooth without being too slippery to the point where it feels like ice. Just the right amount of friction.

 

But where the trackpad really shines is the multi-touch! This means the pad can recognize more than two points at a time- just like the iPhone- so you can do all those fancy zoom in and out commands with the pinch gestures. This is a Godsend for the people who love all things GTD (Getting Things Done) and people who just like making things more efficient. Thanks to my brother Jimmy, I am now using this application called MultiClutch. What it does is essentially assign key commands to difference multi-touch gestures. Example- to minimize a program, instead of moving your cursor up to the top left corner to click on the icon, you can just take three fingers and swipe them in a downward motion on the trackpad to minimize the active window. 

 

Here is a video to clear up some confusion you might have:

http://media.macworld.com/media/vodcast/mwvodcast50.mp4

 

I love using this application. I use it all the time and it makes me feel like I’m from the future. It’s something that Apple should really implement into the OS. No one should be without this. Period. 

 

Keyboard:

I’ve always been a fan of the MacBook keyboard. I liked it more than the MacBookPro’s and the white keyboards that came with the older mac desktops. I like the fact they made them black because it fits the design better, and it just looks cooler. The throw of each key is nicely spaced  and it takes little time to adjust to the keyboard. I haven’t had a problem typing. The spring of the keys is soft and resilient so you feel compelled to type more on it just because it feels nice. 

 

My model didn’t include the backlit keys, which is a shame because its a really nice feature. I would’ve had to pay about 300 dollars more to get that, 400 Mhz, and about 90 more Gigs of hard drive space. Not worth it in my opinion.

Other than that, its pretty much the same keyboard that we’ve seen for the last few years. 


Graphics:

So this actually surprised me. The fact that Apple actually decided to put in a dedicated graphics card to the less expensive models like the MacBook. I thought they would stay with Intel’s crap integrated graphics forever!

 

So this is a very pleasant surprise and a very nice change for me. What was the first thing I did? Install WoW of course! Threw in the first 5 install disks- it took about 30 minutes or less. About average. The thing that sucks about installing WoW is that it takes forever. Not because the install takes long- its the numerous amount of patches that one has to keep downloading before you can play! Even after you install all the patches for the first game- you then have to install the 2nd expansion and THEN you have to patch that. Luckily, Blizzard managed to streamline the installation process somewhat. Instead of having to install both games, all you have to do now is just install the first game and patch it- without having to install Burning Crusade. Although the latest patch 3.0.2 makes it so you don’t have to install BC, you still have to download the patch- which is a 2.6 Gigabyte file. That took a few hours. 

Anyhow, its faster to install now and that’s a nice change.

 

Enough about the install time- more on how it runs! Good news guys, it runs WoW pretty well! I was actually impressed. I was worried that the new graphics card they put in wasn’t going to cut it- but now my fears are alleviated, as I now can run games like WoW at an average FPS of 50-60 depending on the area. Although gaming on a laptop brings up another issue.

 

Battery Life:

The battery life is good, if not great. As long as I don’t have the screen at full brightness, or use any programs that are processor/graphics heavy, I get about 4+ hours. Now keep in mind I haven’t timed anything- these are just estimates. I can post more accurate times later. Although when playing WoW- the battery life was cut down to about half.


Camera:

Same ol’ iSight camera. As far as I know its the same VGA (640×480) resolution. It looks more clear, but that could just be because the screen is brighter. Also just to mention the microphone quality is very good. I recorded some video and both the sound and video was very clear. 


Conclusion: 

I love this laptop. This is the first mac I have ever owned and there is a big difference from just using a mac to actually owning one. I’ve used alot of macs for different classes in school and my impression of them was just “meh”. It could be just because the computers I used at school were abused.

 

As a kid, I vowed to never use any Apple computers just because of how sluggish and awful they were back in the day. Today, things are much, MUCH different. This laptop is really snappy and responsive. Leopard is a very stable and pretty looking OS. There is not much else I can say because I’m pretty sure most of the readers already know most of the stuff I mentioned in this review, its nothing new really. 

