MacBook — 12-inch, Rose Gold (2016)


MacBook — 12-inch, Rose Gold (2016)



  • It feels like it’s been a very long time since I last actually became obsessed over a gadget’s design, but the 12-inch MacBook has inspired exactly that level of adoration. Ever single time I go to a JB Hi-Fi or Dick Smith store (R.I.P) I head towards the laptop aisle and tap on the MacBook’s clicky Butterfly keys, hold and fold it’s stupidly thin case, and pretend that it’s mine. The Space Grey and Rose Gold options make my regular laptop feel sterile and outdated.
  • The new Butterfly keyboard feels perfect. It has minimal travel, and the keys are a lot more shallow than a regular computer, but after a few days every other keyboard feels unresponsive in comparison. My only worry is that over time the keys may become less clicky and fun.
  • It’s so thin and light, honestly it feels like the anti-iPad. It isn’t powerful enough to edit video or play bulky games (I was still able to play indie-game Fez), but at the same time it feels like an actual notebook. It fits in any bag and gives me access to almost everything I need from a laptop. Google Docs, Apple Music, and even Photoshop (really!). It’s also fanless, which means it feels more like an iPad than a traditional laptop.
  • I found it hard to go back to my Retina MacBook Pro after using the MacBook. Like, very very hard. This computer is not only easier to move around, but it just feels like what the original MacBook Air did at the time — weightless. The wedge design also means it feels exactly like a new MacBook Air, just with a different name. I’m way more likely to pull this laptop out while watching TV or sitting on a busy train. It slides in and out of my bag, it doesn’t purr under strain, and it’s just as good when it comes to essential tasks.
  • Battery life is very good. Apple says 10 hours, I get close to that every day (for now).
  • The screen is beautiful and it feels a lot brighter and — I don’t know how to describe it — closer to the glass? Maybe there’s a smaller air-gap compared to the Retina MacBook Pro.
  • I love the 12-inch screen size. It feels big enough for basic laptop work and small enough to give the laptop a smaller footprint. Your mileage may vary.


  • There is a reason why I haven’t gone hog wild on the MacBook though, and that’s power. Or more specifically, a lack of it. Straight out of the box, Apple’s tiny MacBook feels a lot more like a netbook than a MacBook. And as much as I hate to say it, the performance deficiencies remind me of going back to an old laptop. There are plenty of beachball freezes and just general performance issues. It takes a bit longer to wake from sleep and to start some apps. But the most problematic performance defects are the ones which don’t make sense. I’ve noticed some regular screen-tearing when watching YouTube or even iTunes videos. And while I’m okay with not being able to use more expectantly heavy software like Final Cut Pro on it, choppy video playback is a bit weird, as are other performance step backs.
  • USB-C feels half-baked and even Apple devices don’t come with USB-C cables yet. At the very least Apple should include a USB-C-to-USB adapter in the box, or they should start pushing for adoption of the standard. I bought a new iPad mini just last week and had to sync my iTunes library to it with my old MacBook Pro because Apple still ships these devices with full-size USB cables. With time this will seem like a dated reaction, and otherwise USB-C feels like where the industry is going, but for now Apple doesn’t do much to help with the change, apart from charging $29 for a basic adapter and $129.00 for an adapter with HDMI, USB-C and USB ports. Don’t even think about bringing the MacBook into a workplace where you need to plug your laptop into a screen without spending that $129.
  • There’s also only USB-C port, which is fine, but I still think it’d be cool to have the option of charging from the left-and-right sides. Symmetry! I’m being careful with what I wish for though, because Apple will probably add a second USB-C port while killing the headphone jack next time around.
  • I worry about the sturdiness of the MacBook sometimes. The thing is so thin and light that it feels a lot more fragile than my old laptop. I actually worry sometimes that I might bend it, and sometimes it does wobble a bit because it’s so light. Some keys on the Butterfly keyboard can also sometimes become stuck and janky, and in general it’s still very clearly a first-generation product.

The MacBook is beautiful, thin, and amazing. I want one. But it’s limited, by design.

It feels like a travel laptop. It’s a pain to use at work, especially if you need to use projectors and external monitors and USB keyboards, mice and phone chargers. There’s no included adapters, Apple’s cost a chunk of change and are just as limited (only one full-size USB port). The MacBook also still feels a bit too underpowered for most people and screen-tearing from simple video playback is bizarre on a 2016 laptop. Maybe it’s just a buggy unit.

With every refresh one of these compromises will disappear. It’ll get more powerful, or the world will move closer to USB-C, or Apple will improve on macOS’ performance. But for now, it’s an early adopter device that’s built for pretty basic or secondary use, and it still has a premium price.