I am so happy with my new 12-inch MacBook. I wanted to share my buying experience comparing it to the 13-inch MacBook Air to help you decide between the two.
This review focuses on the MacBook.
Friends love their 2011 MacBook Airs, so I initially thought I would go with that. However, a trip to the Apple Store and seeing the Air next to the small, sleek, space gray MacBook changed my mind.
How to pay for your new Mac: earn credit card points
I purchased: Refurbished 12-inch MacBook 1.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core m3- Space Gray MacBook from Apple.com for $1099 before tax (business deductible).
A new 12-inch Macbook costs $1299 for 1.2GHz Processor 256GB Storage or $1599 for 1.3GHz Processor 512GB Storage.
Note: Refurbished means you’ll have to wait 3 to 5 days for free shipping.
Credit card point tip: use your Chase Ink and get 2-5% cash on Apple.com through the Chase Ultimate Rewards – Shop with Chase shopping portal. Seasonal awards vary but check for the current cash back or point amount.
The MacBook is only a 12-inch screen, so it’s practically a large tablet. It fits perfectly in my big ‘ol saddlebag, which is ideal for moving between meetings, coffee shops, and airports.
The butterfly keyboard took some getting used to. (In fact, I had buyer’s remorse for the first few days to the point where I even ordered a refurbished MacBook Air so I could compare both side by side during Apple’s 14 day no questions asked return period.)
Compare to the thick, spaced out MacBook Air keys:
In order to make this laptop as thin as possible, Apple reinvented the keyboard. They created a “butterfly” mechanism, which more evenly distributes the pressure on a key than the traditional “scissor” mechanism. This is supposed to provide a more precise typing experience and fewer errors. Butterfly is 40% thinner than a scissor keyboard, and four times more stable. It feels like you’re typing on a tablet.
For larger man hands, this might feel too compact and on a 12-inch. For my hands, I got used to it within a few days and now I can type somewhat physically inaccurately, relying on the butterfly mechanism to “know” which key I meant, much like I fly across my iPhone screen with little accuracy and let autocorrect do the work.
MacBook vs. MacBook Air – Display
After five days on the crisp MacBook Retina Display, switching over to the Air screen felt like going to a clunky, much older and blurry low resolution screen. Retina Displays make text and images extremely crisp, so pixels are not visible to the naked eye. It rivals the sharpness of crisply printed text. I just couldn’t get over the clarity on the MacBook. Retina is absolutely worth the added cost. You spend hours each day looking at a screen, and this screen is fantastically clear and sharp compared to the Air.
Limited Ports – USB-C Only
One MacBook drawback is the lack of ports and jacks. It has just one USB-C port and one audio jack for earbuds. No built-in USB.
The easy fix is to buy a connecting port. I recommend this one by Dodocool:
At just $45.99 on Amazon Prime, it’s much cheaper than Apple’s $79 version which is overpriced and has poor reviews. All my USB equipment like my wireless mouse and Sennheiser PC 8 USB Headset can connect simultaneously while the laptop also charges.
By the way: if you’re podcasting with Skype or Google Hangouts, I highly recommend the Sennheiser PC 8 USB – Stereo USB Headset for PC and MAC with In-line Volume and Mute Control:
Overall I would recommend a MacBook if you travel and want an ultra clear display with maximum portability. MacBook is small and light, it feels fantastic in your lap, and the screen is gentle on the eyes. It just depends on what you plan to do with it. The MacBook Air has a lower resolution screen but the extra inch adds quite a bit more area, which is nice for watching a movie, however it really just looks blurry once your eyes get spoiled on the Retina display.
Verdict: buy the MacBook unless you really prefer the traditional raised keys and a larger screen is important to you. Buy refurbished because the one year warranty is the same as a new machine and I can’t tell any difference, so why pay more?
Here’s the case I bought. At $13.99 on Prime, it’s a good value for MacBook case. The graphics aren’t super crisp on the stained glass version I bought, but it is protective and the snaps and rubber feet are still intact, unlike the Dowswin case I first bought. If you get a solid color, this would look nice and get the job done.