 

One thing I can say though, if you’re thinking about buying a MacBook- you will have no regrets should you decide to purchase one.

Alright people, listen up, I’ve been around on the internet since I was 5 years old, and I’ve seen a ton of things, probably more than what you will ever see in your entire life. So I have decided to share a small portion of my bookmarks to entertain you. Allow this to a disclaimer- you will spend a lot of time going through it- so you better have either- A- Nothing better to do or B- Bored. They are both the same thing pretty much- but whatever. All the links I’m giving you are pre-approved by me as cool and worthy of linkage. So watch the time. God help you.

Also I highly recommend you read my other posts about My Shower.

Thank me later,
Neverhitboxes

p.s- If the tag cloud looks like were link farming- were totally not- every tag is relevant to the article 😄

North Korea- Photos from the inside
This russian guy got a visa to go into North Korea. He took alot of pictures that he was not supposed to. Heres his original site thats in Russian. Its got more pictures, but you cant read the descriptions.
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=82755

Why the future is in South Korea
Just an interesting read on why Korea is on the bleeding edge of internet development etc..
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/06/why_the_future_is_in_south_kor.html

Gravity Wave- Weather
I have no idea what a Gravity Wave is, but apparently they are very rare. The pictures are really cool!
http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/3195031.html

Koreas Super-Gaming-Oriented Culture
I don’t know why I have so many Korea articles, but this is a pretty interesting article on Korea’s geek culture. (the top starcraft players in Korea are equivelent to our movie stars)
http://rossignol.cream.org/?p=284

A very cool college prank
A guy left his dorm room for 1 week, and while he was away, they took all of this stuff and screwed it to the ceiling. It gets pretty disorienting. Video included.
http://www.lightsideup.com/pics.html

The most detailed digital painting ever
Quote, “It took eleven months (close to 2,000 hours) to create.” Its pretty incredible.
http://www.bertmonroy.com/fineart/text/fineart_damen.htm

The Broken Laptop I sold on Ebay
The story starts when a guy sold his laptop on ebay. The guy who bought it- claimed it was broken when he recieved it, so to get his revenge, he used photos and information he found on the hard drive to shame him to death.
http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/amir-massoud-tofangsaza/the-broken-laptop-i-sold-on-ebay-177101.php

720 MegaPixel Photo
Super detailed photo of Sydney. You can see peoples hotel rooms! Ridiculous!
http://www.docbert.org/SydneyByNight/

Sony’s Blu-Ray party screw up
Quote, ” Apparently even Sony can’t get its hands on Blu-ray content!”
http://www.gearlog.com/2006/05/16/index.php

Street Installations
A guy creates dummies that are put in unusual positions.
http://www.xmarkjenkinsx.com/outside.html

Windows Vista- Deletion
The picture shows that it takes 7 steps to delete a single shortcut off your desktop in Vista.
http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=151250154&size=o

Quick Change Artists
I’m pretty sure you guys have seen them before. But its still incredible to watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-wUgnyGv0

24- Monitor Setup
24 monitors all hooked together. Playing Quake 3. Video included. He also did 50 monitors.
http://www.plastk.net/highres/50mon/

Awesome Rainbow Photos!
Some of the most incredible photos taken of a rainbow!
http://www.missouriskies.org/rainbow/february_rainbow_2006.html

Aerial Pictures of Mexico City
There are some cool houses in Mexico.
http://homepage.mac.com/helipilot/PhotoAlbum31.html

Highest Resolution Picture of our sun
Its very hot.
http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/gallery/PIA03149.jpg

Google’s April Fools
Quote, “Just found an April Fools joke on Google Earth. Area 51 has some visitors.”
http://www.jarnot.com/wp/archives/2006/04/they-come-in-pe.php

Vietnamese man, goes 33 years without sleep
Self explanitory
http://www.thanhniennews.com/features/?catid=10&newsid=12673

What language do deaf people think in?
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/031226.html
Good question.

