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The new Apple MacBook - nice, slim and shiny

The MacBook is still an aluminium unibody that weighs a mere 920g.
The MacBook is still an aluminium unibody that weighs a mere 920g.PHOTO: APPLE

It's very light but you'll have to pay extra for USB-C adaptors and carry them around

The new Apple MacBook that is on my desk is the rose gold model - the first time an Apple computer comes in this pinkish hue.

All my female friends and colleagues who saw it seem to love it. For those who love a slim, shiny and pink laptop, this MacBook is the one to get. End of review.

Just kidding.

Besides the new finish, the MacBook (2016) also sports internal upgrades. It gets the latest dual Intel Core M Skylake processor with faster Intel HD Graphics 515 graphics processor, faster 1866MHz system memory and faster flash storage.

The unit I received was the lower end ($1,788) model with an Intel Core m3 1.1GHz dual-core processor, 8GB of system memory and 256GB of flash storage.

I still prefer the space grey model to go with my iPhone 6s Plus of the same colour. The MacBook comes in silver and gold as well.

Besides the new colour (rose gold), the MacBook (2016) also sports internal upgrades. It gets the latest dual Intel Core M Skylake processor with faster Intel HD Graphics 515 graphics processor, faster 1866MHz system memory and faster flash storage.

Its design remains the same as last year's MacBook, with an embossed Apple logo on its lid like what you find on an iPad. The MacBook is still an aluminium unibody that weighs a mere 920g.

Its 12-inch display, with a resolution of 2,304 x 1,440 pixels, is still great to look at. Everything looks sharp and clear on it.

Measuring 13.1mm at its thickest point and 3.5mm at its thinnest, the MacBook does not have space for a USB 3.0 port. That is why it still has only one USB-C port on the left, for charging and transferring of documents. On its right is a headphone jack.

So while you might get a very light laptop, you still need to get and carry around USB-C adaptors. Or else, you cannot even use your regular USB thumb drive.

For example, you will need to get a USB-C to USB Adapter ($28, from Apple) that lets you connect standard USB devices like regular USB flash drives to the MacBook. If you want to sync your iPhone, get the new USB-C to Lightning Cable ($34, from Apple).

I recommend getting Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter ($118), which has an HDMI port, a standard USB port and a USB-C port.

This MacBook has the same backlit keyboard of its predecessor. The keys are really short - barely rising above the keyboard tray. They feel a tad shallow and lack the tactile response or the loud, fulfilling clicks of the keys of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: From $1,788

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core m3 1.1GHz dual-core (customisable up to Intel Core m5 1.2GHz)

    DISPLAY: 12-inch, 2,304 x 1,440 pixels

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 515

    RAM: 8GB

    STORAGE: From 256GB of flash storage (customisable up to 512GB of flash storage)

    Connectivity: 1 x USB-C port

    WEIGHT: 920g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

But the keys are really responsive. Plus, each key's face is actually larger than the ones on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, so it was easier for my fingers to hit the right keys. It might take some time to get used to the keys, but I typed this review on the MacBook without a hitch.

Performance-wise, the new MacBook scored 4,782 (64-bit multi-core) in the Geekbench 3 benchmark performance test. This is a slight improvement over its predecessor, which scored 4,611.

In the Blackmagic hard disk test, the new MacBook managed an average writing speed of 662.8MB per second and an average reading speed of 930.5MB per second. That is around 200MB per second faster for both writing and reading speed than last year's MacBook.

I can edit 4K videos using Final Cut Pro without any lag. Word processing and Web browsing are also a breeze.

However, you do need to play games like Diablo III or XCOM 2 in the lowest graphics setting for smooth gameplay. But no one buys this MacBook to play video games.

In our video loopback battery life stress test, the MacBook clocked 5hr 40min - 30min longer than its predecessor.

While running Mail, iTunes, Google Chrome (with six to eight tabs open) and Safari, I can work on the MacBook for a full working day without needing to charge it.

•Verdict: The new Apple MacBook is essentially a performance upgrade on last year's version. If you want ultra portability and good looks in a laptop, there is no other choice. Especially if you like pink.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'The new Apple MacBook - nice, slim and shiny'. Print Edition | Subscribe