REVIEWED: The black MacBook

This morning we picked up one of the first MacBooks in the UK – and, naturally we’ve spent the day tinkering. Rather than writing a full review, we’ve

This morning we picked up one of the first MacBooks in the UK – and, naturally we’ve spent the day tinkering. Rather than writing a full review, we’ve decided to give our first impressions and point out where it differs from the MacBook Pro, reviewed here.

First things first: the consumer-focussed MacBook looks very cool. Especially in matt black – reminiscent of the G3 Powerbook - with the new glossy black screen that bears an uncanny similarity to Sony’s X-Black VAIO displays. The display is bright (though not quite as bright as the MacBook Pro's) and full of contrast, but does reflect external light sources.

We can’t comment on its abilities in bright sunlight – we’re writing during springtime in England, so naturally it’s raining – but if the VAIO are anything to go by, it’ll work well in bright conditions. Incidentally, the glossy black displays are now also available as an option on the MacBook Pro range, and they’re well suited watching movies – particularly as the entire range is now widescreen.

So how does this new MacBook differ from the Pro? Well, it’s smaller, with a 13.3in screen rather than 15 or 17in. It’s also slightly fatter, at just over an inch thick. It’s lighter, too, although not by much – the 15in MacBook Pro tips the scales at 2.54kg compared to this new MacBook’s 2.36kg. This is a big disappointment for those of us hoping for an Apple ultraportable – not least because the MacBook is 280g heavier and an inch longer than the much-loved 12in Powerbook G4.

But enough complaining: carrying it may be a pain, but using the MacBook is an unabashed joy. The new keyboard doesn’t have the travel of the old Powerbook keyboard – in fact it reminds us of the old Spectrum 128K or Sinclair QL - but it still feels wonderfully responsive and, we’re told, is significantly more robust. Which is a relief as there’s nothing more depressing than a beautiful Mac with missing keys; it’s like looking at Kate Moss with her teeth knocked out.

Read part two of this review