News reports of major corporations falling victim to cyber attacks flood the media. What does this mean for us as individuals? As consumers? As a society? How serious a threat are we facing, and how much of it is media hype?
I. Boston Marathon Bombing media coverage: Twitter’s integral role. From helping runners notify their loved ones amid the chaos, to hospitals communicating occupancy information, to the Boston Police Department announcing the capture of the suspect — Twitter played an important role in the devastating event. To find out ways to help the victims, click here.
II. Spamhaus and other recent/notable cyber attacks. The list of companies that have fallen victim to cyber attacks reads like a Fortune 50 list — Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times, Sony, and even government entities such as the US Federal Reserve, South Korea, North Korea, etc. have reported major security breaches linked to hackers. Recently, the infamous Spamhaus attack caused a global Internet slow-down by what some experts are calling the biggest cyber attack in history. Click here to see the Cyberbunker building image referenced.
III. Portrait of a Hacker. So, who are the men and women behind cyber attacks? Melanie and Emily discuss hacking history, a common type of attack (denial-of-service attack, or DDoS), and three types of hackers: ethical hackers, hacktavists, and organized cyber crime groups. Is there a such thing as a good hacker?
IV. What we’re doing about it. Governments and corporate executives are beginning to realize the severity of a potential cyber attack. We review the ways the EU, U.S., and others are taking protective initiatives.
Tips on Tap
I. FireMe! App – New app which tracks certain negative phrases about bosses and jobs in social media and rates how likely they are to get the poster fired.
II. Vine – My love/hate relationship with Vine, a sometimes bagbiter new Twitter-owned social media platform that allows users to create six-second looping video mash-ups. Less than three months after its January 2013 release, the video-sharing service topped the U.S. App Store’s list of free iPhone apps. I found one paragraph of John Constine’s 4/20/13 techcrunch article about Vine quite poignant about the general experience of using smartphones to memorialize moments in our lives:
It’s when Vines disintegrate that I get truly angry, though. It’s blatant violation of the implicit value exchange between a human and an app. Rather than live a moment, I recorded it. When I ended up with nothing to show for it, I feel cheated.
III. Shopping for Flights Online: When to Buy – Melanie offers tips on how and when to get the best deal on airfare online.
This week The Digital Dive Podcast covers new Twitter photo filters, standing desk adventures, and a major privacy issue with Facebook/iOS 6 integration that hit a little too close to home for me. Your favorite digital divers are also thrilled to bring special guest Australian Crime Fiction Publisher Liam Jose on the show. Liam chimes in on Australia’s recent controversial policies regarding Internet censorship.
I. Standing Desk Update – How Melanie used stacks of office supplies to prevent cancer
II. Twitstagram- Twitter to add Instagram-like photo filters in the next few months
This week, we offer our insight on a variety of topics, including the ousting of Apple iOS miracle worker and polarizing executive Scott Forstall, the design debate over skeuomorphism, presidential campaigns and voting in the digital age, and commerce as content.
I. Adventures in Mobile Payments Part 3: SUCCESS
Melanie and I share a happy update on our ongoing pursuit of mobile-friendly vendors. Square and Level-Up
II. Apple Kicks Scott Forstall to the Curb; Skeuomorphism
Emily and Melanie are embroiled with their technology this week:
The Death of the English Language?–
Is internet/text slang (tech-speak) destroying English as we know it, or is it part of a natural progression toward more efficient communication?
U decide who’s rite: Melanie Embracing Change or Crotchety Hoverboard Granny Em.
Google Shopping– Melanie sounds off on the degradation of Google Shopping. What’s worse– that Google Shopping replaced natural search results with paid ones, or the terrible excuse they’ve given for doing so? Why Etsy sellers and small businesses will lose.
The Notorious Apple Maps– Not since Antennagate has Apple made such a blunder in user experience. Get ready for a lot of u-turns.
Tips on Tap:
1. iPhone Texting Shortcuts
2. VoterHub – voter information and social network website and app
3. Gmail tip: Send mail as multiple non-Gmail email accounts without the pesky “On Behalf Of” giveaway.