Writing in water with waves
“The device consists of 50 water wave generators encircling a cylindrical tank 1.6 meters in diameter and 30 cm deep (about the size of a backyard kiddie pool). The wave generators move up and down in controlled motions to simultaneously produce a number of cylindrical waves that act as pixels.”
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/water-writing-with-waves-we-wonder-why-189476.php

Pointer Kites
Become the geek of the beach.
http://www.windfiredesigns.com/timbofolio_pages/PointerKite.html

Worst Laser Etching
Not to mention- If you look closely- they spelled some words wrong on it too
they ruined it.
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/laptops/worst.-laser.-etching.-ever.-187892.php

Cool photographs of China
Reminds me of Myst.
http://www.impactlab.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=7301

Amazing Hole in One!
Yeah that seems impossible.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyJTtQm_O1w

Google’s snack room
A heaven for late night gaming.
http://www.valleywag.com/tech/google/google-snack-rooms-152676.php
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettlider/sets/154249/

Things that you don’t want Google to find
Hmmm…..
http://www.siliconvalleysleuth.com/2006/02/things_you_dont.html

What scientologists believe
http://youtube.com/watch?v=DAmEO-oLHzA
even read wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology

Stick Figures on Crack 3
Its a really crazy series that is somehow entertaining. Out of 3- this is my favorite.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyKWWLsxk0s

Ever wonder about the mysteries of Quantum Physics?
Well here is a video that is easy to follow and understand
http://youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc&mode=related&search=

Rare Cloud Formations
Yeah, its still cool
http://leenks.com/link70511.htm

Crazy Ferrofluid
Fluid that reacts with magnetic fields- it looks unreal
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qX6clRC21vo&mode=related&search=

Japanese Food Fight
But its all cool and slow-motion like-creative and weird- like most Japanese people
http://www.geekologie.com/2007/05/japanese_food_fight.php

Weird Vista easter egg
There is a picture of 3 guys in the hologram….how did they pull that off?
http://fulgerica.com/2007/06/13/windows-vista-dvd-easter-egg/#more-611

Whale Penis
Yeah, well if you ever wanted to know what it looked like- then here it is.
http://www.seancoon.org/wp-content/postimages/whale-penis.jpg

A really good idea for a clock
I want this on my site.
http://blog.pixelbreaker.com/upload/polarclock/polarclock.html

Nice Mac Rig
Really nice.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/68008792@N00/378716985/

MIT Sketching
Guy at MIT creates a program you can use thats like….a dynamic cad program….that how I would describe it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZNTgglPbUA&eurl=

Unicycle
One of the best unicyclists in the world. I would know- I am one!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl9avxJC76o

Drums
This guy is nuts.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqUFBe3qmQc&mode=related&search=

Aqua Teen
This is the best episode I have ever seen of this show- and this is the ONLY one I’ve seen- its totally weird
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U_fxyuZ5TQ

Frozen Tidal Wave
How did this happen?
http://www.chickencrap.com/specials/arctic.htm

Learn Awesome Magic Tricks
They are actually possible! Video!
http://ei-am.blogspot.com/2007/01/top-10-magic-trick-tutorial-videos_21.html

Hardest Video Game Ever.
You would have to be a masochist to play this game and have fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP-mePr1-ZQ

One of the funniest videos I have ever seen.
Seriously
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/302101/cheating_wife/

Stupid Wheel Of Fortune
Stupidest contestant ever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPi588QohEg&NR

Yo Yo Master
He is asian.
http://gprime.net/video.php/yoyomaster

Great Stop Motion!
Awesome to watch!
http://gprime.net/video.php/tonyvspaul

Rubix Cube Fastness
Fast.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOo9pFin65Q

Huge Wave
Big?
http://www.ferket.com/jvlt/images/teahupoo_1.jpg

ZOMG I am SO TIRED of typing! Ok so if you brain hasn’t completely imploded from all of the link-age- you can spend more time looking at www.gprime.net– That place has some of the best stuff. Seriously.
Well I hope you enjoyed it!
Kudos anyone?