MacBook: First impressions

by Volker Weber

There is a new Mac in the house. But before we get to that ...

Yesterday I was in a huge notebook showroom in Darmstadt. They had four Apple notebooks on display: 17" and 15" MacBook Pro, white and black 13" MacBook. You will be surprised how big this store is, and how much stuff they have on display. The sticker prices look pretty good, but beware if you want to upgrade. They were asking 399 Eur for 2 GB of RAM in the MacBook and 129 Euro for an HD upgrade from 60 to 80 GB. I laughed in their face and the price for the memory was down to 199 Eur with the blink of an eye. I don't like this style of business.

Since I was looking for a 13" MacBook there was one question: black or white. While I would go for the white one for practical purposes, the black one is not only 150 Eur more expensive, it also looks and feels more expensive. The matte finish does not look and feel like plastic at all.

I did not buy one yesterday, since I knew there was a black one already on the way to vowe's magic flying circus. I will have to return it in two weeks, but for now I have plenty of time to play with it:


First impression: I like it. I like it a lot. The glossy screen does not bother me at all, and I can adjust to the keyboard very quickly. However, the return key is too small for me. I am only concerned with one thing: Heat. It does get hot, but not where I balance it. So I may be happy with out. Just need a few more days to decide on that. I will keep you posted.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to move from one Mac to the other. You simply put the old on in Firewire target mode, turning it into an expensive external hard disk, and then you let the new install pull all your data and applications from the old one. I was up and ready in an hour, without even looking after the process. Compare this to Windows, where you need days to move your stuff over. I would never accept an offer to test drive a Windows machine, but with a Mac it is a no brainer.


Yes, I know their price-policy as well (bought my IBM R51 with at least 1,5GB RAM there). but I don't see the 60GB HDD. The cheapest Model their began with 80GB HDD...

Henrik Heigl, 2006-06-28

Does you black Macbook whine? I have a 2GHz white one that does. Even more so does the A/C adapter. I would be happy to hear that there are Intel MacBooks that do not whine, because I already send my MacBook Pro back for the very reason :-(

Markus Weimer, 2006-06-28

No, it does not whine. You can hear the hard disk spin, if you really listen, but that's it.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-28

Henrik, 60 GB HD here and here.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-28

Good to hear that. If you happen to charge the battery and use the MB during that process, could you please check that the A/C adapter is quiet then? The Apple hotline wanted to tell me that the noise mine emits is "within specs"...

Markus Weimer, 2006-06-28

I can only hear it if I press it against my ear. But the MacBook A/C adapter looks smaller than the MacBook Pro one. A1184 spec'ed at 60W. It is the same size as my iBook adapter.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-28

So how is the heat issue we discussed Vowe? Is it acceptable to place the MacBook on your lap without getting ummm...burned?

Bruce Elgort, 2006-06-28

How's the mooh?

Martin Hiegl, 2006-06-28

Mine does mooh, but that is not vaguely as disturbing as the A/C adapter noise. Regarding the heat: I would not want to run games while the laptop is used as hmmm, a lap-top. But during web surfing etc. the heat is bearable.

Markus Weimer, 2006-06-28

Our MacBook stopped moo-ing after about two weeks of heavy use. The heat also is reasonably acceptable. The MacBook Pro 15" I use at work runs fairly cool as well compared to my older 17" PowerBook G4 which gets pretty dang hot.

Bruce Elgort, 2006-06-28

My Macbook (white) does neither whine nor mooh. At least not that I'd notice. Also the A/C adapter is quiet, even when charging the MacBook and working at the same time.

@Bruce: whether you'll get burned when putting the MacBook in your lap mostly depends on
a) whether you're wearing pants or not (better do)
b) how sensible your skin is to heat. Mine isn't that much so I don't really care

@Volker: While I love the ability to pull all my data and applications from the old iBook to the MacBook I didn't do it this time for a simple reason: over the last three years there was such an amount of garbage accumulating on the iBook that I used the chance to take a fresh start. Syncing addresses and other important stuff via .Mac was good enough this time.

Stefan Rubner, 2006-06-28

Funny, my MacBook arrived today. White, no whine, no moo. It's warm, but not hot. I like it.

My wife got a Blackberry from her firm today, so we both have new toys.

Scott Hanson, 2006-06-28

So now you know why I chose the black one ;-) Mine does neither whine nor mooh, but it's getting warm as well. But I have not yet heard the fan. Hardware Monitor tells me that I'm on 1,33 GHz most of the time anyway - Web and Mail are no CPU-heavy workloads, so that's fine for me.

Thomas Cloer, 2006-06-28

I agree that migrating from one Mac to another is delightfully easy, but for a change I do have to nod towards Microsoft. I used the Windows XP feature for doing so when I got my last laptop, and it worked remarkably well. (Especially since I had very low expectations.)

esther schindler, 2006-06-28

The XP feature works best for people who stick to the scheme Microsoft introduced with Windows 98(?) - Keep your data below the "My Documents" Folder and so on. I came up with "my" solution to storing data some years earlier...

But to return to the original topic... is there an apple store in Hamburg I should know of? I'd really like to see the MacBook live... (The times they are a-changin...)

Frank Dröge, 2006-06-28

Its just too damn pretty... I would want to look at it, but never touch!
This is directly opposed to using my Dell laptop to prop up a table one day...

Paul Mooney, 2006-06-28

I don't like the price premium for the black Macbook -- seems crazy -- however, with the white one it would appear you run the risk of case discolouration (judging by some other sites out there), so ... oh I don't know.

Luckily the decision is out of my hands: whilst you lot play with the latest and greatest, I shall be spending time with Ethelred, my iMac G4 for many years yet (technology willing!) ;o)

Ben Poole, 2006-06-28

Frank, Gravis has a store in Hamburg. Don't touch the MacBook. Unless you have the money. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-06-29

Frank, the Saturn on the Mönckebergstraße in Hamburg also has a Mac shop (in the basement).

Scott Hanson, 2006-06-29

I checked the white and black MacBook in a store nearby. The black one looks so awesome. It is totally cool. I checked the website Volker posted. Is it complicated to install Windows by yourself?

I think I will order it here, incl. a windows installation.

Carlo Reines, 2006-06-29

I use Parallels, a virtualization system to run Windows on mine. It allows you to run Windows in a window (or fullscreen) alongside OS X. I use it to create throw-away Windows installations that I use just for one purpose.

Installation of Parallels is easy. Installing Windows XP is hmm well, a Windows XP install. Not exactly what you are used to in th 21st century, but after the install it works just fine.

Markus Weimer, 2006-06-29

Thanks, Volker & Scott! I'll check both stores. Should have known about Saturn myself though... maybe I've been blind on the that eye until recently.

Volker, do you think that actually touching the MacBook could do financial harm? That's way too late in the chain... I know I'm repeating myself, but reading your site is the real culprit, as we all know ;-)

Frank Dröge, 2006-06-29

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